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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