Ten Commandments of Rock 'n' Roll Roadies


Boing Boing reader Simon tells us, "I found this stuck to a wall in the house of an old roadie, as he told me stories of working with The Who and Iron Maiden." Click here for larger size.



  1. As I was told when working with The Grateful Dead… When backstage, you are one of two things — working or in the way!

  2. Reminds me of Bart Simpson fantasizing about being a rocker.

    Specifically, a jaded, over-the-hill, brain-dead rocker who cares more about hedonism than “the music!”


  3. That is my workplace exactly. I’d leave and get another job if I wasn’t part of the problem.

  4. Let me try out rule #6: this post sucks, the poster sucks, if you are reading this you suck, and if I had managed to get all the way to the end of the article, I’m sure the ending also would have sucked. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to practice number #10 and rob some nuns to pay for my heroin habit.

  5. How is this different from any MBA program? Seriously, this could have been found in the home of any Goldman Sachs employee.

  6. As an ex-roadie with 13 yrs experience, I gotta say that this sounds like those old fucks who were leathery slack-skinned self-righteous know-it-all bastards when I started. I was happy to see them blow away like leaves in tiny whirlwinds as I rewrote the book. Good thing I got out before I OD’d again so I can now share my love with the lucky, lucky world.

    And stories, let me tell you stories; did a gig at the Great Wall once, fuckin’ load-in’s at the wrong end. Bitch of a push. See it from space?, you could HEAR it from space after I re-biased plexis and put cig foil in the fuse holders.

    And did I tell you about that gig on the moon…?

    I truly feel sorry for Simon.

    1. “I was happy to see them blow away like leaves in tiny whirlwinds as I rewrote the book.”

      tell me your taking the piss mate, otherwise


  7. Seriously, the roadies I know are whip-smart big-hearted pros. Total opposite of this attitude.

  8. Honestly, almost all of this (except for the “band” reference) sounds like anyone who’s burnt out on almost any job.

  9. I remember a gig, Jimmy Page said he wouldn’t go on unless he had 2 kilos of brown M&Ms. It was around 11 at night and all the stores were shut. Just then, Jeff Beck pops his head ’round the corner and said he knew a little sweet shop on the other side of town. We hop in the lorry and go. Now, when we get there we found it guarded by a Bengal tiger. We fed it some seccys and put him out, but the owner was another matter. Me mate held him down while I beat him to death with his own hobnail shoe. Well then, we got the M&Ms, brought them round to Jimmy, and the show went on.

  10. I did sound for a few years; I knew a few guys like that, especially the practitioner of #10 who insisted I needed to “loosen up a little”. Last I heard of him was a New Year’s Eve gig where he did lights, leaning over to puke beside the light board every once in a while.

  11. replace ‘rock and roll’ with ‘academia’ and it works wonderfully. although you need to chop the ‘except..’ part of (5).

  12. I’ve loved these commandments since I first read them in the Book of Rock Lists. I wonder, did they inspire the list in the book, or are they derived from the book? Provenance, provenance.

  13. Roadies Creed

    1 – If it’s wet, drink it.

    2 – If it’s green, smoke it.

    3 – If it’s white, snort it.

    4 – If it moves, fuck it.

    5 – If it doesn’t move, put it on the truck.

  14. Also works for the IT department. Yes, Gordo, it is from the IATSE union manual. At the Felt Forum back in the 1970’s, during TV setups for prizefights, if you weren’t moving or holding a piece of equipment, you were either a shop steward or you were fired.

  15. The Title of the sheet is: “The Ten Commandments of Rock and Roll.” Not the Ten Commandments of R ‘n’ R Roadies. I’d like some more information please. It could apply equally to bands and management.

  16. Had I realized my Exes were roadies at the time, things would’ve been different now.

  17. Didn’t Larry Niven say No. 9 first? “If you don’t understand it, it’s dangerous.”

  18. This list is by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, and appeared in Dave Marsh’s 1981 book, The New Book Of Rock Lists. From the same book comes this bit of advice from Cub Koda: “Never give anything of value to a roadie. I have a large box of toothpicks in my kitchen cupboard which used to be a Les Paul.”

    1. I knew it was in the Bock of Rock Lists, but I thought it might be attributed to Lester Bangs. Unfortunately, my much beloved copy of the book fell to pieces after the binding gave way, so I had now way to check. (Once again, if it happened before 1990, on the Internet it’s as if it never happened at all.)

      I also like one other advice from Cub Koda — If a gig is going badly, stare and the ceiling and yell at the top of your lungs: Please, Rev. Jim, more Kool-Aid!

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