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Thread: Should vocalists provide their own PA?

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by JustRob View Post
    Or, if the band is for your enjoyment, you're going to have to reassess whether the angst it causes you is worth the fun you have.
    If I had to guess, it sounds like it's less the expense, and more the ingratitude and entitlement mentality from the others that is upsetting you. I'd suggest you honestly let them know how it bothers you. They might not even realize it bothers you, and they may change. If not, you've learned something about them and you can weigh whether or not it's worth looking for other band members.
    Maybe just blowing off steam here will get you by for a while, but you don't want to blow up at them sometime over something else when this has been simmering the whole time.
    Good points. It doesn't do any harm to say to a bandmate, "I've got something I need to talk about." And then say what you want to say.
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  2. #22
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    Boy... I sure hope our singer doesn't read this forum, but I agree with Les. The reason we get the gigs we do has almost everything to do with his vocals and very little to do with much else. While he does have a small PA for the acoustic solo stuff he does, I'm more than happy to kick in what amounts to a Siggy for a decent PA. It isn't that he feels entitled (I don't think...) but just that we'd end up with a couple of 10" mains and a 4 channel mixer if we had to come to some consensus as to what everybody kicks in.

  3. #23
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aristotle View Post
    Boy... I sure hope our singer doesn't read this forum, but I agree with Les. The reason we get the gigs we do has almost everything to do with his vocals and very little to do with much else. While he does have a small PA for the acoustic solo stuff he does, I'm more than happy to kick in what amounts to a Siggy for a decent PA. It isn't that he feels entitled (I don't think...) but just that we'd end up with a couple of 10" mains and a 4 channel mixer if we had to come to some consensus as to what everybody kicks in.
    I'm with ya there! Les' comment about vocals is dead-nuts ON (a complete duplication of my wife's comments, and she's completely non-musical and atonal. Heck, I had to ask her not to sing to the kids when they were little so they wouldn't think it was the way to sing. ). But she's a music listener and is the perfect voice of reason. Most of our crowds are made up of people who feel the same way.

    I came in to my classic rock band as a hired gun, not from start-up. So it already was what it was. We have the best piece of sh*t Peavey system around and it gets the job done. Only vox and drums go thru it so it's no big skin off my chin, but it gets under my skin some. But is that worth derailing the band dynamic for the sake of being a gear snob? Would it be worth missing good gigs because I caused a stink? No. But I still hate Peavey PA gear.
    Last edited by Boogie; 10-16-2013 at 09:03 PM.
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  4. #24
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie View Post
    I'm with ya there! Les" comment about vocals is dead-nuts ON (a complete duplication of my wife's comments, and she's completely non-musical and atonal. Heck, I had to ask her not to sing to the kids when they were little so they wouldn't think it was the way to sing. ). But she's a music listener and is the perfect voice of reason. Most of our crowds are made up of people who feel the same way.

    I came in to my classic rock band as a hired gun, not from start-up. So it already was what it was. We have the best piece of sh*t Peavey system around and it gets the job done. Only vox and drums go thru it so it's no big skin off my chin, but it gets under my skin some. But is that worth derailing the band dynamic for the sake of being a gear snob? Would it be worth missing good gigs because I caused a stink? No. But I still hate Peavey PA gear.
    I kind of agree on the point of the vocalist being the most important factor in a gigging group, a vocalist is kind of like the gate to the whole band. If they suck, no one is going to get past it, but if they're good, people will not only notice their skill, but start to notice the rest of the band as well. I was at a wedding reception this summer, and the band had a KILLER vocalist, and it really helped to make the night great. No matter what, more attention will always be paid to the vocals, but I think with a good vocalist, people are going to notice a difference between an Epi through a modeler and a 408 through an HXDA, though they don't think of it in those terms. Subtle? To the untrained ear, sure, but I think still noticeable. Probably just a case of the "wow, this band is REALLY good!" instead of just "this singer is really good" or "this band is pretty good." There are people that want that icing on the cake, even though they might not be able to put their finger on where it's coming from.

    Anyways, back to the original topic.

    I play music for fun, any money made is just a bonus. I've already paid for my guitar gear, that's my ticket to the show. I guess if it ever gets to the point where money is being made, and/or gigs are being played specifically for money, the game will change to a scenario more like the one Les described. I would probably pony up for a PA. However, just as Les described it as being a business, if I were the one buying the system, I would be taking that into account when the gig money gets paid out. Granted, it would be my equipment at the end of the day, but when a business fronts an investment for equipment, they also expect a bigger return than if they had not made the investment.

    Not trying to be prickly at all, I really respect the opinions of the more experienced members (which is almost everyone here compared to me). I guess my opinions are just a product of where I'm at right now in life, and as a musician. Someday, if I'm in a band gigging for green, I'll keep all of this in mind!
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  5. #25
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie View Post
    I still hate Peavey PA gear.
    Kerry, have you seen the road-ready MESA/Boogie PA speakers on Chicago Craigslist?... $875. If all your bandmates kicked in you could gig without resentment.

