Disclaimer: This interview may not be reproduced in part or in entirety without the written consent of LPLive.net.
On December 18, 2010, LPLive caught up with Sam Herrington, a member of the Linkin Park touring crew on the "A Thousand Suns" World Tour. Sam takes responsibility for filming the band and the crowd during the live performances and his work is prominently displayed on the screens behind the band (both on the "V" stage and the regular stage). We came up with general questions about his job, how he got involved with the touring industry and Linkin Park, and his hobbies. Read below to find out all about Sam!
> Q: First off, can you tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from? Where do you call home now?
I'm from Corpus Christi, TX....a small town on the Gulf Coast of Texas. A very Conservative town that got a bit too stifling and stagnant for me. I moved to California 20 something years ago and lived in LA until just recently. We just moved back to Austin, TX which has been a bit rough for me because there is no surf in Austin.......
> Q: How did you first get into the touring industry? Who was the first band that you worked for? How was that experience?
That's a funny story. Basically, my sister lied to me and said she had a job for me in LA to get me to move back out from Texas. I'd gone back to Texas and had no immediate plans to leave but she kept hounding me on the phone. I talked a friend into joining me and we packed up and came out. The "job" was a shot in the dark with a friend of hers loading and unloading trucks for Rock shows and setting up band gear. I'd never done anything like that before and was intrigued. When I found out that I actually got to see the show for free, I was hooked. It was for Social Distortion at the Palladium and I thought I'd won the lottery! The next 2 days were a video shoot at the Palladium for Soundgarden. The stagehands were so annoyed by all my questions and I thought they were pretty stuck up and rude, guarding their knowledge. I was told that I was there as an apprentice and that I probably wouldn't get paid, but I worked circles around those guys and never slowed down after that! I got more than enough work and was able to work half the week and surf the other half!!! I was in Heaven! I worked doing local shows and doing huge steel scaffolding stages (LOVED the danger of that and the climbing!!!) and then was asked to come to work for a set shop (All Access Staging) after a year. Within another 9 months I was out on tour on Lollapalooza! I've been very lucky!!!
> Q: When did you first start going on tour with Linkin Park? How did you get the chance to be a part of their crew?
I did my first Linkin Park tour 2 years ago. It was the end of their world tour and they were doing a new set for the States with a big Rolling Stage with hydraulic lifts in it and some interesting risers and ramps onstage. I heard from somebody that my friend, Ethan (their Stage Manager) was looking for me. Ethan and I go way back. We used to do steel (scaffolding) together and he was another of those fearless guys on the crew. He asked if I'd be interested in doing the tour and I jumped at it! So he introduced me to Jim Digby (the Production Manager) and my life changed.....Jim and Ethan are, without a doubt, the best team I've worked for. They have the most fun and have the best balance of care for the band AND the crew I've ever encountered out on the road.
> Q: Linkin Park has brought some nicely sized production on the "A Thousand Suns" World Tour. You film the band and the crowd during the shows for the main video screens, correct? How is that?
Filming the band during the show is an extra perk for me. On the last tour, i was on a camera up on the stage with the band and I thought THAT was amazing! When you hear a whole arena singing the words to a song from where I was......it makes the hair on your arms stand up! So, for this tour, when they said I would be in the barricade on a camera I was kind of bummed out at first. Being up on stage is a crazy feeling and an amazing rush. i had no idea how much fun being in the barricade with all the fans would be though!!! I honestly like it SO much more in there with all the fans! To be able to shake hands or slip somebody a guitar pick or snap a picture on my phone with somebody down there, for me, is priceless! It's so much more fun and you can really feel the energy of the crowd in there.
> Q: What's your favorite point during the LP show? Do you have a favorite song or is there a certain song you like filming a lot?
I love to be able to break away from filming the band to film the audience. I get some crazy responses from people when they think they're on the screen. I really like the very start of the show and the build up. I remember that anxious feeling I used to get going to shows and I still get to get that doing what I do but being between the energy of the crowd and the energy of the band.......I can't really put that into words!
> Q: Have you ever had anything embarrassing happen to you during a show?
