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


Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 15, 2018
Auburn, Maine
There’s a happy medium. I haven’t found it, but it exists.

The other side of the coin is that some people are so used to quiet “bedroom” levels or acoustic levels, that when you do play louder, they think it’s TOO loud….. even when it’s not.
At band practice the other day I was asked to turn my deluxe reverb down. We hadn’t practiced in a few weeks so the volume shocked a bandmate. My volume was on 2! On stage I put it at 4 (the sweet spot with pedals). There’s no going down from 2 on a deluxe reverb. I didn’t make a fuss cuz I didn’t wanna upset anyone, so I just spun the amp around to face the wall, and turned it up to 3. No more complaints!:cool:


Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 11, 2015
Portland, OR
You'd think a band that made as much racket as Sonic Youth did would also be stupidly loud, but they never were. I saw 'em six, maybe seven times - not once did I go home with my ears ringing. They knew that sheer volume wasn't the answer.

But the last time I saw them, unfortunately the opening act hadn't learned that yet. I had to give up a primo spot on the floor in front of the stage 'cus I just couldn't take them. Way, way too loud. Spent most of their set in the bar instead of the auditorium. And I wasn't alone, the bar got pretty crowded that night! LoL!

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
lafayette in
I got asked to set up the PA at a large bar as a favor. Whoever had set it up originally had no concept of what they were doing. Owner/manager (there were 5 owners I found out) was griping that it was too loud. The stage monitors were louder than the mains, and the mains were aimed more to the sides than the front. Squared things up and was generally happy with things given the short time I had to deal with it. Went back a month later and someone had returned it to the way it was before. So it goes.

Girl I knew sat in the third row in front of the stacks at a Yes concert. Deaf for three days after. I've been to shows where the plaster actually fell from the ceiling.

One of the loudest bands I ever worked was REM. They used massive stacks of EV Manifold 4 cabs. The LF was so heavy that your heartbeat and breathing were affected behind the bins. I refused to go out front.

As Rick Nelson taught us, "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself."

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
lafayette in
I did tours with KISS and Metallica as the sound system engineer. I know what loud is ........ I also setup my mix console trackside at a Formula 1 race so I know what REALLY LOUD is ..........
I've been on flightlines with F-4s and near a 155mm howitzer battery.
Got to see a NASA launch once. That was enough for me, even miles away.

Jelly Roll Horton

Country Gent
Nov 10, 2017
Portland, OR
I had a front row seat at a Ted Nugent concert once, when I was 16 or so. Right in front of the speakers! My ears rang for two weeks and I had diminished hearing for several days. No evidence of noise-induced hearing loss. It was a great show, but once was enough. :cool:
I had a similar experience with a Thorogood gig about 1984. Small venue bar, great performance, I had hearing trouble for about four days after. George said to a girl near me, "If it ain’t loud darlin’, it ain’t rock ‘n ‘roll.”


Gold Supporting Member
Oct 18, 2015
I have damaged my hearing not with loud music but with riding my motorbike without a proper helmet or driving my car with open side windows for hours.
These were the cause for me to consult an ear specialist several times.
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I Bleed Orange
May 10, 2015
Pshhhhh, I've seen Motorhead, and went back for more!!!!! Several times.
One loud ass show I saw was Sonny Landreth and Micheal Landau, in a small club in Santa Cruz, both playing cranked Twins, IN YOUR FACE!

Wonderland Drive

Nov 29, 2017
Durham, NC
In 1971, I saw Gentle Giant, Captain Beyond, and the headliner Black Sabbath at the Hollywood Bowl. After Gentle Giant opened and was just about booed offstage, Captain Beyond (“Dancing Madly Backwards” ) thundered through a set, and Black Sabbath came on and broke the sound barrier. Sabbath‘s songs had a lot of dynamics which were even more pronounced at their preferred decibel level.

I cannot imagine lasting more than a moment if I saw that concert today. You’re right, if it’s too loud, you’re are too old.


I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
Let's also not forget the most important question, why are people there? If the audience is louder than the music, call me crazy but maybe it's because they would rather talk with each other than listen to music. If you're getting paid, you're getting paid to play music as the venue or audience want it.