Every musician dreams of having their own team of roadies for their live band. I’m here to tell you that roadies are out there and that you can have your very own roadies hauling and setting up your live band’s equipment. The best thing is that most of these roadies will work for very little money or even for free dinner and admission to your shows. I’ve been using roadies for all my summer gigs this year and I’m telling you it’s been fantastic having some guys to haul my equipment around and set it up.
So where can you find your own roadies? Well you need look no farther than family, friends and fans. To those people who are non-musicians, being around musicians playing in a band is to be part of a very fascinating world. There are many people who are interested in learning how a band functions and want to be involved in the inner workings of the music scene. These are the people that just want to be a part of it all and these are the people you want to approach about being a roady for your band.
This past summer I started a band named Bonne Nuit with my three oldest sons. My Son’s are in their teens and they have a lot of friends who are fascinated with how a live band works. We recruited a couple of their friends to be roadies for us this summer. We started by having them help us haul equipment in and out of our house. We then started getting them into our gigs as part of the band and have used them to haul equipment at our gigs as well. We have since taught them how to tear down and set up the P.A. system. We’ve also taught them basic mixing and have come to use them quite a bit during our live show for sound work as well. We use them to get us cords, drinks and do whatever errands we need at gigs.
We’ve also added our “number one fan” to our group of roadies. This is a guy that came to all of our gigs. He would show up an hour early to get a good spot at our shows and we all became pretty good friends with him. Naturally he would ask if there’s anything he could do to help while we were loading in and out so we started using him to help with various band related activities as well. He not only helps with setup and tear down but he is also learning how to run our lighting system and is the band’s official photographer.
These guys are all working for free meals and gig admission. But that’s not what their true motivation is. They really just want to be a part of the whole thing and learn how a band functions. We recognize them from the stage at gigs, we make sure they know how important they have become to us. The rest of our fans know who they are. It’s working out well for all of us and hopefully someday we can pay them in more than good times.
Even if we can never pay them, the memories we’re making will last a lifetime. I’m sure all you live musicians out there have had people come up to you at gigs and tell you stories about how they “use to drive a van for a band in college” or how they used to “help my buddies do shows back in the day”. They always seem to follow up those statements by telling me that it was one of the most fun times of their lives. I believe we as musicians are doing a good thing by letting our friends, family and fans become band roadies. So here’s another shout out to Brent, Jake and Jake. Thanks you guys for making our lives easier and I hope you’re all having a blast!