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Any tips for a new roadie? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
Any tips for a new roadie?

Howdy!*

I was just searching on the internet and came across this thread. I am just starting out and was wondering if you could give me some tips on how to land a job? I mean, is there an area where it's good for newcomers? The 'traveling for long periods of time and living out of a suitcase' is definitley not a problem, I've been traveling straight for the past 8 years. Also, I am super easy going and have a great, adaptable attitude.*

-Sandy
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Mundox's Avatar
Hey mate, you're on the wrong forum for this I'd say.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mundox View Post
Hey mate, you're on the wrong forum for this I'd say.
Thanks for your help.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Moved to correct spot.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
S21
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S21's Avatar
 

Bang on doors and talk to local staging companies.

Work will probably be highly intermittent to begin with.

Unless you "own a truck and your Dad is in the band" don't expect to go on the road without a few years of experience.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

I would recommend contacting your local stage hands union to see if they have any spots open. Get some experience and do the networking thing to land a road gig.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Work, work hard and try to learn everything about everything that’s relevant, or not...work on all types of gigs for all types of bands doing all types of things, and more than ever, learn how to manage the psychological aspects of this job. Don’t get tied up about being the most lovable guy, just be professional and remember that nobody is going to hire you if you can’t do the work, the more you can do is the more valuable you are to your employers...
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Don’t get tied up about being the most lovable guy, just be professional and remember that nobody is going to hire you if you can’t do the work, the more you can do is the more valuable you are to your employers...
I don't really agree on this note, particularly.

I get what you're saying, but by the same token, nobody wants to share a tour bus with somebody they dislike for a month. My experience is that your ability, experience and credentials land you the gigs, and your personality is then what dictates whether you keep the gig or not. Nobody likes an unhappy workforce, or a spanner in the works.

I can name people with dustbin attitudes who still get work because they're so good that their personality disorder doesn't matter. But I know just as many people who are totally incompetent and their gig is only protected by the fact that everyone likes them. You have to be a bit of both.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by de003 View Post
I don't really agree on this note, particularly.

I get what you're saying, but by the same token, nobody wants to share a tour bus with somebody they dislike for a month. My experience is that your ability, experience and credentials land you the gigs, and your personality is then what dictates whether you keep the gig or not. Nobody likes an unhappy workforce, or a spanner in the works.

I can name people with dustbin attitudes who still get work because they're so good that their personality disorder doesn't matter. But I know just as many people who are totally incompetent and their gig is only protected by the fact that everyone likes them. You have to be a bit of both.
I think you don’t agree because you don’t really understand the meaning of professionalism...it is the way you conduct yourself at all times, not just about your competence to do your job. By definition, if you’re professional, you are not a disagreeable ass and you are never the spanner in the works.

I use the term “professional” because it’s not as vague as “likable” or some of the other words people here like to use. Make people, (especially the people who hire you) respect you as a person and make them have confidence in your competence to do your work. Do not kiss ass to get or keep a job or you might be setting yourself up for abuse.

I have been on hundreds of tours with bands from (and to) the four corners of the world and have never seen a single case of an incompetent technician or musician who gets hired or who keep their job just because they are likable...not once.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
I think you don’t agree because you don’t really understand the meaning of professionalism...it is the way you conduct yourself at all times, not just about your competence to do your job. By definition, if you’re professional, you are not a disagreeable ass and you are never the spanner in the works.
I completely understand the term professionalism. And I have worked with people who are utmost professionals in their own right yet still a problem for other people. But because they're so good at their own job, they can keep hold of it.

Quote:
I use the term “professional” because it’s not as vague as “likable” or some of the other words people here like to use. Make people, (especially the people who hire you) respect you as a person and make them have confidence in your competence to do your work. Do not kiss ass to get or keep a job or you might be setting yourself up for abuse.
You don't need to kiss ass to be likeable. You can just, you know, be likeable.

