So you want to be a roadie

I’ve done some roadying, but never on tour and not for anybody famous. I have also mixed the sound for a couple of bands – again not on tour. Some useful info on this site if you want to live the rock’n’roll lifestyle – partly! Or just get vicarious thrills from reading this advice.


Stan Laundon

Stan is a Hartlepool lad, just like me. Also just like me, he played in a few bands, then he went on to manage Joe Brown’s fan club and to be a Country Music DJ on Radio Cleveland for a long long time. The first time I met him was in 1973 – I was a professional musician (ha!) in March Hare, we had just recorded an acetate (still have mine here) and were supposed to be embarking on a German tour (it never happened!) So Stan interviewed us on daytime radio about the recording and the tour, and played a couple of tracks too. I was getting married that year, on exactly the same day as Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. Stan had picked up on this and mentioned it in the interview – I said something like “We decided we’d let them get married the same day as us!” This shocked my poor mother who was listening at home – she thought I was being disrespectful to the Royal Family. Somewhere I have this whole thing on cassette – or maybe my brother has it.

When I was playing guitar in the Bob Allison Country Band, in the early nineties, Stan came to see us a few times, especially if we were playing in Middlesbrough. At one of these gigs (The Buffs club, I believe). Stan introduced us to a friend of his (I forget his name) who had started a music publishing company with contacts in Nashville – and he wanted to publish the original songs that the band were playing – some by Bob, some by me and Bob, some by me and some by my brother Paul. Naturally I was a little excited at this prospect, and so was my brother when I rang him to tell him. Bob. however, was less excited and was very wary as he had been ripped off in the past. Unfortunately, nothing came of this interest. I still wonder what might have happened if this had happened. Never mind.

At one of these meetings with Stan at a gig, I half jokingly suggested that the next time Stan went on holiday, I’d like to sit in for him on his radio show. To my pleasure and surprise, Stan invited me down to the studio to sit in and watch how things worked, which I did the next week. I was very interested in everything that was going on. Stan suggested that I put together an audition tape, with some intros and outros to a few tunes. I did that with my friend Tony and sent it off. Unfortunately (and I don’t know why) nothing came of that either.

Stan’s website has a load of information about the stars he has met, but more interestingly (for me at least) info about loads of groups that used to play in and around Hartlepool. I recognise the names of some of these people and met some of them too when I was starting out playing in bands (sorry, “groups”) in the early seventies.

Offshore Wind Farm at Blyth

I’ve seen this installation quite a few times and there are quite a few more closer to home, in County Durham. I don’t live really close to any of them, so I can’t comment on any negative side effects they may have, but from a personal view, whether they be in the sea or on a hilltop (eg Craghead, near Stanley), I like the look of them, from a purely aesthetic viewpoint. I realise that living very close to them may influence people’s views, of course.