Going into his third year as a road manager, 28-year-old Chutkan started out with deejay Teflon, then did the job for Etana’s trips and now has three tours under his belt with Tarrus Riley. He did promotions previously, working with an agency, “getting exposed to several different aspects” of the music business.
He has settled on working as a road manager, which Chutkan describes as “mostly preparation – for the next promotion, the next event”. And that preparation involves “flights, hotels, meals, transportation, per diem, equipment. I have to account for everyone, whether it is two or 14.”
Chutkan also interacts with promoters, pointing out that many times the person putting on an event meets the artiste only on the night of the event.
Learning the job ‘on the road’
There is no formal avenue for studying road management and Chutkan learnt on the job from ‘coach’, Norman ‘Dewey’ Reid. He met Reid on “my very first tour outside Jamaica”. That was in 2008, the tour with Luciano and Etana (for whom Chutkan was road manager), going through the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and the Czech Republic.
Reid was tour manager for the month-long trek and Chutkan said “if me in the line, me have to apply him principles. Him say, ‘Lerone, (I will tell you) anything you want to know. You is a good youth’.”
Many times, though, Chutkan encounters situations that no one could have devised a plan for. One of those happened during the recent heavy rains, when Tarrus Riley was slated to perform in Guadeloupe. However Riley was on the St Thomas side of the ford at Harbour View, which was impassable due to flooding. “My first thought was the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF),” Chutkan said.
The army duly assisted with helicopter transport, taking Riley from the Harbour View Drive In to the Harbour View Mini-Stadium. The rest of the band had gone ahead the previous day and Riley was routed through Miami and San Juan, heading to the venue straight from the airport and performing 20 minutes after arriving. “Ticket change for two people, flights, get people to a safe area,” Chutkan said, snapping his fingers as he listed the adjustments.
“To get the call, the quick response, to make things happen,” he said, again snapping his fingers to each stage of the chain of events when things do not go exactly to the plan.
Which is not infrequent. “It is never easy. It can be going well and one thing happens,” Chutkan said.
However, he enjoys working as a road manager as, “your play is your work and your work is your play. You have to enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t, it is going to be boring.”
Chutkan also knows that he is a good fit for the road manager’s job, saying, “My brain to get the job done, the adventurous instinct, it just drives me, once it is positive and I see where we are producing and promoting something that gives a positive light to the people. That is my thing. It must be positive”.
Apart from being a road manager, Chutkan said, “I like production. I like events. That is another aspect I will be going into.”
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