By Chris Lose
Las Vegas based Doug Eder has been a dirtball roadie (his own term) for over thirty years. He has worked as a lighting designer on several shows but prefers the knuckle busting positions of master electrician, lighting crew chief and dimmer tech. He is a pleasure to work with and an artisan in his own time. He is also an Ordained Dudeist Priest in the Church of the Latter Day Dude. He enjoys cooking, eating and sharing his experiences with others. He has started a website dedicated to sharing his culinary roadie delights. You can check out the best roadie libation spots at www.dougiesguide.com.
Eder has an entire manifesto on his phone of some of the best roadie stories that I have ever heard. Some I can print, but most I can’t. You will have to discover him on Facebook to get the truly titillating ones. Here are twelve hundred words worth of the best stories that I could get out of him over a beer.
- What major acts have you worked with and in what capacity?
A lot of the good ones, most of the shitty ones, and several I cant remember. I started out as a lighting designer, and achieved a highly mediocre career in that position before working my way back down to being a dimmer guy, Master electrician, and purveyor of solutions new and used.
- Can you tell me your top two tips for inexperienced roadies?
#1. Ditch the ego man, I have found that it doesn’t matter who’s idea is better, it just matters what makes the day easier and the finished product better. I have had a totally green and annoying stagehand tell me that I was doing something the wrong way because the guy he was working with last week did it different and ended up finding a better way to do something.
#2. It’s not lazy if it’s efficient! There is nothing worse than watching a bunch of young bucks beat themselves up frantically flailing around trying to get something done under pressure. Sometimes even when houselights are minutes away, it is better to communicate for a second, come up with the most efficient plan of action and calmly put that plan into effect. Laziness has caused me to find multitudes of easier and better ways to do things.
- Please tell me your worst story that came from living on a bus.
It wasn’t the worst for me but it wasn’t the best for my bus mates. On Aerosmith, back in the 90’s, I kept having this recurring nightmare that the bus driver had driven the bus into a river. Being a true friend and road buddy I would immediately start yelling and screaming to wake up everyone on the bus. Alas, my valiant attempts at heroics were not very well received by my sleeping bus mates.
- I would like to hear your best after show party story.
Most of them are protected by Non-Disclosure agreements. However, I remember working for an 80’s metal hair band back in the day. The running joke on the tour was we should be giving away tickets and selling backstage passes due to the inordinate amount of groupies all hanging out on the stage getting in our way during load out. One night I was trying to pull a cable and this groupie was standing on it. I was yanking so hard her whole body would move, however, she was too lost in staring at the bands closed dressing room door to notice. She finally notices, turns around and flashes her mammalian protuberances to which I promptly reply, “Nice tits, get off my cable”. The dejected look on her face was priceless. I think there are a few shirts with that phrase from that tour still floating about.
- What is the funniest thing that has ever happened during load in?
There was a young guy I used to tour with who used to get super amped up for load in. One night as the band was coming onstage, in full changeover mode, he comes running full tilt across the upstage and runs head first into a concrete pillar thereby knocking himself out cold. (Of course it was only funny after we knew he was okay).
- What is the saddest thing that ever happened during load out?
Firstly, the many people I have had to see go away in an ambulance. Secondly, the several times I have seen all of the local crew walk off because the promoter hired a bunch of kids who had no idea the kind work they were in for. They weren’t being paid enough and had no incentive to stay for load out. Nothing tops a long hard day like loading trucks by yourself. (Except for the inevitable one slice of cold pizza the video guys left on the bus).
- What is the biggest logistical nightmare of a show that you have ever worked on?
We brought a big moving truss and par can rig into a venue in Berlin once. That wasn’t much fun. It’s an old amphitheater where Hitler used to give speeches. It’s a crazy place. He had zigzagging tunnels built into the hills behind it to escape; the zigzags were there so you couldn’t get a shot at him running away. Nothing like the joys of hanging a rig in a historically significant site in the woods where you can’t leave a footprint to add some fun to your day.
- What was the smoothest production you ever loaded in and why did it go so well?
The smoothest production I worked on was Cirque Du Soleils’ “Delirium”. It was Cirque’s first arena show and we had a rig/stage that ran end to end the long way center ice in arenas. It’s pretty tough to hang a rig like that in a lot of Arenas that were designed with a grid only at one end. It was a really odd show to install but we had it down to a pretty well oiled machine. That was the best crew I ever worked with.
- What was your most exotic bus stock food?
Pickled pigs’ feet and Turkey Gizzards.
- Have you ever missed bus call because of an interesting ordeal?
One time in Helsinki Finland, I met these three backpacker girls from Lapland. They couldn’t find a hostel for the night so they stayed in my room. Let’s just say that when I was late for bus call the next morning, I snapped a photo of the three of them sleeping in my bed. Everyone got over being mad pretty quickly and proclaimed me “King of Finland”.
- Would you like to mention anyone that has influenced the way that you view touring positively?
Malcolm Weldon hands down. Top man he is!
- Would you like to mention anyone that has influenced the way that you view touring negatively?
Bad stagehands. We need more skilled, well-paid, pleasant and talented people out there or bad things are going to happen.
To discover where roadie connoisseurs eat, please visit www.dougiesguide.com