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Tales from the door side

It ain't easy being the gatekeeper

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Concert goers live in a world they believe to be loud and free. But there is, unheard by most, an outer world, a barrier between in and out, just as loud but not as free as they thought — the world outside a venue, where the door guy simply wants you to pay the cover charge. Welcome to a few nights in the life of Tin Roof's door dude, Rex Stickel.

Wednesday

8:08 p.m.

Guy in car: "Can I park there?" — points to a spot blocked off with a cone for the touring band.

Me: "No, but you can park behind any car like this ... " — uses hands to show cars parked in single file.

Guy pulls up behind three cars longways.

8:14 p.m.

Guy: "What're you drinking?"

Me: "Just water, thanks."

Guy: "PBR? A shot?"

Me: "No thanks! I don't drink!"

Guy: "You do weed?"

Me: "You're a cop, aren't you?"

8:36 p.m.

Lady hands me ID. "Yeah, I know, I lie about it." Her birthdate is in the 1970s.

Me: "Hey, if the door guy can't keep a secret, who can?" — as I document this exchange for the City Paper.

10:15 p.m.

Lady, walking out front door: "Are you the door guy?"

Me: "I'm the door guy."

Lady: "Ohhh, so you're the door guy."

Me: "Yes, I'm the door guy. Do you need help?"

Lady: "OK, that makes sense. No, I just came out here earlier to use the phone and saw you sitting here. And you're still sitting here."

Me: "Well I'm either the door guy or a really shitty fan of the band."

Thursday

8:04 p.m.

Man and woman walk up. It's their first time.

Guy: "Well, what's the cover for the bands if we end up sticking around?"

Me: "It's $7 dollars. There's three bands, so that's like a quarter a person."

Guy: "Oh! I thought it'd be like $50."

Me: "Where have you been my entire life?"

9:32 p.m.

Of all the small talk I've endured, I've never been so creeped out as I was when three 20-somethings showed IDs, paid the cover, and went inside without saying a word. Children of the Corn much? *Update* The bartender poked his head out to confirm they were 21, so it wasn't just me — creepy confirmed.

10:26 p.m.

The band has a synthesizer, laptop, vocoder, drum machine, in-ear monitors, but no guitar tuner.

Friday

9:34 p.m.

In order to not eavesdrop on a very loud awkward conversation, I point out the fireworks from the RiverDogs game to the guy standing next to me. Unfortunately this guy REALLY liked fireworks. "Woah! No way! What? Dude! Dude! What? Oh! Ah! Wow! What? Dude!"

Wednesday

8:19 p.m.

Guy: "Is this Home Team BBQ?"

Me: "No."

Sunday

9:53 p.m.

After explaining the door policy to a new customer, guy says, "Bro, you're the friendliest bastard I've talked to."

Wednesday

9:12 p.m.

Guy: "Is there a trick to opening this door to the stage?"

Me: "Yep. First grab the bolt. Now, lift a little. OK, now pull until your hand hurts."

Guy struggles with door.

Me: "If your hand isn't hurting, you're not pulling hard enough."

Guy, pulls stage door open "Ow."

9:51 p.m.

Guy: "What's the band sound like? Is it emo?"

Me: "Well, they soundchecked with 'Drops of Jupiter.' You know that song?"

Guy: "Yeah, I don't wanna pay that cover ..."

Me: "I gotcha bud, come on in."

10:10 p.m.

It's not very often, but anytime I check an ID and it's my same birth date, there's a moment I legit feel like I'm being pranked.

Friday

8:55 p.m.

Band guy points to stage door and tells his drummer, "Hey man, you can take your stuff in there."

Drummer, carrying drums says, "OK, cool," as he misses the door and heads to the backyard.

Sunday

9:26 p.m.

The professional touring band ask if they need hand stamps. Me, being the professional door guy, introduces them to my method of "mental hand stamps." They don't seem convinced.

9:34 p.m.

Man and young girl walk up, "Is this Home Team BBQ?"

Me: "No."

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