Karrie Keyes on Being a Pearl Jam Roadie for Over 24 Years

“When I started, it was loading trucks: putting all the equipment back in the trucks, then taking it out of the truck,” [Karrie} Keyes says.

She learned to survive on $50 a week, taking any work she could: punk shows, mariachi gigs, gospel festivals. Not every show was great, and as one of few female engineers, she ran into sexism frequently — but she says travel and variety made up for the drawbacks.

“You were gonna go someplace else the next day, so it didn’t matter,” she says. “That was the selling point: Every day was new and every day had the potential of being an amazing day.”

By the early 90s when Pearl Jam exploded, Keyes was on the road a lot.

Then, she had twin daughters.

While she was touring, their dad, aunts and sometimes a nanny took care of them. It was challenging.

“It took me probably till they were three or four to actually come to terms with, ‘You know what, I’m actually a better mother if I’m doing what I love doing.’ So that when I’m here, I’m completely here.”



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