Quote:
I have been on hundreds of tours with bands from (and to) the four corners of the world and have never seen a single case of an incompetent technician or musician who gets hired or who keep their job just because they are likable...not once.
Well that's good for you, you've obviously done some nice tours, but I've met plenty - some of which have been touring with reasonably major acts. You can always spot the ones who're just good mates with the TM, or sell blow to the right people.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by de003 View Post
I completely understand the term professionalism. And I have worked with people who are utmost professionals in their own right yet still a problem for other people. But because they're so good at their own job, they can keep hold of it.
You clearly don’t understand the meaning of the word, being competent and being professional are two different things...the Doctor who hits on his female patients might be very competent but he certainly isn’t professional. By definition if you behave in a professional manner you will not behave in an inappropriate manner. Being likeable means different things to different people...making sure the singer/band always have their drugs might make you likeable in some circles and not others, being professional is always appreciated in my experience. Please look up the meaning of the word professionalism.

Quote:
You don't need to kiss ass to be likeable. You can just, you know, be likeable.
Like I said above, “likeable” means different things to different people so please define this for me. I once heard an artist say a backing vocalists was not likeable because she wouldn’t sleep with him.

Quote:
Well that's good for you, you've obviously done some nice tours, but I've met plenty - some of which have been touring with reasonably major acts. You can always spot the ones who're just good mates with the TM, or sell blow to the right people
Exactly the type of tours/gigs I’m not interested in.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
My honest advice...find another career path.

Not trying to discourage you from becoming a GREAT Rodie but the facts are there are just too many people trying to do this for the number of jobs that are out there in the "real world". As to being a professional. The surest way to get kicked out of any job is to be a king size AH. No one likes people who don't "fit in" and you maybe the best Roadie in the world but if your personality sucks you will not survive one complete tour - guaranteed. Life on a bus is not all fun and games and I have seen people get fired for things like excessive swearing, bad hygiene and continually picking fights with everyone. If you are on a tour bus you will soon get to know everyone's personal habits and how they react to stress. The best person I ever had as a friend on the road was a person who had a very neutral personality and was cool under pressure and took everything in stride. He also had a great sense of humor and could find something funny to say even when we were in 6 inches of mud with it pouring down rain and a wind of 25 miles an hour.

Best of luck on your career choice and I wish you all the success in the world. (just think it all through before hand)
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Lest we waste the internet:

Professional

a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession
b : engaged in one of the learned professions
c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

© 2018 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

I would suggest c(2) is the appropriate variation for this thread.

As you were.


@OP - study how electricity works and learn to coil cables. Great hobby, awful career for a normal person.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
You clearly don’t understand the meaning of the word, being competent and being professional are two different things...the Doctor who hits on his female patients might be very competent but he certainly isn’t professional. By definition if you behave in a professional manner you will not behave in an inappropriate manner. Being likeable means different things to different people...making sure the singer/band always have their drugs might make you likeable in some circles and not others, being professional is always appreciated in my experience. Please look up the meaning of the word professionalism.


I don't know how to respond to this, I think you're trolling now, or maybe just having a bad day.

Quote:
Like I said above, “likeable” means different things to different people so please define this for me. I once heard an artist say a backing vocalists was not likeable because she wouldn’t sleep with him.
Well that sucks for the backing singer but if it means she doesn't get the gig next time then it's kind of (though I'm not at all condoning it) what I'm talking about - people will get gigs because they're likeable (whatever that means to the client) just as much as they will get gigs because they're professional or capable. It generally pays to be a mix of all 3.


