For years the music and entertainment industries have been looked upon with a multitude of misconceptions, especially when it comes to rock and roll.
Perhaps because of its reputation, with rumors ringing true about some of the most famous names in rock trailing behind them a legacy of questionable behavior to even some of their fans. [x_pullquote cite=”Todd Confessore” type=”left”]”I have a passion for what I do” [/x_pullquote]
Like Keith Moon, who notoriously threw sticks of dynamite into dressing room toilets, or Ozzy Osbourne who made headlines in 1981 when he bit off the head of a dove.
So, sure, it’s an industry of ferocious musical talent that seems to cover some serious bad-boy territory, but aside from its rough-and-tumble reputation, rock and roll is a lot of work – and not just for the rockstars who paint a wild picture of danger.
Who are the names involved behind their success? Why do we never hear about them? Does it matter?
While we as an audience enjoy the show, and stay busy following up on the latest from our favorite rock and rollers, a handful of people within this industry are busy working overtime to be sure everything backstage and on the road runs according to plan.
The rockstars seem to be the ones who can run around and play, but the team behind their onstage personas have a voice, too.
Tour managers, sound engineers, lighting crew, guitar technicians, personal assistants, wardrobe designers… They never seem to get the recognition they deserve, and it’s about time that changes.
Long-time tour manager, stage manager, and production manager Todd Confessore, who is currently on the road with Night Ranger, this month celebrates 6 years as the band’s number one go-to. As one of the most highly-respected, dedicated, and hard-working managers in the industry, Confessore has worked with INXS, TOTO, Marilyn Manson, Poison, Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, KISS, Dream Theater, and that is mentioning only a few.
While juggling several hotel room check-outs for the band, and dealing with flight delays, Confessore still found time to chat about his work.
“I have a passion for what I do” says Confessore. “When I hear the statement ‘If you like what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life’, my answer is, what if you love what you do? And a common misconception is that we work at a party. But, it’s no longer the “Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll” that people have thought it to be for years. Whether it ever was for some, I have been blessed with working with some of the best people, some of the most professional people you could ever come across in any lifetime… ”
Confessore continues to tell us why he loves his job by saying, “The relationships that are created, cultivated, and continue on throughout the years, and being able to be a part of moments that become people’s memories is incredible.”
As Confessore joyously presses forward through the battlefields of tour life, professional drummer Troy Patrick Farrell (White Lion, The Raskins) is all too familiar with playing the roll of the rockstar, but has found himself on the organizational end of things, too.
“I’d say I’m best known as a drummer, however many years ago I realized there was a void to be filled in some of the bands I was on the road with; mainly that of a tour manager. Typically I advance shows, find out sound check times, load-in times, how long the set is, how many monitors the band gets, etc. I find the hotels, map our way to and from, sort out the fuel stops… ”
Other duties include accounting, paying bus drivers, issuing out per diems to each band member, handling fuel stops, organizing guest lists, and managing merchandise sales.
But with all of this work involved, is it enjoyable?
Valerie Ince, head of operations and marketing at Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas has always been enthusiastic about her work. Music legends such as Rudy Sarzo, Roger Daltrey, Ace Frehley, and Gene Simmons join together for a weekend at the camp to work with musicians who have had to put their dreams aside for office jobs, and Ince makes sure all runs smoothly in the process.
“Although I’m not a musician,” she says, “I have a deep passion for the music, so to be involved in the process in any way is just a thrill. To this day, when I meet people who have had a musical effect on my life, it’s just a thrill for me.
A part of the reason I have been able to stay in the industry for as long as I have is because I can relate to the artists. Appreciating the artist and really understanding where they are coming from is important. I mean, you don’t want to pat yourself on the back all the time, but it’s a great feeling when you can make something happen for them.”
While we’ve just put three names in the spotlight, there are so many more who deserve our praise for having such a passion for their work. Without them, we think it’s safe to say the inmates would be running the asylum.
Story: Kate Catalina.