Feel the Funky Flows: An Interview with Dan McKay

A significant memory that stands out for Dan McKay is riding his bike to a family member’s house to rip a vinyl record onto a cassette tape. That’s where he got his first taste of The Doors, Duran Duran, The Rolling Stones and so much more. From there, he progressed to playing guitar, joining a band, becoming a sound engineer and ultimately working as a tour manager.

He got his first taste as a sound engineer recording demos with his band as a teenager. In an interview with Digital Tour Bus, he said that brought him to working at a venue that operated in the back of a record store/skate shop combo. From there he was able to get his first head audio gig and ultimately his first tour as a Front of House (FOH) Engineer. Three months into the FOH gig, the tour’s manager quit. It was the perfect opportunity to prove that he was the right choice to replace them.

“There was no other path really,” McKay said. “That’s what it was going to be; bands, to sound engineer to tour manager.”

McKay is currently touring with the likes of Cypress Hill, AWOLNATION, Eagles of Death Metal and The Distillers. If anyone had told 11-year old Dan McKay, the kid with the paper route that spent every morning prepping his papers and riding his bike through town while listening to the first Cypress Hill record on his giant yellow Walkman, that he would be on tour with them one day… “no way.”

“Sometimes I need to stop myself and go, ‘this is what I do….weird.’ Not a lot of people get to do this, and even less people can do this,” he said.

Since trying tour managing at the age of 24, McKay has held on to that passion and cites that and staying focused as two pieces of advice he still sticks to. As a kid, his life revolved around music and once he started working as a sound engineer, that passion really hit him hard. He really can’t see himself being anywhere else.

“I think I’ll be here for a while,” he said.

He’s gone from the kid who dreamed of seeing the world, to travelling with music’s greatest performers, and now gets to travel the world with his kids – many once-of-a-lifetime opportunities that he still can’t totally believe keep happening to him.

“I feel privileged to work with people with so much talent; legends.”