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.


8:10 p.m.

Me: “…And tonight is the first night for our new PA system.”

Band who’s never been here before: “Oh, cool.”

Me: “You’re welcome.”


8:08 p.m.

Band guys keep apologizing to me for how many guests they want in for free, not sure if they realize I get paid the same no matter how much they make.

8:25 p.m.

Me: “The cover is $7.”

Guy: “No stamp? No wristbands?”

Me: “Nope!”

Guy: “YES! No one will be able to tell ME where I was tonight!”

8:52 p.m.

Me: “Are you paying for 2?”

Guy: “I’m paying for 2. He’s paying for…”

Other guy: “I’m paying for 3.”

Guy: “2.”

Me: “Wait…so..”

Guy: “2.”

Other guy: “I’m paying for 2.”

Me: “Who’s paying for him?”

Other guy: “I mean 3.”

And this went on until I died of natural causes.


8:43 p.m.

Me: “The cover is $7.”

Guy: “Well the website says $5.”

Me: “Oh yeah? What website is that?”

Guy: “I don’t know.”

9:14 p.m.

The next band starts bringing their gear to the side door.

Me: “Wow, the entire band is helping carry the drum set. You guys must still like each other, cute.”

9:18 p.m.

Me: “Hey guys, we’re taking $7 tonight.”

Guy: “The guy behind us is the money man.”

Me: “I hear you’re the money man.”

Other Guy: “Well, there’s a first time for everything.”


8:00 p.m.

Me: “You guys staying for the show?”

Guy: “We’re not sure. What type of music is it?”

Not knowing I look toward the stage.

Me: “Well they have a drum set, and it’s pointed sideways, toward the wall, actually so that … means, um…we’ll see!”

8:07 p.m.

Two Guys walk up and pay the cover.

Me: “You guys have fun at the show.”

Both Guys in unison: “You too.”

9:30 p.m.

Small group walk in.

Me: “Hey gang, the cover tonight is $7.”

Guy: “Here you go.”

Me: “Cool, just one more needed.”

Guy: “Well shit, I threw a 20, figured that’d be enough.”

Me: “Well, not if you do math.”

10:47 p.m.

Never a good thing when the touring band turns on all three of the remaining audience members.



Band guy: “You’re doing a good job. Sorry you have to sit out here in … the bullshit.”

Me: “Hey man, the bullshit is where I belong.”

Band Guy: “Me too — I walk into a place that ain’t bullshit and I find myself needing to be gone.”


8:41 p.m.

Headlining Comedian: “Are you a part of the show? Do you have a set?”

Me: “No, I keep my hilariousness to myself.”

Show Host: “He has a monthly column in the City Paper that’s really funny.”

Me: “…Well, I keep my hilarity to myself and everyone who reads the paper.”

The Journey:

Hears music

Loves music

Buys instrument

Learns instrument

Meets band members

Forms band

Writes songs

Rehearses set

Books shows

Plays shows

Records album

Prints T-shirts

Prints vinyl

Emails bands

Emails venues


Books tour

Mails flyers

Promotes social media

Sells car

Rents van

Loads van

Drives 1,000 miles

Unloads equipment

Gets on stage

After ALL this:


Keep the City Paper free

We don't have a paywall. Each week's printed issue is free. We're local, independent and free. Let's keep it this way.

Please consider a donation of $100 to keep the City Paper free. Donate: