"I've been asked by many musicians how they were onstage and what improvements they can make to their performances," says Sound Guy Dave, who works the mixing board at the 710 Beach Club and the Ken Club. Some excerpts from his list of band do's and don'ts:
"Don't overplay the drums. If there are mikes on the drum kit, you don't have to beat it like a dirty rug."
"Don't jabber relentlessly between songs.... [People] don't care that you wrote this song because you were depressed about that dude [or] chick that did you wrong last year."
"Do sound check at solo volume. We set our input gains to the highest volume we're ever going to get from you and mix from there."
"Do be respectful of the house equipment, or be immediately willing to pay for what you break."
Regarding breakage, he says, "DJs are so notorious for blowing up boards, amps, and speakers that our last installation included a compressor with a key-lock to limit the signal to the most the system can handle safely. The factory manual for the compressor even uses the term 'overzealous DJs.' "
Another danger of volume abuse, he notes, is municipal intervention. "If the cops show up from an outside complaint and the soundperson can't turn you down, the club gets a fine -- starting at $1200 in San Diego -- and equipment can be confiscated. We had one of our mixing boards taken by the cops for 30 days one time."