Robbie Lackritz, tour manager/sound engineer

What do you do? “I am a tour manager, currently with Jamie Lidell, and a sound engineer. The main artist I tour with is Feist, who I’m also engineering for right now, and I spent most of the last couple of years on the road with Rilo Kiley. Recording-wise, I helped build a studio with Brad Wood, who has produced Sunny Day Real Estate, Liz Phair, Pete Yorn, and about 500 records.”

What does a typical day for you include? “Tour managing is a lot like being a parent on a family vacation, except your kids drink a lot and it’s occasionally acceptable to hit them. My entire day is planned in advance in terms of where we’re are going, where we’re going to park, when we’re to arrive somewhere. Once we’ve arrived at the venue, there’s load-in, sound check, meet and greets, dealing with the guest list, and scoping out other details to make sure everything runs smoothly. Post-show, I make sure everything’s loaded back up and we get paid.”

How did you get into the career? “I had my first home studio when I was 16. It was pretty rag-tag, but I recorded my band at the time and some of my friends’ bands and learned a lot by trial and error. When I was 18, I moved up to L.A. to go to USC. I started a crazy schedule working full-time as the house engineer at the Roxy, hitting class twice a week, and working with Brad Wood on records during the day. Needless to say, I didn’t leave a particularly studious legacy at USC. I had started getting a lot of freelance sound-guy work, so I accelerated my studies to graduate in three years. Right after I finished school, I left to tour manage Rilo Kiley and everything snow balled from that.”

How do people react when you tell them what you do? “I don’t think most people understand it. They either think I’ve come up with some glorified euphemism for ‘roadie’ or that I live some crazy rock star life with nothing but drugs and girls. It’s really just like any other job, except my surroundings change every night.”

What has been the greatest moment in your career? “I was the first white person to ever mix at First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) church in Los Angeles. I worked Ray Charles’ funeral there, where Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Glenn Campbell, and BB King performed. It was a pretty spine-tingling moment.”

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