Reality TV Show Warped Roadies Sweats it Out in Phoenix Tonight
What's a day in the life of a Warped Tour roadie like?
I don't know that I have any sort of clever one liner for it. It's definitely a challenge, our job doesn't stop whether it's hot or cold. Our job doesn't stop if it's raining, it just changes, [and] sort of evolves. If we're not able to function, there's nobody else to do it for us. We are a family and we can band together and help each other, but if I'm not able to do my job, then that just means that somebody else has to do my job on top of their job. There's not another person who can just pop in and do my job and sub in. That's just not how that works. We all know that it's pretty important to make sure that we can do those things.
That means taking care of yourself, and if that means taking a break and going to cool down and drink a ton of water, then that's what you've gotta do. It's about being really, really mindful because if you're not paying attention and you are careless, then you could potentially get really sick, and if that happens to you, that's your own fault, then it's one of your friends that has to clean up whatever mess you create. Whatever you can't do, it's one of your buddies that has to clean up your slack. We try really hard to avoid that.
How long is your day, typically?
I'm up at 6 and on the field at 7. The show goes down at 9. At the earliest, we leave at 10 p.m., so 16 or 15 hour days, pending. Sometimes longer.
What keeps you going after eight years?
It's a challenge but it's so much fun. It's really hard work but it's totally worth it. We really do genuinely enjoy our jobs and enjoy the end product of what we create. I think it's like anything else, just have to weigh the good with the bad and at the end of the day, the good is so much better than the bad.
That being said, I think there's a certain level of crazy that you have to have because I don't think everyone is cut out to live on a bus and work 15 hour days in the loud and the hot and the rain and all of the other elements. I know a lot of people who I talk to about this and they tell me, 'you're crazy, I could never do that.' I think whether you can or can't is sort of a personal choice and I think if need be, everybody can, but you have to want to. If you don't want to, then there's just no point, but we want to because we like it.
When you weigh the good and the bad, what are some of the worst aspects of your job?
You get exhausted, you don't have the creature comforts that you're used to. Your schedule gets completely turned around, but you just adjust and get used to a new schedule and new creature comforts, it's amazing how excited you'll get when you see a Walmart, just to go into society and read a magazine, you're like, 'oooh, so exciting!' I don't watch TV for two months while I'm out there, I usually watch a fair amount of TV.
There's this weird sense of disconnection from the rest of the world and you kind of have to try to pay attention to what's going on out there, otherwise, you kind of live in this little bubble that tends to get separated from the real world. There's not a whole lot that's really bad as far as I'm concerned. I happen to like the crazy schedules and intense situations. I grew up with four brothers, so living on a bus with stinky boys doesn't really bother me. It's all personal choice and personal preference, I suppose.
What do you do between tours?
I work for the company full time. I'm currently sitting at my desk working on a proposal for a new sponsorship for Warped Tour.
So it's Warped 24/7, huh?
Our company also owns a festival called the Mayhem Festival, I manage that as well.
Why do you guys continue running the festival outside in the middle of the summer?
It's a festival tour. Physically speaking, this footprint would not fit indoors at any physical structure, nothing is big enough to hold us. There's no basketball arena or hockey arena or football stadium that's big enough to put all of our festival inside of it and accommodate all of the fans. It just wouldn't work.
Our average fan is 17 years old, so you have to assume that they're in school, so the summer time is the only time that they're available to come out all day on a Tuesday and enjoy music. So, summer time it is.
Why do you guys change the set times daily?
Kevin [Lyman, creator of Warped Tour] says that he started it because when he was stage managing Lollapalooza, he got really tired of seeing bands that were scheduled to open every day play to empty houses because people would decide, 'well I'm not going to come early because I don't care about seeing anybody but the headliner.' He thought that was stupid, 'so how about I change things up and you don't know when people are going to play, so you just have to get here early.'
I think it's also the great equalizer. All of the bands, big or small, you don't know if Paramore is going to play first or if I See Stars is going to play first. It could go either way and either one of them could close as well. It's intended to sort of be an arbitrary equalizer as far as Kevin is concerned.