How to Get Backstage After the Show

Categories: Helpful Advice

These days, being backstage at a show usually involves little more than watching a pile of people obsess about food, try to locate the nearest shower, and -- most importantly -- get venue Wi-Fi to work. Behind The Music-style rock 'n' roll hedonism is a rarity these days, but if you're still one of those people desperate to see backstage action, or if it's a special night and you know for sure that there's a raging party going on back there that you just have to get into, you're facing a number of hurdles. Here's how you get over them.

  • Fake an illness
    There was this incident in 2001 at an Ataris show in the U.K. where a 15-year-old girl faked passing out so she could get beyond the backstage barriers. Once she got back, a friend of hers begged security to allow her through as well, to check on her friend. Once they were both back there, they burst into the band's room and started making out with each other in a vague attempt to seduce a pile of pop-punkers old enough to be their dads. We were there. It was one of the grossest things we've ever seen. But it was also kind of genius because it totally worked and no one kicked them out. High five, repulsive English teenagers!

  • Walk with purpose
    In a particularly great episode of 30 Rock recently, Matt Damon's character -- a pilot named Carol -- says "You walk briskly in a pilot's uniform, you can go pretty much anywhere. I've been upstairs at the White House while the Obamas were sleeping."
    Well, you don't need a pilot's uniform. You just need a quiet air of arrogance and the right body language. You also need to walk directly behind people who are getting escorted in by someone with a laminate. And if they eye you suspiciously at any point, just start talking to those people like you know the band too. Job done.

  • Be a raging slut

    Groupies have a tendency to think they're really cool and that everyone loves them because, after the sex, they're not there on the bus when the band and crew are mocking them relentlessly. We feel it's important to mention this, in case you're considering attempting slutdom to get backstage. It does work a fair amount and you do at least get laid, but we wouldn't feel right suggesting this without full disclosure: You will be selling your soul and you will get laughed at by at least eight people afterwards. If you can live with that, that's your business. (Whore.)

  • Locate tour manager and bullshit, bullshit, bullshit
    Tour managers are tough nuts to crack. They are usually tense, sober, highly stressed, and slightly OCD. Bullshitting your way in via the tour manager is the toughest route here. Your best bet, though, is to approach them as if you're old friends. They do nothing but travel and meet different people every single day, so if you act like you're a buddy and you've hung out a ton before, and you're superhappy to see them, there is a chance they'll let you in with them. You just have to be the most charming and funny and warm that you've ever been in your entire life. This move does work, but only sometimes. And if they smell bullshit, they will humiliate you. You have been warned.

  • Get a job, asshole
    tour bus.jpg

    You wanna be backstage that bad? Get a job that allows you to be back there, without you having to resort to shady shit. Do merch, do sound, be a roadie, be a tour manager, work at a venue, be a PR person, be a stylist, work for a record label, be a journalist, be a photographer. Hell, form a damn band! All of the above are easy ways of getting a laminate or a sticky. You just have to get the job first. Good luck out there!


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 carry a milk crate full of wires and find the first security guy by the front door. tell him you need to get this shit back stage. he will pass you along the security chain until you're behind the gates. get to know the security during this opportunity, cause you dont need a laminate if they know your face

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