Once we were roadies! 0



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“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” ~ Victor Hugo.

I’ve been watching a series called Roadies and it has me hooked. I started to drift back to a time long long gone. Nothing but a faded memory in these Autumn years. Nevertheless, still a beautiful memory. It took me back to dust filled, sweat laden alcohol and drug-fuelled days of that long hot, wild and beautiful Summer when I became a roadie.

Sure, it was a lot different then to what it is now, but basically the culture is still the same. We were all there for the same adrenalin rush, the thrills, the music, the drugs, the groupie girls, and the excitement of being with the band, on the open road. It was a pure form of what we called “Freedom!” We had broken free of the restrictions placed upon us by controlling parents. Parents that had not embraced this new world, after all, mother was kept at home, cooking keeping house and being the dutiful wife! (In May of 1955, Housekeeping Monthly published an article entitled, ‘The Good Wife’s Guide’, detailing all the ways that a wife should act and how best she can be a partner to her husband and a mother to her children.) Looking back, it may feel a little strange to accept these rules today, but it remains so interesting to see how society once behaved. This was still the case in 1968 and even to this day, that stigma remains.

How many of us remember wishing we could just quit school and live the free life? After all, it was the 60s and to take the line from Dylan’s famous song, ‘For the times they are a-changin.’  Indeed, the times were changing! America was at war with Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand were being pulled into it. We all looked at this unique group of miscreants, Roadies with many of us secretly wanting to be one of them, albeit for a night or a week. I don’t know about you, but I wanted to be a ‘roadie’ to escape the reality of the world, to unleash my creativity by writing lyrics and poetry, to rebel, to grow my hair long, wear a black tee shirt and jeans and bright silver chains. Go on a trip and have a smoke! But for others, it was to avoid the draft. No one questioned anyone’s motive for being part of this eclectic group of heterogeneous people. Creativity excelled as we found a multitude of ways to manipulate our parents and peers. We had dropped out of school and for now, the mainstream of society. We were chastised and castigated pretty much by all members of the community, all because we wanted to pursue our dream, to live this open and carefree lifestyle. We were from many different cultures and classes. From the wealthiest of the wealthy to the poorest of the poor, but here there was no class distinction. We were all, as one. All sharing more than the food we had pooled. We shared stories, many horrific stories of growing up in what I can only describe today, as a dysfunctional society. We wanted our taste of freedom.. To taste the golden apple!

But alas, I guess some of us may not remember the ’60s and ’70s all that well these days. The years have taken their toll. The ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll’ have influenced many of our generation. A lot are no longer here to tell the wonderful tales, to reminisce about those precious days filled with a banquet of decadent indulgences. Sadly, we see more and more wonderful influencers of modern music going to prepare for that mighty gig in the sky. There is not a month that passes, where at some point I’m sure we wonder who might be next? It could be a favourite song or special memory that may trigger it.

Now, I must say that being a ‘roadie’ was far from glamorous. There was nothing luxurious about it. It was a hard graft. Yep, it kept me awake at night, sleeping on an insect-infested floor, did not serve as a comfortable bed. More like a penance! Still I persevered. I loved what I did. Met loads of talented people from many different bands. Most today, would have no idea who I was.. I learned a hard lesson in life. One I’ve carried with me all these years…

Sometimes the grass appears greener on the other side, because it has been fertilised by bullshit!

As Victor Hugo said “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Share your thoughts below.

Brian Portland

Broadcast Journalist.. Australasian Correspondent FSN Washington & London. Speech Writer..Motivational Speaker.. Production Voice Specialist.. Creative Writer.. (Speech, Print, Radio & Television) Double above knee amputee.. Motivational Speaker..(Available for any speaking engagement..)

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