Quote:
Exactly the type of tours/gigs I’m not interested in.
Mate I know you think you're the epitome of a sound engineer but just because you don't want to work those tours it doesn't mean they don't exist.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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OP, one of the last things you want to do is wake up one day in the future feeling dissatisfied with your life because you didn’t follow your dreams....it’s your life live it, let everybody else go live theirs as they see fit.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by de003 View Post


I don't know how to respond to this, I think you're trolling now, or maybe just having a bad day.
Don’t forget that you came here...you obviously have access to the net, go look up the meaning of the words we don’t have to argue about it.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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mbvoxx's Avatar
Sometimes it's a 'who you know' opportunity. Years ago, I used to hire a broadcast engineer who freelanced at wiring studios. One day back in 2003 we were just finishing up a studio install and he came in to let us know that he had been offered a position with the pyro crew on the upcoming McCartney tour. Apparently he knew a guy on the crew who had worked the previous tour and there was an opening that needed to be filled. Being a tech head and a loner he was just right for it. Of course he was going to be the low man on the roster laying wires, and doing the grunt work but he was excited and said yes. He packed his bag and hit the road and he's been doing it ever since.
"Live and let die!" BOOOOOOOOOM !
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
To the OP

Let no one discourage you or your dreams. Just think it through. Maybe find a local "roadie" job and see if you like the life.

I will tell you that the life of a real "roadie" is far from glamorous or exciting (unless it is taking down or putting up the lighting truss in a 25 mile an hour wind - now that is exciting and dangerous) Life on the road can be taxing and if you value your personal space, life on the road is probably not for you. Living within 45 feet (the length of the bus) of 4 to 6 roadies can be a bit claustraphobic and challenging. There are smells you have never encountered, dirty socks and underwear on the floor, someone frying bacon at 2 am and someone who wants everyone to hear the latest "death metal" tune after a long brutal day on the road. Gong to bed in Ohio and waking up in South Carolina or Iowa can be a bit challenging. Having the bus tire blow out on the turnpike is also no so much fun - espeically in the middle of winter. I have experienced some of this personally and some of the stories come from listening to other roadies.

A word to the wise. Figure out what you want to do and make a plan to get where you want to be. Again best of luck and I hope all your dreams come true.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Brush your teeth. That's my advice.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
To the OP

Let no one discourage you or your dreams. Just think it through. Maybe find a local "roadie" job and see if you like the life.

I will tell you that the life of a real "roadie" is far from glamorous or exciting (unless it is taking down or putting up the lighting truss in a 25 mile an hour wind - now that is exciting and dangerous) Life on the road can be taxing and if you value your personal space, life on the road is probably not for you. Living within 45 feet (the length of the bus) of 4 to 6 roadies can be a bit claustraphobic and challenging. There are smells you have never encountered, dirty socks and underwear on the floor, someone frying bacon at 2 am and someone who wants everyone to hear the latest "death metal" tune after a long brutal day on the road. Gong to bed in Ohio and waking up in South Carolina or Iowa can be a bit challenging. Having the bus tire blow out on the turnpike is also no so much fun - espeically in the middle of winter. I have experienced some of this personally and some of the stories come from listening to other roadies.

A word to the wise. Figure out what you want to do and make a plan to get where you want to be. Again best of luck and I hope all your dreams come true.
With all due respect Thomas, but a lot of these things are urban-legends that do not reflect the reality of being on the road today...someone frying bacon at 02 in the morning, where and how, certainly not on the bus or in the hotel room? Although a real possibility, having a blowout is very rare, but if something happens you sit on the bus and wait for assistance, musicians and crew will not be asked to assist.

The caveman days of touring are long gone, nobody, not even punk bands are going to tolerate stinky, dirty people on a tour bus...nobody. We should also remember that being a roadie/stage hand does not necessarily mean touring, or touring all the time, you can do this on a permanent basis working for a venue, a regional production company or rental house. I know a few guys who do this now, two of the guys work work for a regional production company/rental house...light, sound and stage, another works for a backline rental house and some others freelance at all the bigger venues in the region and for festivals. All of them are experienced and have many competences, none of them tour with, or want to tour with bands.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brew View Post
Brush your teeth. That's my advice.
Any adult who need to be told to brush their teeth is going to have trouble navigating life...
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I will tell you that the life of a real "roadie"
Whilst I disagreed with Samc earlier, I'm with him here. The advice given above is a load of stinking sh%t.
I'm also going to use the word technician. We are technical professionals. We are skilled and qualified. Roadie is a word used by people who don't do this for a living. I don't know anyone working as a touring technician who calls themselves, or anyone, a 'roadie'.

