First order of business today, shopping for Halloween costumes. Scott came up with a plan and I think it is a good one. We originally started with the idea the four FOH roadies dressing up as the band we work for, but soon that sideways-evolved into us being The Village People. After reaching irreconcilable differences about who gets to be the Indian, we had to scrap that and we decided to..... (you will find out tomorrow)
Here you can see runner Dave, Scott and I begin our quest for the perfect costume:
Given the items we were shopping for, it was a fun and funny adventure that I think runner Dave will not soon forget, we had a blast!
**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 8 ****
Like any large campaign, the end run blitz of the final days requires long hours and hard work. Here at R.A.W. (Roadie Awareness Week) headquarters, currently located in my hotel bed, our industrious team of one still has high hopes for a successfully completed project. As we round the final turn toward the Day 8 finish line, I have the Dressing Room Duo, The Video Six, The Band Driver Trio and a Truck Driver's Dozen left in the barrel.
Long overdue and the ones who build beauty on a daily basis, our next contestants are the orchestrators of ambiance, the queens of comfort, and damsels of dressing room design. Up first is our punk rock princess from back in the day, a multiple and a fierce competitor in the 'who has the most road cases' competition big hugs and kisses for our very own Lyssa B. She is the interface between the band party and the venue. Creating the illusion that a rock venue is actually a comfortable place to hang out doing such a good job that she is practically turning the band into gig huggers. At Lyssa B's side doing what may be the most opposite imaginable of an easy gig, we have our Cleveland thorn-less dressing room assist, Rose. May I present the tree hugging ladies of bus number 2:
It is now time to tip your hats to the bringers of delicious visual delights. After they set up this monolith contraption, some of these busy bee roadies have the added excitement of interacting with the performance and getting those cool band shots for all to see. Additionally and almost as importantly, these beautiful screens are a virtual playground for humiliating roadie photos to reside earlier on in the day.
I will start out with the Camera op's. Dressed in black and nearly invisible unless you look at them, the camera operator roadies set up gear during the day and track their respective band member during the show. So let's break it down and we have:
Roadie Dane gets to play with wires all day and sets up camp down stage left to keep the camera eye locked on the amazing John Fruciante. Each of the camera op's are like little autopilot roadies cruising around and filming their band human. When you see that blazing guitar solo zoom in to J.F.'s flying fingers, that is Dane's work. When John dashes out on the runway and you still see the spot where John was standing pre-dash, well that would be Dane's work as well. So here he is, one of the closest thing we get on a road crew to a chick magnet, roadie Dane:
With the job many women would die for, she is actually paid to watch Anthony. Zooming in for intimate close ups and following his every move with her fluid camera work she performs her day job at night and her office is located dead center between the barricade and the band. It is with deep pleasure that I introduce our only female roadie 'gig side' of the production office, perfect angel roadie Kim:
Ok, so you are watching the show, there is the band rocking out and hey! Wait a minute. Who is that guy? Look, there is a guy crawling around the drum riser. I see him, there he is:
Number three in the list of Camera op's is the king of crouch, dedicated to capturing Chad every move even if it means taking a virtual shower in sweat, the only non-backline roadie up on stage during the rock show and Chris Warren's drum riser roommate, roadie Scott,
Our fourth camera operator you have already met, fast enough to track Flea and a long time friend, I will give you one hint and you try and guess his name. It starts with a "D" and ends with and "irty Walt." Let me know if you need more clues and I will write the answer upside down in the next issue.
So now that we have captured all our band humans into the video ether world, where do the images go? And which one is the one to show when, during the show? The dynamics of video decision are handled by Cheech and Chong's long lost third member, George. He sits backstage behind what looks like a video gamers wet dream and provides what is termed 'video content' that will eventually make it to the big screens, meet roadie George our video director:
Since George actually controls something in real time having to do with the show, he gets to have a roadie of his own and filling those shoes currently is roadie Bill. An ex soundman and veteran of many corporate gigs, his workload encompassing a wiring nightmare of complexity that rivals the trash can of a spaghetti factory, meet roadie Bill:
The last stage of the video stream before our eyes is the final control point at FOH. Handling these duties is Lampi Scott and our friendly foliage roadie Leif:
As the brainiac roadie that actually understands how all that stuff works, he is Scott the Lampi's Nick the Fly. Leif keeps the mechanics of the FOH side of the presentation in operation and most importantly has a big yellow track ball that he rolls around to control that Synchro light sweeping around before the band returns for the encore. And though we are near done with video, there is on crucial aspect forgotten. How in the heck are we going to see the montage that has been created? How about four large high resolution moving video walls? How about four huge 4000 pound hi resolution video screens, that can move both vertically and horizontally to form various video scenes? To handle the task of keeping those huge puppies operating and showing our musical friends we have the Uruguayan wonder, a man who will take on the football vs. soccer argument to the point of tears and holds the honor of hardest to understand on the tour, please say hello to roadie Rodrigo
**** Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 7 Continues ****
As we working our way through to the next touring department, we stumble upon something new. Do you know those cool lights that make up the non moving back wall and hang over audience in all the show shots, those are called Versa Tubes. I have no idea how long they have been making these Versa-things but if it exceeds three years I would be quite surprised. These tubes look like harmless florescent lights but in reality are capable of presenting very bright full motion video and many pretty colors. Setting it up, just two roadies short of a six pack, the four roadies that make up team Versa-Tube. Assembling over 900 feet of what looks like giant lit ladders, every show day. And then they miraculously proceed to make the monstrous contraption work.
Versa-tubes are so new, that if you hired a crew of Versa-veterans who started in the industry as Versa-techs you would end up with Versa-kids. On a tour like this we have no time for that so instead they bring in the big guns. These are all savvy and converted lampi's with mad skills and Versa-tile enough to adapt to an offshoot gig. First to meet in the this 'four roadie mini tribe' is the Versa-Cheif, Kenny.
A bit of trivia on Roadie Kenny; he touring back in the late 70's with a band called Generation X that I remember from the punk days and still have the album. Though you may not remember Gen X, you may know that Billy Idol guy that was in the band. So then he goes on to do 11 years with that another obscure band called the Rolling Stones.
Moving on to Versa-Indian #1, all the way up from way down under and from a place where rooting for your favorite team is a lot more fun, I introduce Versa-Tube tech, Aussie Steve (also known as Raff 2). Each department carries an in-house-techno-fix-it roadie that has an in depth knowledge of the inner workings or at least someone that is good at pretending to, for Versa-world, Steve is that roadie.
Roadies love toys and most of you have already met roadie Rusty, this time seen here not seeking food, he seems to have located some sort of little toy. As roadies often do, curious as they are, he has very cleverly taken it apart. Maybe there is food in there? I doubt it but I do know that he is Versa-Indian #2, meet roadie Rusty:
Rounding out the Versa-Tribe of four is none other than Versa-Indian #3 roadie Kevin, unlike roadie Rusty above, roadie Kevin is clearly hungry and has decided to eat the chef. If you look closely you will notice the expression of surprise on the chef as he prepares for his escape:
And if I got the Versa-tribe out of order, sorry and ooops!
Now if that is not enough and assuming your curiosity is still holding strong, Our next set roadie specimens are neither fast nor vicious. Survival on the road is no easy task and if there was a single thing that can flare a camp of friendly roadies into a flash pot of flying flying spike throwers, it would have to be starvation. Well our next pair of roadies are professional anti-starvation technicians. Both are in possession of magical powers to transform the simplest and healthiest of foods into culinary masterpieces that will bend your mind and ruin your meals next week of of meals elsewhere. These two roadies can easily pass two of the three stooges and I would like to welcome roadie Wayno and roadie Salim:
**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 7 ****
**** Ebay Auction Update ****
What can I say? Check this check out! Our excitement is ten fold as our auction winner and honorary roadie George has sent us what we have been so anxiously awaiting, confirmation that this is 'pinch ourselves' real. Guess who is going shopping!
Who is this mysterious George? Do we know him? Is this all for real? What will the ad be? Many mysteries remain but they will indeed unravel. I can say that yes it is for real and we had no idea who the winner was till he contacted us after the auction. And for more details, stayed tuned for the next thrilling adventure with Roadies in the Midst.
Staying behind in New Orleans and leaving my fellow roadies to fend for themselves almost made me feel bad. What if they miss me and then they are sad roadies? But I quickly came to my senses when I did a mental scan of my workload, realized I get another night in New Orleans and I will trade a 900 mile bus ride for a 2 hour plane flight. I can party a bit, get my work done and still be ahead of the game if all goes well, hurray! First thing in the AM some blurry eyed computing caught me up enough on pressing matters just in time for phone call from Kevin, a long time friend of Scott the Lampi and owner of Sky Dive Nawlins. A plan was contrived to go on a mini-adventure to Dupre's for coffee and eat some weird looking square donuts. They call Benets (Benyays) and they are covered in enough sugary white powder to make Scareface drool. And hey look! It's Elissa and Susan that I met at the show last night. They had showed up with cool roadie gifts, we roadies love swag and here they are again! Coffee with friends in far away places, very cool.
Two Hurricane's (not the windy kind) and a wander later I came up with the brilliant idea of playing a little game of hide and go seek with one of my bags. First I HIDE my bag in the trunk of the cab, I wait for a half of an hour after I get dropped off and then go on a quest to SEEK out that long gone taxi and find my bag. Luckily I am a good FINDER and after a few phone calls I was very glad the well tipped cabbie came back for a visit.
**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 7 ****
From Day 89:
Bus and truck drivers have even earlier call times as they drive all night and sleep all day these nocturnal roadies, like riggers, hold our roadie lives and the safely of our beloved wires in the grip of a steering wheel. An interesting side note is that bus drivers typically get carted off to a hotel during the day, while truck drivers sleep in the micro hotel room located in the cab of their truck. Bus drivers drive straight through to deliver their roadie cargo while truck drivers do showers at truck stops that are setup for exactly that, along the way.
As captains of the land yachts in which we and the gear travel, driver roadies Magellan their way across the country with the greatest of ease. Capturing these mobile roadies in an un staged photo without the use of bait was nowhere near as difficult as I had anticipated. Where and how you might ask? Well, first I asked myself, what do all roadies eat, food of course and when do they eat, when they are hungry of course. When are driver roadies most hungry? Aha, after an overnight drive. So early I rose and creeped of the bus, sneaking into the venue and bingo! Catering is chock full of drivers, so quickly before the darted off I snap a pic:
A special surprise was to see all five crew bus drivers together.
I will introduce now the crew bus drivers and their bus numbers. In researching these particular roadies I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful each of the drivers were as supplying nicknames for the other roadie drivers. So kind of them to be so helpful! - From left to right meet Louie 5 (Scrubber), Doug 1 (Off road), The General (The Colonel), Brownie (Brutus) and Brian 2 (Mr. Clean).
And hey look! It's Louie in action!
In an unfortunate oversight, I sincerely apologize for overlooking the following two departments in the Day 89 tour staff overview - Merchandise and Versa-Tube. A bit late but not forgotten:
Our next introduction brings us the emperors of swag, the Santa Clause's of tour apparel, these multitasking roadie's are seen here accomplishing the amazing feat of eating and napping at the same time. Virtually a complete business venture in their own domain, they have their own truck with driver, Cal:
Not only do they carry all the tour swag sold at the gig, they also do all the inventory tracking and deal directly with the venue's to arrange all the details. Almost like a separate sub tour within the tour I present lead merch roadie Chris:
And his trusty partner and actually could be a Santa as a side job, Jim: