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Published: 2009/10/14
by Jeff Garbaz

Why Bother: Getting Rid of The Distractions

What are some of the factors, some of the distractions in the music business that make your job a challenge?

OK, there can be a lot of factors that make it harder to conceal the distractions, the biggest is of course is the weather. The wind can make a festival that has the best production go right down the tubes. It affects the sound a great deal, affects the haze for the lights, the confetti for the Lips! And trying to fly banners, video screens, and backdrops can turn deadly because of the wind, I would rather have rain than wind any day. I have learned over the years that Visqueen can be your best ally in keeping fires to a minimum. At the All Good festival, for example, we buy $600 worth of plastic every year just to stay ahead of the fires. I have the stage hands cut custom pieces of plastic to cover gear as it is loaded on to the stage.

Does your job require you to travel often? How does the time away from home affect the human condition?

Yes, I travel about 150 days a year doing events, and more when touring, it is great to travel the country, and globe for that matter, but after a few weeks you begin to feel like your floating out there and need to ground yourself. Usually some time with the family is a quick fix for this, but in this business for every day your on site it takes two to go to and fro. So you can imagine all the time spent in the air and how it affects your head. The human body was designed to walk in the grass not the clouds.

Are there 2 different “worlds” in your life? Do you separate “the real world” from the “music world?” … or do you consider them one in the same for you and your family?

Not for me, I keep my family close at all times. My daughter has already been to over 100 shows and she is only 4. I have seen my friends/colleagues families fall apart because they tried to keep their music life and their family life separate. Life is too short to take two paths, find your path and stay the course!

Doing one show or one tour is one thing … but doing it year after year can be grueling and it can get old … how do you sustain, both emotionally and financially,, making music a career, year after year?

In this business the only thing consistent is change, bands change, technology changes

I have never had a moment where I was like, “Man I am so bored!” There is a lot of action going on at times I have felt over stimulated more often than not. As long as you keep a positive attitude it reflects in every one around you. One bad seed can ruin the whole crop, so I do my best everyday to treat people how I would want to be treated. I was in the fresh young stagehand’s shoes at one point in my career and he will be in mine some day.

How do you overcome the “been-there, done-that” syndrome to keep your job exciting?

Try not to focus on the fact that your hearing the “Thrill is gone” for the 75 night in a row and focus on the fact that someday the man won’t be playing it anymore, we are lucky to have been given the opportunity to be here, if you have this attitude of “been here done that” then there is a position for you at the local burger joint flipping patties.

What is your idea of “a nightmare gig?”

One gig in particular we have a fork lift driver who was a diabetic go into shock while approaching the stage , he hit the stage and the wing collapsed.

Long story short, everyone was ok aside from a Midas XL250!

But that was a day I never want to relive. When you’re in that moment you can never be prepared enough for what you might see and how you take each step.

How about a “perfect night?”

One night stands out as the perfect night for me, or weekend, it was the weekend after 9/11, I was at Telluride Blues and Brews, Warren Haynes couldn’t get on a flight so he got in a car and drove from NYC to Telluride to make his Mule Show, to have him tell the story and carry the spirit that far was amazing.

That same weekend we had James Brown on the stage handing out little American Flags as he wore his American Flag cape and sang “America!” The moment was perfect, it was straight out of a movie, there were 8500 people crying and singing along. It was tragedy meets humanity at its finest.

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