- "Roadie" redirects here. For the 1980 movie, see Roadie (film). For expatriate Zimbabweans, see Rhodie. For the Indian TV show see MTV Roadies 5.0.
The road crew (or roadies) are the technicians who travel with a band on tour, usually in sleeper buses, and handle every part of the concert productions except actually performing the music with the musicians.
This catch-all term covers tour managers, production managers, stage managers, front of house and monitor engineers, guitar techs, bass techs, drum techs, keyboard techs, lighting techs, pyrotechnic techs, and security/bodyguards, among others.
Road crew appearances
The road crew are generally uncredited, though many bands take care to thank their crew in album sleeve notes, but there are exceptions.
- Pantera and Motörhead even go so far as to feature their crew in their tour videos, and Motörhead wrote the song "(We Are) The Road Crew" about their crew.
- Pink Floyd showed theirs on the rear sleeve of Ummagumma and recorded them speaking on The Dark Side of the Moon.
- When Gene Simmons of the band KISS attempted to blow fire for the first time in 1973, New Years Eve, New York City, he accidentally set his hair-sprayed hair into fierce flames, but was extinguished by a roadie with a wet towel.
- Exceptionally, in the former Manu Chao band Mano Negra, the roadies were included as a part of the band when they signed for Virgin.
- Todd Rundgren and Roger Powell invited roadie Jan Alejandro to play piano with them, Ringo Starr and Bill Wyman on a live broadcast of the Jerry Lewis Telethon in Las Vegas. It was viewed by 33 million people. Jan also worked the last Led Zeppelin concert in Knebworth 1979 and he was one of the roadies that Jackson Browne wrote about on the Running On Empty Tour.
- Jackson Browne on his 1977 tour, "Running On Empty," wrote his famous song "The Load-Out" (usually heard in a live version hybrid with a cover of the Maurice Williams tune "Stay") in order to honor his roadies, who carried and set up a mobile recording studio in Holiday Inns and other fancy locations.
- The DVD version of Dire Straits' album On the Night features an extended introduction to their song "Calling Elvis", while the video shows the preparatory work of the roadies.
- Lynyrd Skynyrd Roadie Billy Powell Joined the band as the piano player.
- Simple Plan has an entire chapter on their DVD A Big Package For You dedicated to their roadie, Patrick Langlois.
- On each of the KMFDM live dvds, roadies play huge parts. Most are interviewed and some are given the spotlight.
- On the back of the Allman Brothers Band's album Live at the Fillmore East there's a picture of their roadies in virtually the same positions as the actual band is on the front.
- Problem Child (1990) child actor Michael Oliver has been a roadie for the past 8 years for several bands.
- Jethro Tull have been fond of using the crew members for humorous or dramatic effect in their shows. One such gimmick is to have crew members don headlamp helmets (such as a miner would use) in order to provide a follow spot (spotlight) for instrumental solos.
- Nick Tongue, a guitar tech on Steve Vai's 1996 tours, was a Vai fan and excellent guitarist who was worked into the show for an authentic and rousing three-guitar encore version of The Attitude Song, alongside Vai and Mike Keneally.
- Iron Maiden's Death on the Road -DVD has 70 minute long documentary mainly focused on the road crew. Also, in the inner sleeve photos of many of their albums, there are pictures of the various touring crews.
- Neil Young wrote the emotionally-charged song Tonight's the Night about the death of roadie Bruce Berry from a heroin overdose.
- Widespread Panic guitar tech Sam Holt has joined the band onstage as a guest guitarist on numerous occasions, including a brief run as guest lead guitarist (along with John Keane) in the interval between George McConnell's departure and Jimmy Herring's arrival.
- Harry Chapin had two of his road crew sing on the song "Circle" from the album Greatest Stories Live
- Winnebago Deal often invite roadies, friends and bands they are touring with, to play in their live set, playing keyboards and theremin on "Did It, Done It, Doing it Again" and "Knife Chase" respectively.
- Family Force 5's roadie "Xanadu" features prominently in performances, dancing and playing tambourine with the band members
- Fictional Roadies include: Steve Coogan creation Saxondale & Bearded hippy Drag who features in 2006 novel It's Cold Outside
A number of roadies have gone on to join bands and write music.
- Kliph Scurlock of The Flaming Lips was originally a roadie for the band before being asked to join the band as a drummer on tours.
- Rick Biddulph was a roadie for Hatfield and the North and National Health and then went on to play in several bands with members of those bands
- Noel Gallagher was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets before he joined Oasis.
- A southern rock band named Grinderswitch were composed of Allman Brothers roadies. They would often open for them during the early Allman days and would usually borrow their instruments.
- Lemmy was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix before joining Hawkwind, and later forming Motörhead.
- Hoxton Tom McCourt was a roadie for Menace and the Cockney Rejects before starting his own band the 4-Skins.
- Jan Michael Alejandro, roadie for Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Blondie, James Taylor, Todd Rundgren and Linda Ronstadt, performed and wrote songs with singer, Arnold McCuller. Jan is currently a playwright and musical theater composer and book writer. Jan Alejandro's play "Common Bonds," produced by Kaz Matamura, featured music by Jackson Browne. Jan founded Jan-Al Cases with his wife and partner, Muffie Alejandro, in 1983.
- Muffie Alejandro, Toured with Graham Nash and Leah Kunkel, is president of Jan-Al Cases, a Road_case company, and of Rackmountcity.com .
- Bob Bryar, of the New Jersey rock band My Chemical Romance, was a sound tech before the band asked him to play drums for them, following the departure of their original drummer.
- Billy Howerdel worked as guitar tech and Pro Tools engineer for the band Tool before he started A Perfect Circle which featured Maynard James Keenan as band member.
- Jon Walker, of Panic! at the Disco, was a guitar tech for Chicago band The Academy Is... before Panic! at the Disco asked him to be their bass player.
- Henry Rollins, of Black Flag and Rollins Band fame, was a roadie for The Teen Idles, the band that would eventually become Minor Threat before singing with both bands.
- Ben Shepherd was a roadie for Nirvana before joining the band Soundgarden.
- Kyo was a roadie for Kiyoharu before forming the band Dir en grey.
- Billy Powell was a roadie for Lynyrd Skynyrd until he joined the band as piano player.
- Kurt Cobain was a roadie for Seattle Grunge Band the Melvins until becoming inspired to start his own band, Nirvana