BackLine Tech – Kelly Macaulay

Meet BackLine Tech Kelly Macaulay. Kelly has been working as a backline tech for 25 years and has worked for Paul Simon, Patti Smith, Rosanne Cash and many more.
kelly tuning

How did you get started in the music business?

I took a break from my horse career and got a job in a rehearsal/recording studio.

How long have you been doing backline? 

25 years

Give us a little background on what tours you’ve done:

I just finished Paul Simon’s tour where I was the stage left guitar and bass tech.  I have also worked for Lisa Loeb, Old 97’s, Hugh Laurie, The Dandy Warhols, The Waterboys, Shelby Lynne, Amos Lee, Rosanne Cash, Keane, Jayhawks, Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright, Patti Smith, Indigo Girls, Leona Ness and many others.

What made you choose to be a backline tech over another position?  

I just kind of fell into it.

Do you have a specialty? 

Nope, I do all backline, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, and stage manage.

Do you play any instruments?

Nope ( yes I am weird )

There are very few women doing backline, have you found much resistance from artists to hire you because you were a woman?  

Yes, when I first started they found it different.

Have you met any obstacles because of your gender?  

Some people don’t believe I’m the tech so they would just not pay me mind.

How have you handled it?

I’m stubborn and would just keep going and doing my gig.

What is in your suitcase? 

Lots of black clothing, really good work boots and day off shoes. comfy clothing for a day off to wander around in.  Lavender oil and peppermint oil, to put around my room and in a bath. A few good books to read.

What can’t you live without on the road? 

My black clothing, and really good boots to work in. Lavender oil and peppermint oil.

What is your favorite part about the job? 

The music and people you work and meet, and the places you go..( I’m out on tour in Australia at the moment).

What do you like least?

Nasty people

What is your favorite day off activity?

Walking around a city, trying to go horseback riding, walking in a nice park while in a big city, and finding a good cupcake shop.

What are three of the most important lessons you’ve learned? 

To get along with people, to not get too full of yourself, and enjoy what you do. If you are not happy working out on the road get off it.

Finally, what are you currently working on? 

I am enjoying some time off before heading out with Culture Club.


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