Genesis # 9 Gymnasiums
by Regis Boff
Every band has a sound engineer sitting in the center of the audience behind a starship array of buttons, switches and knobs. They mix the sound the audience hears.
The prevailing rule is; the less important the band, the more self-important this guy tends to become over time.
Genesis, except for Peter, who could show up wearing nearly anything, including but not limited to recently killed animals, could not have appeared more ordinary. For the most part, they looked like high school kids let out early to do the show.
Dave, our sound engineer dressed as though he might have to fill in for Aerosmith at any moment.
He was also uncommonly stupid.
We played a lot of U. S. high school gymnasiums in the first years.
These exercise buildings would always have various types of equipment, and one such were sets of rings that dropped from the ceiling on canvas ropes by motors. These are exactly the same as the ones you see in the Olympics.
Every mixing board has a long run of wires that connect to the speakers on stage. These are always heavily gaffer taped to the floor so the kids would not trip over them.
So one afternoon during the setup Dave speeds up to me, full of inspiration, and says he is going to use the rings to fly the cabling over the audience heads.
The motor’s button lowers the rings to an adjustable height to compensate for the height of the kid who would be using them.
He runs all the wires through the rings then hits and holds down the up button unknowingly delivering the message to the machine that the rings should return to their nest near the ceiling. This rise was, unfortunately, uninterruptable.
What happened next is nearly beyond my powers for depiction. It was rapidly clear that the rings weren’t going to stop. The wires became taut pulling to a V above our heads. This, in turn, relentlessly began tugging the speakers towards the edge of the stage and a calamitous six-foot drop. Meanwhile, Dave, now near blackout was gawking at his huge mixing board edging off its pretentiously high pedestal.
Our roadies saved the day and the show; they responded like sailors with knives in their teeth in the middle of a terrifying storm at sea by climbing the main pole to cut down the sails before the ship capsized. They pulled all the plugs in time.
Dave was fired a few months later because he stole a guitar from the band. It was not so much that he revealed himself as a thief that makes me remember him so particularly. It was more that he sold the guitar to a musical instrument store in Madrid where it was accidentally noticed by the band member from whom he stole it.