Moderator: The Freedom Man
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- Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:37 pm
- Location: Kimpo City, Korea
There was supposed to be a "Sound Check". That means the group came into the hall, looked around, usually commented on how big the place was, and proceded to see of they could make sound.
They often discovered, and were probably amazed, that if you whacked a drum with the special piece of wood, it made a sound. Likewise, if you had a guitar which could hardly be heard unless you amplified it with a lot of heavy, bulky and expensive equipment, and you plucked a string - sure enough, let there be sound.
Similarly with the organ and piano bass. If the little orange lights were all on in the right places (At the right time) boy could you get sound.
What they did not think about was, though all this could be made to work during this recreation period, it did not mean I was going to let it happen in the actual performance. So they went away happy having made sound and Siddons put a little check besides "Things to do" on his list for the day. SO they got their sound check.
Of course it being a bright, nice day, and we were fresh in from the road, and a bit hungery since we had been on the move since about 06:00, we wanted to get in and get unloaded.
When we arrived at the hall, a great cavernous place, there were Lots of Kids outside. Of course, when they saw the truck they just knew something was going to happen. I let one of the Ellicott City BB's pick out 4 guys who appeared enthusiastic and strong enough and we went in. Of course, through that affair the crowd knew it was the Doors and excitement reach a new high.
No one was about. Whether they were at lunch or on the throne, who could tell. But, no matter, the doors (Small d) were open and we drove in and got cozy with the stage.
A busy half hour put all the equipment on stage and some of it out of the travel cases. It also brough forth the Hall Manager (Big M). He sort of swaggered up to the stage and asked who was in charge. I stepped forward letting him know who was really the boss.
He casually asked who had unloaded the truck. Of course "We Did". He then suggested that we had better pack everything in the cases and get it all back into the truck. We should then pull outside and wait until 3 PM when the Union Crew (Little Brains) would arrive and THEN WE could unload and set up.
I told him that we had a sound check at 15:00 and it was necessary to have everything on stage and operational. It was scheduled. I went to my Brief case (Did not contain sandwiches) and showed him the copy of the spec sheet which I had sent him. I reminded him that He and I had spoken on the phone and he had understood that we would have a sound check, that we would be there in the morning to prepare for same.
All of this he acknowledged as being true. However, the Union Call was for 15:00 and we could not set up or unload anything until then.
I was getting angry. Have you ever seen the Hulk get angry. That is like kids in Kindergarten compared to me when I get a full head of steam up.
I stood there for a bit staring at him. He could not look back. In fact, few people can. So I calmly suggested that maybe we would pack up and leave. Perhaps he could consider what was going to happen when I stopped in front of the crowd outside and told them that there would be no show that night because some Stupid Hall Manager Had Said That WE HAD TO LOAD UP AND GET OUT UNTIL SOME IDIOT STAGE HANDS CAME. THAT THERE WOULD BE NO SOUND CHECK AND NO SHOW. IT WAS LIKELY THAT THEY WOULD TEAR HIS GODDAMNED HALL DOWN BRICK BY BRICK. HOW WOULD HE LIKE A FULL SCALE RIOT ON HIS HANDS
What did he think about that idea????.
With that I turned to the BB's and said "OK, Load up, Let's have some fun.
The Manager's face had turned quite red as I demonstrated that at least in my case, they did not need microphones to be heard across town. I suppose the sound man was a friend of his and he didn't want to see him fired as useless. In any case, one could almost hear the gears turning (Without oil) as he pondered the outcome of a riot that would be blamed on him. He did reconsider.
Ahh, Well, wait a minute, Maybe if you just hurry up and get it done before they get here... Maybe you could just .... You know..... Go ahead finish.
It was something similar to that and graceful enough to let him get out of sight with what dignity he had left. We finished in record time, Sent one of the locals out for the best burgers he could find and slept it off until Bill came in with his little book and pencil in hand.
The show did go on and we had a great time. It was a sell out crowd. The show, like most of them in 1968 was good, Jim was "Spot On" and the Guys were all in synch.
By the way, my BB, including the 4 new ones who were Randy's slaves, felst so good about knocking off the Union crew they helped the second group load out as well. That face off was one of several that stick with me.
Don't get me wrong, the stage hands have a right to their job and a right to do it. But when a road crew comes in and arrangements have been in place for two or three weeks, it seems beyond stupid that people should start getting territorial. We loved Union Crews, when they were not bouncing equipment off the walls and stairway corners or dropping it on the floor. Aside from suffering a nervous breakdown, I was grateful (Along with the rest of the crew) for them insisting on doing all the heavy lifting. It was just whether or not anything would work after they got done with it that made me more than nervous.
That reminds me of another one with the electricians union at Carnegy Hall.
So there you are. The face off at the Pittsburgh Arena.
Where is Mr. Tripp. He was one of the new BB we aquired that night.
He was involved in a tragedy immediately following the show in Palm Springs - an auto accident in which a passenger was blinded. Yet another story but beyond the Doors.
