So you want to be a roadie??
Meeting Country Western Musician Jessica Lynne
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, plug the cord into my turntable…
March 2014 To Present
I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed in life, by not listening to my instincts. Fortunately, in March 2014 I listened. My life is forever changed because of it.
My girlfriend and I had taken the bus into Seattle for an adventure day on the waterfront. Our Beatlemania had been reignited when we saw Paul McCartney at Safeco Field, so we were on the hunt for old Beatles paraphernalia. After a fun day, I suggested we go to the Seattle Hard Rock Café for acoustic happy hour. We had sat down, ordered our drinks when the musician performing that night started to warm up with “Maybe I’m Amazed.’ We picked up our drinks, moved to a front table and told him, ‘Play more Paul!”. That musician was Raymond Hayden. The afternoon ensued and his girlfriend (now fiancé) joined him onstage; Jessica Lynne. They had quite the entourage with them that night. We kept chatting and eventually ended up sitting with them. I noticed that Jessica’s necklace matched my angel wings tattoo!
So, we started talking more in-depth. Even though I grew up in the country, I never listened to country music. I loved her voice and her songs spoke to me. She gave me a couple of her Cd’s and said listen to the song “Fallen Angels Don’t Fly.” I also found out she was an airport musician at Sea-Tac. I’m a flight attendant based out of Sea-Tac. What a coincidence! And so, this life changing relationship began.
Her song “Calling Me Home” struck a chord with me. I would ‘drop the needle’ and just listen. Trying to hear the message that I obviously needed to hear. I was always thrilled when I would hear her voice at Sea-Tac before one of my flights. And of course, attended her performances. I especially loved when she played with her band, Jessica Lynne and The Cousins. And then one lucky day, Jessica asked me to join her music team. I said YES!
April 2016. My first trip as a roadie!
I was SO excited. Jessica Lynne and the Cousins were going to be performing at The INB Performing Arts Center in Spokane, WA. I was going back home.
The day of the road trip arrived. Jessica had left earlier in the morning with her photographer. I was riding in the suburban with the band. I still remember as we pulled onto 405 North, looking at the U-Haul full of the instruments and equipment. WOW! How in the world did I go from not going to a concert in 25 years, to being part of a band? IT WAS SO COOL!
It’s a completely opposite experience of my job as a flight attendant. I’m used to working during the travel aspect, then relaxing and enjoying the destination. During the 5+ hour drive, everyone was tuned into their own worlds. Listening to music, creating music on their computer or sleeping. Once we arrived in Spokane, it was all hands-on deck. There was not time to stop and breathe until the entire show was over. It has totally changed the way I view a performance.
Usually, I just show up and listen. Completely oblivious to all the work that goes into setting up. Now I understand that those musicians haul in, and haul out all their own equipment. They don’t have special people to do that. It’s just them. And every venue is different, as far as sound and setup. It takes a lot of coordination, communication and patience. We were having a VIP Meet and Greet prior to the performance. So, we had to set up a special room for that, including an area that our VIP’s would get a photo taken with Jessica. Out in the main lobby foyer, we had a large merchandise display for selling her t-shirts, Cds, etc. I was excited, but nervous also. This was my first day on the job, and it was a whopper! It was time to meet our VIP guests. I had a lot of fun seeing people I hadn’t seen in a long time. I’ve gone to VIP Meet and Greets before, and it was interesting to be on the other side. The main doors were about to be opened, and our VIPs were led to their special section of seats. Bryan and I took our spots at the merchandise table. That was the hard part. Instead of sitting in the auditorium enjoying a fantastic show, I was now standing outside in the foyer. If you work on the musician’s team, you don’t get to sit and enjoy a prime seat during the show. Your seat is now given up to the guests.
The show ended, and people started streaming out of the auditorium. I loved hearing their reactions and they bought more of her music! Soon it was time to pack up all our equipment, carry it out to the U-Haul, stop for a quick refresh at the hotel, and then head out for a celebratory dinner and drinks! A total whirlwind. It was late, so there was not time to socialize with the family and friends I knew in Spokane. This was not like an airline layover.
The next day, it was back on the road for another show. This time it was Ellensburg, and only a trio was performing. It was a smaller venue, and I was the solo merchandise person, sitting by myself at the back of the room. Once again, repeating the same routine of hauling in all the equipment, and hauling it all back out.
That was the only overnight trip that I’ve had with the band. The rest have been local shows. And you know what I have learned?
Musicians are severely underpaid. Especially if they travel a distance. All that time spent on driving, the upkeep of their equipment, the upkeep of their vehicles, and the time spent practicing their craft. They do this job out of passion. So, whenever you are at a local venue enjoying their music, PLEASE put some money in their tip jar! You pay $5 for a fancy cup of coffee. Why not pay $5 for a human being that is investing their heart and soul, in giving a special gift to YOU.
SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
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