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The Sad Song Co: Blog

Nigel Powell: Attack the Blog!


The Crew's Ship

Thursday 25th July, 2013

Just got a little while in the middle of the night before we leave for Heathrow to start another tour. Although they never stop. It's one continuous tour.

But I was having some thoughts about work and working and who does what. I've been both sides of the touring fence multiple times - being crew and being the 'artist'. And it's a strange co-existence that the two sides inhabit.

When it comes down to it the crew are the people who are actually working on the road. I don't know of any sane musicians who would argue. Their hours are longer, their tasks are more arduous, and they don't get the high-pitched adulation that the band gets. I used to love being crew, particularly lighting. On a tour, only the caterers have longer hours. Lighting are in first and out last, and on a couple of tours I did there was hardly any break between those two things.

The band, by contrast, do little in terms of hours. A hour, maybe 90 minutes soundchecking during the afternoon. Another 90 minutes or a little more playing in the evening. It's not so hard. But at the same time none of the crew's work would be happening were it not for the 'artist' and their endeavours. Some crew people do end up bitter or envious of band members, but everyone's relying on each other for the betterment of the show.

And in many cases you'll find band members who are not coasting their way through things. FT busies himself deeply throughout any day. If he's not doing externally mandated activities (radio sessions, press interviews, TV appearances organised by the record label) then he's working through his day's mountain of email, both keeping an eye on business affairs and personally replying to every fan or otherwise person who wants to write to him. Tarrant and Ben have both also worked the other side of the fence (Tarrant has been a tour manager and FOH engineer of some repute in the past, and Ben has more than once earned a crust as a guitar tech) so they are also wont to roll some sleeves up and make sure stuff is being done - in Ben's case looking after his gear lovingly (and somewhat anally, to be sure), for Tarrant remotely managing his band van hire business hoovers up more time than he strictly has available.

So what's my point? There isn't one. Lame. But it's 2 am and I wanted to be in bed and asleep two hours ago and I'm not going to see a bed for another 26 hours so no there's no point and what are you going to do about it?


Becki, Fri 26th July 2013, 05:48:24 PM
Nigel,
I have spent more than enough time as Crew in my life as well as being a qualified pyrotechnican, I know more of my fair share of not being recognised after a show. I respect, more than most people, the things that go on back of house. As well as this, I really wish I could meet some of them, despite their busy schedules, to thank them for all the hard work they put in. I get to meet the bands - I don't get to meet the people who make it all tick. Don't get me wrong - I'm hugely grateful that I get to see the shows and meet the bands - I'd just like to thank more people because I know how much it meant to me.

Hope to see you at a show soon :)
Becki x
 
Leah, Thu 25th July 2013, 03:23:25 AM
Don't know if it helps at all, but as a fan, I see some of the work you do; setting up before, during bands, and after the show. When you're on stage you and there are no drums in a moment in a song, you're bouncing around, clapping, shaking a tambourine, or perhaps jumping up on speakers (careful with that, by the way). You always show an extreme presence and much character that inspires the crowd (or at least me). I admire that about you. You're probably exhausted all the time, but you never show it. As I was lucky enough to get to tell you one before, you are my favorite :). And I greatly look forward to seeing you be awesome one again in a few weeks. Best wishes.
 
Bella, Thu 25th July 2013, 02:28:04 AM
Nigel,

I have seen all of you crew at your own gigs, even the larger ones, you guys always seem to be involved. It is just one of the many things I love about you guys - that you know so many aspects of your work and do all of them really, really well!

Don't under estimate yourself, or your skills :-)

I wonder sometimes if you are so used to what you do that don't think of all of it as "work"?

I hope you get some useful sleep. Take care of yourself.

Bella
x
 
Bella, Thu 25th July 2013, 02:16:27 AM
Nigel,

I have seen all of you crew at your own gigs, even the larger ones, you guys always seem to be involved. It is just one of the many things I love about you guys - that you know so many aspects of your work and do all of them really, really well!

Don't under estimate yourself, or your skills :-)

I wonder sometimes if you are so used to what you do that don't think of all of it as "work"?

I hope you get some useful sleep. Take care of yourself.

Bella
x
 

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