Posted on 11.08.2019

The Great American Roadie

Every time you go to a concert, whether it’s in a football stadium or a fifteen hundred seat performance hall, there is, has and will be heavy-duty work that started happening long before you took your seat and long after you vacate it.

The average concert, depending on the number of acts, may last for as little as two and as long as six hours or more, but there are people involved who will be working long after the last note has died away and the performers have left the building.

They will be tearing down the mountains of equipment they had set up early in the day, packing it away in road cases and loading it into trucks to be transported to the next concert site, where the same thing starts happening again the next morning.

There’s the instruments, the amplifiers, the sound system, the lighting system and various and sundry other odds and ends, tons of the stuff that has to be taken apart, piece by piece put into custom-built cases that are padded and tough enough to travel thousands of miles a year across rutted interstates and bumpy, winter-damaged highways and deliver fragile pieces of equipment in a concert-worthy condition.

These are the guys who have to keep the schedule, however tight it is, to adapt to operating on three or four hours sleep and go for days without a decent meal, and spend any spare time replacing busted speakers, changing strings and drum heads and trying to figure out why the amp line isn’t getting power on one side or another, and no matter what, have everything tuned, focused, adjusted, shined up and ready to go when the band walks on the stage.

Without the roadies, there would be no show, it’s that simple, could you see a bunch of hungover rock and rollers, stacking hundred-pound amplifiers and climbing seventy-five feet above the arena floor to install lifts so the sound system can be hung at seven o’clock in the morning

Perish the thought

Show business would shrink to unrecognizable size without the guys who unpack, move, set up, maintain, load in and out, drive the buses and trucks, tolerate the whims of petulant musicians and keep the show rolling down the road.

I learned very early in my career about the value of a good road crew and the relationships and familiarity that develops over the years between performers and roadies.

I’ve been blessed to have, at least in my opinion, the best and most efficient crew on the road. Most of them have been with me for decades, some over forty years and, I can, by a nod of my head or a certain look communicate the need for changing guitars or another freshly rosined fiddle bow.

Of course, the same thing happens in other bands between musicians and roadies and a lot of roadies have made their career working in the same band and over the years we have developed lasting relationships with many of them. Some have gone on, some are retired and some are still out here burning up the road.

So, here’s to Twiggs and Red Dog, to Big Eye and Poodie, to Skinny and Five-O, Mule, Sonny, and David, to Moon, Puff and Blackie to Joe and Kevin, Steve and all the other road warriors who were the first ones to get there and the last ones to leave.

In 1974 we recorded an album titled ‘Fire on the Mountain’ and I dedicated it to my road crew. Our crew has expanded quite a bit since then but the way I feel about my guys has never wavered.

So, Jimmy, Roger, Bob, Bryan, Potsy, Chris, Steve, Jackie, Dean; this one is for y’all.

“Hungover, Red-Eyed, Dog Tired Satisfied - it's a long road
and a little wheel and it takes a lot of turns to get there.
Thank You Damn It”
Charlie Daniels 1974

Pray for our troops our police and the peace of Jerusalem.

What do you think?

God Bless America

— Charlie Daniels

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Check out "Mexico Again" from Beau Weevils - 'Songs in the Key of E'

Comments

Unsung Heroes
Amen, Amen & Amen Charlie, A big Thanks to all the unsung heroes in every trade. Without question roadies have to be dedicated and willing too sacrifice in order for the show to go on. They cannot be late for start time nor slack when they are tired. It is good that a man like you recognized their importance years ago, treated them right and was able to keep them on for decades, thereby everyone knows what and when to do it. Changing spokes on a wheel can be both expensive and time consuming. CDB is the best, from the front-man to the bottom of the totem pole....nuff said God Bless Plowboy
Posted by Plowboy
Roadies
Huge thanks to CD for this. It's hard to explain what road life is like to the average fan, the 20 hour days, the 600 mile runs, border crossings, running on whisky and cigarettes in a bus with a dozen exausted stinky roadies. We are tighter than family, work longer and harder than most, and do it for very little recognition, the sound of the crowd when the lights go down is our true reward. Then, once in awhile an artist says something like this and it is beyond satisfying knowing some artists understand what we do. Much thanks Charlie.
Posted by Joe
Thats a big gestrure Charlie
Don't call it rock and roll for nothing. Probably the people that we the listeners never have to think about, and you guys can never forget about. Well done. ~ NIMOC
Posted by Jeff
This puts me in mind of a Dave Dudley song ...
You can hear it at "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2UvYbca73o"
Posted by Allan
Sid Yoakim and Jan Stinson
Sid Yoakim and Jan Stinson --- they were the truck drivers for The Charlie Daniels Band, in the 1980's. Stage Coach Trucking was his company name, and he and Jan drove those 18-wheelers to damn near every show back then. They were both friends of mine, and they are gone now. May they rest in Peace. I had the pleasure of eating breakfast at Momma Crain's house twice. She was the Mom of CDB guitarist Tommy Crain, and his brother, Billy Crain. Both damn fine musicians. The Crain's, Sid Yoakim, and Jan Stinson were part of Charlie's family. Not by blood, but by bond. So, if you ever were out I-40 East of Nashville, around Mt. Juliet way, and saw a couple of 18-wheelers in a dusty parking lot at the top of the exit ramp back around 1985 or so ... Sid and Jan were waiting for the other guys to head on down the road somewhere, trucking for Charlie. Good times, Great Guys.
Posted by Kevin
Thank you from a Roadie
Thank you for this post. I roadie for a band, and when people find out I don’t play an instrument, they often say, “oh you’re a groupie then”. I had the opportunity to meet you back in 2000, and have always had the upmost respect for you. Hope we cross paths again in NC, maybe working a show together. Be safe, and God Bless.
Posted by Jason