Hanging with a Blackheart


Hanging with a Blackheart is hanging with a good heart.  I spent my Sunday hanging with more than one Blackheart. A whole band full led by the Rock & Roll Queen, Joan.

Rock is still alive and well, definitely in Bakersfield. The closing night of the Kern County Fair rocked out with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The overflow crowd stood jam-packed into the two gate areas of visibility and sang along with all the “Joan Jett Anthems.” (I love Rock and Roll, Cherry Bomb, Bad Reputation, Crimson and Clover, and many more)

It was a good trip down memory lane for me. Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s I would hang backstage with the guitar techs of the Rock Gods. And sometimes hang with the Sound and lighting folks. I did both last night.

Really good people.

Joan’s guitar-tech, Zach, known as one of the best on the road, is a home-town bud from Indiana. His early years in the music business started at McGuire Music & Sound in Lafayette, Indiana.

When Zack worked the music store, I had already left and was doing the artist relations and wholesale music stuff in California. It was great to get to know a young dude that had worked at my old store after I was gone. He’s been the guitar tech for Joan Jett for quite a few years. Besides going out on tour with the Joan and the Blackhearts, Zach also ‘techs’ for Cindy Lauper, Wilco and others.

Guitar techs, drum techs, sound techs, lighting techs are all skilled jobs that are as important as the players. Good Sound & Lighting can make a show memorable.

Here’s a quick look at the boys and girls at work last night.

Zach preparing J one"s guitars

Zach preparing JOAN’S Guitars

Sharing her booth before the show

Sharing her booth before the show

Doing Joan Setts  Sound for 28 years.

Bobby has been doing Joan’s sound for 28 years

Little Annie working the light board

Little Annie working the light board

Picture from the lighting board

Picture from the lighting board

And then...the Tear Down

And then…the Tear Down

This is when I suddenly had things to do. I hate “tearing down.”

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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3 Responses to Hanging with a Blackheart

  1. fiddlrts says:

    The behind the scenes stuff that makes everything else go. Great post, and a great artist. Love me some Joan Jett.

    • bakoheat says:

      I didn’t want to write an entire post on another “tour” note, but my buddy, the guitar tech, went out on the Cyndi Lauper/CHER tour. The Cyndi Lauper entourage was ONE semi and two tour buses. That made the entire tour a total of 19 semi-trucks and 12 tour buses. One semi alone just carried a giant Trojan Horse that Cher climbed out of and then back into on one song. The horse was then dismantled and placed in the ONE semi to go back on the road. Many more stories about that and other tours that are mind-boggling.

  2. And they say nothing ever happens in Bakersfield!

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