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Access All Areas

Written by on 7th October 2023

Access All Areas

the autobiography of a roadie, by Paul Cantwell

Suzi Quatro has written the foreword for the book ‘Access All Areas‘, praising Paul “Rusty” Cantwell who was a roadie and stage manager from the 70s until the 90s for some of the biggest names in show business.

He tells behind the scenes stories and shows pictures of life on the road, travelling on the tour buses, the set-up before gigs and the relaxations after the show, and of course, many action shots of ‘live on stage’. He has worked with Suzi, Hot Chocolate, Alison Moyet, Kid Creole & The Coconuts and Stray, with even short spells working for Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra and Elton John!

Right from being given his own first drum kit and forming a band at the age of thirteen, Paul has us laughing with him as he joins – and leaves – the Junior Leaders Regiment of the Royal Armoured Corps and the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, holds up twenty miles of traffic on a motorway, gets himself locked inside a freezer, drives into a war in Moscow, just misses featuring in The Movies, finds himself en route to Russia without a visa and has a brush with someone from London’s most notorious gangland family. He narrowly escapes  gassing a stage crew with dry ice in Batley, setting fire to a venue in Camden and being thrown out of a Bristol hotel unless the right doors are replaced in the right doorways. One of his specialties was pyrotechnics which nearly ended in disaster at the Reading Festival when he overdid the explosive and thought he had killed Suzi Quatro! Spoiler alert –  she survived…

We’ll leave the last word to Suzi:

“A good roadie must fix the problem before you realize it’s happened. They
are the unsung heroes of every gig. They have to be everywhere at once, run
like a marathon sprinter, and – not be seen…….He is not seen, he is not heard, but he is there. Rusty (Paul Cantwell) was a ‘good’ roadie.”

Paul, who lives nearby,  was assisted when writing this book by local historian, Delia Gleave.

Price £6 available from Richard Gleave : local delivery possible

Love the 70s?
Join Johnny Murph on Leighton Buzz Radio, Sundays 6-8pm for Plenty of Seventies, two hours celebrating the decade of glam rock, platforms and really great music!