Red Fang’s Road Manager On What Exactly He Does

Red Fang engages, year after year, in a seemingly deranged tour frequency — an estimated 50 times, both in North America and Europe, since the band formed in 2005. Their road manager, Chris Coyle is featured on The Stranger:

For the uninitiated, describe your role as road manager.

Before the tour, I start out with a list of shows, and then I advance them all, meaning I call or e-mail all the clubs and basically say, “This is what we’re gonna need when we get there.” Then ask them things like “What time do you want us there? What time do you want us to go on?” Et cetera. Then I put together a tour book, so when we’re in the van we can just open it up for reference. Then I go through and book all the hotel rooms if we’re gonna stay in one. That’s also when I say, “Okay, everybody reach out,” because we’re still not afraid to sleep on floors. Then, when we’re on the road, I’m the first one out of the van and the last one in: Get out, meet the promoter, find their crew, introduce them to our guys. Then make sure the dressing room rider is met, which, most people don’t get that that’s something you pay for. It’s like “Well, you have $200 for catering taken out of our budget. Where is this $200, and where are the receipts?”

The tough part for me is that I still sell all the merch, so when that’s done, I have to go count in all the merch because we keep a daily inventory so I know exactly what we have. Then I take in all the money for that and put it into this or that spreadsheet. Then there’s the whole press-agent aspect where I say, “Okay we’ve got interviews at 5:30 and 6:30 and this is how long they’re gonna be.” So I handle all that. It’s a pretty nonstop thing. And then I handle all the money intake as well—with that, I sit down with the promoter and see how many people paid, and how much the tickets were, add that up, and then subtract the promoter’s fees, plus whatever else gets taken out, to make sure we’re not getting ripped off. Then I take the check—hopefully it’s a check and not a pocketful of cash [laughs]. Then head out to the next town and do it all over again.

I always think of the road manager in Spinal Tap, Ian, when he’s like, “There’s no sex and drugs for Ian.” [After which he follows up with “Do you know what I do? I find lost luggage.”] It’s a job. You’re crew. The band can sleep in the van all day and then wake up for sound check and then go back to sleep. If you’re doing anything that requires you to be on the road [as part of the crew], you’ve got a 12- or 13-hour day in front of you. Just don’t think, “Oh, I’m gonna be a rock star, too.” ‘Cause it doesn’t really work that way, but still it’s an amazing job. I remember getting my passport, just staring at the pages, hoping I could get a stamp. Then last year I had to get pages added to it because there was no room left for any more.