Rock and roll ain’t easy on the artists. It’s no picnic for the roadies either, as Tana Douglas’s memoir, Loud proves. Douglas was the world’s first female roadie. Her first book gives us a fly on the wall account of her life and career in music. She and her fellow crew members worked hard, played hard, and it’s obvious that they all loved really loved the music. In fact, her passion for the craft is palpable infectious throughout.
This book is one rollicking read. Douglas describes her fractured family life and her time as a teenage runaway. Among her first jobs was helping a band called Fox load and set-up their gear. She was also backstage assisting as tightrope walker Philippe Petit scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Her next big job would be doing sound and lights for then little-known group: AC/DC.
Douglas is nothing short of inspiring. At a young age (barely out of her teens) she had already notched up the hours and kilometres working for the likes of Status Quo, The Who, Iggy Pop and Ozzy Osbourne. However, Loud also shows her as a wonderful storyteller. Her anecdotes about these artists are particularly candid and colourful, proving that life on the road is rarely dull.
Now, a book like this could have devolved into tedious name-dropping. But, (thankfully) Douglas avoids that. Instead, she educates the reader on the amount of work involved in ensuring the show goes on, no matter the circumstances. Whether it’s scaling up to the roof after a rigger has had a workplace accident, almost getting electrocuted, or getting lost in the halls of Windsor Castle, it’s clear it’s a hard job. The crew are the first ones to clock on and the last ones to leave each day. The best ones are largely invisible to their audiences. It’s little wonder that they often become a close as families by the end of a tour.
This memoir will appeal to those readers interested in the Australian and international music industries. The book is full of wild and woolly adventures through a different time, thanks to its focus on the late seventies through to the nineties when Douglas was most active on the road.
These days she pays tribute to her many mentors by paying things forward and taking young people under her wing. She’s diversified into logistics and other aspects supporting the music industry. Given the quality of her writing, we hope that “Author” will continue to be a role she retains (among her many others).
Tana Douglas’s Loud is an amazing story about life on the road. Douglas provides a candid first-hand account about working with some of the biggest artists, including ones who have passed like Bon Scott and Michael Hutchence. She is one inspiring badass, and a trailblazer who paved the way for women in the music industry. With a no-nonsense attitude, inspiring work ethic and hilarious yarns, you will feel welcome in her house of fun.