1. What type of jobs have you had in the industry? (tour manager, guitar tech, sound, etc.) Be as specific as you’d like.
I've spent the last eleven years working on the road with music/entertainment tours working as a truck driver. I've driven everything from broadway shows Fiddler on the Roof to WWE Wrestling to Fall Out Boy and Warped Tour.
2. Why do you think that a show/band wouldn’t be able to run without you?
Without the drivers getting the gear to the venue the shows couldn't happen at all. On Warped Tour I usually drive the audio for the stages along with some of the the bands instruments. Imagine trying to have a show without any speakers or instruments, would be a pretty lame show wouldn't it? When it comes down to it the drivers are one of the most important people involved in the production of a show.
3. What’s the hardest aspect of your job?
I would say that the hardest aspect of my job is when we have multiple long drives in a row. Fighting fatigue while on the road can be difficult, on long runs there is always a good amount of caffeine involved along with making sure we get the proper amount of rest before the trip. Last summer we averaged over 500 miles a night for the last two and a half or so weeks of Warped Tour, figure eight hours average driving every night with a good 4 or so hours spent at the venue getting things set up and parking and what not.
4. What’s the most time consuming task that you have to do daily? Whether it’s meet & greets, getting the instruments set up, setting up your booth, etc.
The driving is more time consuming than anything with my job on tour. There is a lot of sitting around and waiting as well. On a night with a shorter drive we will arrive hours before and just wait around with nothing to do until it is time to load the gear into the venue. Waiting around can be more tiring than driving in some respects.
5. Can you walk me through your typical day?
I'll just go with a typical day at Warped for me here, other tours can be different. On a typical day of Warped I will wake up in the early evening, depending on the time I will go in and take some pictures of bands performing and grab dinner. Then return to the truck and prepare for my drive. Getting my paperwork in order in case I am to get pulled over checking the tires and the general condition of the truck for any issues. Then once the last band plays and the crowds clear we pull the trucks into the venue and help out a bit with getting everything ready to go to the next town. Then we will make the drive, stopping for fuel and snacks along the way if we have the time. Everything is planned beforehand, sometimes with the longer drives we will make sure to fuel the night before so we don't have to stop unless we have an emergency. Once we get to the gig we pretty much wait around til it is time to set the trucks at load in. During this time I edit my photos from the night before or depending on how much time we have sometimes I will grab a nap. Once we set the trucks for the day and park I will wrap up my editing and go get myself a new wristband for the day so I can take photos. Then I will shoot the first two or three bands performing before heading ff to bed and doing it all over again.
6. Where did you get your training/experience from?
I originally drove freight for a few years. Then one day while at Warped Tour I had the chance to talk to one of the drivers working the tour and I got the information from him for the company that provides trucks for the tour. I got hired on a month or so later and have been working in the entertainment industry ever since.
7. Who else do you think plays an important role when it comes to making a tour/concert work(Assuming that the band has the financial needs to afford multiple techs, basically any employee that’s not too over-the-top ex. multiple security guards, a hype man).
Aside from the actual talent themselves, the tour manager is probably the most important person on the tour. Band members could still tune their own instruments and set up most of the equipment without their techs, not to downplay the importance of their techs. The techs are indispensable when it comes to handling technical problems during a live performance. Most bands have gotten along just fine without them in the past though. When it comes down to it though, if you don't have an important role to play you pretty much don't tour. Nobody has the budget for people they don't NEED on tour. As a band grows those needs grow.
8. Is there anything that fans do that make it harder for you to do your job?
Most of my job is done before and after the fans have left or arrived at a gig. I have been parked in at a shows by people attending gigs I have been working though. We have even had to have vehicles towed in the past. One time at a show in Idaho with Taking Back Sunday the venue had these dollies that would slide under car wheels and allow you to move cars around the parking lot. There were a few parked in front of the loading dock that we had to move, I'm sure those people were really confused when they returned to their vehicles.
9. About how many “hours” do you work per week on your job?
Depends on the week. I have had weeks where we drove a total of a few hundred miles in a week and others where we covered well over 3000 miles. In a typical week we probably end up working around 45-50 hours.
10. How has working in the music industry changed your thoughts about show production and how shows run and work.
It's amazing what can be set up and tore down and how little time it takes. Driving Maroon 5 a couple years back we had twelve trucks or so and it took maybe 3 hours to pack the whole stage setup and load it into the trucks after the show. When we do Warped most (at some dates all) of the stages are their own semi trailers and trucks. They get set up in about an hour every day and tore down in the same time frame. It's truly incredible how much gets done in so little time. From the time I start Warped til the time I am done every year I really spend every moment living and breathing it. In my case I spend WAY too much time throughout the rest of the year thinking about it. It's truly one of the most important things in my life. This summer will be my ten year anniversary of working on the tour. It's a crazy life...