SigMT Spring 2018

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nyone who has ever watched a band perform live has probably wondered about "that guy. " You know the one. The guy who tunes the guitars, the woman who sets up the drums, or the crew responsible for making the whole show appear to run so effortlessly smoothly. Well, Great Falls resident Greg "Hammer" Lapie is the epitome of "that guy." "I was always the metal-head kid at the shows," he recalls. "I'd watch what was going on behind the scenes, and I wanted to do it so badly." He got his break 1985, when a local band in his hometown of Chicago asked the high school student to join their road crew. The band eventually signed with a major record label, and Hammer started making more and more connections in the tight-knit music industry. He's been working as a drum technician and stage manager ever since, crisscrossing the country with bands like Survivor, Slipknot, Jay-Z, Weird Al Yankovic, Anthrax, and many more. When the performers wrap up a tour, Hammer puts out the word that he's looking for work, and another band scoops him up. "It's not an easy industry to break into," he admits. "I always tell people to go to the local theater or venue and ask to help with anything, even if it is volunteer at first. Learn the trade." Hammer says a lot has changed since he was a high school kid being paid with breakfast. SiG MT 16 Standing Behind the Limelight Text by Holly Matkin • Photography by April Bielefeldt URBAN AFFAIRS Working Life "I still get excited," he says. "I got to make a career out of something I love." A S MT Survivor takes the stage at one of their many recent shows.

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