From the Road with Rocky Rodrigues
25-year-old Rocky Rodrigues has been touring for five years. She started while still in college, taking it upon herself to finish a psychology degree on the road. Rocky has worked for As It Is, Unwritten Law, Exhorder, Hail the Sun and I Prevail.
Photo by Michelle Baumval
How did you get into your role?
I got into my role by just being a die-hard concert goer. I’ve always been a massive nerd and school has come to me naturally, so working ahead of my deadlines so I could skip classes to go to shows was easy. From my junior year when I got my license, to my sophomore year of college, my workload in school revolved around shows I wanted to go to. I would ask the crew on the tours how they got into their roles and quickly learned that everyone’s entry into the industry was unique. A merch guy that I became friends with ended up joining a band and took a chance on me as their merch manager. I have been touring ever since!
Can you walk us through a day in the life of?
I try to wake up at least 3-4 hours before I need to be ready for load in at the venue so that I can scout out a vegan breakfast place and a good latte. Waking up earlier gives me the only free time I have for myself until 1-3 am the next morning. I prefer to give myself time to actually wake up, get good coffee and do my makeup so that I’m not rushing into an already full and busy day. Once load in comes around, I load all my merch boxes, racks and pelican with my supplies into the venue. I count everything in, grab restocks I need, and set up all the displays. I charge my laptop and card readers for the night. I check in with the rest of the tour package and see where our green room is, what the dinner situation is like, and check in with my TM to get any other details and updates for the day. I meet with the venue worker that’ll be in charge of collecting the merch cut afterwards and give them my counts and go over the percentages. If there’s time I’ll grab more coffee and or explore the area if there’s stuff to do or things to see nearby. Once doors are open, I am busy and working until load out. I prefer to stay behind my table as often as I can, so that I never miss a sale. After the show is done and the fans are out of the building, I start doing the count out, settle the merch cut with the venue, and help the crew load out and pack the trailer, especially since merch is one of the last things in the pack. When I get on the bus, I’ll settle with the TM and then eat, prepare for the next day, send soundscan reports for music and catch up on emails, and then I’m passed the hell out. Wake up, and repeat!
Photo by TJ Horansky
What’s a good starting point for anyone reading this hoping to get into what you do or any crew role?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to crew members, learn more about the role and make friends with other people that go to shows a lot. Look into volunteer roles for festivals that come through your city and get more involved in your own local scene. There really are no rules for how to enter, you just have to have heart and never give up. I never gave myself a plan B and always knew I would make this my career. Whether it be merch management, photography, front of house, lighting, or even being a musician yourself, study and evolve your craft, practice a lot, and leave your own unique mark on your work.
What are some of the essentials you need on the job? Say you had Batman’s utility belt, what would go in there?
Sharpies, gaff tape, chapstick, a lighter and more sharpies. I also carry an old DVD player with the My Chem documentary on it in my pelican. I watched that religiously as a kid and it’s one of the biggest things that made me wanna tour. It’s even more wild when I’m at a venue that’s in that documentary.
Out of all the merch you’ve ever worked with, was there one piece that stood out as your favourite?
Aw man that’s a tough one…I think I’d have to say it’s a tie between the Unwritten Law skateboards we sold on our 2018 Australian tour and the grinders I sold for I Prevail on Warped in 2017.
Photo by Ian Coulson
If you could have dinner with five people who’s either inspired you or who you’d consider a muse, who would it be?
Oh damn… okay, it would be Johnny Depp, Gerard Way, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga and Freddie Mercury.
Any other tips?
View every hardship and obstacle in the way of getting to your goals as a learning lesson. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to work on things and try something new.
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