The Bright Side of being a Small-Time Roadie

Ah.. The life of the small-time roadie. I would wish it upon anyone.

I never liked big coliseum music shows. I’ve seen, in my life, in a large venue: Rush twice. That’s it.

In mid-sized venues, I have seen: Steely Dan, Barry Manilow, and that lady who plays the piano that my good friend was obsessed with for a while (sorry – can’t recall the name, but she’s pretty famous). I’m pretty sure that’s it, and I’m perfectly content to keep it that way.

I always felt somewhere inside that there was something unsatisfying about seeing a musician perform, from the far-side of a football field, although I did always wish I had gotten to see the farewell tour of The Who. But music should be more intimate, and personal. That’s why I am a big fan of subway busking.

A few years back, I met a gal at a party who claimed to be a “singer-songwriter”. At the time, I had no clue what that meant, except I guessed it meant she played music. I was thrilled later when I looked her up online and found a few of her demo recordings. The songs were about love and angst, the voice was sweet magic, and I knew how to get in touch with her to arrange a date. Pretty neat, I thought.

Now we’re married, and I’m the roadie. That means, I get to carry stuff, and I get personal introductions to dozens of fantastic singer-songwriters, many of whom are now good friends.

A few of them are going to be performing right in my neighborhood next week – Wednesday, August 18th, at the Brewed Awakening coffee shop in Metuchen, NJ (nice coverage and fantastic photos of the previous show in this series on the Metuchen Living site):

But I digress, with my shameless promotion of some of the wonderful singer-songwriters in my life.. 🙂

In the years since we met, my wife has occasionally lamented, sometimes as we packed up from a show at a coffee shop with a particularly hyper-active cappuccino machine, that singer-songwriters are “a dime a dozen”. To which I would always reply:

You add to the Fabric of the Universe.


The World can always use more music.

Note: The “Fabric of the Universe” line, I have always attributed to the character Data from Star Trek, but when I tried to find a reference for that line, I was not able. Perhaps I am mis-remembering..

I think it’s a common Quirk of the Talented, to not see oneself as special. Not being a talented musician myself, and having enjoyed a front-row seat on what I consider to be some of the truly most talented musicians in the World, it is equally hard for me to understand any lack of arrogance in a talented singer-songwriter. True, lugging equipment around and booking shows can be tiring and tedious, but when I hear the magic that comes from some of these singers, I feel like I am a member of a privileged class.

There are a LOT of talented people around. And I would gladly fill my days with seeing them all perform as often as possible. And as luck would have it, I am getting to do just that! (For example, on the 18th, right in my own backyard coffee shop – I’ll be the untalented guy carrying equipment. :-))

2 Replies to “The Bright Side of being a Small-Time Roadie”

  1. Just so you all know, Shannon is hardly the untalented guy carrying equipment — he likes to make it sound like he can nary carry a tune or pluck a string. Yet, he can play a bit of a whole lotta stuff — and I know he could play a lot of a specific type of stuff if he wanted to. A lil’ classical guitar, djembe, accordian and jaw harp are all in Shannon Wagner’s repertoire, but perhaps it’s just as well that his keen philosophical musings, committed straight-faced banter, and smarty-pants knowledge is what he spends more of his time on. That adds to the fabric of the universe too.

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