Tana Douglas, described as “the world’s first female roadie,” says she wound up being kicked out of hotels because of the Go-Go’s behavior on tour.
Douglas established her name as a crew member during stints with AC/DC, Elton John and others. In her new memoir, Loud, she identified the all-girl band as one of the most difficult groups she’d ever dealt with – and very different from her previous experience of working with the Runaways.
“It was too early in my career for me to feel comfortable working with an all-girl band,” Douglas said (via Spin.) “I saw the flak they got in the press at times, not being taken seriously by bands and crews alike just because they were girls. I wasn’t ready for that. But I did end up enjoying the company of Joan [Jett] and also Lita Ford, the lead guitarist for the group.”
She continued: “The Go-Go’s were another story. They had a completely different attitude from the Runaways and were going through what I refer to as their Brat Phase. Both Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin were members of that first 100 L.A. punks club, but the only sign of this was the way they trashed hotel rooms and were generally obnoxious. And I would suffer the fallout from these antics.”
She explained it was normal for crew to check into hotels later in the day than the band members did. By the time she got to the reception desk “there would already be drama from the girls and an irate hotel staff refusing to register any more women with the entourage. That meant I had to sneak in to many of these hotels. I spent a significant amount of time swearing in a foreign language that I wasn’t with the girls nor like them. Still, I’d end up sleeping on the bus.”
Douglas recalled the time she was trying to check into a hotel in Germany by insisting she “had nothing to do with ‘those girls.'” She said: “[A] belligerent Belinda crashed through the lobby, knocking over indoor plants and side tables in her path. She came to a screeching halt right next to me, looked me in the eye, smiled, knocked over a tall glass vase and yelled, ‘Fuck ’em!’ Then she left. As the vase smashed into tiny pieces, the receptionist looked at me sternly and pointed to the door. Yep! Another night on the bus for me.”
She also recalled the Go-Go’s “party trick,” when they’d choose a man from their audience, invite him backstage and spend time “collectively debasing him as much as humanly possible.” She continued: “This they would find amusing. I guess it wasn’t any different from what a lot of male bands got up to, but it made me uncomfortable. For me as the only girl in an all-male crew, it was a whole different set of rules than for an all-girl band with a hit song. So I kept my distance.”
Loud: A Life in Rock ‘n’ Roll by the World’s First Female Roadie is published on Sept. 20.
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