A girl grabbed my face and kissed me somewhere in Europe and I got embarrassed because all the Security guys saw it, but it's happened a few times since then so I'm getting used to it. Oh yeah, in Melbourne I fell between the boxes we film on top of during the show. I don't think many people saw that though. There was a pretty good Rock Show happening at the time!!!
> Q: Go through your daily routine with us while on tour from when your day starts to show time.
We arrive at a venue before the local crew arrives and I'm usually in the building first with the Riggers to help lay out the points for the show that we hang all the trusses from. By the time that's done we start getting crew in and I sneak off for a quick bite to eat while the first trucks are being unloaded. Soon after that, I get my set carts full of gear and start placing it with the other Carpenters. I have 2 great guys that help me build the Rolling Stage. There's Stonner (he's also the Drum Tech and SUPER funny! And he was also a Carpenter for me on the last tour. He's a great friend!) and I also have a young guy named Jake that just started with us. He's awesome! Very smart and strong! We get a total of 8 stagehands and Stonner and Jake take 6 to do the Roller while I build other things and make sure the Carpenters at the other end (Jeff and Maurice) are okay and have all they need. We usually have all our jobs done long before we have to roll the stage into place so we give our guys breaks or let other departments use their help. Once the Lighting and Sound rigs are up in the air, we roll the stage into place and finish all the smaller things like placing stairs and doing the skirting around the stage. Then we have some lunch and a few hours to kill.....sometimes, we get to get away from the venue and see some of the town. Sometimes we just relax on the bus or mess around on the internet. Sometimes I have road cases to fix or a case latch to replace. The down time can get a bit boring sometimes! Then we'll have dinner and start getting ready for showtime. I always like to try to catch some of the opening acts we get out here. I like listening to new music. After the opening act, it's time for our set change and I start getting excited. I love this tour because I still get so excited about the show and that raw energy in the pit. And I usually have a strong double Espresso too! Once the Risers are strapped down and everything is safe on stage, I go into the barricade and pick up the camera and turn it on the people down there and start talking to them and getting them pumped for the show.....love that part! When the show starts I get so into my work that it goes by really fast. It's such a great show! Then we finish the show and we start the Load out, which I always get excited about too. It's very fast paced and there's lots of shouting and it seems like chaos but Ethan keeps it all moving along so well. We pack all our gear up and pack it into trucks, take a shower and it's onto the bus for some food and sleep on our way to the next city where we get to get up ad do it all over again.........
> Q: What do you do on your off days while touring? Are there any hobbies you enjoy that you can participate in while touring?
Days off on tour for me usually involve some sight seeing and a nice dinner or a movie or both. I try to get to the gym shortly after we get to our hotel, then shower and head out to see some of wherever we're at. My main passion is Surfing but we don't get many opportunities for that out here, although i DID bring my board to Australia with me. We got some waves in Perth! That's always a HUGE treat to be able to get waves in different places.
> Q: Since you film all of the shows, is there ever a show where you get to sit back and watch things from a different perspective or perhaps "take a day off the job" while the band plays?
Yes! When we do Festivals I usually don't get to film them. Those are my "days off" and I really enjoy those too because then I get to take lots of pictures i can share with friends and I get to go wherever I want to go on stage and see the band from different angles.
> Q: Is there a place or two on the 2010 World Tour so far that you've visited that you'd like to go back to someday? Do you have a favorite city to visit while on the road?
Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv were both pretty interesting! I'd like to be able to go back to Abu Dhabi and go exploring around there! And Tel Aviv was really cool. We stayed in a hotel right across from the beach there. I had stayed in that same hotel last Summer on the Madonna tour and spent so much time in the Ocean that I got sunburned pretty bad. I'd love to be able to stay there and surf and see some of the really old sites in Jerusalem or the Dead Sea.......
> Q: Do you like interacting with the fans at the shows?
The best part of my day is picking up that camera and seeing the audience react. The energy of the fans is AMAZING! if there was a way to capture that and keep it with you......well, I am fortunate enough to be able to be a part of it on a pretty regular basis. Linkin Park fans have such an intense energy. I've seen them cry with emotions, they get so wrapped up in the words and that's very touching for me. I say it all the time.....I'm a very lucky guy!
> Q: Will we see you out on tour with Linkin Park in 2011?
I wouldn't miss it for the WORLD!!!!!