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The Roadie

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"A good roadie knows his whole job is to make someone else look good, keep someone else safe, help someone else do what they were put here to do. A good roadie stays out of the spotlight. If he's doing his job right, you don't even know he's there. Once in a while he might step on stage just to fix a problem, to set something right. But then before you even realize he was there or what he did, he's gone."
Eddie Riggs, Brütal Legend

The Rock Star is but a rock. With the help of the roadie, these rocks will be polished and shot through space and become the stars that they were meant to be.

The Roadie is an integral — yet sadly unappreciated — part of the rocking process. Roadies tune guitars, carry amps and speaker cabinets, replace lights, check mikes, bounce fence-hoppers, drive the bus with panache, cater band parties, market merchandise and holds the bass player's hair up as they vomit. The great onstage show does not just happen by accident after all.

Because of the various jobs roadies are know to do, they are usually portrayed as the "Hyper-Competent Sidekick" type, managing to fulfill every need no matter how grand. Older roadies are portrayed as sagely, veteran types, having been to every corner of the industry, toured the world, from Badass Biker bars to stadiums, tasted every drug, and known every legend. Rock stars who are facing Performance Anxiety from a big show value veteran roadies' years of experience and calmness under pressure. As well, experienced roadies always have An Aesop to impart.

Note that stage managers and roadies/stage crew are two different things and never should be confused.


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    Comic Books 
  • "Young" Neil Nordegraf from Scott Pilgrim is the roadie of the Power Trio band "Sex Bob-Omb", which also is the support bassist when Scott is out as well their Loony Fan Knives Chau.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Roadie stars Meat Loaf as a Gadgeteer Genius who becomes a roadie for a traveling rock and roll show.
  • Various classmates in School of Rock who did not become a part of the band were assigned the roles of roadies and groupies (albeit a PG-rated equivalent).
  • In This is Spın̈al Tap the roadies often have to come on stage to help with the many goofs involving props or improperly done fancy moves.
  • The Dude casually mentions to Maude in The Big Lebowski that he worked as a roadie for Metallica for a time.
  • In The Drummer and the Keeper, the autistic teen Christopher turns out to be surprisingly good at packing equipment, so Flood Tides hire him as their roadie. Later, he gets jobs working for other bands.

  • In the Discworld novel Soul Music, the Disc's first rock band acquires a roadie named Asphalt.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 2016 Cameron Crowe series Roadies are about a group of roadies that help set up for the The Station-House Band.
  • In The Beatles: Get Back, Paul McCartney at one point asks the group's roadie Mal Evans if he can get them an anvil. Mal looks perplexed for a moment, then Gilligan Cut to him banging an anvil in rhythm with the band while they rehearse "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," clearly having the time of his life.

  • The minor Byrds track "BB Class Road" is sung in the persona of a roadie boasting about his skills and lifestyle.
  • The Tenacious D song "The Roadie" was made as a thank you letter to all the roadies out there whose work goes unappreciated. In the song's official music video however, the titular roadie Sebastion is portrayed as being a legitimately good roadie that had worked with Van Halen, Metallica and AC/DC in the past, but eventually gets drunk and destroys Jack and Kyle's green room after being rejected by a groupie. He then goes on to buy drugs, reject a boy who comes to him with a paternity test and then cons money out of them in exchange for a hooker. Jack and Kyle fire him right after.
  • Motörhead's "We Are The Road Crew". Often, the roadies would come onstage and sing backup during that song.
  • Jackson Browne mentions the roadies a lot during his life-on-the-road epic, "The Load Out".
  • The video for Dire Straits' song "Heavy Fuel" centers on one of their roadies, played by Randy Quaid.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When Jeff Jarrett was doing his country singer gimmick in the mid-90's, he was accompanied by The Roadie, who would do a quick mic check before handing Jarrett the microphone.
  • Test made his first appearance for the WWF on a night Mötley Crüe performed on the show, playing one of their roadies.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • In Melody, only one roadie, Trixie, is mentioned by name.

    Web Comics 
  • Roadie Joe from The Rock Cocks is a roadie hired by Sterling for the band's first official album recording.
  • In TV Tropes: The Webcomic, Gabe The Sixth Ranger started moonlighting as a roadie for the main cast's band Troper Croe soon after his first appearance in the series.

    Western Animation 
  • Jem: Rio's career is never that concrete, but he is sometimes Jem and the Hologram's roadie.
  • Steven from Steven Universe has expressed that one of his dream jobs is to be a roadie (his father having once been The Rock Star) and gets to live out this dream by helping Sour Cream set up a rave in "Drop Beat Dad". It helps he's a talented musician, and extra-strong thanks to being half-alien.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: "Hello Bikini Bottom!" has Colonel Fubster hiring two wrestlers (the same as from "Krusty Krushers") as his roadies. In response, Mr. Krabs sets up Patrick as a roadie...who does his job as one might expect.
  • In The Bremen Avenue Experience, Tanner's dad Pete appears to be an Amazingly Embarrassing Parent at first, but then he reveals his backstory. Back when Pete traveled with a popular band back in his day, he was their roadie (and a popular one too!), and he's also a pretty good drummer. This makes Tanner respect his father a lot more.

    Real Life 
  • Most roadies in the United States work as part of the IATSE union ("International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees").
  • 1980s and 1990s Christian Rock band Whiteheart's third and final lead singer, Rick Florian, started off as a roadie for the band before the discovery of his vocal talent led to his being named lead vocalist after the previous lead singer, Scott Douglas was fired.
  • Before making it with his own band, Motörhead, Lemmy was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and The Nice. Keith Emerson credits him as the one who gave him the idea for his trademark stunt of using a knife to hold the keys down while he was playing.
  • Roadies in hip-hop music aren't uncommon but are rarely mentioned. Both Tupac Shakur and Craig Mack started out as roadies for their groups (Digital Underground and EPMD, respectively) before going off into successful solo careers.


Video Example(s):


Casey Jones the "Toadie"

The Turtles hired Casey Jones to be their roadie (or "toadie" as Leo calls him), but he won't actually do anything they tell him to do, something that's Played for Laughs.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything

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