Spencer, Age 10, Drum Tech

“I’ve been teching for Rebecca (age 11, drummer) for about a year. She’s a monster, and she wants what she wants. When we were sitting down to talk about what kind of kit she wanted to use at our end-of-semester performance, she point blank told me: “I hit like a fucking five-hundred pound gorilla, this is a huge show; make this work or you’re fucking fired.” But that’s her way of saying she loves you, it really is. All my friends in regular school think that doing shows is all about partying, which cracks me up. I try to tell them what it’s really like; you’re sound-checking drums at noon, the band goes on at three, and drums are first packed/last out—so I’m at the venue for the load-out until, like, three hours past my fucking—sorry for the cussing—bedtime. Then I’m up at seven or eight in the morning replacing heads and sandbagging hardware and shit—sorry—and it starts to run you down. But I love it. I would tech for Rebecca for the rest of my life; this ain’t me complaining.”


“Don’t tell my parents I used the word “ain’t”. Maybe change that to “isn’t” or whatever.”

Ashley, Age 10, Stage Manager

“Whenever people ask me what I do, I like to say, ‘Have you ever been to a concert? Have you ever seen the person in the front of the band singing or playing guitar? Have you ever seen their mic fall or heard the connection crack out? Well, I’m the fucking princess running out there in a black T-shirt, all hunched over like a baboon, carrying a pen light in my mouth, and trying to fix the fucking thing before you realize it needed fixing.’ That’s basically the only way my friends understand what I do. Obviously I’m doing more than that; I’m managing a stage from sound check all the way through to our classes’ last song. But I like my other explanation better!”

[Starts cracking up super fast/coughing.]

“I started out doing monitors for some local cover band of guys my mom’s and dad’s age—which basically involved riding the main of a Radio Shack two-channel mixer that they ran the bass and vocal through. And there was basically one speaker coming off of it, and they would put that next to the drummer. So I was literally doing monitor for that band, not monitors. Then I heard about The School of Roadie and I applied and got in.”

James, Age 9, Guitar Tech

“You like my shirt? You can just print that for my interview, dude.”

[James is wearing a T-shirt that says SAME SHIT, DIFFERENT LEAD SINGER.]

“I’ve been guitar teching here since I was, what, seven, I guess. No, eight. It’s a pretty easy gig, everything’s pretty much a standard tuning. Sometimes one of these guys will get the big idea to play in a drop D tuning. And then you run your ass off replacing A strings about six times in a typical gig. For some reason the A gets all the abuse in power chords when you drop E to D.”

[Long pause while James re-checks a guitar plugged into a tuner. He finally looks up, a little surprised that the interview is not over.]

“That’s about it, dude. And yes, roadies get groupies. When I meet girls at shows I like to say, ‘You can either make out with someone in the band and be disappointed eventually, or you can make out with the roadie and be disappointed right away.’"

[I am laughing pretty hard. James is not.]

“Okay, so… I gotta go, brother. I’ve got fifteen shitty fake Strats to string and tune before noon.”