If it's too loud, you're too old

Jelly Roll Horton

Country Gent
Nov 10, 2017
2,040
Portland, OR
I’m not too old, you’re too loud. Volume is not a valid substitute for talent. And if you’re relying on volume to hold an audience you’re lying to them and to yourself.
I was at The Doors concert in the Hollywood Bowl in ‘68. They were flanked by enormous banks of speakers. It was loud, but not painful. Just the volume the music required to showcase the talent. :cool:
 
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Jim Krause

Electromatic
May 2, 2022
90
Lawrence, Kansas
Some years back, I played in a band that was very conscientious about volume. One memorable gig we played, was with a sound guy that we had never worked with before. We knew we might be in trouble when he started sticking mics in front of out amps, and the drum kit, too. Reports filtered back to us that some of our potential audience decided not to come in when they could hear us quite well outside the front door. Come to think of it, that was one of the places we played that closed down a few weeks later. Coincidence?
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
18,795
lafayette in
I’m not too old, you’re too loud. Volume is not a valid substitute for talent. And if you’re relying on volume to hold an audience you’re lying to them and to yourself.
I was at The Doors concert in the Hollywood Bowl in ‘68. They were flanked by enormous banks of speakers. It was loud, but not painful. Just the volume the music required to showcase the talent. :cool:
The Dead could fill stadiums and arenas. They were never so loud that you couldn't have a conversation with the person next to you. I saw Yes in an arena in Indy and they were painfully loud and were mush in the back of the place. The Dead played there a week later and even in the back corners the sound was great.
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I did sound for a university theater system. Often, we did small one-off gigs with a pair of Mackie monitors, a single mike and some backup music. I did one such gig and afterwards the dean of that school asked me how I kept it from feeding back where everyone else couldn't. I told him that I sat in a back corner away from the speakers. I said if I could hear it in my spot, everyone else should be able to hear even better. I just turned it up enough without being too much.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Of course, there's the old adage---
Loud is good.
Fast is better.
Loud and fast is best.
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,610
Firenze, Italy
Btw, it's been a long, long while that I've attended a loud gig.
Probably it's not something that's popular anymore besides the old farts. :)
On the other side, there's a different perception of what is loud and what is not. I know that many club owners would love to have live music and people chatting in the same room, but in these case, they have to be very clear with the band about how it works upfront. If live music has to be entertainment or just a background to people's night out. In those situation, even some kind of quiet could be too loud.
As a rule, I never go to restaurants where live music is played during services. I'm there to eat, have a laugh and talk with my friends at the table, live music annoys me and distracts me. Any kind, even the music I love.
But if you go to a bar/club where outside there's a big sign advertising a gig, well then you can't assume that the band has to turn down just because you're not able to talk to your friend.
There's a gig going on, and I'm sure there's plenty of bars in the distance without live music where you could talk. If you don't like the volume, then you could walk to the next bar.
Without deafening nobody, I'm for the Give the people what you have, not Give the people what they want. :)
 

DavyH

Electromatic
Aug 11, 2022
69
Aurora, Colorado
If it's too loud, the players aren't listening to each other. You can put a LOT of sonic horsepower on stage if everyone playing is careful to occupy their own sonic space.
.....As to the "you're too old" bit, one has to wonder if Keith Moon and all the members of the 27 club are pleased with having realized their hope of dying before they got old.
 

loudnlousy

Gretschified
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 18, 2015
12,707
Germany
There are different types of "loud".

I saw some bands like Bruce Hornsby, Dio, Motorhead, Mother`s Finest, Robin Trower and some other acts in the eighties and nieneties and it was unbearable. They were loud for loudness sake and the tone was like a concrete mixer.

There were other bands playing the same venues that sounded absolutely great (Eric Clapton, Judas Priest and Rammstein) and they wern`t quiet, either.

It`s the art of mixing. The man on the board is crucial to get your sound across to the audience.

It is something that we cared a lot for when we were gigging bigger shows in the eighties and nineties.
I remember paying our sound-engineer half of our salary to make sure that we got a professional on the board that we all trusted. He was the same guy that did the enginering on our records back then. So he knew all the details on our songs and had the same vision on our tone. Basically he was a "better paid bandmember".
The light-guy used to be a big expense-factor, too.
Always the same man, always on-point. Great show for the crowd. Very little cash left for the band, as a consequence.
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,610
Firenze, Italy
I just came to the conclusion that, nowadays, loud music doesn't have much sense anymore.
Deafening people for artistic purposes (like the Who, or Mc5 or Blue Cheer did) it's a thing of the past.
In some way, maybe loud music could appeal young people (always considering that 75% of young musicians, today, make music with an audio device and a PC). I see some electronic music to be played that loud, maybe some techno or other extreme genres for kids.
Rock'n'Roll it's a young's people music no more. Since decades.
I guess we need to rewrite history with If it's loud, You're Old. 🤣🤣
 

hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2012
6,848
France

If it's too loud, you're too old​

For me personally, and concerning my music gear style, it would rather be :

If it's too old, you're too loud​

😁;)
 

Runamok

Country Gent
Loud is relative.
What may be unconfortable to one might be just right for the other.

If you don`t want some physical loudness don`t go to a rock concert.
110 decibels are still 110 decibels.

If the audience goes deaf, they won’t complain as much when the band doesn’t play so well. There is that.


