I have made an agreement with myself that I also tell anyone hiring me for a gig, or to prospective bands that I will not play unless i am properly mic’d. Just like any other player in the band or group. Conga drums especially need microphones.
Why be on stage if you can’t hear yourself and if others can not hear you as well?
To look good? No thanks!Often, more often than not, even in these modern times of technical efficiency if that are not enough mic’s to go around, the percussionist does not get any. Let’s stop that right now. Have your own mic’s and cables as back up as well.(Sure SM57 can be found used for under $100). Don’t leave anything to chance or you are going to end up with sore hands.
People need to be educated and many sound men, promoters, managers, DJ’s and venue owners need to be educated as well. Many people still do not understand that drumming is an art and we are not just banging away wildly.
And even those that are educated may not have enough microphones. So whoever is in charge, whoever you deal with needs to be clear that this is how you work. If you are in a band the leader of the band needs to know, he needs to communicate with the club or venue and that club or venue needs to tell the sound person. This is how education happens through communication.
If you make it a priority, then they will if you communicate it properly. It’s all about communication. Think about your needs before hand. Write them down if you have to. Be clear. You are good enough and you deserve to be respected!
In general in our country percussionists are still the low man on the totem pole when it comes to respect in bands. Not only are we the first to get “let go” if there is not enough cash to go around on a perspective gig, but we are often looked at as non musicians or unimportant by others in the music community.
We do need to stand up for ourselves and step it up.
I was at a gig and in the middle of a song the sound man tried to take my microphone to give to someone else. I grabbed his hand and stopped him.
I also tell bands that i do not and will not be put in the back of the stage where I can not see anyone or have musical communication. Nor do I want cymbals in my ears. It is all about respect. To get respect we have to educate others. This happens with good ,clear communication and also standing by our values and not backing down out of need to play.