Everyone I tour with now is smart, presentable and professional. YES, there's still a bit of racket going up noses here and there, yes there's still a bit of pot smoking after work, and yes there's a bit of excess alcohol consumption and the associated silly business but only when there isn't work in the morning. But on the whole, everyone showers and puts on clean, smart clothes every morning. I shave at least every other day. Even the most rock n roll companies are going for sharp corporate clothing for their shows, the days of getting 1 more year out of your 1978 Led Zeppelin t-shirt before it completely fades out are gone.

Technicians have to be very smart, multi-skilled people. Sound engineers need to know how to mix bands, but they also need to know about rigging, electrics, IT networking and all sorts. The promoters have realised that the stereotypical sweaty drinky roadie is far less use than a smart, well-behaved and professional technician. Tour catering has improved as promoters realise that well-fed people with good diets can work harder for longer. Larger tours carry masseuses, counsellors, doctors... because they see the importance in people being fit, healthy and chilled out.

If I went to bed on the bus and found dirty undies in the corridor I'd either bin them or find out who they belonged to and put them in their bunk (depending on how charitable I'm feeling). My last tour, it was bus rules that if you left shoes in the aisle (people trip over them in the dark) then they were bagged up and put in the freezer. UK tour buses don't generally have kitchenettes (maybe a sink and a microwave), but it's common tourbus etiquette that you don't make noise when people are sleeping. When people are sleeping, you're quiet, that's the rules. Because their ability to function the following day is simply more important than your ability to have bacon or play xbox or whatever.

As Samc said, you're handing out advice based on urban myth stereotypes which are simply not representative of real life on tour. Modern tours are staffed by clean, professional technicians who are a whole different breed from the stereotyped hairy beery smelly roadies that everyone likes to imagine.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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If there are loud sounds on the bus everybody is involved...watching a movie, listening to tunes together or working on a song together etc. if that’s not the case, the loud sounds are happening in the headphones on you head or the pods in your ears.

Leaving your shoes and socks on the floor will not be tolerated regardless of how nice they smell, as said above, they’re a trip hazard. The safety and security of everybody is to be respected at all times and is everybody’s responsibility...dirty anything will end up in the garbage. The days of the one-trick pony stage-hand and the caveman behavior are gone like the Dodo.

It’s not the most glamorous job in the world, but it requires a much higher level of professionalism now than back in the day. Wearing the right safety gear is now required on stage in many venues and festivals, this is not bubba’s gig anymore.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by de003 View Post
Everyone I tour with now is smart, presentable and professional.
You’ve adopted a new word I see.
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by de003 View Post
Whilst I disagreed with Samc earlier, I'm with him here. The advice given above is a load of stinking sh%t.
I'm also going to use the word technician. We are technical professionals. We are skilled and qualified. Roadie is a word used by people who don't do this for a living. I don't know anyone working as a touring technician who calls themselves, or anyone, a 'roadie'.

Everyone I tour with now is smart, presentable and professional. YES, there's still a bit of racket going up noses here and there, yes there's still a bit of pot smoking after work, and yes there's a bit of excess alcohol consumption and the associated silly business but only when there isn't work in the morning. But on the whole, everyone showers and puts on clean, smart clothes every morning. I shave at least every other day. Even the most rock n roll companies are going for sharp corporate clothing for their shows, the days of getting 1 more year out of your 1978 Led Zeppelin t-shirt before it completely fades out are gone.

Technicians have to be very smart, multi-skilled people. Sound engineers need to know how to mix bands, but they also need to know about rigging, electrics, IT networking and all sorts. The promoters have realised that the stereotypical sweaty drinky roadie is far less use than a smart, well-behaved and professional technician. Tour catering has improved as promoters realise that well-fed people with good diets can work harder for longer. Larger tours carry masseuses, counsellors, doctors... because they see the importance in people being fit, healthy and chilled out.

If I went to bed on the bus and found dirty undies in the corridor I'd either bin them or find out who they belonged to and put them in their bunk (depending on how charitable I'm feeling). My last tour, it was bus rules that if you left shoes in the aisle (people trip over them in the dark) then they were bagged up and put in the freezer. UK tour buses don't generally have kitchenettes (maybe a sink and a microwave), but it's common tourbus etiquette that you don't make noise when people are sleeping. When people are sleeping, you're quiet, that's the rules. Because their ability to function the following day is simply more important than your ability to have bacon or play xbox or whatever.

As Samc said, you're handing out advice based on urban myth stereotypes which are simply not representative of real life on tour. Modern tours are staffed by clean, professional technicians who are a whole different breed from the stereotyped hairy beery smelly roadies that everyone likes to imagine.

Glad to hear things have changed. I did most of my roadie work back a few years ago. Thanks for the update.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Glad to hear things have changed. I did most of my roadie work back a few years ago. Thanks for the update.
from current experience, i consider touring in some parts of eastern europa and in many african countires still somewhat 'adventurous' unless you are part of a crew supporting a high profile act - nevertheless very interesting and mostly enjoyable!


p.s. speaking serveral languages (and other than english) can help a lot!
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
from current experience, i consider touring in some parts of eastern europa and in many african countires still somewhat 'adventurous' unless you are part of a crew supporting a high profile act - nevertheless very interesting and mostly enjoyable!


p.s. speaking serveral languages (and other than english) can help a lot!
Funny you should mention Africa, Because since last Friday I’ve been on a three week run through west and central Africa and I’m currently in Congo Kinshasa. The most adventurous thing I’ve done so far is eat the food and cross the Congo river on a private boat from Brazzaville to Kinshasa with all the gear and luggage.

This is not my first time gigging in Africa, but I’ve always toured with non-African bands/artists and this is my first time working in the Congo basin, and like you said...interesting and very enjoyable. The fact that the artist is probably the most popular on the continent makes all the difference in the world, I probably wouldn’t want to do this at the low end of the totem...It’s the same in Eastern Europe and some parts of Asia including India and China.

The biggest thing though is that being a roadie/stage-hand or any live production technician does NOT necessarily mean you have to tour...

Last edited by Samc; 1 week ago at 01:33 PM..
Old 6 days ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Funny you should mention Africa, Because since last Friday I’ve been on a three week run through west and central Africa and I’m currently in Congo Kinshasa. The most adventurous thing I’ve done so far is eat the food and cross the Congo river on a private boat from Brazzaville to Kinshasa with all the gear and luggage.

This is not my first time gigging in Africa, but I’ve always toured with non-African bands/artists and this is my first time working in the Congo basin, and like you said...interesting and very enjoyable. The fact that the artist is probably the most popular on the continent makes all the difference in the world, I probably wouldn’t want to do this at the low end of the totem...It’s the same in Eastern Europe and some parts of Asia including India and China.

The biggest thing though is that being a roadie/stage-hand or any live production technician does NOT necessarily mean you have to tour...
...maybe we should team up: i've been to congo kinshasa 3 times so far! - will you be touring in the eastern part of country as well? how's the situation right now?
Old 6 days ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...maybe we should team up: i've been to congo kinshasa 3 times so far! - will you be touring in the eastern part of country as well? how's the situation right now?
The artist will perform at a jazz festival tomorrow (Saturday) and we move on to Cameroon on Sunday, we will not go outside Kinshasa and we will not go east for obvious reasons.
Old 6 days ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
The artist will perform at a jazz festival tomorrow (Saturday) and we move on to Cameroon on Sunday, we will not go outside Kinshasa and we will not go east for obvious reasons.
probably a wise decision... - enjoy, and keep us posted how things are going! i'd be interested in reading some details on the gear: are you touring with a full production or renting locally?
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