As well as attending the Back Lounge, he said, he has been having therapy and taking antidepressants, but the group has been helpful, too. “It’s such a weight off your mind, off your soul, to know other people are feeling and suffering the way you are,” he said.
Said Schofield: “Our industry is terrible when it comes to mental illness. You don’t talk about it until it’s too late, and we need to be more compassionate.”
Nathalie Candel, 29, a tour manager who regularly attends the Back Lounge, said she hoped the group would continue to meet once the industry got back on the road. “We need to look at what we put people though on tour,” she said. Some crew members, including herself, had boasted about working 19-hour days, she added, and that clearly was not healthy.
One recent Wednesday, the Back Lounge was back in session, to discuss the theme of “being left behind.”
Some of the roadies said they feared that the music industry had moved on without them or that their contacts had moved into new lines of work. “The fear of being left behind is very real,” said Debbie Taylor, who manages the crew for Guns N’ Roses world tours. “It’s something I have nightmares about,” she added.
The tone was serious, but then Keith Wood, a stadium tour manager, brightened the mood.
“I’ll tell you a story about being left behind,” Wood said, before launching into a tale about the time one of Suzanne Vega’s tour buses drove off without him at a truck stop in Nebraska. That was before cellphones, he said, and he only made it to the tour’s next stop with the help of a friendly local pilot.