Loyal Roadies

Roadies have always been an important part of a band. Occasionally some will be rise above and become well known and some will end up as an executive in the band’s organization. Some will burn out like their bosses and below are a few famous roadies.

Neil Aspinall – Beatles

The first roadie the Beatles employed. He started to help the Beatles out by driving their van from gig to gig. He was soon their road manager and personal assistant. He ended up being the Chief Executive of The Beatles company Apple Corps until 2007. He passed away in 2008.

He was a trained accountant and knew George and Paul when they were kids. He was well trusted by all members. He stayed neutral in all of the arguments while he continued to run a prosperous Apple Corps to the end.

Mal Evans – Beatles

He was hired to help out Neil Aspinall as a roadie. Mal became their personal assistant after they stopped touring. After the Beatles broke up he did some producing…he produced the Badfinger’s single “No Matter What”. He also produced Keith Moon’s first album “Two Sides of the Moon” but was replaced midway through.

In the seventies, he still did work for some of the Beatles accompanying them on trips and odds and ends. He then separated from his wife Lil and after that, he started to have bad depression. While depressed and reportedly using downers, he was shot by LAPD while holding an air rifle and refusing to put it down. He was thought highly of by all the Beatles…See George’s quote below.

George Harrison on Mal Evans

, “Mal loved his job, he was brilliant, and I often regret that he got killed. Right to this day, I keep thinking, ‘Mal, where are you?’ If only he was out there now. He was such good fun, but he was also very helpful: he could do everything…He was one of those people who loved what he was doing and didn’t have any problem about service. Everybody serves somebody in one way or another, but some people don’t like the idea. Mal had no problem with it. He was very humble, but not without dignity; it was not belittling for him to do what we wanted, so he was perfect for us because that was what we needed.” 

Red Dog – Allman Brothers

Duane Allman befriended Joe Campbell (Red Dog) a Vietnam vet and Red Dog stayed with the Allman Brothers for three decades. He gave the band his disability checks to help them stay afloat at the beginning. He soon became a trusted member of the team. His picture with all the roadies is on the back cover of the At Fillmore East album.

Here is a quote from Cameron Crowe on Red Dog when he published his book.

“I’ll admit it right now. I am a big fan of Red Dog, and have been even before he allowed me to interview him back in 1973 for a story in Rolling Stone. Hell, he was already legendary back then. But now I just have to say that I am extremely jealous of the Great Dog, because I’ve just finished reading A Book of Tails. True rock, the kind that lasts forever, is about honesty and humor and love and chasing the elusive buzz of greatness.

Ramrod – Grateful Dead

Lawrence Shurtliff (Ramrod) joined on the Grateful Dead in 1967 and in the seventies became the President of the Grateful Dead board of directors until Garcia’s death in 1995.

Bob Weir on Ramrod

“When he did join up, it was like he had always been there. I won’t say he was the missing piece, because I don’t think he was missing. He just wasn’t there. But then he was there. And he always will be. He was a huge part of what the Grateful Dead was about.”

 

 

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

11 thoughts on “Loyal Roadies”

  1. Are there any good songs out there about Roadies? The Load-Out by Jackson Browne comes immediately to mind…. Neil Aspinall- knew where all the bodies were buried but kept it to himself. He probably knew things no one else did and took it all to the grave. A candidate for 5th Beatle.

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    1. I wanted to switch gears today…with reading all of these rock books the roadies are mentioned so much… The Jackson Browne song is the only one I know…I’m trying to think if “American Band” by GFR mentions them.

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      1. I can’t think of any- other than Neil Young- wasn’t Tonight’s The Night and The Needle and The Damage done about a roadie of his who OD’ed?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wasn’t that about Danny Whitten? I could be spelling that name wrong… Crazy Horse’s guitar player? I could be completely wrong. He could have combined a roadie and Danny I’m not sure…

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      3. I think you are right- but I do think there was also a roadie – “Bruce Berry was a working man” was a roadie who inspired Tonight’s The Night- Needle and The Damage Done was about Whitten.

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      4. Ok…I double checked and I can’t believe I remembered his name… Ok, that makes sense.
        As far as Roadies… The bands that seemed to treat their roadies the best were the Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead.
        Poor Mal…that was odd the way he died.

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  2. Enjoyed reading about those roadies. I didn’t know about any of them. Had no idea that’s how Neil Aspinall started with them. Mal Evans’ end was heartbreaking indeed. Your writeup made me think The Beatles’ Freda Kelly, and the recent movie about her, ‘Good Old Freda’. Not the same as a roadie, but definitely someone who was there from the beginning, helping make things work behind the scenes, and a delightful person who has kept their secrets still, and shows no signs of giving them up.

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    1. I’m glad you mentioned her. After I read the book”Tune In” I went out and got “Good Old Freda.” They were fortunate to have such good people in high and lower positions who really cared about them as people not just as “The Beatles.” She is a wonderful down to earth woman.
      Off topic but thank you for pointing me to Edna St. Vincent Millay. I really liked The Ballad of the Harp Weaver… I’ve never been a poetry guy but I really liked it. It showed a mothers love…at least that is what I got out of it.

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      1. True about how fortunate the Beatles were to have those people. It was such a different time.

        So glad you liked Millay. I love the Harp Weaver and Renascence both. I get choked up at the mere mention of the Harp Weaver. I was introduced to her through her biography, ‘Savage Beauty’. Several years ago, I started writing about that book on my blog, but it may still be sitting in the drafts folder. Sigh. You referred me to two poetry sources from that era, and I still have pages bookmarked on them, but haven’t read them yet. Must do that.

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      2. Dorthy Parker could be very cynical but I do like some of her work. She could hold her own with anyone…an interesting person.

        I read the three you recommended and they were all good but that one stuck with me. I’m going to check out some more.

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