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The Roadie Years

From 1980 to 1985, Domenic travelled across Canada and parts of the U.S. as a lighting director for recording artists such as Steppenwolf, Badfinger, Rick Derringer, David Wilcox, Sheriff, Coney Hatch and many others.

Domenic c.1985This is a photo of D. from March 1985, at the end of five years of living and working on the road with various bands. He was known as "Tucci" in those days, and had many interesting adventures in many far-off places. He met, travelled, and worked with a lot of rock stars, hung out in some cool places, and got backstage access at some great gigs.

In his role as lighting director and roadie, D. had a chance to express his musical creativity through lights, which allowed him to create spaces, moods, rhythms and textures onstage that enhanced the overall performance. Pyrotechnics were a lot of fun too! The challenge of hanging the lighting rig at each venue posed many dilemmas and hours of work along the way - from tiny bars to concert halls and arenas. Hanging out with top musicians on a daily basis, and having access to all that excellent stage gear and the fine instruments also helped further D.'s musical knowledge and ability to play other instruments. Sound checks were a lot of fun when the roadies took the stage! A romantic life on the surface, but mostly hard work, to be sure.

In the beginning, working for the inevitable Zeppelin - AC/DC - Black Sabbath cover bands, it was a lot of fun! The band would usually play six nights in a row at some bar, and that meant only one set up and one tear down - and one drive - each week. This left plenty of time for - let us say, "partying". There was a real camaraderie between all members of the band and crew and management. Tours "down east" and "out west" were few and far between. They plied the 401 highway at all points between Windsor and Quebec City, and they had a ball.

When D. started working with recording acts, the one-night stands of real touring put an end to all that. It was a business - the music business. The crew drove every night after loading in the gear, setting it all up, doing the show, tearing it all down and repacking the trucks - rain, snow, shine, etc. There were literally TONS of lighting, rigging, PA cabinets, amp racks, stage gear, etc. that had to be loaded in and out of the venue almost every night for weeks on end. It was real WORK - in fact, some of the most demanding physical labour D.'s ever done, and he has had a lot of furniture delivery and moving experience. To this day, he can pack a box, suitcase or vehicle like nobody's business! Don't get the wrong idea, there were still many great times that were had, and "perks", but the emphasis was on the gig and not the partying.

The audiences, of course, were into partying. Crowd control was often an issue, especially at outdoor shows. D. recalls an incident in Guelph with David Wilcox where an extremely large, extremely intoxicated guy passed out under the front of house console table. He was immobile, and laying on top of many coiled cords, any of which if yanked from its socket, would halt the show. D. and the soundman were also afraid the guy would vomit and perhaps short something out. D. had to drag him by the ankles while the soundman watched that no cords were dislodged. Security at this gig was abominable; the stage and the front of house station were surrounded by people pressing right up against the sound and light men, and their gear. Another example, taking countless empty bear bottles out of PA bins where they had been deposited by audience members. Playing bars was quite an adventure.

In Canada, the major cities are far apart, and 18 hour drives were not uncommon. Nor was driving in -40 degree weather. D. will never forget how numb his legs got when the heater broke, driving back to Toronto from Elliot Lake, Ontario in December after a gig with Sheriff. Despite the hardships and privations, D. wouldn't trade those years or those experiences for anything!
[Coming soon... a page of "Terribly Traumatic Tales of Truck Trouble". Stay tuned!]

D. quit smoking back in January 1988, but does still enjoy a nice pint now and again.

Check out these 1983 Steppenwolf stage shoes (left), made by Nike in the U.S. Silver mesh with black patent leather accents, split leather bottom on foam rubber, nicely padded. Only five pairs like these were ever made in the world. It has been confirmed that this is the only surviving pair.

Here's the Coney Hatch road crew relaxing backstage at the Salty Dog Saloon in Buffalo NY. (right)
Yes, Mike's fist is in his mouth.

L-R: Bobby Wyat (drum tech), Domenic Amatucci (lighting director), Mike Kay (guitars & monitors), Russ Johnson (guitar tech).
Missing: Ross "the Boss" Tuskey, Road Manager & Sound Engineer (taking the photo).

All Area Access backstage pass from the Toronto stop on the Jackson's Victory Tour 1984.
D. watched this show from the lighting tower, and says, "It was amazing".

Bands Domenic's Worked For

The Rockers /Hard Rock 'n' Metal (with Jerry McGhee late of Brighton Rock) Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Fire /Jimi Hendrix Tribute (with Tony "Wild T" Springer) Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Equators/ Reggae and Ska Kingston, Jamaica

Moonlight Drive/ Doors Tribute Cleveland, Ohio, USA

The Villains/ Ska London, UK

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils/ Pop Ozark Mtn. USA

Eric Burdon/ (late of "The Animals") Classic Rock Los Angeles, CA, USA

James Cotton/ Blues Harmonica Legend USA

Valdy/ Canadian Folk Legend Vancouver, BC, Canada

Rick Derringer/ Rock & Roll Hoochie-coo NYC, USA

Thor/ Muscle Rock NYC, USA

David Wilcox/ Canadian Blues Guitar King Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Badfinger/ Classic Rock London, UK

John Kay & Steppenwolf/ Classic Rock LA, USA

Downchild Blues Band/ Blues Toronto, Ont., Canada

Sheriff/ Pop Rock (Hit "When I'm With You") Toronto, Ontario (ex-mbrs formed "Alias"& "Frozen Ghost")

Gargano/ Top 40 Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Urgent/ Rock Toronto,Ontario (former mbrs. of Bayb, Zon)

The Tenants/ Reggae-Pop Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Lawrence Gowan/ "but you can call him Larry" Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Coney Hatch/ Canadian Metal Gods Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Maurice Raymond/ Stones Clones (late of "Blushing Brides") Montreal/Boston

Champion/ wi. Alex Machin (late of "Foot in Cold Water") Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Check out Wille P. Bennett in D.'s kitchen!


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