If you’ve ever wondered what you’ll find backstage, especially in the music business, mostly it’s sweaty guys and a deli tray. Sometimes you’ll find coolers of beer and strippers (David Lee Roth), sometimes it’s wine and chocolates (Rolling Stones), sometimes it’s incense and tapestries (both Alanis and Lenny Kravitz), sometimes it’s fast autographs and photo ops (Metallica), sometimes it’s an artist who has a special bodyguard for his hair (Billy Ray Cyrus), and sometimes it’s just the cinderblock walls underneath of a stadium to include a variety of sweaty guys and gals and their crews.
I’d always wondered what went on backstage. I had read stories about the gals who did all manner and sorts of things to gain coveted access, and to degree that does happen. What you also find are many many people doing their jobs as roadies, riggers, techs, drivers, security, managers, spouses, photographers, publicists, record promoters and even radio djs (like me) escorting lucky contest winners. One of my biggest joys has been to see dreams come true when fans get to meet their musical idols. It’s even a thrill to be the one to take their photo with an artist, knowing it’s a souvenir they will post and treasure always. It’s always wonderful when an artist treats fans as if they mean the world to them, often they do. It’s wonderful when you see an artist truly appreciate the ones who put them where they are by buying the music, concert tickets, and merch. Often, the musicians are fans themselves, fans of music, fans of fun, and fans of fans. More often than not, artists realize they are on the clock, working for their fans. Meet and greets are part of their job and most take it seriously, knowing they are part of a very special moment in someone’s life, creating a story they will tell forever.
Once in awhile you’ll over hear stories from fans who travel and follow bands from city to city. Fans who befriend crew members just to be invited into these inner sanctums. Fans who have stories to tell of all the bands they have met, simply by hanging around to wait for them to pass by. There are fans who bring a pile of record albums with hopes of getting them all signed. It makes you wonder things like: Do they work ? How do they get money to travel, and buy tickets? What do they do in the real world? Do they get depressed when the tour ends? Do bands think they are unbalanced? Are they really just fearless and brave enough to follow their dreams and work on that bucket list?
On stage is where the real magic happens. Where everyone gets to feel the music and passion of the band. Backstage it’s mostly sweaty guys and a deli tray.
Have you ever been backstage? Who have you met?
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