From the Ground Up: Vehicle & Vendor Frustration

July 23, 2014 by Stu Chisholm

Okay, now that the blog is up and running, here’s some catching up…Stuvan (Code Corrected)

Friday, July 11th, 10:00 AM
Today is the day I initiate my three-pronged business make-over: marketing, transportation and equipment upgrades. The most immediate, of course, is transportation. I’ve decided to refurbish my Ford E350 cube van/truck rather than replace it, and it needs just about everything. Although it’s running well, the rear roll-up door has been repaired several times and the wood has rotted out to the point where it’s just plain got to be replaced. So today I took Vanzilla
over to NBC Truck in my “home base” city of Roseville, Michigan. There, Chet measured my door up and promised to get back with me with quotes. Not being real interested in another wood version, I’ve asked for some prices on an all aluminum door and a new polymer version. So no work today, just waiting.

Next, I went next-door to Premier Finishes, who does fiberglass and body work to see what they can do for the ol’ truckster’s exterior. The old, chipped vinyl graphics need to come off, then the whole fiberglass body needs to be gone over for chips, dings, cracks and that wonderful phenomenon known as “spiderwebbing.” Once those are fixed, they’ll have to address the issue of whether or not more resin is needed, since the old gel coat is long gone and the body has been “weeping” a white milky film every time it rains. Afterward, a brand new gel coat will be applied. At least that’s the plan. When I pulled up, I’m told that the guy I need to talk to, Brian, is gone. Won’t be back ’til 3. It’s 10:00 AM. I’m starting to feel frustrated, but hey, I’ve got time to kill, so I decide to head on over to Pro Audio & Lighting and get the lowdown on my equipment plans. More later.

Friday, July 11th, 4:30 PM
Feeling surly AND frustrated! When I got to Pro Audio, I felt like I was being pushed toward things I really didn’t consider or even want. Now, I’ve got nothing bad to say about Pro Audio & Lighting! I’ve been their customer since they were DJ supply back in the ’80s, and they’re all good people. But the vision in my head wasn’t matching up with the reality on their floor. The concept for my new DJ console is the exact opposite of what I’m best known for: I’m going for SMALL. Gone is my desire to overpower and overwhelm people with sheer size, “shock and awe.” I want a console I can carry in one hand, including primary and back-up playback, music hard drives, mixer and wireless mic. I envision using tablets rather than laptops, and in either case I’ll need more rugged versions with screens that can be read in daylight. The iPad is useless outdoors, as is my iPhone.


The poor sales kid listens patiently as I explain my needs and ideas. I’m guessing he was either powerless to provide any good solutions based on my plans or was getting pressure from “on high” to push all the neato Pioneer controllers that fill their floor space, along with a smidgen of Numark products. I take some notes and his card and tell him I’ll get back later. More frustration. Still, there’s one more stop to make: consult the most knowledgeable electronic gurus I know on the planet. They being the Auger brothers of Advanced Lighting & Sound in Troy where, once upon a time, I once worked.

I arrived at their building only to find they’d moved! I must’ve missed that memo, too. So I called and was directed to their new digs, taking me farther west from home base. But hey, I’ve still got plenty of time before Brian at the body shop returns.

Arriving at ALS at last, I inquire about Nick or Chris and am told that they’re “out in the field,” and that they seldom do repair work anymore. I ask the current tech a question and he says, “I’ll have to call up somebody who can answer that one for you.” A few moments later a familiar face appears in the Service Department window — one of the guys who joined the ALS team just before my own departure. He didn’t seem all that happy to see me, though. I’ll only describe the encounter as “frosty.” I’m told that “we’re busy” and that they’re working on multi-million-dollar projects. “You need to go to a DJ store,” he says. So much for warm reunions. I hand him my card and ask if he’d get either of the guys to give me a call. He nods and disappears. Hedging my bet, I walked around to the main entrance and left another card and the same request with the receptionist, who had a much sunnier disposition.

It’s about 3:30 PM when I hit the road back to the body shop, and I make it back well before their closing time. But I guess they decided to make it a long weekend as the place is shut up and nobody is home. I call and get their answering machine. I leave a message. Frustration upon frustration; a whole day blown with nothing to show for it. And I wasn’t done.

As I ducked my truck around in the narrow parking lot to head home, I hear a whine from my engine compartment and I can feel a weird vibration in my steering wheel. This could mean only one thing: my power steering is having trouble. Lucky for me, they just built an auto parts store across the street from my apartment building. Two miles and about three bucks later, I toss some fluid into the power steering unit and she’s working OK. But I know that’s going to be temporary given the trail I’m leaving behind me as I drive. I park the van for the night and call it a day. Frustration overload. I’m guessing this is going to be a running theme. More later.

Stu Chisholm Stu Chisholm (52 Posts)

Stu Chisholm had been collecting music since he was about eight years old and began his DJ career in 1979. After much hard work, trial-and-error, and a stint at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, he studied the DJ arts with famous Michigan broadcaster, Bill Henning, at a local college. Stu interned at Detroit’s rock powerhouse, WRIF. To his radio and mobile work Stu later added club gigs at Detroit’s best venues, and voiceover work. He has shared his extensive DJ experience through his Mobile Beat columns, as a seminar speaker and through his book, “The Complete Disc Jockey: A Comprehensive Manual for the Professional DJ,” released in 2008.

Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business, Sound Engineering for Mobile DJs