Musicians' Resource Directory
If you want to be a roadie, you've got to know your shit or be willing to learn and also work harder than you ever have.
I was the guy in high school that had access to a van, so I drove bands around. I played in bands, but not ones that toured. I figured the only way I was going on tour was as a crew guy.
I suggest that a person start by working with a friend's band and find the job that suits him. Then go get a job as a loader at any club or for any promoter in town. That's the easiest way to meet other roadies, bands, and tour managers.
Buy a book on guitar repair, learn some basic accounting (for merch), get a repair book for the van or car you'll be touring in, and get lots of vitamins or Emergen-C for the hangovers and malnutrition. Watch Spinal Tap before going on tour—expect lots of similar if not greater disappointments.
A good roadie knows which band members to listen to and which ones are full of shit. A good roadie asks questions and stays a step ahead of the band's needs. A good roadie is organized. A good roadie will watch the movie Roadie (starring Meat Loaf as the world's best roadie).
A roadie should always be prepared for disappointment, shitty attitudes from the band and their management, and to drink a lot and not eat much. And he should always be prepared to enjoy himself—because if you can't enjoy what you do, why the fuck do it?
A roadie should never put all his eggs in one basket. (I have and it sucked.)
A roadie should never put up with a shitty attitude from anybody. If shitty attitudes persist... quit! Even if you are in Louisville, Kentucky, and you have to catch a ride home with the opening band in a van that has no seat belts and only a loft to sit on. You will remember even this trip fondly.
Dylan Roadie has toured with the Blood Brothers, Peaches, Bratmobile, and many others. He is currently on tour with the Shins. He documents his labor and leisure at www.roadietogo.blogspot.com.