I’ve written previously about being the roadie. It’s a groovy gig. I will carry anything, anywhere. I work for song. I also like a hearty meal or a staunch cup of coffee.
But I often don’t get “looped in” about the destination until pretty late in the game – you know, what type of place will the gig be at. Will there be food, coffee, drinks, comfortable places to stand / sit? All of these are important issues to a guy who is there to provide logistical support. Not being “in the know” about the hot folk spots, I, occasionally, find myself caught unawares.. Most recently, I ended up at a place that was more of a “wine” place than the “coffee” place I was expecting.
I quickly adjusted to the unexpected environment.
I’m going to write about my experience as a roadie. Roadies have a particular set of experiences, which are not generally, or very well understood. Yes, your roadie is untalented; but no, your roadie is not without substance in other “fields” – even beyond hearty food and coffee consumption.
For example, did you know that the average roadie carries 42 picks and sixteen capos at all times? And that he could toss any of them into your hand on stage from 40 feet away. As if you could ever catch it! 😉 The average roadie can also go for more than FOUR hours without beer or coffee, but prefers that those facts remain not generally known.
You may be wondering about the subtle skills and talents of an above-average roadie! You may be wondering whether your own roadie is “just average”.
The most recent gig – there are better people than I, both to cover the show and to give sweet accolades to the musicians. For example, there are:
- The Wise Madness blog / diary, which covered the show this weekend, complete with endearing details and lots of photos.
- The Random Musings blog, which covers many of the shows I attend, and has covered many others I did not attend, in such detail to help me feel as if I had attended.
As I said, I’m the roadie. And this last gig was a dismal night for being the roadie – barely a guitar available to be carried. People were traveling light. By the end, I was relegated to sneaking my wife’s purse into my rucksack (which she promptly noticed and demanded I give back).
But a roadie’s always interested about food, and though I had already loaded up on a taco burger just an hour before, I did get a great dining tip that night. Apparently, the ravioli platter at Caffe Vivaldi is good enough that, at least according to one up-and-coming folkie, this is known as the “Ravioli Place”. I will try the ravioli next time – it did look awesome. Ravioli are like roadies, often hiding within some special surprise you would not have guessed.
I had a glass of wine. Then another. I even tried to roadie for the waitress, as it was a light night on the music side of carrying stuff. Heck, I didn’t even have any cables to unplug. I sat watching, fidgeting with the 42 picks in my jacket pocket. Nothing to carry. I listened to music.
As for my own coverage of the show, I’ll give a simple plug to each of the performers (although I entirely missed the last, and only saw a part of the first):
There were all good. Great. What can I say, I am a sucker for acoustic, folk, and/or singer-songwriter music. the World should have more of this stuff!
That’s all I’ve got to say about that – check Wise Madness for better details.
By the way, some tips from a roadie who is young enough to remember a time when his life was not so enriched with music..
If you haven’t yet been exposed to the world of smallish folk and singer-songwriter venues, I (as someone who married into the world just a few years ago) HIGHLY recommend you check it out in whatever corner of the World you live in. If you’re not sure how to find it (I know that I was not, before I, umm.., married into it!), then drop me a line in the comments and I’ll give you some tips. For the uninitiated, please know that it is:
- Probably already lurking in your back yard / neighborhood.
- Much of it is free, all of it is highly affordable. As you find people you particularly like, you will likely want to support and give gratitude in the form of cash – the tip jar, the CDs and iTunes / CD Baby purchases.
- Very groovy.
- A great way to socialize – turns out folk and other acoustic musicians are really nice and fun to hang out with. 🙂
- So are the roadies. 😉
- Finally – if you are so inclined, there are OODLES of ways to contribute the community by volunteering at various events, getting involved in organizations, or just.. carrying someone’s gig bag back to the car. Oodles of ways!
As I’ve said, I am the roadie. I have my own agenda and interests, most of which center around logistics and finding opportunities to carry stuff. The better-quality groupies and audience-goers are likely to give you more about the show and the music (see references above). The singer-songwriters and folk musicians themselves are likely to give you more about the “process” and the “inside baseball” scoop. For example, you might check out:
- The Songwriting Scene blog, for which I am the “digital roadie”.
- The newsletter of Pat Wictor, whose musings will keep you engaged about once per month with updates about what’s going on in the highly artistic life of a good old soul.
These insiders, needless to say, are highly talented. 🙂
On my more generous days, I give myself credit, convincing myself that I am the only person in the World who could have carried that amp two blocks to the coffee shop, or the only one who could have possibly remembered to NOT EVER BOOK ANOTHER GIG IN THE BOSTON AREA AT A SPORTS BAR DURING THE PLAYOFFS WITH THE RED SOX.
But secretly I know, that my most important function is support, not essence.
I am the roadie. I carry.