Roadies: The Unsung Heroes of the Music World

Roadies, or road crew personnel are the unsung backbone of the music industry. When a band goes on tour, they travel as support crew and are responsible for everything from driving the tour bus, setting up the stage, loading and unloading all the instruments and other stage props to doing the actual rigging. Many times, during the concert, they take on the chore of merchandise manager and sell tee shirts and other memorabilia, or their own line of goods and trinkets. Some have even developed and marketed improvements to music production equipment or used innovations in technology for computers to write and record music of their own. In fact, not all roadies are unsung: The members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young remembered their friend who died of an overdose by mentioning him in the lyrics of Tonight’s the Night, the title track of their album. Neal Young wrote:

Bruce Berry was a working man
He used to load that Econoline van…

One of the drawbacks of being a roadie is the amount of time spent away from the family. One musical professional who found himself on the road a lot found he could keep in touch with his teenaged daughter by sending her a subscription to Birchbox. He even found a coupon code on Groupon that saved 50% off his first box. Now when he’s on the road, he gets a text of the box from her when it arrives. It’s a special treat they share. She’s eager to tell him what’s in the box, and it gives them something to talk about beyond the usual “what did you do in school today?” routine. She loves the variety of the items she receives every month. When she finds products she likes, she buys the full size and continues to use them.

And they have found a use for the items she doesn’t like – they donate them to shelters in the many towns her father visits on the road. Their bond has been strengthened and she is learning what it means to give to others unselfishly by following her father’s example. Who knows, maybe one day the band he works for will immortalize him with words about his love for his little girl. Birchbox would make a great title.