Susan’s Inside Writing: Inside Roadie Poet’s Rhythm


The responses I’ve gotten to this week’s Roadie Poet entry surprised me. I never would have expected you guys to read the poem as a song. Thank you! That’s high praise and I’ve got much-needed warm fuzzies from what you had to say, especially about that last stanza.

I wanted to pause and talk about where it came from, because to me, the story behind it is sorta cool.

Whenever Roadie Poet tugs on my consciousness and tells me he’s got something to say, I always picture him like my friend Toby, who does his share of roadie work, both on and off the road. He works full-time for a band and gets a lot more interaction with the band than RP does. Toby also has the most incredible speaking voice; I used to love to hear him talk. (and like most men in my life, his e-mails usually consist of a word or two but a phone conversation can last an hour, which is a good thing when you’re speaking with someone who’s got a great voice.)

But there’s another component to RP, and that’s a woman I used to know when I worked in radio. She worked at Metal Blade Records, as a rep to radio stations like mine; I spent a week with her when I was weighing a job offer from Roadrunner Records. Lori’s cool people.

She left the relatively safe world of record labels and went on a wild ride, eventually winding up as a roadie. I believe she’s still there, working for Sesame Street Live, last I heard.

Her name came back up last week, when I had #2 at dance classes. The ballet instructor was talking about how she’d gone to see Sesame Street Live when it was here and how she’d cried as she sat there and watched. It turned out that she’d been part of the company.

A-ha! I thought. I knew there was something about this woman that I had been keying into since I’d met her this year, and that something is our love of the touring life. We’ve both got it in our blood.

She gave it up to have a more stable life. I gave it up because I knew, long-term, I could never sustain it. Not if I wanted to be a writer, too — which is the reason I turned down those job offers at record labels. Being a writer is something I need to be. Yet my passion for music is also something I can’t deny.

Thus, ShapeShifter. And Deadly Metal Hatchet, and Chelle LaFleur, Kermit Ladd, and Roadie Poet.

And, thus, this week’s Roadie Poet.




    January 22, 2008 2:30 pm

    The roadie life would certainly be interesting – but not sustainable for most people. Sometimes I think I’d like to try it for like a month. But more than likely I’d be ready for home within a week.

  2. Susan Helene Gottfried

    January 22, 2008 2:33 pm

    It IS interesting; all those tales you’ve heard are true — and then some. (I’m still trying to figure out the legend of the cellophane-wrapped wardrobe woman)BR/BR/And it’s hard. Especially for us women. BR/BR/But there’s something about it that I love.

  3. Dewey

    January 22, 2008 4:29 pm

    I like the poem, too, and though the song thing didn’t strike me when I first read it, I can see that element now. BR/BR/There’s a movie I saw, called Almost Famous, which I’m sure you’ve seen, but if not, you really have to! It’s about a band, loosely based on Led Zeppelin, and the the touring life.

  4. Susan Helene Gottfried

    January 22, 2008 4:30 pm

    Of course I’ve seen it! Multiple times!

  5. bunnygirl

    January 22, 2008 8:30 pm

    Dan looks back fondly on his roadie days, even though he’ll be the first to say how uncomfortable the sleeping arrangements often were and how lousy the food was.

  6. Shelley Munro

    January 23, 2008 2:11 pm

    I guess being a roadie would be a bit like being a circus performer, a life style. Interesting story, Susan, and I enjoyed your poem as well.

  7. julia

    January 23, 2008 10:14 pm

    Sesame Street Live! That used to perform at my old theatre! It was a big fave with us. It was basically a rock concert for toddlers. They’d dance in the aisles and the whole bit. We used to laugh ourselves silly at those little rockers.

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