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Being a Roadie Is a Lot of Heavy Lifting

June 24, 2016   |   Written by Paulette Cohn

Oscar-winning screenwriter Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) returns to his rock roots with Roadies, a 10-episode, Showtime one-hour, ensemble comedy that takes a backstage look into the lives of a tight-knit group of rock band “roadies.”

Roadies chronicles the rock world through the eyes of music’s unsung heroes, putting the spotlight on the backstage workers who really make the music happen, while touring the United States for the successful arena-level group, The Staton-House Band.

The series stars Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, Imogen Poots, Peter Cambor, Colson Baker (aka Machine Gun Kelly) and Finesse Mitchell.

Parade.com caught up with Poots, who plays Kelly Ann, an essential member of the roadie crew who dreams of attending film school, to chat about her role in the new music-driven series.

Are there a lot of female riggers?

Absolutely. Kelly Ann is based on a real girl that Cameron saw, but we spoke to a lot of the crew for Fleetwood Mac. They were around, and certainly, that’s something that I found really incredible, was the fact that it’s very, very gender-fair. There’s a lot of men, a lot of women and a lot of families. People have their kids on the tour buses, and try and maintain relationships, and all that.

Do the women need a harder shell to survive?

No, they’ll beat you up. There are some solid women out there. It’s a lot of heavy lifting, but I think a lot of it, too, is they work together. It’s you do your job right, and I’ll get my job right. There’s nothing worse than watching a bunch of actors flounder around with props, you know? So it was very, very succinct to study.

In terms of physical, was it difficult to learn how to do the rigging?

Physical in the sense of understanding the intricacies of it, you know what I mean? In terms of my job, it was just getting over the fact that those rafters are pretty high. You go real high up in those music venues, yeah, but then you realize they really do put their lives on edge. And when you’re exhausted and you’re doing this work, some of these film crews, you see it happen at the end of a shoot day, and you’re like, “Holy goodness me. Now I’ve got to clear all this up, and then drive however far back to where you live, you know?

Can you imagine that life?

Well, I live a version of it, but I don’t in the sense of, they do not have a break. It is relentless what these crew members do. I’m very in awe of what they do. I think I’ve slightly romanticized the notion of being on a tour bus, as we all do. But I think once you realize the hardship of that, you’ve got to be in it for the long run. You’ve got to really love it, the same as a lot of things in life. But no, it’s certainly something I’d love to go and try, but I think I’ll stick with acting.

Did you learn how to skateboard beforehand? You seem quite good, or did you have a double?

I have a really good double. She’s an Olympic skateboarder from Australia, and we look exactly the same. But I learned a couple of things that I want to get down. I don’t even drive yet, so I better start somewhere.

Do you think some women get into it because they originally wanted to meet the band but then fell in love with the music?

That wasn’t something specific I heard, but I’m sure that’s common. I think a lot of them got into it because their mums and dads were in it, and as often happens, too, with film crews, you’ll find out the prop-master’s son is there doing work experience, and he’s probably going to follow in line and get into the same business.

Do you look at concerts differently now when you go to them?

Absolutely, in the same way that you look at movies differently, because you see all the skeletal foundation to it and the intricacies, and I think that’s so interesting. It’s like when you watch a play onstage, and then you’re like, “What’s happening in the wings?” All of that I find fascinating.

Have you heard any bizarre stories that you can’t believe happened, but people say is actually true?

Sure. What I find hilarious is the idea that if you have a band onstage and they’re the real deal, and then you hear stories about how the roadies will cover up all the seats that didn’t sell for the concert with black curtains so they won’t feel insecure. They’re up there, and they’re like, “I sold it out.” It’s like, “No, you didn’t.”