Chrissy Gross

Tour Manager, Production Manager

July 18, 2016


How old are you?

I am 34.

Where are from originally?

I am originally from outside Baltimore, Maryland.

What brought you to New Orleans?

I was dating a boy who got a job with the band The Radiators and so we moved down here together.

How many years ago was that?

I was 19, so almost fifteen years ago.

Why are you still here?

I can’t imagine living in any other city. New Orleans has just got such a soul, a charisma. The whole gritty city is just amazing. There’s nowhere like it on Earth.

In what capacity are you a part of the music community of New Orleans?

I work in music production. Throughout the years I have gone from pushing cases at venues to stage managing to production managing multiple venues in the city. And then for the last eight or nine years, I’ve been tour managing different bands from the area.

Do you remember being told or taught anything growing up about the behavioral expectations of being a girl?

There’s no specific memory of anyone sitting me down and saying girls behave like this, boys behave like this. But in our society things like that are implied and you pick them up along the way. I was always a tomboy and most of the people around me accepted that and appreciated that but not everybody was that lucky.

Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?

It presents itself to me in so many different ways from the obvious sexism of “Girls do this, boys do this” and “I’m not going to listen to you because you’re a girl,” to little things like “Wow. You do an amazing job doing what you do. That’s so great.” You wouldn’t say that to a dude tour manager. You’re saying it because she’s a girl and she’s doing it great and that’s shocking to you. You mean well by it but it’s a sexist thing.

Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?

Honestly, The blatant stuff I usually recognize. My crew is wonderful and when they see that start, they start bucking up, too. We all look out for each other. We’re absolutely family. Sometimes they’re my brothers, sometimes they’re my children. The blatant stuff is obviously there and everyone notices that but  don’t always notice the more subtle engrained stuff.

Can you recall any specific occasions when you experienced sexist behavior against you?

When I was production manager, I’d have people say “Well, who’s your sound guy? Let me talk to your sound guy about this.” And I’d say, “Bitch, I’m the sound guy and I’m telling you exactly what we have. What is your fucking follow up question?” And then something else that happened recently with a band that I’d been working for is we got a female bus driver. I’m rare as a chick doing backline but I’ve never seen a female bus driver before and she was awesome. She was right around my age and we got along like a house on fire. But when I told all my guys, about a third of them reacted with “Well is she hot?” And asked, “Are you serious? Every time you say that you have a female tour manager does whoever you’re talking to say ‘Well is she hot?’ ” and they all said yes. That was eye opening. All of them are married and they were definitely joking but it was kind of eye opening. Are you serious? That’s the first question you get? Not is she a good tour manager? No. Is she hot? I told them that anytime anyone asks them that, they have to respond with “Ah, she’s about four beers.”

Are there any particular stereotypes of men or of women that drive you insane?

I break most of the “girl” stereotypes: women that overanalyze things, women worry about what they look like, women spend tons of money on stuff. That’s just like saying all black people shoot at cops or all Mexicans are lazy. It’s a little more subtle because it’s gender roles. But when people ask, “Why does your sex act that way?” I tell them, “I don’t get it either because you’re speaking of one individual person.” It’s not like we all agreed on how to act.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

To be in this business and female, you have to be better than everyone around you. It’s sad because I’ve seen it happen. You’ve gotta be better. You’ve gotta be better than everyone because if you slip to average, you hear “Chicks can’t cut it in this industry”. To which I say fuck off and die. Not every guy in the industry is bad, not even the majority of them are but it’s a man’s world.