Behind Behind the Warped Tour
With the temperature in the single digits and everything in sight covered in a layer of ice summer seems impossibly far away. One way to stave off the winter doldrums and remind yourself that soon you will be able to venture outside with exposed skin is to watch Fuse TV’s Warped Roadies. The show has returned for a second season to give an insider’s look at what goes on behind the scenes of the touring punk rock summer camp that is the Van’s Warped Tour, just one look at the swarms of kids moshing in 100 degree weather will definitely warm you up.
In order to get an idea of what to expect from this season we talked with Kenny Leath; the tour’s main stage manager and one of the stars of Warped Roadies. Leath is easily recognizable as the shirtless guy with the flowing grey locks and extensive collection of tattoos who is constantly trying to make sure that everything runs on time. There isn’t exactly a clear career path to follow if one wishes to become a stage manager for the Warped Tour but it turns out like most other jobs it helps to know someone on the inside.
“I got my job in a kind of weird way,” Leath said. “Believe it or not, it started with I guy I had met when I was in prison. When I got out my friend introduced me to his brother who was a main stage manager at Warped Tour. Bizarre, right?”
The Warped Tour covers pretty much the entire United States every summer so it has to run on a pretty tight schedule to fit in all of those tour dates. Since every show is outside the tour constantly has to butt heads with the whims of Mother Nature.
“It’s definitely very rough, but we get through it rain or shine,” Leath said. “While in Calgary we were eating lunch and I looked up and saw a small tornado blowing tents down like they were made of paper. Trying to save them almost got us killed. It was insane!”
Traveling around the country has allowed Leath to get tattooed by all sorts of artists that he never would have had a chance to meet if he worked any other job, although sometimes things don’t work out quite the way he intended.
“I have ink that I have gotten from my years on the Warped Tour,” Leath said. “I have a wide variety of work and pieces, just whatever fits the day and time. When we went to Japan I tried to get some work from a Japanese artist but he was guest spotting in the United States at the time, go figure!”
Warped Roadies shows the massive amount of work that Leath and his compatriots have to do behind the scenes in order to make sure everything goes off without a hitch, a concept that many happy concert-goers probably never even considered before seeing the show. Leath is grateful that Warped Roadies has given people an appreciation for the way that he busts his butt so everyone has a good time.
“I think we get respect just for surviving the heat and weather obstacles,” Leath said. “I’ve had people tell me they really didn’t realize that we worked that hard and that many hours a day. People get it and let us know. They give us props for our dedication and hard work!”
In addition to giving people an idea of how hard Leath and the other roadies work Warped Roadies has also forced the roadies to adjust to being known figures instead of simply the people on side of the stage that nobody recognizes.
“It’s flattering and fun and the feedback has been really positive,” Leath said about his time on the show. “Sometimes it can be a bit weird and awkward but such is life. It wouldn’t be life it wasn’t a bit weird, right?”
Warped Roadies returns from their brief holiday break on Jan. 1 at 11 p.m. on Fuse TV.