This was following a concert in a bar not really set up for our kind of music, or really any music in general. Somehow the organizer believed that the five of us would fit into a space the size of a kitchen pantry, and that it was important for us to use a PA for a room that would hold about 100 people.
The Conversation About Sound:
Me: “I don’t think we’re going to need to use the PA, so we can get rid of the mics and stands, it will give us more room to set up. It’s kind of cramped on stage”
Organizer: -Whatever you think is best, it’s your show and I want you to be happy. (Pause.) But let’s just set the mics up and see what happens, we can get rid of them if they’re not necessary.
“They’re not going to be necesary. We almost always play without a PA, and we certainly haven’t needed a sound system in rooms larger than this.”
-Okay, I understand.
-But I realy gthink you guys will project better if we use the PA. Just a touch, for reinforcement.
“We don’t need it.”
-Okay, let’s strike the mics. I want you to sound the way you think is best. I do want to mic the kick drum though, we’ve got to do that.
-Yeah, we need to mic the kick drum, otherwise we’ll lose it in the mix.
“Just the kick drum?”
“Can you explain why, out of everything that’s here, it’s necessary to mic the kick drum?”
-You don’t think we need it?
-So you really don’t want to use the PA at all.
-Okay. Well, I’d better start moving these mic stands out of the way…
Anyway, we were lucky enough to meet someone at the concert in Detroit who could get the cymbals, hose them off, and ship them ahead to Boston (thanks Chris!). But it was pretty stressful before walking on stage that night in Toronto.
Kurt Kellison got the “Free Jazz Classics: Volume 3 & 4” ready in time for the tour, so we’ve had that new release to boost merch sales for the budget. Jon Resh designed a fantastic tour poster as well, so these items plus “The Color Of Memory” album have helped keep the tour in the black so far. Fingers crossed for the second half of the trip. The new pieces written as additions to the book for this series of concerts (“Sign Posts,” “Further From The Truth,” and “To Build A Fire”) are working quite well, feels like I’ve got a lot of options for the composing for this lineup and that’s really exciting. And so far, despite the fact that the five of us are stuck together all day
in a van, morale has been good and the playing even better.
-Ken Vandermark, 1/31/06, van driving to NY.
© 2021 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer