Saturday, February 19, 2005

A dialogue about the Hollywood Bowl feedback problem

After my Dad died in March, 2000, I searched the internet to find references to him. When I found an engineer who had a few bad things to say about my old man, we had a little civilized dialogue.

Today, I got this letter from one of the great sound engineers of our day, Phil Allen, who I've had the pleasure to work with on several occasions. Thanks, Phil.

I was searching for the Hollywood Sound web site to see if they had a PM-5D for rent, and my google search also pulled up a page in a Procol Harum site about some disaster they had many moons ago that they conveniently blamed on the "union sound engineer." Just as I finished reading it and had my blood thoroughly boiling, and my resolve up to send the whole mess to you so you could put up some sort of defense, I found a link on their site to a letter you wrote about your dad. They were nice enough to include a much more detailed account along with your letter, offering a more plausible, less bumper sticker rendition of the events.

I should have known you would be on the trail. As one of probably thousands of young, obnoxious, arrogant sound mixers who played the Bowl, I can attest to the fact that your dad was a gem. He saved me from ruin, and let me walk away still thinking I was a damn genius. Not only was he a great guy, and a great soundman, he was out there on the crest of the first wave. What he did, and the gear he did it with, was amazing. It is so easy to recline behind my Cadac and mass of computers in front of my line arrays and bitch about how tough I have it, but the truth is if it wasn't for your dad and a handful of guys like him I would be selling CD players at Best Buy.

I browsed your sites and I was so proud, and grateful once again, that I can tell everybody I mixed at the Bowl when Frank Supak was there.

Missing you,
Phil Allen

No comments: