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This Week On Roadie TV: Snooky Tunes the PA

By Robert Scovill / April 8, 2015

“Roadie Reality TV” … is this what it’s come to? Yep, you heard me right. I guess it was only a matter of time  wasn’t it?

I saw the announcement posted on a popular road crew job placement website the other day that producers and writers are assembling a casting call for a road crew reality show based on the touring life. To quote the post “It’ll be like ‘Deadliest Catch’ only for touring guys.”

Now, make sure you digested what I just said there – “the producers and writers will be assembling the crew for the tour and the subsequent show.” Can you imagine what the criteria will be for making those choices and assembling the crew? Yeah, exactly … don’t bet on the Deadliest Catch model, bet on MTV’s The Real World set on a tour bus

I mean, what will they have them do for the audition? I would love to know … I can see it now … Producer talking – “yeah, yeah that’s great but when your talking in casual conversation or disagreeing with the talent, can you try to drop a few more F-bombs? Yeah, yeah, there we go that’s fantastic – yes even when you call home to speak to your mom!”

Or maybe “okay darling, you’ll be playing the part of wardrobe girl Donna and you’re going to be pregnant from a drunken one-night-stand with the back line crew bus driver but you’re really bummed because you’re also secretly having a lesbian affair with the artist and are worried it’s going to cost you your job. Yeah, that’s it … smashing!”

In season two, Dr. Drew makes a guest appearance and establishes an intervention on the lighting bus for a lighting crew severely addicted to prescription stimulants and sleeping aids. I can’t even imagine the kind of “one-upsmanship” that would take place season over season three if the show is successful. Oh brother …

I mean, I have a hard enough time explaining to friends and family what I do, and have done, for a living. Now I’ll have to un-explain all this. It’s clearly time to break out one of my favorite TV quotes; “This is a travesty, a sham and a mockery! That’s right! It’s a trave-sham-ockery!”

I don’t know about you folks, but I am soooo over the reality TV thing. I mean, let’s face it if you’ve got to hold “auditions” and assemble a staff of “writers” for a “reality” show … how concerned are you with reality really? For me I’ll be filing it all under the heading of “really awful things you can blame MTV for” during my tenure in western civilization. That folder is getting pretty darn full.

Now a days, if I’m scanning TV channels and I stumble upon even a nano second of the disturbingly ugly and phony Housewives of Beverly Hills or Orange County or Atlanta or Mars or where ever … or heaven forbid even a sound bite of a Kardashian or maybe a glimpse of our pal Snooky and her New Jersey cohorts, it makes me want to run upstairs and pack my bags and head for the Amazon so I can relocate to a place where the dysfunctional are not celebrated and lauded as some sort of role model for society.

But alas, there would soon be a hunger for a reality show based on people who have disconnected and traded modern media and society for the far reaches of the Amazon and there I would be all over again!

Hey, and while we’re on the subject, what the hell has happened to the History Channel? I mean, when did Alligator Wrangling, Ice Road Trucking, Extreme Logging and endless “documentaries” offering “proof” that Aliens are responsible for all that exists in our world, replace the narrative of the historical record? Okay okay … I know, I know … back on topic Robert.  Wait a minute … what was the topic again?

Oh yeah, Roadie Reality TV. The imagination runs wild doesn’t it with what this could actually turn out like? I mean let’s face it – all of us in the touring brother/sisterhood have already lived it and we were sure no one would believe us even if we told them what actually goes on out there. It gives me pause to think what Hollywood’s perception of that might be. TV has never really done the music business much justice in terms of accuracy.

Oh my gosh I didn’t even think of this, can you imagine the nightmare for the production and tour managers? Think of it, all of the stars of the show—i.e., “the road crew”—will need their own security because surely the itinerary for the tour will be made public and the show will actually be pulling into a “town near you.” Those highly visible crew folks will be ravaged and constantly hassled by fans of the show trying to get access to their areas!

Of course that will all be caught on camera because that’s the reality of touring life for a road crew member right? Oh, and all of you FOH and Monitor guys, if you thought it was tough to keep your mixing positions void of guests before, think about it now! And the guest list after a day off? OMG … start printing the passes now.

Oh wait, here’s another byproduct; listen up all of you audio and production schools … this could be a boon for you! You can develop new curriculums! “How to be a road crew reality star 101,” Okay, maybe not so much. Truth be known, admissions departments, if you thought you were having challenges during your admissions process in weeding out “glamour seeking music life wanna-bes” now, just wait until this show hits.  Your admissions office will have lines out the door …

Ah touring, it’s a glamorous life isn’t it? Oh boy … where is that remote … and my map of the Amazon?

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About the author

Robert Scovill

Robert is a 30 year veteran of live sound and 6 time TEC / 2 time Parnelli Award winner for Sound Reinforcement Engineer of the Year. He serves as Senior Market Specialist for live sound products for Avid and regularly works as Concert Sound Mixer and Live Recordist for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

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