Episode #191 — Memoir of a Roadie with Joel Miller

Luke and Heidi are ready to give up their glamorous lives, at least for a shortish stint, to run a post office and gift shop in Antarctica. Let me rephrase that: they believe their lives will become even more glamorous and exciting once they’re running things on the continent. Sure, there will be lots of penguins to count and sure, there might be some peace and quiet. But let’s consider some of the downsides, apart from the lack of running water.

Firstly, that’s a lot of “quality” time together. You can only challenge someone to ice shuffleboard so many times, even if you use penguins as pucks/weights. (We’re kidding, of course. We’d never do that to penguins. An albatross is obviously a better choice for that job. There’s never been any great literary works about messing with an albatross that led to some sort of idiom about the seabird and someone’s neck, right?)

Secondly, I have a friend who had the great fortune to go on a trip to Antarctica. She loved it and had lots of great stories and gorgeous photos, especially of all the penguins. Then this killjoy asked her about the smell. She took a deep breath and explained that the wall of penguin stink hits you long before you ever see them. As for the peace and quiet, you can’t tell a bird colony to keep it down.

And finally, there’s the scariest thing of all to consider. No, not the lack of internet access … the actual Thing! We can’t say whether The Thing is still out there, or whether it was so embarrassed by the 1982 film that it hightailed it to another galaxy, but should Heidi and Luke take that chance?

But maybe it will turn out okay. If they run into The Thing, they’ll probably interview it. And we all want that episode to happen! Also, anyone can get past the penguin stink for the chance to count them. It might be cold enough that our faces will be covered, anyway. Plus, last month a team found the wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s ship “Endurance” — who wouldn’t want to be around for that? Maybe we’re promoting this a little too much and should distract you, so we don’t have to compete with your applications.

A memoir of a roadie should do the trick nicely! For this week’s episode we spoke with Joel Miller, former roadie for the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Guns N’ Roses, the Cranberries, and more. He’s written a fascinating book called, “Memoir of a Roadie: Axl Said I Made a Great Cup of Tea… Scott Weiland Liked the Carpenters… & Ozzy Drinks Rosé.” Truthfully, all we really need to do is point out the title — if that doesn’t want to make you pick up the book, we really don’t know you at all! (We know, we know, it’s presumptuous to presume we know everything about you. It’s your wildly eclectic tastes that lead us to appreciate you more each week!)

Joel was a roadie in his 20s and if you’ve ever wondered what life on the road with a rock band is like, he’s got answers. Do roadies get tired of hearing the same songs from the same band? Where’s the best place to sleep on a tour bus? Is the rumor true that roadies play over-the-top pranks on each other? How big a crew travels with each band? And are sex, drugs, and rock and roll only for the band members? We try and get to the bottom of all of this with Joel.

We also get some ex-roadie perspective about whether he sticks around to hear bands where he bowls, or at other recreational locales in L.A. Let’s just say it would be hard to listen to a Yes cover band at Tommy Tutone’s Taqueria when you’ve spent your formative years getting live performances from Stone Temple Pilots on a regular basis.

We just get to the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the life of a roadie. If you want to know more, check out Joel’s hilarious and insightful book. And happily, he also hosts a podcast, “Party Like a Rock Star,” where he talks with roadies and musicians, available wherever you get your podcasts. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to make our Antarctic playlist (on a CD because we can’t rely on streaming it in the gift shop). So far, we’ve got Fleetwood Mac’s entire album “Penguin”; “Earth Angel” by the Penguins; “So Says I” by the Shins (for the video); Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice”; Madonna’s “Frozen”; and seismic recordings of ice shelfs melting because we take the environmental awareness aspect of the job seriously. We’re open to other song suggestions!


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