As a long time supporter of Sweet Relief, Ross Rylance has been a force in the music industry, dating back to 1979 when he started work as a roadie for Eric Clapton’s North American tour with Muddy Waters. Ross has continued to support numerous tours throughout his career wearing multiple hats, while on the road. Not only does Ross’ story illuminate the continued devastating effects of the pandemic, it demonstrates how the unpredictable rears its burdening head even in the toughest of times. Ross suffered from a critical life changing event while doing what he loved most - touring.
The burden of medical bills (with or without insurance) can be catastrophic, but especially devastating to crew members like Ross, who’s livelihood has been stripped from him this year with no end in sight. We wanted to shed some light on Ross’ story and how supporting Sweet Relief’s efforts and (in this case) the Rex Roadie Fund, goes such a long way. Read his Q & A below.
SR: How did you hear about Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund?
RR: Scott Dudelson and Victoria Williams hired me to help Stage Manage Sweet Relief’s 10th anniversary event in Nashville back in 2004. That is when I first heard of the “Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.”
SR: What type of work do you do within the music community?
RR: I have been a touring roadie since 1979 when I started on Eric Clapton‘s North American tour with Muddy Waters as the opening act.
Since then I have had the opportunity to tour and work with among others; The Rolling Stones, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Young, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Breaking Benjamin, Celine Dion, Eric Church and ended this year in February on WinterJam 2020.
I have worn every hat in the business, but celebrate most of my career as a professional driver in both tour buses and trucks. I have even had the opportunity to drive the Sultan of Brunei!
SR: How has Sweet Relief’s support changed your life?
RR: Sadly on October 3 of this year, while working for a developing country western entertainer on his personal tour bus, I severed all four fingers off my right hand.
Two weeks after this incident the same artist and I got involved with the “Big Love Project”. This came is a direct result of my relationship with George Edwards at Sound-Image Productions in Hayward California.
SR: How do you see Sweet Relief fitting into your life and future role(s) in the music industry?
RR: Moving forward, I would like to help Sweet Relief stay active in the community by being a spokesperson and showing others what it looks like to be a recipient of the Rex Roadie Fund, which has helped stabilize my own situation.
SR: What would you say to others in need of support, who are hesitant to ask?
RR: I would say to the community that you can’t find a better place to look for support and help than at Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
Learn more about Ross Rylance, his involvement with the Big Love Project & his personal company Ross Rylance Media