The Who # 4 The Roadies
by Regis Boff
It took me a tour to grasp just how loyal The Who were to the people who had helped them from the start.
I do not mean to say that this faithfulness was singular to them. I certainly was, on certain occasions, kept on beyond any comprehensible usefulness as well.
Many of their roadies made their way, day to day, through a kind of Shadowland, having punished their basic human structure so perversely, that some were barely aware any longer of their surroundings.
I started out as a roadie. I worked for a band called “Five Dollar Shoes.” Melanie Safka, the folk singer, managed them. She also named them, stealing the idea from an old black song, ” Mom, Please Buy me a Pair of One Dollar Shoes.) She cunningly upgraded it to “five dollars”. In the long term, this incline did not help.
I was paid to lug their equipment to a club on the beach somewhere in South New Jersey. They were to open for “Sly and the Family Stone.” Sly was to me a fucking God. He was also a legendarily undependable shit-bag.
We loaded up the small Uhaul truck with all their stage gear and spent the day driving down from New York. The guy in charge of me knew how to plug in the electronics. In the pantheon of all human knowledge, this was all he knew that I did not.
We unloaded and set up the gear. Our band, “The Shoes” showed up ready and on time for the sound check. They resembled a more garish imitation of Queen and Freddy Mercury shoved into a dryer full of scarves.
The show was eventually cancelled without our boys even getting on stage because Sly didn’t show. We packed up the shit again and drove back to New York. I quit the next day.
I may well have been a roadie for the shortest period in Rock history. A tie was the best anyone else could ever manage.