- Senior Member
- Posts: 636
- Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:37 pm
- Location: Kimpo City, Korea
Anyway, we were to play at that famous spot. Now most of you probably know that New York, like some other cities, is a union town. It surely is and Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing gets done there unless it is by Union crews.
We pulled up to the loading area and wre met by several BB as well as 3 guys I had met in LA in 1970. Rich Kid surfer boys who went ot Organ Coast College so they could go surfing every day at Laguna Beach. What did they study, silly question. The went their to Surf, Study was just an excuse to get there.
Anyway, we had 4 BB and these three pretty husky guys all ready to off-load and the Union Crew arrived. We assured them we could get things done in jig time but they insisted. There were 6 of them and I don't think any of them were less that 60 years old.
The equipment had to be brought up stairs to the stage. this stuff was heavy and the stairs were narrow. They insisted that they were there to do the work, we were not union and could not move our own amps to perform our own show.
Severn strong guys (I was young and string then) stood around watching 6 old men struggle and stumble up thise steep narrow stairs as they brought 35 pieces of equipment weighing in at 5500 pounds to the stage. Why one or all of them didn't have a heart attack or stroke I will never know. If you heard a recording of this affair youw ould swear there were 6 steam locomotives working up a head of steam to pull a 150 car sting out of Grand Central.
It was finally complete. They even insisted on taking the amps out of the travel cases and setting them on stage.
Now let me telly ou, with these guys trying to prove that they could do the job better, and being absolutely unfamiliar with the set up, it was like chacing wild horses to try to get things in place as they franticly moved the amps around - anywhere would do - and get the job done.
We finally had to step in and do it becuse the chaos was to much. Then came the plug in and set up for hte mikes and such. And here come the electricians.
You can't do that!
Really and who is going to do it?
We are union electricians and you can't touch anything in here.
The conversation got down a a few basics about them not knowing what to do. We didn't touch their lights, they don't touch our equipment.
Well if you want power, we do the wiring.
OK, so do it.
And we went all of us and sat down. And watched. And waited.
They had everything they needed in the equipment cases. But off they went to fetch extension cords and mike cords and all. The trick was, all our stuff had twist lock plugs for the main power network. They would not go into your average standard power plug. Furthermore, the average extension cord would not carry the power to feed those hungry amps.
Well, they diddled around with it for perhaps 30 or 40 minutes and I was getting both angry and anxious. We would have had it wired and working while they were still wondering which end was in. They were getting pretty frustrated because they knew they were making fools of themselves.
I suggested we go out to eat. We did. It was one of the very few times i ever left the equpment unattended but these guys needed a lesson.
We were gone about 40 minutes and come back to find them still diddling around. They had got two or three of the Acoustics, which had standard plugs, turned on but of course no sound because they didn't know how to plug them in.
Bill arrived and asked me if we were ready. He took out his little book and his pencil, poised over the little box, and Ray, John and Robby, with the funny sticks and quiet guitar looked on with some sense of foreboding.
I explained to Bill that we had been forbidden to touch anything. These were the electricians and sound guys and they were Union and we were not. Ho Ho! Bill got angry. The Boys wanted ot practice in the sacred hall and there was no way to do it.
It was Bill's turn to yell and scream. He did. The Union steward suggested that the show might not open of he didn't stop. Bill suggested that they might have a riot if the show didn't open. There were also contractual obligations with 4 Union Musicians, the Promotor and the Hall. It was all fun to watch.
While this was going on, we got together and suggested that we could get things going. The straw boss saw defeat - as well as the ticking clock - and finally backed down.
I don't think it took more than 15 minutes or so for the gang to get things up and running. We politely returned their power cords and proceeded to set up our network while they watched. It dawned on them that no matter who they were, they had no inkling of what they faced. A fw of the guys also acknowledged that we had a very nice set-upfor our power system and helped to get the feed lines into the building mains. When they worked with us things got friendly. Not only did we get thigns done fast, but they broke down and got curious about what we did and how we did it.
Before you could say Reddy Kilowatt, we were ready. Bill asked if I was set, which I was. The guys made sound and Bill checked the box.
If that is what Union Busting is all about, The airlines must have as much fun as I did that night.
The show did go on, The lighting guys, who were theatrical professionals, did a splended job with color. The sound of that hall is legendary and the kids in the audience did not feel the need for restraint, regardless of the history and tradition of that place.
The 3 surfer boys had the time of their life, right on stage with the Doors.
Steve Dunaif, who lived in Glen Cove on Long Island, later call me in LA and told me of the reaction of his friends. They could not believe that he had been on stage with the Doors. He was the envy of his neighborhood.
When we were finished with the show, there was the packing and take out to get done. The 6 old men were replaced by a younger crew and the Electricians were a lot more respectful. They tried to help us pack up rather than do it themselves. In the end we had a great show and we even had a warm handshake and "Come back again" from the Union electricians.
All's well that ended well.