How did you get your job as backline crew chief for The Circle tour?
“It was simply a case of the old backline crew chief quit, and I came in. I haven't worked for any other band – I work in a recording studio [Sterling Sound] in New York, and Jon [Bon Jovi] came in and did a record and it went from there.”
How long have you been with Bon Jovi?
“I've been with them for 12 years. I started out as a carpenter building the sets. Now I come in really late and leave really early! It's how you cut your teeth out here... you pay your dues.”
What does your job involve?
“I'm in charge of Kurt [Jon's guitar tech], Takume [Richie's guitar tech], as well as Bill [David's keyboard tech] and Joe [Tico's drum tech]. Basically I'm the one they come to when they have problems, or when they need to figure something out.
"I also mix the show – I have my own consoles backstage during the show, so all the stuff that we put on the internet and our live broadcasts go through me. Of course, I also take care of the boss [Jon], which is another job in itself. If something is wrong, he tells me in a very stern voice and then I go to someone else and tell them in a very stern voice that they had better fix it. Fast.”
What does a typical day involve for you as backline crew chief?
“Eat breakfast. Then I'll unload the truck and send all of the cases up to the crew. There's four local hands that help me unload the truck each show, and around another 20 helping to push the stuff half way around the world to get to the stage.”
How many staff do you have for The Circle tour?
“Well, there's three different groups of staff. There are two skill teams (about 30 people in each team) who build the actual structure, then there's one universal team of about 65 people. We have a bunch of truck drivers, and for every concert we use around 110 local hands – as many as we can get.”
When does your job start in relation to The Circle tour?
“My job starts when the tour starts. I've been doing this job for about two years now, and we have it down to a science. There's hardly any prep needed beforehand.”
How do you personally prepare for each tour?
“I check all of the equipment that I use to make sure it's working: my recording consoles and laptop. I bring rain gear, especially when we play in the UK. We've been soaked over here so far – it's wet all the time!”
Do you have a working knowledge of each instrument – guitar, bass, keys, drums?
“Yes. I can play them very poorly, but I know enough to be able to speak with each tech. It's not entirely essential for me to have that knowledge, because a good tech is a good musician anyway and they know the ins and outs of every piece of kit in their rig.”
If somebody wanted to get a job as a backline crew chief, what advice would you give them?
“Grow some thick skin, and don't let anything bother you.”