By the time the Maiden tour was drawing to a close I had discovered that there were two things in my life that I excelled at. One was being a roadie and the other was being a slut.
Noel Wyatt S.O.C. / Aka ‘Ratty’
Chapter Five: Welcome To The Jungle
First Published: 6 April 2012
As the roadie thing goes I had learnt a massive amount from the pro guys on the tour and felt confident that I could rise to any challenge thrown at me.
From the slut point of view I could rise to any bird that was plonked in front of me and I embraced the roadie mantra with gusto.
“If it moves, fuck It, if It doesn’t move, fuck it till it moves.”
Not only had I gained my first STI but I had also picked up my nickname, ‘Ratty’, an essential for any aspiring Tech.
Mine was delivered to me by Steve Harris during a load in at one of the tougher gigs on the tour. Apparently he had seen me scurrying around trying to get my gear off stage during the set change and had said to his Tech: “Who is that bloke? He’s like a rat up a drainpipe.”
The next day I was christened Ratty and the name has stayed with me ever since. I have only met one other person with the same nickname in the business and he used to work for Queen so pretty good company really.
SEX N’ DRUGS AND ROCK N’ ROLL
I definitely had a lot of sex and rock and roll but I never really got into the drugs thing. Maybe if I had had more money it would have been different but I can’t honestly say that it interested me throughout my career. I was too busy enjoying the ride to dull it down.
I did have a wild flirtation with Jack Daniels for a while but never to the point where it affected my gig and now I neither drink or smoke.
Still keen on sex tho.
ROUND AND ROUND
The tour was finally over, my dose was cured and AIDS was hitting the headlines in a big way. The first thing I did when I got home was book an appointment to have a blood test and to be honest I was petrified.
On tour you tend to live in a bubble and that bubble was being burst by the news media in a big way. I have done a lot of scary things in my life including jumping out of aeroplanes and stepping into the unknown but nothing felt as scary as sitting in the waiting room of an AIDS test clinic.
The doctor called me in and gave me the good news that I was all clear but also gave me a right bollocking when she read how many partners I had slept with in the last few months.
I left that building feeling lighter than air and ready to take on the world. I headed out to a local bar I knew and picked up a blonde bird that looked bored, took her back to my place and bonked her brains out.
Well, I am a slut after all.
It was time to start looking for another gig and I began to do the rounds of people I knew. In those days there weren’t any cell phones available which meant everything was done in person if you wanted a gig. For me this meant riding the bus from Oxford up to London and spending the day hanging out at Sanctuary Music’s offices.
I had made some good connections on that tour so no-one minded me coming up and hanging out. The receptionist at Sanctuary was really cute so I made a point of keeping on her good side. Eventually your face gets known and, if things work out right you get a gig.
I was sitting in reception one day and one of the production guys came out and introduced himself to me. He said he had a little gig with a new band and asked me if I would be interested. Silly question really. It turned out that I already knew the drummer of the band (Steve Hopgood) from my days in Oxford and his time with another band called Chinatown.
I WAS IN
It was a short tour compared to Maidens but it was my first in with Sanctuary Music and my first tour with a proper wage and a tour bus. I couldn’t wait to get going.
Steve was really easy to work for, as were the rest of the band. The guitarist was a young genius by the name of Myke Gray. He was an amazing player and looked the rock star type. He lived with his Mum in a flat in London but on the road he could have been Gary Moore for all anyone knew.
For the first time in my life I felt like I had arrived.
One of the first things you learn on a tour bus are the rules of the house and most drivers will give you the talk on day one.
Rule 1: No solids in the toilet. It’s a chemical toilet that the driver has to clean and trust me, you do not want to break that rule.
Rule 2: Never leave anyone on the bus that doesn’t belong there. You may find all your stuff gone.
Rule 3: Treat the bus as you would your home. This means keep it tidy, not turn it into a hovel.
Rule 4: Shower before you get back on the bus after a gig. Nothing worse than stinky socks in your bunk.
Rule 5: If you have to whack off in your bunk, make sure you have a bunk buddy, aka a sock.
Rule 6: Look after your driver. He has to get you from gig to gig safely and the last thing he needs is you sitting next to him while he is driving telling him all your woes. He’s the driver, not Mother Teresa.
If you stick to these rules you will be safe and have a happy bus.
You can read the Noel Wyatt series at https://www.metaltalk.net/tag/noel-wyatt. Roadfilth Incorporated is available at Amazon.