April 08, 2013

Chad Edwards

Chad Edwards - Tour Manager
Laurel, Mississippi  

A Sunday Social on the Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, Alabama.

What's your favorite part of tour managing?
I would have to say it's several things. Working with Grayson Capps is surreal at times. I've known the guys for about 7 years now, but I've only been working with Grayson for the past two years. I am rather honored to be able to work with one hell of an amazing songwriter and human being. He and the band are nothing short of first class cats. Another aspect I thoroughly love and adore is seeing places I have never seen before (all but five states so far). I absolutely love the traveling part. It can be a little grueling, somewhat boring at times. It is a beautiful thing meeting new people and making lifelong friendships. Some of my dearest friends are people I have met along the way at some festival or venue.

Being a photographer, I do use that term loosely, and working with bands kind of goes hand in hand.

Selfishly, I have to say it works out pretty good for me. I never set out to be a photographer or to manage bands, but it all kind of happened and I went with it. I feel with all my heart that this is what I am supposed to do. Nothing compares to being able to do what you truly love and live for. 

Most memorable moment on the road?
This is a rather tough one...It's a few actually..I won't go into all of them but a few do stand out in my mind. Plus the road has only begun.

I would have to say one of them would be having some beers w Billy Bob Thorton and Matthew McConaughey in Austin, TX, and Billy Bob wanting to prank call my mom at 2am, while McConaughey was telling us how he and his wife named their first child. Another would be hanging with Trey Anastasio of Phish (I have been a Phish "nerd" for twenty years now) backstage at his solo bands show during JazzFest in New Orleans 2005. I had taken my buddy to soundcheck. We went to the dressing room and the next thing I know, I am on the couch talking and [Trey] leans over and says, "I feel like I have known you for a long time." That kinda freaked me out in a good way. I certainly do not get star struck but that one kinda wired me a little bit. It's hard to pinpoint one or two things. It's such a blessing to be able to do what I do. [I’ve gotten to] jam with members of Galactic, P-Funk and others in New Orleans, December, 2007, during the Big Ol Nasty Getdown sessions. [I] got to lay drums on a song with The Lee Boys (I was on road with them from late 2007-2010) in Lawrence, Kansas January, 2008. It was as cold as you-know-what, and I think 6 people were in attendance, which was a major reason I was allowed to play on a tune, and rightfully so -I can't keep up with those cats. I watched members of Prince's band get up and jam with the Lee Boys in Minneapolis Jan 2008. I did shots of whiskey with the Del McCoury band at 3 am at Delfest 2008. I got to see my photo used for Grayson Capps double song release for the movie Straw Dogs in 2011. Everyday, every tour and/or weekend with Grayson and the guys is memorable. Again, I am blessed to work with such an amazing musician/songwriter and down-to-earth dude. It's nice knowing I am working with one of the best songwriters of my generation and knowing there is this mutual trust between us. Words can't explain it.

People would say that I am...
Hmmmm. I better not say... just kidding. They'd probably say I am odd, weird. Maybe a little too honest. Stubborn. A free spirit who digs structure mostly, but I love spontaneity. Music fanatic. Hopefully, they'd say I am pretty descent at photography and that I LOVE doing what I do. Least that's what I'd hope they say about me. I would say that about myself if I wasn't me.

What's your instrument of choice?
Drums. Drums. Drums. But I really like any instrument, or thing that can make a sound (or noise). I'd love to be a pianist (Sun Ra-style) in a rock-n-roll band. I also prefer weird cheap instruments. Those are the best. I used to stand in front of the mirror as a kid with an electric guitar (no amp) and mic stand with a mic (no PA) and sing and play in front of the mirror as if I were on stage in front of five thousand screaming fans. But I always came back to drums. I could be homeless and last thing I would ever get rid of would be my drums. That may sound crazy and 'first world-ish', but it honestly would be last thing I would let go of.
Sound track of your life or top 5 songs...
Wow. This is gonna be hard. In no particular order:       

"What A Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong (He is like God to me. That song just floors me every time I hear it. Armstrong was everything.)

"You Enjoy Myself" - Phish (That song changed a lot, if not everything about me in 1993. Everything I loved in a band was in that one song.)

"Tones of Home"  - Blind Melon (Another song/band that changed everything about me twenty years ago.)

"Do You Think I'm Sexy" - Rod Stewart (OK, I was like maybe five years old staring at the album cover and listening to the record over and over and still to this day that song gets to me. I could listen to it for hours. Thanks to my mom and cousin for forcing me to put up with them listening to it as well.)

"Detroit Rock City" - KISS (Anyone who knew anything about me as a child knows how obsessed I was with KISS. Gene Simmons, mask and all. I still have my KISS trading cards. Double Platinum was a record I would listen to for hours and hours -you know, back when listening to music was way more physical than it is now.)

If you had your way, what would be different with daily activities? 
Coffee and money would just magically appear out of nowhere. 

What's the ultimate goal with your musicians?
First and foremost is to keep them happy. Whatever I can do to keep them from doing more than they should or do stuff they shouldn't do (like worry about how far it is to the next gig), etc. Once again, being a musician in bands has really helped. I know what they need and when they want it. You have to be one step ahead of the band at all times, or at least try to be. The first band I went on the road with was Brotherhood of Groove back in 2001. They were from New Orleans, and I pretty much met the guys in the band all by chance. Some of those band members (Brandon Tarricone and Dan Caro) have gone on to do some great things. I have to give a huge thanks to Alvin Lee of The Lee Boys and Jeff Mosier of one of the most influential jambands of all time: Blueground Undergrass. Jeff was also an original member of Aquarium Rescue Unit. They are who taught me most of what I know now about how to "tour manage". It was Mosier who asked, in early 2007 during set-break at their show if I wanted to, "go on the road" with them. I said YES without even worrying why I was agreeing. He always told me, "dress better than the band", which I can honestly say I don't always do. Jeff likes to say Col Bruce Hampton is his 'Elvis'.  Well, if that's the case, Jeff Mosier is definitely my 'Phish'.

I just want to make it easy for the bands/musicians to do what they do, and that is play music. I try to keep it fun, maybe too much at times but you gotta have fun. We're all beyond blessed to do what we love and do. It is what makes us tick.

I think me being in bands and playing drums most of my life has helped, and made what I do seem to be easier. At least it seems kind of easy to me. I remember, as a kid, watching people at concerts do what I am doing now. At times, it gets surreal and weird. I say that a lot but it really is. I remember being at rock concerts back when I was 12, watching Motley Crue or Aerosmith or whomever, and being mesmerized by the lights, the sound, and the crew on stage tuning instruments. I would always be the first in line at any concert I was going to. I would find the tour bus hoping I could get on it or find the band. I never knew I would actually be doing what I once imagined in awe and amazement. 

I can't live without...
Food, Air, Music, Art, my Camera,  the opposite sex
Love or Lust?

Other than managing and photography, how do you pass time?
Reading. I love to read anything; newspapers, books, magazines. I love the physical nature of those things. I have yet to embrace the whole kindle thing and do not plan to anytime soon. Old school it is for me. I also work for some bands/musicians doing the social networking/website thing, which isn't really a passing-the-time kind of thing, but it is a large part of what I do when at home and when I am on the road.

Where did you grow up?
Laurel, MS
Where do you live now?
Laurel, MS
What's your sign?
Websites or links you want us to know about.
Grayson Capps
Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm 

April 7, 2013
Photography: Reggie Thomas 


  1. What a great interview, and fantastic photos!!!

  2. Thank you!!! The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm is magical, and Chad Edwards it the greatest!