Meet Tana Douglas. Throughout the music industry, Tana has been acknowledged as Rock’N’Roll’s first female roadie. Her journey started in 1973 in Australia and within a year she was working for AC/DC. She then moved to lighting, working for a Major Australian Promoter and completed in quick succession several tours with International acts such as Santana, Suzi Quatro, Neil Diamond, David Essex, and Leo Sayer, and Status Quo all before she turned 18.
In this episode, Tana joins me for a discussion about her career, the evolution of the music industry, and some of the lessons she’s learned along the way. During our conversation, Tana emphasizes the notion of taking ownership of your own learning. We discussed taking control of your own destiny and doing things before you feel ready. As that is how you will grow rapidly – in your career or in your life. Tana has so much life experience and many stories to share. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Here’s some more background information about Tana: After getting her father to sign her passport so she could travel Internationally she ventured to London to start 4 years with Status Quo running their lighting rig. She then brought that rig to TASCO a major Production company in London that until that time had only supplied sound for tours. A relationship developed there that would last several years and include working for such artists as Status Quo, The WHO, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, The Police, Elton John, Iggy Pop, and Johnny Halliday the French megastar.
Her relationship continued with TASCO enabling her to transfer to the USA after they opened a Los Angeles division. After becoming a resident of the USA, she broadened her working relationships to also include both Delicate Productions and Light & Sound Designs. The tours that followed were Elton John, INXS, Men at Work, before being once again called back to Europe to manage the largest lighting rig ever built for a 7-month residency for her old friend Johnny Halliday, at Le Zenith in Paris, for Light & Sound Design (LSD).
After successfully completing that task it was time for a change. Los Angeles had offered Tana new passions and she gradually left lighting, stage/production to focus her skills on logistics which meant if a tour had to be somewhere, she was the person to make sure it happened - for everyone including Lenny Kravitz, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Luther Vandross, Ice-T, and Ice Cube to name a few.
Tana’s career spanned 30+ years and has seen her work alongside some of rock’s biggest names and personalities. As the music industry grew to become a worldwide cultural phenomenon, she was there, in the thick of it, a girl.
Tana and her unique position in the music industry have been included in several other people’s books – most recently a chapter in Stuart Coupe’s book, Roadies, which confirmed her as the first female roadie. But now it’s time for Tana to tell her story, in her own words. Her Memoir is being published through HarperCollins Australia and tells of the joys and struggles faced as a girl out on the road on her own in the wild and woolly days that created this industry of music. It is due to be released in Spring 2021.
Links to quench your curiosity