  6. #26
    Pincher of Harmonics Blackbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie View Post
    I'm with ya there! Les" comment about vocals is dead-nuts ON (a complete duplication of my wife's comments, and she's completely non-musical and atonal. Heck, I had to ask her not to sing to the kids when they were little so they wouldn't think it was the way to sing. ). But she's a music listener and is the perfect voice of reason. Most of our crowds are made up of people who feel the same way.
    Just have to say, the fact that your wife uses terms like "dead-nuts on" is awesome!
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  7. #27
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Just to kind of echo Les's comments from a slightly different angle...

    Dude, you NEED a singer. You need a singer far more than a singer needs you. It sucks, but it is what it is.

    Look - if you don't have a singer, who's going to tell you how to adjust your amps to get the right tone? The drummer???

    Seriously - I get the frustration. It does suck, but sometimes you have to shoulder a little more than is fair if you want to keep things moving forward. Shouldn't be that way.
    Alan

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  8. #28
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    Everybody makes some good points. Seems like it depends on how the band is set up. Usually the bandleader owns the PA, and if that's the case, he or she should make a few extra bucks for supplying the PA and booking the band. When I was in high school in '68, I was in a band with a lead singer who had his own PA--he felt that for him not to have it would be like a guitar player showing up without an amp. I like that attitude! A couple of years later, I was in another band with a rhythm guitarist who did most of the lead vocals. I also sang some, and we were the only guys who hung in there the entire two years of the band's existence. He and I went in together on a small PA and some mics, and when we quit playing together, (actually, he quit playing entirely) he got the PA and I got the mics. Many years later, my wife and I bought a PA (12-channel powered board, two speakers-on-stands and two monitors) for our duo gigs, and band gigs if we had a band. After that every band that called me for a gig asked if I'd bring the PA. I started charging extra for it, and insisted that they show up in time to help unload and set it up, as I'm somewhat handicapped (polio as a kid--I can't lift much over 45-50 lbs.). Sometimes they would, sometimes not--but I'm the wrong guy to be lugging PA, although I carry what I can. (I'm not the lead singer either.) I got the impression that I was getting hired more for my PA than for my playing. In one band, I replaced a guy who had bought the band's PA along with the drummer (who was the lead vocalist and the bandleader), and when he left, he took the speakers, all the cords and all the mics. So I had to bring my speakers and stands, plus a monitor, and I usually bring my own mic and stand if I have to sing. This went on for about a year and a half, and the only thing the drummer bought during that time was a couple of speaker cords that were too short, so I kept having to bring mine anyway-this was a guy who was too cheap to buy a drum stool, and he counted on there being a suitable chair at each gig! Right about the time I left the band, the drummer finally got a pair of speakers--he bought mine! Anymore, I don't even tell anyone I've got a PA--I really don't want to have to lug it, or be the lead singer either...
    Last edited by jfine; 10-16-2013 at 01:58 AM.

  9. #29
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    A while back I was playing guitar in a band where the bassist owned the PA. He made it clear from the get-go that he expected an extra cut for the PA equipment (the PA was our sixth "band member" when it came time to split the gig money). I had no trouble agreeing to this for a couple of reasons:
    1. PA rigs aren't cheap, and this guy had some quality gear.
    2. This arrangement was brought up before we even had our first rehearsal so there were no surprises.
    3. Not only is a good rig expensive, but somebody has to store that stuff carefully, not under a tarp outdoors.
    4. If something broke or needed replacing, the owner of the PA was responsible for it which eliminated potential bickering.

    And now *I'm* the one putting together a band (and doing most of the singing) and I'm footing the bill for a PA. Personally I have a hard time demanding a full cut for the gear, but a half-cut is easily within the limits of my conscience. I made sure everyone who auditioned understood the arrangement. I only get the half-cut if we use my gear. If we play a casino (for example) and we use the house sound system then I don't get the extra half-cut. So far, everybody considers it very fair.

    Ultimately, yes, I think the singer should own enough PA to handle at least a 100-person venue and have his own mic/stand/cable. In our band, everybody is responsible for buying his own mic and accessories (e.g., the drummer buys his own kick mic, mini stand, and 25' cable) which is another reason I only take a half-cut. This makes a decent PA affordable for me and I'm not burdened with being responsible for every aspect of it.

    On the topic of load in/load out, EVERYBODY helps. Honestly, it isn't THAT much work for a few people to make an extra trip across the parking lot with a piece of band gear that belongs to someone else.

