ANAHEIM, Calif. – Following Rancid’s performance at the House of Blues last night, roadie Gerard Lyons admitted he was “kind of surprised” by the overwhelmingly positive audience reaction to his brisk replacement of out-of-tune frontman Tim Armstrong with a slightly more in-tune backup Armstrong during the band’s performance of “Daly City Train.”
“I was just doing my job,” said Lyons after the show, lugging amplifiers, drum hardware, and cellophane-wrapped parts of a previous Armstrong near the tour bus. “We always have a few backup Tims ready to go just in case. We even have a ‘subdued’ Tim if the band wants to treat the audience to an acoustic rendition.”
Audience members applauded Lyons for his efforts, noting the singer and Hellcat Records founder was “very obviously” defective and wouldn’t last the rest of the set.
“Like, I knew that he hasn’t been able to pull off ‘Listed M.I.A.’ for years, but there was clearly a mechanical error,” said audience member Kylie Ware after the show. “But just when his normal gibberish devolved into utter nonsense, I see this guy [Lyons] come out with a fresh Tim draped over his shoulders, fireman-style.
“Before anyone knew what was happening, the guy ripped the old one out of his shoes, slammed the new one into his place, and plugged him in,” Ware continued. “Didn’t miss a single strained, utterly unpolished ‘note.’ That roadie is a total pro.”
Lyons said multiple Armstrong changes during a single Rancid performance are commonplace, and can be set off by a variety of factors.
“When they play hits like ‘Time Bomb,’ Tim will go a little more crazy than normal, so it is almost guaranteed I will need a fresh Tim for the next tune. I gotta be ready,” said Lyons. “And if it is really humid he needs to be switched out more frequently. I have never been able to figure out why.”
Lyons described the backup Armstrongs – “The techs and I call them our ‘Billie Joes’” — as a valuable purchase for the band’s upcoming end-of-the-year dates.
“These kinds of issues are what a road crew has to be ready for,” Lyons said as he loaded a re-tuned Armstrong into its Road Runner hard case. “I’m just happy the fans had a good time.”