“If you don’t have a dog, hunt with a cat,” my dad would always say. If you’re like me and my friend Rob then you truly love music, so much that you would do anything it takes to be a part of it.
Rob is currently on the road with Canadian post-hardcore band Silverstein as a guitar technician and all-around bearded beauty! I picked his brains about what it takes to live the road-pirate life with world renown emo rockers.
You’re currently on tour as a guitar tech for Silverstein, what are your duties on the road?
I am! My duties on the road consist of a lot of heavy lifting or pointing at something heavy for somebody else to lift. Daily maintenance of guitars, amps, and all things gear related. Ensuring the show stays on time and most importantly not getting too drunk that I can’t pack the trailer at the end of the night.
Right on, what should a good guitar tech do for the band?
Listen. Listen to the artists you’re working with. Listen to their concerns and suggestions. A good tech becomes an extension to the player, and should be able to recognize when the player is having an issue before even they do. Ultimately your goal is that the moment the band walks on stage all they have to worry about is their performance.
How did you meet Silverstein and start working for them?
I met Silverstein originally when I was 13 by waiting around at a show after they had played at the Hamilton convention centre.
I met them seven years later through Paul Marc Rousseau: their now guitar player, who had just been added to the band after teching on and off for the better part of six years (I think). I had recently moved to Toronto to attend school and was offered the opportunity to come along on Warped Tour in 2013. Naturally having grown up with a passion for music I decided to drop out and come along for the ride. Few years, a lot of countries, and hundreds of shows later, I’m still here.
Excellent. What would be your one maxim for living on the road?
Bags don’t need seats
In today’s music climate, from what you’ve seen and experienced, how do Canadian bands stand up compared to the rest of the artists out there?
I consider myself spoiled to have had the opportunity to see so many Canadian bands growing up that if I was living in America I wouldn’t have had the chance to fall in love with. I may be biased but I think Canadian music kicks more ass than anywhere else. Across all genres too… I encourage whomever’s reading this to get outside and head to your local venue, coffee shop, or basement show and support the newer Canadian acts working hard out there to keep music in the Great White North strong.
“Put your phone down and watch the bands”
Where is your favourite place that music has taken you?
Every town and country I would have never in my life considered visiting. Which by the numbers is around 98% of them.
Best road story off the top of your head…
We had just finished a support tour for Boy Sets Fire in Europe and were headed to Russia for some headlining dates across the major cities.
It was from St. Petersburg to Moscow we rode an overnight train with all of our gear, luggage, and vodka (When in Russia). We all chipped in on the ungodly amount of money it cost in data to watch the ALDS final on Shane’s phone. Not the craziest thing I’ve gotten up to on tour but one of the more memorable nights post bat-flip.
What was the first song/artist that really made you fall in love with music?
Before the time of Tivo or Netflix my dad had a literal wall of VHS tapes in the basement. He worked nights so daily as my mom was off at her flower shop I would peruse the wall for things that caught my attention, which at the time were mostly old basketball games and batman cartoons. Until one day I happened to throw a recording of Woodstock 94′ in the VCR wound to just before Green Day took the stage and from then on I was hooked. There is even a home movie of me at age 6 asking my mom to throw grass at me as I jam out on a tennis racket to recreate the mud-fight that occurred during their set.
Truly Born To Be! Thank you so much for your time man, is anything else you want to add?
Sure! Thanks for being the first person to ever think I was interesting enough to interview. And that if you’re reading this I encourage you to put your phone down and watch the bands.
Griffin J. Elliot