  10. #30
    Pincher of Harmonics Blackbird's Avatar
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    I agree that for many genres, the singer is the most important component. But that's not true in every case. I would bet that most fans of Metallica, Megadeth, Smashing Pumpkins, etc...are not going to shows just for vocals, since those guys are hardly "singers." Hetfield has become a better vocalist, but in the earlier days, when they were considered at their best, he sucked.
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  11. #31
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    LSD! Lead singer disease! You're lucky to find a singer with his own mic, much less a full PA.

    Fair? Yes, fair would be the singer owning his own PA gear. Fact is, every band is different in what is needed. We rehearse fairly loud. Hard for me to imagine a singer walking in with something adequate. In every situation I've been in, most PA gear is bought once we figure out what's needed- usually by whoever has the disposable income at the time. Often done piece by piece. Used PA gear can usually be bought relatively cheap. I'd guess 9 times outta 10, someone besides the singer owns that gear. Not fair, but usually the way it is.

  12. #32
    Senior Member RedGuitars's Avatar
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    When I lived in KY and had a basement for band space, the other guitar player owned a nice PA system and monitors, stands, etc. I did buy a Shure mic of my own and a stand for it. When I moved to TX, i bought a slightly used Yamaha StagePas portable PA for ~$300. Works great for singing, plugging in an acoustic/electric, and for playing jam tracks through my iPhone.
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  13. #33
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    I can only imagine the trouble being in a band would be. Solo basement rocker for life is likely as close as I'll be to being in a band.
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  14. #34
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    I can only imagine the trouble being in a band would be. Solo basement rocker for life is likely as close as I'll be to being in a band.
    Me, too. I do miss having a band - sometimes I miss it terribly. Other times, I hear other people's stories and I think, "I understand why Frank Zappa loved the Synclavier".
    Alan

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  15. #35
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Late to the thread, but I'm a guitarist, singer, and recording engineer, and I was even a drummer in a band at one point. My gear dollars get stretched pretty thin. I own a PA, a pro tools rig, a dozen or more mics and cables for all of them, a couple mixer boards, mic stands, a full drum kit, in addition to guitars and amps and pedals - it's expensive just maintaining all that stuff. It's taken a good 15 years to acquire it all. I haven't played with anyone who is strictly a singer in years, but the last thing I would ever tolerate is someone who didn't have at least the minimum equipment to back up their craft, no matter what their talent level might be.
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  16. #36
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    RiserGrease--you're right on! I've been in plenty of bands where the bandleader supplied the PA, and I've never had a problem with him or her getting extra money to cover it. As long as I don't have to bring it...
    Back in my road days, everybody carried whatever they could grab (or lift). I figure that if the drummer had to lug my amp, which back then was a 2-12" tube combo in a flight case--upwards of 100 lbs.--no way I could lift it--the least I could do was carry his small tom-tom case, or whatever. It all went to the same place anyway! When my wife joined the country band I was in back in about 1990, she'd lug big PA cabinets, amp racks, whatever, in addition to her keyboard, acoustic guitar, and amp, and sang her tail off onstage. Definitely not your average chick singer who's too cool to carry anything! I doubt that either of us could lug that much gear today...

  17. #37
    Senior Member RedGuitars's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've only played a handful of gigs, but when I did, everyone in the band was roadie - we all pitched in for loading in and out. It was a little one sided on load in, since the PA and all my guitar stuff was kept in my basement. But the guys all helped once I got to where ever we were playing.
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  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbird View Post
    This has been a point of contention with my band, and will probably be the straw that breaks our collective back. I have had to finance the PA and many other equipment purchases. I made the choice to pony up for these things because it was the sticking point for us, we would not be able to move forward and play shows unless we had a PA. I politely asked the others to simply contribute what they could to help with the $350 per month payment that I was shouldering. I respect other people's financial situations, but even if you can contribute $20 a month, that helps and is better than nothing. Our drummer is an attorney for a large university, so his income is public record. The guy makes 150k yearly and hasn't contributed one dime. Then I have to look at my other guitarist's Facebook posts showing them going to this bar and that bar, road trip here and there. Again, money to spend on booze and concerts but can't chunk me $20. So over a few months this built up a fair amount of resentment on my part and we're currently taking a break.
    On the plus side, at least I'll have my own PA for any future projects. And I noticed that wedding DJ's make a crap ton of money for just a few hours of playing songs. So putting the PA to good use and making back my investment might be easier than I thought. But yes, it is frustrating that others expect the band to be a free situation without any sacrifice on their part.
    Buying gear as a collective is always a poor idea. Unless you commit to the band, as a business entity, buying the gear it always ends poorly.

  19. #39
    Angry Southern Gentleman Hopeful Sinner's Avatar
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    Simply put, yes, singers should have their own PA.

  20. #40
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    Kerry, have you seen the road-ready MESA/Boogie PA speakers on Chicago Craigslist?... $875. If all your bandmates kicked in you could gig without resentment.
    Where the hell is the fun in that?

    thanks for the lead. That's actually a very cool set of speakers.
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