Ryan Adams, an entertainment marketing major at St. Joe’s, has definitely worked cooler summer jobs than you have. Not everyone can boast that they have worked as a part of Twenty One Pilots touring production team or that they have worked closely with many bands at New York’s historic Webster Hall.
He shared a bunch of interesting behind-the-scenes info on what goes into booking and running a live act, noting how one thing people would be surprised about is “how little the venue makes from the show itself. For Webster, we make most of our money off of bar.” He elaborated that in many instances, a band will simply be booked for a show if they have a good drinking crowd.
Also surprising was how early each day started for the tech crew of a touring act. Ryan explained that for a show that starts at 7 or 8 pm, the stage set-up sometimes begins twelve hours earlier, or even the day before in some cases. Also mentioned was the sheer amount of coffee and back-and-forth emailing that goes into the process.
Even more exciting than the logistical side of things is working with the bands themselves. Ryan also plays the drums, which provided him with another unique employment opportunity. Besides working at Webster Hall, Ryan also worked as the drum tech for Josh Dun, the drummer for Twenty One Pilots. He walked me through a typical day on tour with the band, starting with waking up several hours before the musicians had to.
Then came the unpacking of all the drums and drum-related gear, and any maintenance the equipment needed before the show. On this particular tour, Trip for Concerts, Ryan told me that the label was keeping the band well-funded, and that he would try to change the heads of the drums (the part you hit) once every two shows. After the drum kit was set up on stage, along with the rest of the band’s gear, the band and/or the techs would sound check the equipment and finally be ready for the night.
I asked Ryan what it was like to balance these demanding jobs with classes during the school year. More often than not, he spends his weekends working at Webster Hall. He told me that besides enduring some bus rides at crazy hours as well as missing a class or two, it’s just about pushing yourself to make it work.