Paul Diamond Blow's Rock Musician Resources

ROADIES: a Musician's Best Friend!
Every Band Needs a Few Good Roadies, Here’s How to Get ’em and How to Use ’em

by Paul Diamond Blow

The thing I hate most about being in a band is loading gear. I really hate it. I really, really hate it. Every time I have to load cabinets and drums I start thinking how nice it would be to quit the band. This is where roadies come in handy…

Think about it… Every time you play a gig you load all your stuff into the van, unload it at the club, load it again after the show, and then unload it again back at the practice spot. Did I mention how much I hate loading gear? Having a roadie can help take the hassle out of being in a band, and all you really need is one good one.

The best roadies are friends who are “mentally challenged” and love your band’s music. A good roadie will meet you at your practice spot the night of the gig and will do all the humping for you. I always make sure that my roadies load my gear before they touch anything else. A good roadie will also diligently guard your gear at the club while the band goes off to drink some pre-show brewskis. A good roadie will wrap your guitar cords and pick up stray picks on stage after the gig while you schmooze with the ladies. A good roadie will also be willing to fight to the death to protect the band while on stage or off. If anyone spits on you while you are on stage playing, a good roadie will hustle them away and teach them a lesson in manners. A good roadie will also own a van or car, although most “mentally challenged” roadies don’t have drivers licenses. A good roadie will also never ask you for a ride home after the show. He will take the bus or walk.

To keep your roadie working hard for you there are a few things you can do in return: put them on the guest list as “head roadie” (even if there is only one) at the shows. Maybe even give him one of the drummer’s free drink tickets. Let the roadie hang out with you at the show—he will feel cool hanging with a cool band. Give him a nickname—roadies like that. Some of my bands’ roadies have been named “Goldfinger,” “Drunk Keith,” “Ratprick,” and “the Vulture.” Tell your roadie that they can have the “leftovers” after a gig (but of course, never let them). Don’t forget to add their name to your “thanks to” list when you put out a CD. Give them a pair of finger-less leather gloves (they sell ’em at the 99 cent store) to make their job a little easier. Do these things and your roadie will love you and your band even more.

One thing you should never do… never, ever pay your roadie money for his services. If you do this he will expect it every time and it will cheapen his loyalty. Let him know that you’re doing him a favor by letting him hang out with you. If your band has an exceptionally good night and makes a few hundred quid, maybe buy your roadie a nice cheeseburger. Most of my roadies have been unemployed sad sacks who needed something cool to add spice to their otherwise boring lives, and they appreciated their affiliation with the band.

That’s all I have on the topic for now. Now go get yourself a good roadie and let him do the dirty work for you, unless, of course, you enjoy moving 100 pound cabinets. This may all sound cold hearted and mean, but rock and roll is a dirty business, man…

Related articles:

Choosing a Band Name

How to Get Gigs

How to Start a Rock Band