Far Beyond Driven: Tour Manager Guy Sykes talks about people he’s met & places he’s been

Interview by Peter Marullo | Photo by Paris Visone

Guy Sykes may not be a household name – unless you are one of the many who have religiously watched the Pantera Vulgar Videos. Guy initially got his start working for Pantera in 1986 and continued with them throughout their career. Since then, he has tour managed for some of the biggest names in metal, including Anthrax, Limp Bizkit, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Soulfly, Down, Marilyn Manson, and Godsmack. I got to sit down with the leader of the “Road Crew From Hell” and chat about the people he’s met and the places he’s been.

How did your 25- plus year career on the road begin?

After high school I worked with a band called Hammer. I was a “roadie” and ran sound. We played regional gigs in Texas and Louisiana. In 1986 I tried to promote a Pantera concert in Tyler, Texas. I lost my ass and owed the band money, so I started working with them to pay off my debt. 

Looking back on your years with Pantera, is there a specific moment or highlight that you hold dear?

Monsters of Moscow in 1991. It was AC/DC, Metallica, The Black Crowes and Pantera. It was shortly after the fall of communism in Russia. The government and Time Warner put together this huge FREE concert. There were over one million people there. The energy was amazing. The hair on my arms literally stood up on end when we went on. 

What was the first concert you ever attended?

The first concert that I can remember was my Mom taking us to see The Osmond Family in 1973. They were huge then. They had their own Saturday morning cartoon. However the first concert that I went to when I knew what was up was Bob Seger, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, and Starz in 1976.

How many countries have you been to? What is your favorite? Where have you not been that you want to go?

Well over 50. Australia is my favorite although I really like Eastern Europe, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania. I’d like to go to South Africa.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job as a tour manager?

It would be managing all of the personalities and attitudes. It’s like being the dad with a HUGE family. We live together for months on end and it’s a challenge to keep the peace sometimes. 

Do you have a favorite tour?

Pantera – Reinventing the Steel Tour

Who would you like to work with?

The Foo Fighters (but my good friend Gus Brandt is a god, so that will never happen!)

What band would you like to tour with that is no longer around?

Led Zeppelin.

Any tips for young TM’s and roadies who are just getting their start?

You MUST delegate. You can’t do it all yourself. Big things that are out of your control are going to happen. That’s life. It’s the little things that can slip through the cracks that you can control, that really matter. Bottom line: enjoy yourself. Soak in the moment. You’re traveling the world and getting paid for it.

Follow Guy Sykes on Twitter at twitter.com/tourmgr1

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