Feature by: Mark Steinwachs
Gallery photos courtesy of Brent Baxter Photography & img stock
Video courtesy of Ze18613 (YouTube)

Mark Steinwachs spent 12 years on the road touring with all forms of music and theater acts and is now the General Manager at Bandit Lites, an industry leader in concert lighting production.

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post for my other blog; the topic was tour laminates. That blog is written for roadie types. This post will be geared more toward artists.

You may be asking yourself, why does there need to be a post dedicated to this? And the answer is very simple: because people don’t seem to know what the fuck they are doing anymore. I’m going to make this easy …

PUT YOUR FUCKING LAMINATE AWAY.

Thank you, and good night.

But seriously, you walk through the Nashville airport on any given day and you see people with a resume hanging off of their belt loop. Stop it, no one cares. Act like you’ve been there. If you are a Popstar or play for a Popstar and you need to impress someone by flashing your pass, you are doing it wrong. Put your laminate away. Let’s look at a few of the golden rules about your laminate.

When should you have your laminate visible? For me, there is one answer: NEVER. Mine stayed in my pocket, my lanyard wrapped around my belt loop so it wouldn’t fall out accidentally. I would only take it out to show a security guard as I brushed past them. I never kept mine out because I was always worried it was going to get hooked on a case latch or something and get ripped off.

But I was crew. What about you, the person on stage?

Artists, when should you have your laminate visible? Always have it when you walk in the venue. Don’t think because you are famous to someone that Security Guard Bob has any idea who you are, or even cares. Also, take laminates to catering. Some tours/venues require them as a check that you are supposed to be in there to eat. There are tours that put a picture of the band up that reads these people don’t need passes. If that is the case for you, that doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk to Security Guard Bob if he stops you. Politely show him the picture and point yourself out, then go about your business.

Never take your laminate on stage during the show. Leave it in the dressing room. If you get stopped from your room to the stage, one of your crew screwed up big time.

There are festivals that use wristbands for artists. Wear them, okay? Don’t be a jerk about it. Yes, this probably means onstage too, unless you are the headliner and leaving right after the show.

The only time your tour laminate needs to be seen is on a show day, on site. That’s it. That’s all.

Now, let’s take that a couple steps further …

When should your laminate not be visible? Everyplace else! Let’s make a list of a few places:

Airport – No
Off site on a show day – No
Truck stop – No (It should be in the driver’s seat so he knows you are inside!)
Restaurant – No
Great Aunt Ida’s house in Boise – No (You can show her if she asks, then away it goes)
Hotel – No
Outside on a show day – No
Day off – Oh hell, no!

I say “Oh hell, no!” about day off because if you are crew and do dumb stuff and get arrested, then it gets reported that “Crew guy X on Popstar tour got arrested.” Artists don’t like that, and then crew guy gets fired. You, as the artist, or working for the artist, may have more leniency, but still, leave your laminate on the bus on a day off. You don’t need to show it off to be cool, just be cool.

There you go, a few things to remember about your laminate. Now put yours away and go do your gig.

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