Look! It’s Chris!
Let’s run down the list, shall we? I saw Springsteen in Chicago, Albert King in Columbus, the Rolling Stones in Cleveland, Warren Zevon in…umm, Columbus, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta and finally Fort Wayne. Saw the Grateful Dead here and there. Saw Jethro Tull, Yes, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Talking Heads and Elton John when he could still blow the roof off the joint. Um, who else? Too many to recall them all. Saw Linda Ronstadt in Los Angeles, Jimmy Cliff in New York. My very first concert: Grand Funk Railroad, in Columbus, c. 1970 or so, on their “Closer to Home” tour. Alan’s was the James Gang and Brownsville Station, somewhere up in northwest Ohio. My friend Terry tells an I’m-so-old story, about going to Ohio University to see somebody like Sergio Mendez and Brazil ’66 and instead being told there was a last-minute substitution: “A new band we hope you’ll like — Led Zeppelin.”
Best ever: James Brown in Columbus, at a low point in his career in the early ’80s, before “Living in America” and the royalties from all those “I Feel Good” Huggies commercials. He played two shows, rocked the house off its foundations and lived up to his nickname.
Over all those shows and all those years, there’s one place that I would have sworn you’d never, ever see me: Standing in the midst of a bunch of 8-year-old girls and their chubby mothers, all wearing identical “soul patrol” T-shirts, waiting to see the luckiest prematurely gray man in America massacre “Jailhouse Rock.”
Yes, it was “Idols on Tour.” The things we do for our children.
Actually, it wasn’t a wasted evening. I was happy to accompany Kate to her first concert. My parents didn’t take me to mine. My friend’s dad dropped us off and picked us up at St. John Arena. That was when the concept of a parent attending a young person’s entertainment was considered an insult to adulthood. Adulthood was more fun then, as was adolescence. (As were concerts.) Now it’s all packaged and sold to the widest possible demographic slice. Kate likes to listen to Radio Disney in the car, and I’m constantly pointing out how many of the top hits are old songs covered by Disneyfied pop singers — ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Cheetah Girls’ version of “Shake a Tailfeather.” Backbeat provided by the muffled thumping of Ray Charles, spinning in his grave.
Same with “American Idol,” the repackaging of once-great hits by instantly forgettable artists that somehow, perversely, makes great entertainment. The show last night opened with the TV show’s opening theme and graphics on the Jumbotrons, which set the little girls to screaming. It’s their favorite show, only it’s happening right in front of them! It’s like they’re in the Kodak Theater in Hollywood with all the lucky stars’ daughters who get on TV!
Well, not exactly. The first person you miss is Simon Cowell. The next one you miss is Ryan Seacrest. The show desperately needs a unifying force, an M.C., someone to guide these innocent lambikins through the jungle of an arena-size rock show, because the biggest thing these folks lack is not talent but scale. They really are just like us, in all senses of the word. Standing on that big stage in the cavernous Joe Louis Arena, they were the opposite of Lawrence Olivier. You’ve probably heard how Sir Larry had trouble dialing down his stage technique for the movies, where the big expressions and gestures you need in the theater just translate as hamminess. Katharine McPhee is a beautiful girl, but she needs TV to tell us so. Stripped of multiple camera angles, she’s just a wan little figure in black, sitting — always sitting, with this girl! — on top of the walkway, singing that black-horse-in-a-cherry-tree song.
You know who has a clue? Kellie Pickler, of all people. She made jokes about how much her life has changed from a year ago, when she was “rollerskatin’ burgers around Sonic” and now look at her — a new haircut and a red bustier. But even she needed help, and I offer it now: Kellie, just because the song has “walking” in the title doesn’t mean the best way to illustrate it is to walk around the stage. Patsy Cline is not amused.
Some were revealed as empty balloons. Yes, Bucky Covington, I’m talking about you, or at least the near-inaudible version of “singing” you’re collecting a paycheck for. Others got the strange-new-respect award. Chris Daughtry, for all his pouting over not winning, will be the only one with a career in five years, except maybe Elliott Yamin, who will earn a living the rest of his life as a lounge-type wedding singer, or singing jingles or doing that sort of mid-level, out-of-the-spotlight work that fills Nashville subdivisions with respectable working musicians. Ace is ready to go back to lifeguarding, or whatever it is he does. Paris will be singing contemporary Christian music in megachurches. Lisa Tucker can continue in the road company of “The Lion King,” or wherever they found her.
By the time Taylor Hicks made his entrance, through the middle of the house — I shit you not — so we could watch him fight off the clawing hands of the Soul Patrol, I was ready to be rocked. I wasn’t. He, too, was well-nigh inaudible, although it’s hard to sing when you’re doing all that spaz-dancing he’s so famous for. I only hated him briefly, when he dedicated that ghastly “Do I Make You Proud” song to “all the troops.” Well that’s pretty damn cheeky, don’t you think? Asking soldiers getting their butts shot off for affirmation? “Do I make you proud, sergeant?” Yes, that’s why we’re fighting: Truth, justice, Big Oil and American Idol. Give me a break.
But the show had many moments. Paris and Lisa did a nice duet on “Waterfalls,” the TLC song with the nonsensical chorus. Chris did “Whole Lotta Love” and managed to not disgrace himself. The evening passed in a pleasant blur of singalongs and exhortations to scream.
But there was this: I lost count of all the Motown songs we heard, and no one even mentioned their birthplace. It was up to Taylor to finally make the connection, and it came, God help me, when he was introducing “Hollywood Nights,” “by a guy who’s from here, Bob Seger.” Good lord. Would it have killed the showrunner to jot it down on an index card for Paris or Lisa to memorize? “It’s my pleasure to sing this Stevie Wonder song in the city that gave him to us?” Huh? Maybe I’m too sensitive. By the time the finale came — “Living in America,” what else? — I’d forgotten the slight and was just thinking about beating the traffic home.
Danny said on August 17, 2006 at 11:46 am
…I give you the Cheetah Girls’ version of “Shake a Tailfeather.�? Backbeat provided by the muffled thumping of Ray Charles, spinning in his grave.
Kellie, just because the song has “walking�? in the title doesn’t mean the best way to illustrate it is to walk around the stage. Patsy Cline is not amused.
Chris did “Whole Lotta Love�? and managed to not disgrace himself.
Robert Plant is not amused. And neither am I.
Connie said on August 17, 2006 at 11:50 am
My first was the Cowsills in Grand Rapids, accompanied by my Dad. Not so long ago (OK, the 80s), several of my friends found themselves accompanying their daughters to New Kids on the Block concerts. IF I had the choice between that and Idol, Idol would definitely win. Yes, the things we do for our children. Mine leaves for Butler U in 2 days.
Danny said on August 17, 2006 at 11:50 am
Wait a second. Just one damn minute. Did this Chris guy plaintively moan how he was going to give the pre-pubescent audience “every inch of his love?” I really, really, really hope not.
MarkH said on August 17, 2006 at 12:01 pm
Nice entry, Nance. You’ve certainly captured the lameness that is “Idol” when not watching it through the tube. All (or most) of my suspicions have been confirmed.
Briefly off-topic and back to a previous post, thanks for the nod to Chris Cooper; been one of my faves, too, for years. He’s one of those actors who, without any ballyhoo, shows up in terrific pictures and makes them work. His John Sayles films are my favorites: “Lone Star”, “Silver City”, and especially his first one, “Matewan” (1987), all worth renting. If you want a nice take on how we elect stupid people, “Silver City” is worth the time.
nancy said on August 17, 2006 at 12:04 pm
I, too, was listening for that line, Danny, and I believe it was cut. Most of the Idol songs drop a verse or two for the sake of brevity, and that line has a great big target on it.
mary said on August 17, 2006 at 12:18 pm
I got my son backstage passes for Elvis Costello when he was 14. He brought an 18 year old girl with him. Then he saw the Allman Bros alone, and commented on all the old farts smoking herb in the audience. He saw B.B. King last year, and last Sunday he saw Ziggy Marley, Ozomatli, Bunny Wailer and Steven Marley at the Hollywood Bowl. He like that one a lot. When I was his age I was taking the bus or train into NYC to see Jethro Tull or Frank Zappa at the Fillmore East, Sly and the Family Stone at a crappy stadium in NJ, and the Who in Philadelphia.
Dorothy said on August 17, 2006 at 12:31 pm
My daughter went to see Kelly Clarkson for the second time with my youngest sister (their respective ages are 23 and 42). They really had a great time. Kelly did that magic appearance-in-the-middle-of-the-audience thing about three quarters of the way thru the show, and she popped up right in front of them. They about had coniptions, they tell me. I think she’s the only Idol winner who will ever really amount to anything.
My daughter also went to Asheville NC two weeks ago to see Tom Waits. Another fabulous evening so she says. Are there any Waits fans out there in Nancyland?
ellen t said on August 17, 2006 at 1:38 pm
My kids, ages 3 and 6, couldn’t care less about American Idol, but they are “must-see” viewers of “Rockstar Supernova.” This summer they also discovered Queen and the Greatest Hits CD is getting as much play in the minivan as “High School Musical.”
Emma said on August 17, 2006 at 1:44 pm
First concert: The Monkees (with Herman’s Hermits). It was 1989!! Oh, the shame.
mary said on August 17, 2006 at 1:59 pm
When my kids were in th 3 to 6 range they loved the Beatles (especially Abbey Road) and a group called Riders in the Sky. I made a cassette that had various songs on it for the car as well. ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky was on there, and La Bamba by Los Lobos, Lively Up Yourself by Bob Marley and I Feel Good by James Brown were hits with them then, too. When some idiot broke into my old car and took the radio about six years ago, they took my cassette.
Danny said on August 17, 2006 at 2:05 pm
Emma, the Monkees in 1989? Wow.
I remember hearing an interview with Micky Dolenz a few years back. He was commenting on how Hendrix was opening for them in the beginning and how he and the other guys would sneak out of their dressing rooms to hear him play. They were blown away by Jimi’s playing and knew that he would not be opening for them for long.
ellen t said on August 17, 2006 at 2:06 pm
Mary, I can only aspire to be the kind of mom who cuts her kids’ musical teeth on ELO and the Beatles and then gets her 14-year-old backstage at Elvis Costello. Hope your kids appreciate you!
Connie said on August 17, 2006 at 2:41 pm
Mary, I love Riders in the Sky, noticed they performed at Interlochen this summer. Their Christmas album is a long time favorite. And as for the Monkeys, and Herman’s Hermits (and Paul Revere and the Raiders) I still have all my jr high era albums in a box in the basement.
Dorothy said on August 17, 2006 at 3:52 pm
Mary you mentioning La Bamba brings a big smile to my face. In the car one time, the Ritchie Valens version came on the oldies station I was listening to. My son, who was around 5 or 6, said “Mummy, I know what this song is about! It’s about somebody’s bum!!”
Jason said on August 17, 2006 at 4:03 pm
Point of order, Madam Speaker: “Shake a Tail Feather” was a hit for The Five Dutones, and James and Bobby Purify (“I’m Your Puppet”), but I don’t think Brother Ray had a hit with it … though he did (memorably) perform it in “The Blues Brothers” movie.
Nevertheless, yes, the Genius is spinning in his grave. I got bounced from my first radio gig when the Mouse took over the station, and listening to Radio Disney still makes my teeth hurt.
brian stouder said on August 17, 2006 at 4:03 pm
Gotta love Wooly Bully
maybe tomorrow we can have a digression about the JonBenet thing. A story that is a definitive ‘wreck on the highway’-makes-you-look kinda thing
mary said on August 17, 2006 at 4:12 pm
Ellen, I made the cassette because I had to listen to it too. In the car there’s no escape from the kid music. There are lots of things that work for kids that also work for adults.
mary said on August 17, 2006 at 4:28 pm
I figure this will give Nancy Grace, Rita Cosby, Greta Van Susteren….all those blondes with heavy lip gloss……something to talk about. There haven’t been any disappearing middle class women lately.
brian stouder said on August 17, 2006 at 4:38 pm
Mary – agreed. The cable-TV courthouse gadflies (the industry that OJ built – or at least modernized) have another gusher.
But indeed, isn’t the JonBenet case both terrible and fascinating?
Fascinating because the Ramseys are genuinely ODD people; putting their little daughter into all those (essentially creepy) kiddy-beauty queen contests, and then in the way they immediately hired a team of lawyers and public relations flaks and so on, at the outset of the investigation of their daughter’s murder in their home.
The investigation itself seems to have been one huge botch; almost as if the oddball parents and the incompetent police were in a head-to-head contest to see who could make the most crucial mistakes, and create the biggest and most consequential misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
And then, against all odds, and despite the best efforts of all involved to obliterate the trail to the “real killer”, ten years later this horrible train wreck of a human being comes before us – and might turn out to indeed BE “the real killer”.
By way of saying, the older I get, the less I “know”
(what’s the saying? – something like “In our 20’s we view the world from the hilltops of our preconceptions; in our 40’s, we view it from the caves of our preconceptions”…)
nancy said on August 17, 2006 at 5:00 pm
Jason brings up a quibble, and ends up making a point:
Point of order, Madam Speaker: “Shake a Tail Feather�? was a hit for The Five Dutones, and James and Bobby Purify (�?I’m Your Puppet�?), but I don’t think Brother Ray had a hit with it … though he did (memorably) perform it in “The Blues Brothers�? movie.
And, as I recall, “Whole Lotta Love,” while technically original to Led Zeppelin, is a reworking of a Willie Dixon tune. As is much of the early Zep stuff; Plant & Page, Lennon & McCartney, Eric Clapton and many, many others are on record as devotees of Delta blues music, and its influence on them ranged from a whispering in the ear to full-bore remakes. Cream’s “Crossroads” was written by Robert Johnson, but sounds nothing like his recording. What does that make it? Homage, reimagining or ripoff? (“None of the above” is an acceptable answer.)
So, you might ask, what’s the problem with Chris Daughtry trying on “Whole Lotta Love,” or the Cheetah Girls covering “Shake a Tailfeather,” then? Nothing, at least in theory. If the Cheetahs make Kate appreciate a great old soul song, maybe someday she’ll find her way to the originals. Warren Zevon loved it when other artists covered his songs; it’s interesting to see how other people take the same music and lyrics and elaborate on them. If you really want to get postmodern about it, you could argue that nothing we put out in the world belongs to us once we expose it to others. Is “Born to Run” Springsteen’s song, or yours and your high-school girlfriend’s?
I guess what bugs me about Idol is, the remakes aren’t really remakes. For all that Paula burbles about “making the song your own,” her standards must be pretty low. I was impressed by Katharine McPhee’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” because it was so different from Judy Garland’s version, until I read that she was basically imitating some jazz singer’s own cover, which I’d not heard before. But, of course, to really take a song apart and put it back together in your own way requires creativity, freedom, support and all the other things that “American Idol” doesn’t select for.
And please, let’s not go all JonBenet in the comments here. Let’s start with a new post tomorrow, after more is revealed.
mary said on August 17, 2006 at 5:04 pm
The Ramseys are weird and all that footage of JonBenet slinking around in sexy clothes, making suggestive movements and gestures is beyond creepy. Only two days before she was killed I saw a documentary about kiddie beauty pageants on cable. It was very disturbing. It’s one of those things I just completely don’t get. Why sexualize tiny little girls? Makeup, bleached hair, little hooker outfits. Bleah. Something is seriously wrong.
mary said on August 17, 2006 at 5:18 pm
Sorry for the jonbenet posting. I wasn’t being disobedient, I was just typing the same time you were. Make it disappear if you like.
brian stouder said on August 17, 2006 at 5:18 pm
you could argue that nothing we put out in the world belongs to us once we expose it to others. Is “Born to Run�? Springsteen’s song, or yours and your high-school girlfriend’s?
Eddie Vedder reiterates that point quite often; I think it is the truth. With regard to music – even (maybe especially) pop music- it is where the power resides
nancy said on August 17, 2006 at 5:21 pm
No need to apologize, Mary. One reason I haven’t said anything yet today is, I just don’t trust the way events are unfolding — an ex-wife gives her pedophile ex an alibi?!? — and thought this might be a good time to practice keeping my mouth shut FOR A CHANGE. Tomorrow we’ll see what happens.
brian stouder said on August 17, 2006 at 5:21 pm
I wasn’t being disobedient, I was just typing the same time you were. Make it disappear if you like.
what Mary said (although I don’t have the benefit of her explanation!)
mary said on August 17, 2006 at 5:55 pm
I have to tell you that your Chris Daughtry photo reminds me of one my ex took in St. Peter’s Basilica. He was on a familiarization trip with a group of travel agents, and they got into Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at the Vatican. They were in the very back, and the pope was officiating. The ex took a photo. It was mostly dark, with some candles, and a tiny dot in the distance. I asked him what the photo was, and he said, it was the pope. We framed and answered that quetion many times.
Danny said on August 17, 2006 at 6:18 pm
Nancy, you are right about the Delta blues influence on Zep and I’ve had similar thoughts about creativity or lack thereof; the current state of the music industry, in my opinion. I’ve heard it said that somewhere along the line there was a paradigm shift. People who used to run the music business were largely music lovers. Today, they are accountants and CEO’s who are trying to find the next (disposable) big thing via means of formulae.
This is why I have never had a desire to watch American Idol. I just don’t care for that. At all.
In today’s environment, I doubt most of the music we cherish would be made. Anyone have thoughts or disagreements? My wife disagrees with these sentiments.
Scout said on August 17, 2006 at 6:59 pm
I have never watched Idol, but got hooked on So You Think You Can Dance. The performers are true quality even if the hokiness factor of the judging has to be ever present in these things. Anyhoo, the top 10 dancers are doing a tour and I just found out that to see them in my city I must shell out $45.50 per ticket. I think I’ll be passing on that.
Kim said on August 17, 2006 at 9:19 pm
Yoo-hooo, Dorothy! I love Tom Waits. Closing Time is one of my desert island records/discs and, to stay a wee bit on topic here, it has the original version of Ol’ 55, a tune the Eagles made (more) famous. Just based on the iPod soundtracks to life she’s shared here, I would be shocked if Nancy doesn’t have some Tom.
Nance said on August 17, 2006 at 9:22 pm
On my iPod:
Pasties and a G-String
In my greater collection: “Closing Time,” “Small Change” and my all-time favorite, the soundtrack from the otherwise worthless “One From the Heart” — all duets with Crystal Gayle.
Dorothy said on August 17, 2006 at 9:29 pm
Pasties and a G-String – I’m guessing that’s not a reference to the pastry concoctions we discussed a few days ago??
I don’t really know Tom’s music, Kim, but when we get together with our kids in a few weeks for a week at the beach, Laura is going to bring some of his music. So maybe by the end of the week I’ll be a Waits convert!
Jeff said on August 17, 2006 at 9:47 pm
A quick vote for John Prine and Taj Mahal while my eight year old “rocks” to America’s Got Nerve (he’s their core demographic, i believe).
From a law enforcement/offender treatment perspective — this guy in Thailand has studied the JonBenet case for so long he could simulate & triangulate insider knowledge, but he is a *CLASSIC* wannabe, and trust me, you really don’t want to understand the mindset. When he says not that he killed her, but that he was “there” when she died, you’re hearing ten years of him vividly imagining he was there, and may even believe it in a sad, sick way. We don’t have the killer, folks, even if we have a guy who needs incarceration and treatment — and at least he isn’t teaching second grade one day longer.
Kim said on August 17, 2006 at 9:58 pm
Ha! I so love to be right about the small things. Thanks, Nancy. And Dorothy, the pasties are the long a type; the others would be too messy with what Mr. Waits had in mind. Also from that song: a line the Stones nicked in “Start Me Up,” the one about what the girl du jour can make a dead man do. Tell your daughter you need Closing Time. It’s perfect cocktail hour music, and if your beach accommodations face soundside (presuming this is OBX-style) I’d suggest parking yourselves there for the listen as the sun slides behind NC.
brian stouder said on August 17, 2006 at 10:37 pm
another little digression –
Appropos of nothing – the crush of Thai reporters, and the oddball looking fellow with the close-cropped hair, and the tucked in short sleeved shirt with collar, and the shifty eyes was reminding me of something, and then it hit me. It all seems like a fun-house mirror version of the Dallas police station in 1963!
But this time, the Patsy is already dead, and the shirt-sleeved guy may really NOT be involved, even as he proclaims his guilt!
(OK – I know we’re not supposed to kick this around yet….so shoot me!)
basset said on August 17, 2006 at 10:54 pm
First concert… Jerry Lee Lewis at the high school gym in Washington, Indiana.
Interest in JonBenet and any of the “Idol” permutations… nil.
mary said on August 18, 2006 at 10:53 am
Old 55 has always been a fave here. Good line from Pasties and a G-String: “…harder than Chinese algebra.”
