"He was one of the gang": Before he won three Oscars and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, one world-famous actor was a roadie for Echo & The Bunnymen

Echo & The Bunnymen
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Every major artist owes a huge debt of thanks to their crew. While the 'talent' are off pursuing super models, drinking their own body-weight in alcohol or - increasingly these days - poring over their stock portfolios on laptops in some chain hotel room, their tireless roadies are ensuring that every last kink is ironed out ahead of show-time so that their employers can shine like the golden gods and goddesses they are.

There's also a long and noble history of roadies transitioning to 'the other side', observing what to do, and what not to do, before launching their own musical ventures. Famously, Lemmy used to roadie for Jimi Hendrix. Noel Gallagher used to roadie for Inspiral Carpets. Billy Howerdel was a guitar tech for Smashing Pumpkins and Tool before forming A Perfect Circle. And Diamond Head used to tolerate the presence of a mouthy Danish tennis brat who'd occasionally carry a snare drum into a venue for them, before he headed home to Los Angeles to form the biggest metal band in the world.

But as far as we know, and feel free to correct us if you know differently, only one band has hired a roadie who later went on to win three Oscars, four BAFTAs, two Golden Globe awards, and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II of England. The band in question is Echo & The Bunnymen, and their long-since-retired employee was world-renowned actor Daniel Day-Lewis. 

The future star of My Left Foot, In The Name of The Father, and There Will Be Blood came into the Liverpool indie band's orbit around the time of their second album, 1981's Heaven Up Here, as "he was mates with the bloke who used to do our films and our lights," guitarist Will Sergeant recalled in a 2005 interview with Uncut magazine. 

"There was always quite a theatre link, because Bill Drummond (Bunnymen manager, later to court infamy as one half of KLF) used to work at the Everyman (theatre) and he knew a lot of actor types; Paul McGann and Greta Scacchi used to hang around, they were at Rockfield with us for a bit."

"Daniel was one of the gang," Sergeant remembered. "He'd turn up in the same camouflage clothes as the band, like he was gettin' into character for something. That was the great thing about the camo gear, all the crew wore it as well."

Echo & The Bunnymen are currently on tour in the UK. Don't expect to see Daniel Day-Lewis manning the merch stall. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.