1 – Support Bands – Redistribution of Rights (AKA Stealing the Headline Act’s Rider…)
As well as managing The Premises Studios, a top London Recording Studio I also work as a Tour Manager. In this position it has recently it came to my attention, that some of the greener, younger, fresher bands have begun to lose respect for one of the more sanctified traditions of rock and roll; demolishing the headline act’s rider to the last drop. There are several ethical considerations to address before you may feel comfortable with what would commonly be known as theft. Here’s a few crumbs from the table.
Think of this in its simplest form, mathematically. You are being paid £100 (if you’re lucky) for supporting a band at a sold out show, where the ticket price is £20 and they’ve given you three guests. There is sadly only one way to redistribute the wealth.
Here’s the method. Go say hi to the headliners, they were once in your position. Sit in their dressing room for a bit, grab a water. Don’t ask, it’s expected. Take notice of what is on offer. This is of ultimate importance; look for premium beers, bottles of spirits and bottles of wine. If the booze hasn’t arrived, settle in for a conversation with the drummer about his favourite records and wait. It’s coming.
You will soon be approaching a crucial time for a taste of what is to come, the headliners’ dinner. Now, while the cat’s away eating, the mice will play so, get stuck in. Upon their return you will be onstage.
Next, you’ve come off stage, the headliners are well fed and ready to begin their own rituals (more on this in weeks to come) and this is where you should retrieve a few well hidden bottles of beer from the rancid couch in your support band room AKA the cleaning cupboard and make good with the stale sandwiches that are rotting away in the corner. This is your time to shine; they will be preparing to go onstage. Go and thank them briefly for having you on the show, all the time checking for a rider restock.
It’s stage time! This main window of opportunity has arrived! Rejoice in the knowledge that you know where the band is, how long they’re going to be there and that their entourage will be busy. Salut! This one is on me.
Here is a little advice that should not be taken lightly; Always have a soft drink to hand. This way when the promoter rep / TM / Roadie comes in during the show, you can ask if it’s OK to grab a beer. They would be heartless to reject you. When they are gone, grab a bottle of vodka or whisky. Enjoy (responsibly).
Now comes the best part, the crestfallen look on a Rock God’s face when they are met by a dry band room. To them it may appear like an empty ice bucket, fridge and table but you will soon begin to see it for what it is: a sanctified rock tradition, older than the headliners themselves.
The world is at peace.