Back to Blog

Rock Band Road Crew Member Spotlight: J. Thomas Sisco

Happy Friday people!

Ease on into your weekend with the latest installment in our Rock Band Road Crew Member Spotlight series. This week we're talking with J. Thomas Sisco, one of the members of the Seattle Rock Band Group.

The Seattle Rock Band Group is one of the longest continuously running Rock Band events-groups in the country. A number of their members are roadies with the Road Crew too. J. Thomas was kind enough to take time out to chat with us about his favorite Rock Band memories, how to get booked as an event, and tips for running a successful event.

Read on below - and remember, if you want to nominate a Road Crew member for a Spotlight feature, tweet to us @RockBand.

Coordinator, Organizer, Jack of All Trades

So, who are you and what do you do?

My name is Tom Sisco. During daylight hours I am an IT site administrator for a Fortune 10 Company. After hours, I transform into a coordinator and operator of Rock Band shows in the Seattle Area. You can find me on twitter at @HumanShielding. On Facebook you can follow Seattle RockBand Group and we broadcast all of our shows on Twitch.

What's the history of the Seattle Rock Band Group?

SRG started in a small dive bar, called Goldie's Airport Way, in 2007. We started off playing Guitar Hero at our events, but as soon as Rock Band came out, we changed over to let more people play. We embraced new band members and vocalists with open arms. Our goal was to make the experience as approachable as karaoke. We encourage stage presence over scores and always use No-Fail mode.

When did you start running your own events?

In 2010, I inherited the show from Rob Sturgill and Tristan Smith. I've been running weekly shows all over Seattle ever since.

What's one of the biggest challenges you face as an events coordinator?

Our biggest challenge, historically, has been finding a stable venue that "gets" it. I always seemed to have difficulty explaining the show to venue owners what we do. Most people don't understand what Rock Band is. Usually, we could only book venues that were desperate enough to have us.

So how do you overcome that?

Well, I did discover that karaoke venues already have most of the equipment on site that you need, and it is usually pretty trivial to plug your console into their existing system. This makes for an easier and quicker setup/breakdown. Karaoke venues are also more willing to try hosting this kind of show.

enter image description here

What are your tips for starting up a Rock Band night?

Find a bar! Like I said, karaoke-friendly places are a good start, because they usually already have the large PA, video and lighting already to go. Usually all you need to do is plug your console and the game into the house system and provide the instruments. Once you've got your venue, feel free to expand the show from there and ENJOY! Remember: “The instruments are fake, but the fun is REAL!”

enter image description here

Speaking of fun, you're an active member of the Rock Band Road Crew - what's been the best moment so far?

This Road Crew program has been so amazing for the Rock Band scene in Seattle! RBRC was announced at our Unicorn Show right after PAX. It was an honor to host several HMX members and let them see how this party game can be such an amazing event on its own! We hope to continue hosting Rock Band events as long as our equipment can keep running… and some of it has been since 2007, and still going strong!

enter image description here

From what I've seen, you guys have no need to worry about equipment shortages.

I know actual bands that have less equipment than we do for our Rock Band shows. At one time I could fit all the stuff in my back seat… No longer… I now have a 10 foot utility trailer to hold all of my stuff.

the dream

So that's another tip for you aspiring event coordinators - get a trailer!

The best part about using a trailer, is I have it ready to go, all I need to do is back the car, and hook it up. Band in a Trailer!

As we wrap up, tell me about where you see your events going.

Once this game was released, I saw the potential of this as a live show. Slowly, I have convinced people to join me in my cause, and together we continue to grow, and share the experience of being in a band and running a show every week. This past 12 months have been so amazing to experience. We found a new home at AFK Elixirs and Eatery, and then found some very enthusiastic people who love this game as much as we do. When RB4 was announced, I knew that we would gain even more interest and grab some of the old RB2 and GH crowd. Now we are growing our Twitch audience, and there does not seem to be any limits to how far we can go with it.

That's awesome! Thanks very much to Tom for checking in with us. We'll talk to more Seattle Rock Band Group roadies in the future. See you next week!