Cody runs sound at WCC on Sunday mornings. That’s what he does; he’s a renegade professional sound-man, for hire to local/touring acts and venues around town. He’s great, he likes round, warm sound (like I do), and he did the gig Monday night at Bunker’s in the warehouse district. I went along, as a friend, and as a techie’s techie; a sort of informal job-shadow. All through my recent job search, Cody was after me to work for a sound company he has connections with. The show was; “Am I able to do this? Would I enjoy this? What would it take to turn sound into a viable career?”

Because my sound education is entirely informal, there are gaps. Example; I had to ask what the crossover processor does (it takes a mono signal, and splits it into multiple outputs based on different frequency ranges – these separate signals are sent to different PA speakers, so you get low tones headed for the subs and higher tones for the smaller speakers). But I understand what is happening to the sound pretty intuitively, once it’s explained. Everything Cody did I could hear or see. He’s fast with making connections between what we hear and the right frequencies to cut to make it better, but that comes with experience. I haven’t worked much with the 31-band EQs that are used at this kind of show; I’m used to the high/mid/low EQs on mixing consoles, and (on the other end of the spectrum) the paragraphic EQ in the Ozone mastering suite I use in the studio.

The Combo featured a couple notable players; Jellybean on guitar (he played drums for Morris Day & The Time – remember, at the end of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” ???), Mike on drums (Prince, Paul Westerberg – both of whom Cody has worked for too), and a Grammy-winning guitarist (wrote the song for J. Vaughn). They played funk/R&B which was fun, and sounded alright; a case of obviously talented players, but no quarterback. Songs meandered (tightly), even going on for considerable periods without a soloist, everone just vamping on their rhythm parts. Still, I thought of all the bands I’ve seen at Knickerbocker’s, and The Combo seemed like an alright Monday night.

Bottom line, I learned something important; if I ever mustered up the courage/machismo/desire/fortitude to do it, I could be a sound guy. Cody’s pretty happy with it, even if it can be crazy work. My concern about this potential path is more the bar/tour scene than anything; everyone’s got a tragic story (which tend to come out, verbalized or not) and for the most part they’re so predictable. I don’t insulate myself from that very well, which could be hurtful/dangerous. At least it’s out there and I’m aware.

I even wore my pure black t-shirt. -h