The Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA) releases incredibly rare recordings – New Desk Tape Series

ARCA Heading
the roadies who supported the bands who recorded them

The ARCA Desk Tape Series is an initiative of the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA). ARCA is an Australia-wide not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the welfare of live production crew in Australia, past and present.

Without roadies to pack, unpack, carry, maintain and set up music artists gear, the shows simply would not go on.

Largely unsung heroes of the music business the work of a roadie is tough, hard and very time consuming. It often requires considerable travel and long hours and can be brutal on the body.

Yet, their welfare has largely been ignored by people in and out of the industry, until the formation of ARCA.

Many roadies are in crisis, presenting an alarming suicide rate many times the national average, and facing other serious health issues. It is ARCA’s intention to address this. Please see link here:  

To build up resources to assist roadies, past and present, in need The Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA) early this month launched its new Desk Tape Series of classic Australian live gigs.

Now roadies have been amassing a trove of live recordings over the past 40 years, consisting of bands they have been working with. 

Much of this music now being released on Black Box Records, with MGM Distribution handling digital and physical releases.

The series kicked off on Friday (November 10) with a Redgum tape.

Other recordings are coming include material from Australian Crawl, The Church, Cold Chisel, Crowded House, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Wendy Matthews, Men At Work, Mental As Anything, Midnight Oil, The Models and Paul Kelly.

The Redgum release came from a 1985 show in Amsterdam’s legendary Melkweg (Milky Way) club.

Hot on the heels of hard touring around Australia behind the ‘I Was Only 19’ and “I’ve Been To Bali Too’ hits, Redgum were on fire when they hit Europe for a three-month tour – extended to four after airplay in the UK and the Continent.

The tapes were recorded by their sound engineer on the tour, Mark Williams, now running his own production company in Melbourne.

ARCA founder Ian Peel said, “These live recordings are culturally important especially of the pub rock era of the ‘70s and ‘80s

They remind the music industry that roadies are the backbone of this industry and without them, there’d be no show, no band.

“They demonstrate the creativity that road crews display every day, as they put the show together, In the early days when equipment was really primitive, the road crews virtually had to build the gear themselves so the show could go on.” 

Peel came up with the tapes initiative five years ago after he heard a road crew’s tape of a Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons show in the late ‘70s and was struck by its high quality of sound.

A call went out to the crew fraternity, and Peel now has 2000 cassettes. Many told him, “My kids are most likely going to throw my tapes out after I die, so I might as well assign the rights to ACRA.”

A meeting with MGM founder Sebastian Chase led to plans to put them out for commercial releases.

Each release acknowledges just how important roadies have been to making our live performance industry a stand out success. They offer recognition to the engineers who documented this wealth of genuine Australian music history.

Professor Philip Graham at the University of the Sunshine Coast, in conjunction with QUT and Griffith University, is overseeing the preservation, treatment and mastering of these tapes, which are then to be submitted into the National Film & Sound Archive in Canberra.

All proceeds generated by the Desk Tape Series will be used solely for the betterment of crew. The roadie who’s legacy provided these valuable cultural assets, will receive a share of profit and ARCA will retain 20% to help continue our services, with the balance going directly to the Roadies Fund, established expressly to assist roadies in crisis through our partnership with leading industry charity Support Act.

ARCA was formed initially as a social get together. It rapidly become a well-being service when anecdotes by crew members substantiated studies by Entertainment Assist that crews suffered a much higher rate of anxiety, depression, suicide and drink/drug issues than others in the entertainment biz and, indeed, the wider Australian society.

The association has now swelled to 300+ live production crew and over 200 paid associate members from all aspects of the music industry.

A Roadies Fund was set up via a partnership with music industry benevolent society, Support Act Ltd.

Peel recounts, “135 of us have died, 29 from their own hands. We’ve just lost three more in the last month

“ARCA has had a lot of support from the music industry and the music media.

“But we need more. We need more promoters to come on board with contributions and willingness to add a levy to their ticket sales to go to crews.

“We need more musicians to play benefits for the crews. 

“These tapes will not only help them financially but for the departed ones, it signifies respect and acknowledgement of their contribution to building the music industry.”

The music can be purchased by clicking on:


For more information please contact:
Tony Moran (Project Management) 0400 047 062 or
Ian Peel (ARCA Director) 0415 667 221 or

The Australian Road Crew Association Pty. Ltd.


This article used some material published in the Music Network and Mediannet 
and was provided by ARCA

Rob Greaves

I have been with the Toorak Times since April 2012. I worked as Senior Editor of the Toorak Times until 2023, when I retired. I now work as a special features contributor for both the Toorak Times and Tagg. I've been in the Australian music scene as a musician since 1964, and have worked in radio and TV and newspapers (when they were actually printed on paper) as well as working in the film industry, as the Film Unit manager on Homicide for several years. I also have extensive experience in audio production and editing.

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