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how do you become a roadie?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by kitcar765, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. anyone been a roadie?
    how do you become a roadie?
    is there a roadie school?
    whats the pay like?
    what do they do?
  2. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    What's the appeal if you don't know what they do?
  3. Roadies are just washed up old guys who have gear that's too nice.
  4. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    And they like to donate to the Asian needs gear foundation (Asian=me)
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    If there is such a thing as a "roadie school" it might be Full Sail in Orlando which teaches among other things sound technology and other aspects of performance technology that will help you get a higher up job than pure roadie.

    But don't be fooled. This school is very expensive. You'd better be very serious about wanting to learn this technology and work in the field (if you can get a job in it even if you do graduate.)

    My son actually was a roadie...but at the local level. He never actually accompanied a band on the road, but he did much of what is considered to be roadie work at several venues where he lived. Let me say here, there is a "roadie and stage hand union" whose name I forget. If you join, you get higher pay, but not all venues use union labor. My son made really good pay WHEN he worked, but there aren't that many concerts going on all the time.

    He did everything from setting up and breaking down stages, lighting rigs, running sound and lighting cables, general stagehand work and worked his way up to running lights during concerts, even the spotlights where he had to climb way, way up on a rope ladder and sit perched all through the concert way above the venue.

    He started out by working with stage and theater groups at his college auditorium, but became more and more involved in the work, learned more and more skills and technology, built up a reputation for reliability and began getting calls for other venues.

    He left the work, though, because it just wasn't regular enough and there could be weeks with no work.

    If you have any more specific questions, I will do my best to answer based on the things my son has told me.
  6. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    i was a roadie from 1988-1996 for the raves, producers and the hellhounds[ featuring members of the georgia satellites]. i enjoyed it actually. fun in your 20's but i'm 36 now so it would take a tremendouse amount of money............or rick richards asking me just once to go back out. i had a great time, made some money and learned a lot more than any school could ever teach you. i also attended college during that time.
    my advice to you is the quicker that you learn that it aint all about sex, drugs and rock and roll, the better off you'll be. it is a job and a hard one at that. musicians are depending on you to make sure their gear is kept up and in working order 24-7. it's your a s s if it isnt. thats why you are being paid. working for rick richards and rick price as a roadie was the best time of my life and i thank them. i owe those guys a lot for teaching me the ways of the road and i feel it also made me a better musician.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Connections ?
  8. talk to a local band.
    the roadies are the guys that carry the gear to the stage so you don't have to...the guys that are roadies for the big time bands were roadies for the same band when they were a small time band.

    if you really want to be a roadie, find a local band that you like and ask them if they'd like any help with their gear...
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I actually was fortunate enough to have a roadie in one of the bands I played in. It was someone who very much wanted to be in a similar band, had plenty of the skills I needed and we did eventually end up playing in a blues band together at a later date.

    The OP asked what a roadie does. Mine tuned my basses, changed strings if needed, set up my stack, and wireless system connecting all the cables, , made sure my picks were where I wanted them, a small towel, a bottle of water on top of the stack and my Beavis doll hanging from the stack. (Even he couldn't keep that doll from dispappearing after a concert.)

    Of course when the concert was over, he undid everything, put the basses back in their cases and carted everything back to the car.

    He was big and strong and acted as a body guard too. We used to have to drive a very dangerous road in the wee hours of the morning. I was glad to have him there for that, especially the time we had a tire literally blow up. He changed it for me.

    He also worked for another bassist who used effects pedals but didn't wnat them on stage, so the oradie kept them behind the stack, listened carefully to the music and tapped the pedlals on and off at the correct times. (I never understood why that bassist wanted to hide his pedals.)
  10. Want to become a roadie? Watch Waynes World 2
  11. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    My man. You come over here to Groom Lake and accompany me to all my gigs, and sure enough, I will teach you to roadie, no charge.
  13. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    Dang. I would consider quitting law if that offer were made to me.
  14. I'd assume a lot of it is about connections.
  15. You could contact your local stage hands union and see about getting into that. That way you could learn some of the ropes and make some connections along the way.
  16. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I checked with my son. The name of the union he joined was IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

    You have to pay dues and I think an "entry fee" or "joining fee" and part of each paycheck at very gig. You go in at the lowest level and work your way up through the union ranks.

    If you just act as an informal roadie to some local band, you may not have to join a union. I always just bought my guy meals and a portion of what I earned which wasn't much, by the way. But I knew roadies that were working free just to learn what they could about being in bands and hoping they could become band members too.

    I'm positive roadies working for regionally and nationally touring bands do get paid, probably commensurate with their skill and responsibilities.
  17. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    What about trying to get on as a "gopher" or helper at a local production company? You might not initially be directly involved with setting up Ringo's drum set, but you could break into the business that way.

    Good luck dude!

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