John said on August 18, 2006 at 10:53 am
First concert – The Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden, Tina Turner opening act. Camped out overnight for tickets, and they were done on a lottery basis, ended up 6th row center. Woo Hoo!!! I was in 8th grade. Took a girl I was pals with from school who was a Stones maniac. She had a reputation for being easy that failed to deliver that night. My neighbor across the street was a shop steward in the stagehands union at the Garden so he took us in, and drove us home.
At the time Mick had just turned 40 (GASP!!!) and the media was wondering when he’d retire and if he could still entertain. The show rocked. That was 1981.
MichaelG said on August 18, 2006 at 1:03 pm
I know I’m late but you know it’s rough when your daughter takes your grandson to a Wiggles “concert”. By the way, Willie Nelson has a GREAT cover of “Over the Rainbow”.
brian stouder said on August 18, 2006 at 1:15 pm
The Wiggles look like gay British Trekkies; but if the Doodle Bops ever book a concert within 250 miles of here, we are THERE!!
mary said on August 18, 2006 at 4:50 pm
I just could never do stuff like “The Wiggles.” They didn’t exist when my kids were really small, but there were lots of other acts like them. We did go see Riders in the Sky about five times, since they usually played inexpensive kid friendly venues like McCabes guitar shop. Woody Paul the violinist in the group started recognizing us after a while. We also used to go to “family” events at Cal Tech which were great. There were Chinese acrobats and guys who juggled toilet paper with high power fans blowing on them. Cal Tech still does these things about six times a year. Cal Tech was always a great trip, because the campus is lovely, the theatre is good, and the tickets were usually in the six to eight dollar range.
MichaelG said on August 18, 2006 at 5:39 pm
Yeah, taking my daughter to a concert (I forget who was playing, now) at the Greek Theater in Berkeley when suddenly she had to pee right now . . . well, I guess she was young enough that it didn’t really matter. These things can happen at an outdoor concert. There were no Wiggles when she was a kid but there were those dopey Ice Capades things for kids and the Lippanzzzzaner (who can spell it?) horses and stuff they used to have at the Oakland Coliseum. We lived in the City but ended up in the East Bay a lot.
mary said on August 18, 2006 at 6:11 pm
Shpeaking of Ice Capades: There was a touring company called “Disney on Ice.” I wasn’t even tempted to see it, but a lot of little girls liked it.
l was a soccer mom for a few years, and every year there was a big deal about naming the team. Often we ended up with a name that referenced something popular at that moment We were Men in Green the year the movie Men in Black came out. We had to make a banner and walk in the opening day parade carrying it. I was stuck with the job of lining up teams with banners before the parade started. There was a girls team, very sweet innocent girls, carrying a banner with a popular culture reference, adjusted for the playing field. The team was called “Disney on Grass.”
Dorothy said on August 20, 2006 at 9:11 am
I entered a contest once to win tickets to Disney on Ice when my kids were 2 and 4. I won 4 tickets, and part of the deal when you won was one of your kids got to go down on the ice and ride on a little trolley-type vehicle that was propelled across the ice by the skaters. My daughter got the honor since my son was too afraid to leave my arms. I love looking at that picture of her on the trolley because she was just so enraptured to be part of the show!
I must have been a boring mother cause I didn’t take my kids to many concerts. We won tickets (again) to a symphony show that featured songs from Star Wars, Star Trek, Close Encounters – you get the genre. Actually my son won the tickets by imitating Mr. Scott from Star Trek when he dialed into the radio station. Did a bang-up Scottish accent at the age of 10! And I did win brownie points with my daughter by getting tickets to a sold out Jonny Lang show around the time of her 14th birthday. I was glad I did. That kid can P-L-A-Y! (Blues guitarist in case you don’t know him). He’s 25 now, but he was 16 then!
mary said on August 21, 2006 at 12:24 pm
I have a couple of advantages when it comes to tickets. One is the ex is the guy who donates the hotel rooms for the prizes they hustle on our local NPR station. We several NPR stations in LA, but KCRW is the hip one, and the connections at KCRW are the guys who got me backstage passes for Elvis Costello. The other advantage I have is I know a few roadies. My best friend from childhood, Bill, was a roadie off and on for years, and he still knows lots of guys in the business. Bill doesn’t roadie anymore, but it got him through college and grad school.
He has a good website: