It was that part of load-in where all the truss is hanging, the set put together, and the crew is kind of looking for things to do before they get cut for the afternoon. Me and Jumbo are standing stage right by dimmer beach, while the sound check starts. A guitar tech is adjusting an amp and picking some twangy licks on a telecaster.
“His wife is hot, too” Jumbo says under his breath. I’m puzzled, I look around, “you mean the guitar tech?” I ask. “That’s Brad Paisley” he tells me, “his wife is on that show.” I know what show he’s talking about, but have never heard of Brad Paisley. “Oh” is about all I can think of to say.
We get cut for the afternoon, and I go through the ritual of going home and alternately napping and checking my watch before heading back to the venue for load out. Now, the guys I work with are mostly into metal, so when I hear them talking about how Brad Paisley kicked ass on guitar that night, I knew I’d missed something. These guys see a lot of shows, and glowing reviews are the exception, to put it kindly.
So their opinion carries a little weight with me, and I probably already had a more favourable opinion from that alone.
Now, I don’t know how it is in other places, but in New Mexico, a stage hand isn’t a particularly high-paying or glamourous job. Most of the guys do it for the love of putting on a big show, and the folks I work with put a lot of heart into it. At the end of most big shows, the local crew gets a crew t-shirt with the act’s name on it. Sometimes they’re just confiscated bootleg concert shirts from a previous concert, sometimes they’re t-shirts with the name of the act and “Local Crew” on them. So the t-shirts are a sort of unspoken token of appreciation from the band, and depending on the shirt, they can be a badge of honour. Some shirts carry a degree of respect, other shirts get worn on days when you know you’re going to be doing dirty work.
So I probably would’ve been a Brad Paisley fan anyway. But here’s the thing. Out of all of the crew shirts I’ve ever gotten, there has only been one artist who had the words LOCAL CREW in the largest font on the shirt. You know what? That says something to me. Maybe it is just the little things, but that stands out to me.
Moral of the story? I dunno. Treat people like they’re something special, and they’ll have a more favorable opinion of you, or something, I guess.