We've updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Rock It for the Sound Guy

from Carkey Malarkey (Digital Deluxe) by Cark



When Cark played its album release show at The Towne Lounge in Portland, the door guy said our performance was the best thing he’d ever seen there. It was a bananas show, with a dozen or members of the audience stripping down and joining us on stage to do the “everybody scream,” but it was a pretty major venue, so it still meant something to stand out to a door person who saw everything, and for whom this was work, not entertainment. Night after night until he was so jaded it was all just background. And he still had a great time. That’s how we knew we’d actually done a great job.
Portland had a lot of bands. And Cark played a lot of empty rooms. Often to just the bartender and the sound person. We never took it personal, because we considered them our target market. If we could entertain the most jaded cynical burnt-out folks in the joint, then we actually stood apart from all the other bands in some way. The audience was cool, but we wanted to rock for the sound guy; someone doing a thankless job that made live music possible.
This was not a solid business or marketing strategy. But caring more about reigniting a cynic’s passion than making money had a bohemian romanticism to it. We could get paid at our day jobs.
Since that was one of our operating thesi, it went down on the song idea list. We thought it would be especially funny to only play it live for sound checks—never for the audience.
But it was a tough nut to crack. Doing it as a one-liner like “We Are Rock and Roll,” didn’t seem to get the point across. And it needed an appropriate tone. Somewhere along the way it hit me to make it like a 1970s arena-ballad, about the grind of the road, and what it is that keeps you going. Cark had only ever done one ballad before, and it was half-satirical, but it felt right. So I went with it.
Aubry and I were driving to Boise at the time and I started scribbling out lines every time we’d pull over for gas or to pee. My favorite was just… “that poor fuck who hears so much suck…” Then when we got there, I wandered around her parents’ backyard for days strumming the same couple of chords and singing “rock it for the sound guy,” over and over until it started to take shape.
When I sent it to Dustin he was aghast at how long the song was. But to me it just flies by, cause it is constantly changing in small ways, like adding modified repetitions of the phrase “rock it for the sound guy,” each time it returns to that part of the song.
When he sent me his backup vocals, I nearly choked laughing. They’re so good—now that they’re lower in the mix anyhow. When you hear them, imagine them louder than the lead, cause that’s how they came to me, and it was a terrifying example of why sound people are so essential.
So Mr. Sound Guy (or gal), this one’s for you!


Cark is on the road again
Rocking hard and making friends
After the show

But no matter how many fans
We might meet to shake their hands
It’s just for show

We might play for thousands
Or an audience of four
Even if our heroes came walking through the door
There’s still just one person that we’re doing this for
We rock it for the sound guy

Jaded and bored, they’ve heard it all before
Every night
He puts up with the bands bullshit, and the audience suggestions on the mix
Every night

That’s why Cark ignores the audience
Cark ignores the crowd
Cark just wants to please the man
Who makes sure that we are fucking loud
Because his approval is the rarest around

We rock it for the sound guy
We rock it for the sound guy

It ain’t just guys that give us all the feels
Sound girls do the same and they can do it backwards in heels
That’s why we rock it for the sound girl

We rock it for the sound girl
We rock it for the sound girl

Unsung hero of rock and roll
Your tone is warm, your mix is gold
Without you no one could hear us sing...

That poor fuck
Who hears/suffers through so much suck
Night after night after night

Give him a high five!
(Riffs galore)

Cark might play a stadium
Cark could play the moon
Cark could play at your mom’s house
Or in an empty room
But it means nothing without a balanced EQ, so...
Mr. sound guy, this one’s for you

Now please
Turn up the bass.


from Carkey Malarkey (Digital Deluxe), released January 21, 2022


all rights reserved



Tingle Finger Recordings 東京都, Japan

Tingle Finger Recordings is an independent online record label founded by interstellar rock frontiersman, Dustin Wasserman.

Originating in Southern Oregon (USA), as a chronicler of obscure and forgotten rock music of the late 1990s, the label and its members look to continue spreading the Tingle, by delivering sounds of fun and excitement to listeners in various places.
... more

contact / help

Contact Tingle Finger Recordings

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this track or account