Making your way up the ranks in any entertainment industry is a tough grind, with those above you expecting the young guns below to earn their stripes doing the dirty work before they are allowed to move into the big leagues.
This can take many forms, such as runners and assistants charging around movie sets, PA’s being loaded with bags and impossible scheduling dilemmas, or even just an intern tasked with keeping the early morning coffees coming from the deli across the road from the recording studio.
In the world of music the most recognized way of learning the ropes comes as a roadie, enabling budding artists to see how the stars go about their business as well as how all their equipment is set up, stored and maneuvered from gig to gig.
A job with many similarities to that of a roadie is the poker dealer, who works their way up from low level games until they start dealing cards for the true high rollers, from whom they can learn so much about the game.
With both the poker and music industries increasingly doing the bulk of their business online, there is a danger that these vital entry level jobs may be made somewhat redundant.
Therefore, as a tribute to these vital roles, we look at those individuals from poker and music who started out on the bottom rung as a roadie or dealer, and then rose to dominate the games they had learned inside and out.
Going to Dealer School Can Be A Shrewd Move
There are many ways to get into being a high-level poker dealer, with specialist dealer schools and job placements being the usual points of entry. The former is how legendary player Scotty Nguyen first made his way in the game, dropping out of college to go and learn the ropes at the green felt tables.
The move paid off handsomely, with the Vietnamese born player using his modest dealer salary to buy into games at the same casino he worked at. Eventually, he built his bankroll up to become one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.
Other famous players who got their big breaks after having been dealers include Mike Matusow and Erick Lindgren.
Noel Gallagher, Lemmy and 2Pac
If the likes of Matusow and Nguyen are big names in poker, then Oasis, Motörhead and 2Pac are from another planet, having conquered the music industry in their own unique ways.
Lemmy started out as the roadie tasked with fixing a kit that was destroyed on stage by the great Jimi Hendrix. He must have picked up plenty of tips during his three-month stint, as he went on to become rock and metal royalty.
Noel Gallagher was no stranger to rejection in his early career, being told he was not good enough at an audition to be lead singer of Inspiral Carpets, although the band were kind enough to let him tag along and carry all their stuff. Noel got the last laugh, launching a rock dynasty that only had a dampener put on it by the fact he had to share the limelight with his annoying brother.
Last but not least is perhaps the most famous rapper of all time, 2Pac, a performing artist who was willing to humble himself in order to rise through the ranks. He started life on the road as a roadie who occasionally doubled as a backing dancer or even a singer with the Digital Underground. Little did his employers at the time know that he would go on to become a rap icon, whose music is still played religiously to this day.