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 feature, we teamed up with tour manager, Matt “Bear” Romero. You can find out more about Matt and advice he has for people interested in hitting the road (his “Trick of the Trade”), after the break.
Matt “Bear” Romero
Current – I The Mighty
Previous – Letlive, Dance Gavin Dance, This Wild Life, Emarosa, Hail The Sun, A Lot Like Birds, Secrets
What positions have you held (i.e. Tour Manager, Front of House, etc.)?
Current – Tour Manager
Previous – Bandwagon Driver, Merch, Guitar/Bass/Backline Tech
Your first touring gig:
Who did you work for?
Although I had been touring for several years in the DIY scene prior to the fall of 2012, my first job as a ‘Tour Manager’ was with Hail The Sun; relative unknowns from No. Cal that I had met while touring with my band.
How did you get the gig?
I was approached by the band’s drummer, Donovan Melero, about possibly doing the tour and I couldn’t turn it down. It was the band’s first national tour, on a decent sized package, so I thought that my year’s of touring while in my DIY bands could serve to help the guys with a lot of their “firsts.” Now, looking back on it, I think that one tour served to help continue my touring career more so than any other tour I’ve done since.
What was (is your continued) motivation for wanting to start working for tour bands?
Among all the benefits of working with touring bands and continuously being on tour, I think that just being able to work within the industry with live acts serves as motivation in itself. I get to be a part of something that brings people joy and that is incredibly fulfilling. So many people tell me that they wish they could do what I do, but aren’t able to for whatever their reason may be and this is motivating as well. I’ve always loved being a part of a team, so touring was a natural progression for me. I get to work with some incredibly talented people (band members and crew included) to create successful tours, club or festival. For the time being, it’s the best job I could have hoped for.
While growing up were you involved in your local music scene? If so, how did you get involved?
I always played in as many bands as I could and always tried to make as many friends possible in the ‘local scene.’ For many of us, it’s our first taste of what it’s like to be in a band and personally, I ate up as much of it as I could. I grew up in the northern suburbs of LA, playing any sized club or venue that I could get my band in.
If you could recommend one piece of advice (“trick of the trade”) to current or aspiring crew members, what would it be?
I think that it’s important to always try to see the positive in what you’re doing. If things begin to get tough, take a step back and remember why it is you’re there, because a lot of the time touring can be a dark and daunting time for crew. Stay focused and don’t be afraid to take time to yourself. I like to sit in the seats of the larger venues/arenas during the show to remind myself what it’s like to be a fan again. It helps rejuvenate my love of live music.
(photo credit: Karsyn Taelyr)