The article doesn’t describe the venue too well.

When neighbor up the street has a block party with mediocre local bands all day & they run 100 watt amps wide open in the garage—the guy across the street has to yell to be heard in his backyard—it might bee too loud.
 
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speedicut

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2012
6,371
Alabama
I played briefly in a classic rock band where the lead guitarist played way louder than the rest of the band. If the sound man would turn him down a little but he would just walk over to his amp and turn it back up. We were pretty loud anyway so it was awful.
Plus, by the third set he was drunk on fuzzy navals and often would play a fret above the rest of us... He couldn't tell because he was so loud he basically drowned out the rest of us lol...
The sound guy didn't have to turn up the suck, he did it himself 🙄
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,211
Petaluma
I went to 2 big shows recently. Pearl Jam at the Oakland Coliseum (where thr Warriors used to play) and Roger Waters at Chase Center (where the Warriors play now). They are both basketball focused stadiums with around 18000 capacity.

The Pearly Jam show seemed louder and the sound quality was worse, very boomy, bass and muddy.

Pink Floys sounded much better. I went with my bandmate and we agreed that the electric guitars and organs sounded particularly good, you really felt like you could hear the character. It was never too loud and I only used my hearing protectors near the end as my head got tired.

I am guessing much of the difference is due to the newer venue with superior architecture and equipment.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,211
Petaluma
It's more likely due to a better sound guy.
I am sure that makes a difference but some of these old venues were never made for music. The old Boston Garden (2 shows in the flal of 1994, one the Grateful Dead and the other VanMorrison and Dylan) had the worst acoustics I have ever heard as the seating was like concrete honey combs and each cell sounded different depending on where it was located - the only decent sound was on the floor (I seat shopped after the show began). I saw many Dead shows at Oakland and it was the same there if less drastic. Chase felt much more open and visually I could see a larger number of smaller speakers.

Best acoustics/sound I've ever experienced was the Green Music Center here in Sonoma County, designed for music. The stage had an array of speakers that looks like desktop speakers. I saw several blue grass and folk. (Del Curry and friends) acts there. Sound was amazing. We were in row 2 and every single note and word was crystal clear, full, and not the least bit loud. You could easily talk with your wife. Unfortunately, a large chunk of the theater would probably hear it too. Very much a less is more expience.
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
18,795
lafayette in
I am sure that makes a difference but some of these old venues were never made for music. The old Boston Garden (2 shows in the flal of 1994, one the Grateful Dead and the other VanMorrison and Dylan) had the worst acoustics I have ever heard as the seating was like concrete honey combs and each cell sounded different depending on where it was located - the only decent sound was on the floor (I seat shopped after the show began). I saw many Dead shows at Oakland and it was the same there if less drastic. Chase felt much more open and visually I could see a larger number of smaller speakers.

Best acoustics/sound I've ever experienced was the Green Music Center here in Sonoma County, designed for music. The stage had an array of speakers that looks like desktop speakers. I saw several blue grass and folk. (Del Curry and friends) acts there. Sound was amazing. We were in row 2 and every single note and word was crystal clear, full, and not tboard location. Thhe least bit loud. You could easily talk with your wife. Unfortunately, a large chunk of the theater would probably hear it too. Very much a less is more expience.
Usually, the sound guy only hears what the sound is like at the board location in the center of the main floor. Many of them don't care about the "cheap seats". Our house sound also had small delayed speakers under the balconies so the folks there wouldn't be in an acoustic shadow. Travelling groups NEVER would tie into house sound. Their loss.
 

Jelly Roll Horton

Country Gent
Nov 10, 2017
2,040
Portland, OR
Or if Pete Townsend misses his hearing, or Setzer appreciates his tinnitus.
If it's too loud, the players aren't listening to each other. You can put a LOT of sonic horsepower on stage if everyone playing is careful to occupy their own sonic space.
.....As to the "you're too old" bit, one has to wonder if Keith Moon and all the members of the 27 club are pleased with having realized their hope of dying before they got
If it's too loud, the players aren't listening to each other. You can put a LOT of sonic horsepower on stage if everyone playing is careful to occupy their own sonic space.
.....As to the "you're too old" bit, one has to wonder if Keith Moon and all the members of the 27 club are pleased with having realized their hope of dying before they got old.
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,610
Firenze, Italy
I went to 2 big shows recently. Pearl Jam at the Oakland Coliseum (where thr Warriors used to play) and Roger Waters at Chase Center (where the Warriors play now). They are both basketball focused stadiums with around 18000 capacity.

The Pearly Jam show seemed louder and the sound quality was worse, very boomy, bass and muddy.

Pink Floys sounded much better. I went with my bandmate and we agreed that the electric guitars and organs sounded particularly good, you really felt like you could hear the character. It was never too loud and I only used my hearing protectors near the end as my head got tired.

I am guessing much of the difference is due to the newer venue with superior architecture and equipment.
I’m not a big fan of him or the Floyds , but I have to say that Waters’ music always gave me the idea of being ideal to be amplified on big arenas. Everything is so studied, so perfect and detailed on both tone and execution that if you could put the band in a smaller space without external amplification it would sound good anyway.
Pearl Jam are only a rock’n’roll band with guitars: some days are better (or worse) than others 🙂
 


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