Secret Life of a Rock and Roll Trucker
Before every epic set from the Rolling Stones or Rihanna, dozens of backstage heroes haul tons of gear across hundreds of miles so their stars can shine.
Illustrations by Marc Pearson
“This oughta be fun,” Pete Henke thought as he waited for the last of the double doors to close and the long drive to begin. It was well past one-thirty in the morning on November 14, 2006; just winter enough for snow-thatched streets but still a temperate forty degrees as Henke and dozens of other truckers left the Idaho Center Arena — bound for Atlantic City. The young driver was raring to go with a compatriot in his cab, over 2,500 miles in front of him and less than forty-eight hours to traverse them.
The moon was just beginning to show its luminescence over Nampa, Idaho when the final push of gear hit the last of the trucks still docked behind the arena. The bulk of the load was heavy black rolling cases and open-air set pieces held tight by neon criss-crossed ratchet straps. A total of thirty-two trucks had embarked on this trek, with more being added at larger stops like Nampa—all in the effort of getting to the next stop even faster.
A cancellation t…