Chapter One - I Was A Roadie - Page 8

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The highways always had a band truck passing by. We used to spot the other crews, meet them at roadhouses, and stop when they broke down. By the early eighties we were all driving five-tonne Isuzu pantechs, and soon eight-tonners. Still with no air conditioning, still with vinyl seats. I remember the summer heat in Queensland, windows open, sweat dripping out of my shorts onto my thongs. Bare-chested. Swigging Fosters down the highway. A cassette tape of Little River Band playing. My girlfriend chucked a banana milkshake out the window and it blew right back in. The back of the truck—hot as hell. Inside the gig, stale beer smell, sweat, puke, de-odour gas on sticky pub carpets. Gaff tape on everything, sharp staples from hastily hung stage rags. Innocently yelling "hang the blacks"—the backdrop—and getting into a fight with a table full of aboriginals in a beer garden.

Big and packed venues like the Playroom on the Gold Coast, Bombay Rock, and the Bondi Lifesaver, small and packed venues like the Manzil Room or the Khardoma Café. Strange pubs in country towns, little bowling clubs whose secretary managers had been stitched up by a booking agency into believing that paying $8000 for a band on a Tuesday would save the place.

There was a lot of cash changing hands. I was always pushing a drug dealer out of the way to get paid by the tour manager. Some people fabricated some wild stories about why and how money had disappeared. Lies and more lies, promises and unreality. Just show me the money.

It was still the cash era, before electronic banking, before computers or internets, no emails, no GST, no mandatory reporting if you deposited twenty grand cash at the bank. Mainly the cash was kept out of the bank and dished up in one and two dollar bills stuffed into the attaché case that was de rigueur back then.

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