Today Up On Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server :
People have been asking me how I was able to start working with touring bands early on. Well it was a combination of a few things. The first was that I had my foot in the door, because as I’ve told you I started at the bottom at the clubs in my local city. This allowed me to wander freely between all the clubs that were connected by the same management. I was able to get all types of passes because I would often do one off shows with an endless number of bands. Second, I was told by a friend that you have to have solid confidence in yourself, to act as if you were truly meant to be there. I thought this was crazy but I remember the first time I did it and as everyone was being checked for passes, I just walked right by. The third reason was as I had official looking passes on my lanyards for crew, I was never questioned. I would just go hang around back stage with the bands eating food and drink and striking up conversations.
Again there were things to keep in mind, the internet was new so there was little way for people to check if you really belonged there. The next thing I would do is after working with a band for a night, I would see the real crew passes, then I would go home that night and make up fake passes that were so close to what the road crew were wearing…no one would look at the pass up real close and compare. As Ive said I also had a set of balls and no one was going to tell me I was not supposed to be there. I bought a laminating machine and got to know the correct gauges of laminating plastic used to make it look real. My most effective tool was an X-acto knife so I could do some real photo remixing…no Photoshop needed, just some basic graphic design knowledge of fonts and colors and I could manipulate anything I wanted.
The last and most major step was that I went on tour with the band and they did not even know it. I had figured out that If the band thought you were supposed to be there as their security they thought I worked for the club, and if the club thought you were there working for the band as their personal security, they thought I worked for the band. I figured out that they did not have great communication with the bands. Ten times out of ten no one ever made the connection, I found the band itself did not really care if you seemed like you were meant to be there. I would have security from the club or venue putting me on a security detail and I did not work for anyone. My specialty was personal security and I made that known to the venues and the bands, and I would be put in charge of security for particular band member for the night. Now you might say this is crazy, but think about it…it really was my job at the home clubs.
So when the band would play in my home clubs, with my foot in the door I would get to know everyone I could in the band’s crew as well as the band members making sure that my work stood out as very professional. I would make sure to bust my ass during band load in…bands really appreciated my hard work as well as the lengths I would go to make them happy. Also I knew how to set up equipment so I would make sure I had everything exactly the way the artist wanted it. This was setting the first stage of my being in with the band. I had an extensive knowledge of music and would never find myself with a lack of good conversation with the road crew. Then the band would load out and I would do the same and tell the crew I would see them at the next venue, usually in the next state. So I would go home and make a crew pass that was quite indistinguishable from the real thing. I even had blank pass printing material, where I would have official backing tape on all the passes, and I would just use a glue stick to attach it and then laminate.
So I would do this for three or four shows in different states…I was used to touring anyway so I just made it work and would sleep in my car. Then there I would be again for load in and everyone thought I was working for the other party. Nailed it! I basically enjoyed the thrill of doing it and no one noticing, so if it did not lead to a temporary crew position, then I would just drive home knowing I had just enjoyed the band several times live, with endless stories of things I saw on the road to write about here. During the show I was always put on stage security, so I was one of the guys who made sure no one attacked the band while they were playing. I also was responsible for watching the band’s gear on stage such as peddles and microphones, because people would often try to steal them. So there were four international bands I ended up doing partial tours with. Twice I actually jumped ship and went on tour with another band after working with one for several gigs. It was then at some point I would be asked to join them and would get paid. I was able to eat with the crew, and got to know some of the road dogs and they had as much respect for me as I had for them. We would watch each others backs. It was an absolute thrill.
Some might say that I was not up front with them and thus could have been a liability. My response to this would be to say, how many times have you heard the notion that you have to be willing to go to any lengths to get to your goal that is attainable with hard work. Well that’s the way I look at it because I was trained to do what I was doing, even though it fell into a wide gray area. I never hurt any one and I was confident in my ability to actually add to the artists safety, some of the breaches I saw in security were eye opening and I would often plug that hole to make sure that it was not overlooked. I had the uncanny ability to see several steps into the future and I thwarted a number of serious problems that would have happened if I had not been there. I can say that with pride…it was what I was good at. If there was danger I would always sniff it out and if there was a problem with one of the lines in the snake between the soundboard and the stage I could fix that in minutes, saving huge embarrassment. I made myself an indispensable member of the crew.
With all that said I stress that anyone reading that if you try this today, it’s very unlikely that you would get away with it. There are procedures, technology, and protocols put in place to weed out people that would try to do what I did. Today it is called “impersonation” and you could be prosecuted for doing it. I just say that because when I did it times were different, and to save you a whole lot of legal problems take heed of my warning. Again my process, my review.
Thanks for reading.
Cheers and Bless Bless!
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