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Alan Rudolph

BANDS MAKE IT ROCK BUT ROADIES MAKE IT ROLL

How does Roadie sound on paper?  Well, not much different now then when Creem magazine's Dave DiMartino wrote in a 1980 Meat Loaf/Debbie Harry cover story that the plot of the then still in-production flick was "incomprehensible to the untrained eye".

The basics: Meat Loaf plays Travis W. Redfish, a good ol' Texas boy who drives a beer truck and lives with his father (Art Carney) in a television-filled house in the middle of a salvage yard. One day he helps fix a broken down RV on the side of the road which turns out to be transporting equipment for a Hank Williams, Jr gig in Austin. The truck also needs a driver, and jailbait groupie Lola Bouilliabase (Kaki Hunter) entices Travis to save the day. 

Finally arriving for the show, the crew is given ten minutes to get Bocephus on stage by badass concert promoter Mohammed Johnson (Soul Train's Don Cornelius!!). Travis proves to be a born super-roadie and Don Cornelius,... I mean Mohammed Johnson calls him "the Ali of roadies, the fastest I've ever seen," and hires him on the spot for his big "Rock and Roll Circus" tour.  Next stop: LA; "Louisiana?" Travis asks.  "Not that LA," Lola tells him, "THE LA": Sunset Strip, swimming pools, rock stars. 

Much cross-country mayhem and slapstick ensue. In addition to Messers Loaf, Carney, Williams, and Cornelius, Roadie also features Roy Orbison, Alice Cooper, Asleep at the Wheel, and Blondie (who we get to watch dressed in full cowboy garb performing Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" at an Austin racetrack).

movie poster for roadie with Debbie Harry and Meatloaf