Episode #207 — Roadie Tana Douglas

It might be time to reassess what movies and TV shows I choose to watch. Back in the day, I was all about sitcoms on TV and comedic high jinks on the big screen. But lately, I’ve been watching the type of entertainment that flashes weird imagery in your brain in the middle of the night when you’re trying to sleep — or meet a blog deadline. What are you supposed to do when you refuse to see “Only Murders in the Building” as a cautionary tale? Keep watching HBO documentaries about horrific crimes, apparently.

This all came to a head last night as I was getting ready for bed. During the day I’d gone to see “Nope” in the movie theater with Heidi. It was fantastic, as all Jordan Peele movies are, but wasn’t filled with all-out terror dome moments. Then we watched the rest of the prison miniseries “Black Bird” because a) ever since “Rocketman,” Heidi can’t get enough of Taran Egerton; b) Paul Walter Hauser is from Michigan, and we have Cobra Kai t-shirts; and c) we miss Ray Liotta. These are all reason enough to watch, but it’s also an intriguing series “based on a true story.”

Since it was “based on,” I figured there was a basic outline of a serial killer tale (which would be horrific enough), and then the writers took it in another direction. But right before bed, Heidi kindly texted me an article stating that not only was the serial killer a real guy, and most of the story was true, but the actual events were even worse! And then when I closed my eyes, I also had visions of the chimpanzee from “Nope” running through my mind. I won’t give anything away, but let’s just say I’m not a fan of apes/monkeys/what have you in movies in the first place. Peele and I seem to be on the same page. Are there enough episodes of “The Golden Girls” to transition back to a peaceful state for slumber? Not if it’s the episode where Rose thinks she sees a UFO …

Just when all hope was almost lost, I remembered I had a Why? podcast to blog about. Thank goodness for Tana Douglas in this week’s episode. Her perspective, tales, and wisdom about being a female roadie for an impressively large array of bands from the 1970s on put me back in the right frame of mind. No wonder she’s also an amazing mentor! (And her accent is pretty awesome, too.) We spoke with Tana about being known as rock and roll’s first female roadie, what she loved about the job, and what the challenges were. She’s also written a memoir about her life on the rock and roll road, called “Loud,” which we highly recommend. When you learn the up-and-coming band she started working with as a teenager was AC/DC, you know you’re in for quite the ride.

There are so many great things about Tana, but one thing you’ll notice and appreciate in her interview is that her story is not about name dropping or fame chasing. She talks about what her job entailed, whether it was lighting, rigging, or wrangling an entire tour. It’s about the job, first and foremost, and the people she interacts with along the way. Tana always wants to learn, even now, and took her jobs on the road with a wide variety of bands very seriously. That’s not to say she didn’t have a lot of fun along the way — wow, does she have some amazing stories — but she takes pride in her work and her love of music, which is probably why she was able to transition quickly from one job to the next.

We spoke with Tana about her moniker of “the first female roadie,” including how she feels about it, how her experience might have differed from other roadies, and how relevant she thinks that is now. There are so many other fascinating topics covered, both in the interview and in her book, so make sure you check out each one! Tana’s memoir, “Loud,” is available wherever you get books (we recommend checking out your local independent bookseller). For more information, check out her website or follow her on Facebook. Even if you binge “Dateline” episodes for hours a day, Tana’s stories will help you have rock and roll dreams.


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