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.


9:27 p.m.

You know it’s all fun and games being a door guy, but sometimes it becomes a real responsibility. Like right now there’s a beautiful wave of bands touring with their babies, and that always makes me put on my game face a little stronger when negotiating $5.

10:08 p.m.

Guy: “Is it OK that I parked on the street?”

Me: “No actually, if you could pull up behind any of these cars already lined up, those cars pull forward to get out.”

Guy: “So … I just leave my keys in the car?”

Me: “No? You want to drive your car and then park it … and then … take your keys.”

Guy: “So you won’t have to move it?”

Me: “No dude, the cars in front pull forward.”

Guy: “Oh, OK.”

10:28 p.m.

Me: “Sorry guys, the show is 21 and up.”

Of-age guy: “Well what if she doesn’t drink? What if you just X her hands? What if she’s friends with the band?”

Different guy: “What if we vouch for her? How about if we promise she won’t drink? What if I’m friends with her parents?”

Another guy: “What if she …”

Me: “Unless any of these scenarios involves her aging up two years, I can’t help you.”


8:21 p.m.

I’m working on a photography project where anytime I’m asked to take a group photograph, I always first say, “OK, everybody say ‘Donald Trump’.” And snap a quick one. The faces are always priceless. I really should start collecting them.

9:49 p.m.

Guy: “Hey man, is it true Johnny Rotten works here?” [Dude’s thinking of Johnny Puke, who does work at the Roof]

10:43 p.m.

I walk up to a friend pulling up and pretend to tell them to move their car to escape a biker conversation with a biker about bikers.

10:50 p.m.

Me: “Cover is $7.”

Biker: “Come on, man.”

Me: “Yes sir, we’ve got three working bands tonight.”

Biker: “Man, I used to go to all the strip clubs around here and get in for free.”


Biker: “Well hell, I got a couple grand in my pocket, I’ll pay your little cover.”

Me: “Still cheaper than a strip club.”


8:45 p.m.

Sitting directly next to the “backstage” area of a ska festival sounds like a fuckin’ Dr. Suess contraption.


9:51 p.m.

Couple walks up.

Me: “Hey guys, it’s $5 for the bands.”

Lady walks up and hands me a credit card, “Sorry, I gotta pee!” And runs into the bar.

Her husband: “Don’t worry, I’ll hit the ATM.” A minute later, he comes out.

Guy: “Wow, I used the ATM to get $20, and it gave me $200! It’s like Vegas.”

Me: “Yeah, sounds like you won.”

Guy: “No kidding! Now where’s the reefer man?”

10:53 p.m.

Me: “It’s $5.

Guy: “$5 a piece?”

Me: “Oh yeah.”

Guy, points to his GF, “How about two for one, eh? She’s pretty. Well she’s a lot prettier than me.”

Me: “She’s not *that* pretty. It’s $5 a piece.”


9:02 p.m.

Band guy: “Hey man, is the sound guy or sound girl here yet?”

Me: “Uh, could you not try and gender our sound person please? It’s 2017, get with the program.”

9:57 p.m.

Older couple walks up

Me: “It’s $5 tonight.”

Guy pulls out $5, hands it to me, and zooms in the door before paying for his wife.

Me: “Uh …”


10:50 p.m.

Mother of girl who just performed: “Wasn’t she just the best ever? Absolutely the best? Won’t you tell her? Tell her she was the absolute best!”

Me: “I’m gonna keep her grounded.”

To the girl, “Keep working. It’s a tough business.” Looking back at the mom, “I don’t wanna inflate her ego.”


9:22 p.m.

Band guy: “Come here babe, I wanna show him you’re my plus one.”

Girl: “Actually, plus 2,” as she rubs her belly.

Me: “Nice! Congrats.”

Guy: “Hey, we don’t have to pay for that one, do we?”

Me: “Naw, pretty sure you’ll be paying for that one your whole life.”