In all of our other features, we highlight bands/artists; now we want to take you into the world of the people who work for a band on tour, their crew. For this first feature, we teamed up with production assistant, Adam Hale. You can can find out more about Adam and advice he has for people interested in hitting the road (his “Trick of the Trade”), after the break.
Current – Brad Paisley
Previous – Colt Ford, Newsboys
What positions have you held (i.e. Tour Manager, Front of House, etc.)?
Current – Production Assistant
Previous – Production Assistant, Merchandise Manager
Your first touring gig:
Who did you work for?
My first gig started with the Newsboys touring as their Merchandise Manager. Started on their summer tour “Restart” leading into “Winter Jam” in 2013 as the headline act.
How did you get the gig?
Fun story, I had gotten out of the Army and decided it was moved down to Nashville in May of 2013 and had no clue what I was getting myself into. I started off leasing apartments with no intentions of getting into the music business. It was just another day at work, leasing apartments when I received a text from a good friend of mine, Jarrod Holley (Artist Manager at Suit Music) with a Craigslist ad to become a Merchandise Manager. That afternoon, I, of course, sent my resume to the ad and got a phone call right away. I played “hooky” the next day from leasing apartments at my day job to go have an interview with Wayne Seboa who manages all the logistics for the Newsboys merchandise. He told me that they leave out Friday morning for a 3 show run and told me I had the gig. With little to none experience and knowing that this was either going to make or break me in the touring world, I took the gig. Thursday morning I told my current job that it was going to be my last day, clearly they weren’t thrilled, but I knew it had to happen. Ended up with Newsboys for about 7 months and it could have been the best decision I have ever made for my touring career.
What was (is your continued) motivation for wanting to start working for tour bands?
When I wake up on a show day to walk into the venue of an arena, amphitheater, stadium, whichever it is, there is nothing like it. The constant go, go, go from 7:00 AM watching the 9 semi’s load into the venue until the last truck is packed up around midnight after the show. It’s always a new adventure that brings along new challenges throughout my day. Any gig/job I have ever had doesn’t compare to live entertainment. The roar of the crowd when the artist takes the stage, all the way until the last fan exits the building, there isn’t any other occupation out there that can keep my interest. The road is a drug that I just can’t kick. When I’m off for an extended amount of time, I can assure you that I am networking myself into the next gig.
While growing up were you involved in your local music scene? If so, how did you get involved?
I grew up in East Cleveland with a booming music scene that I was very privileged to be a part of. I was in a band called The Critically Acclaimed playing the synthesizer and having the time of my life throughout high school. It consisted of 5 members of some really great guys who have become life long friends. We played around the local scene in greater Cleveland area. Learn a lot from that time in my life in which has carried over into my current career.
If you could recommend one piece of advice (“trick of the trade”) to current or aspiring crew members, what would it be?
Do not be a douche. Hands down. That’s it. Be the guy/girl that is a go-getter, but don’t sit there and kiss ass. Have a stand-up personality, get along with the guys you live with, be respectful of the bus area and understand that your mom isn’t following you around to clean up after you. Whether you are the opening act on the bill or the headliner, take care of your fellow crew guys and that’s including all the acts that are on the bill. Be genuine to them and show your respect, it’ll take you a long way in this industry. You don’t have to be the best at what you do, but as long as you show that you are giving 100% with a good personality, you will go a long way. If anyone jumps down your throat because you messed up, don’t cry about it, just learn from it. Grow some thick skin on the road because it will bite you in the ass if you don’t have it. A mentor of mine, Mark “Sarge” Yuhas told me, “It’s 10% work and 90% the hang” and I will stand by that to this day.