Wes McIntyre is the Granada's New Backstage Manager and Resident Santa Claus

Meet Wes McIntyre. Yeah, he works at Granada...for years now. You've probably seen him.

He's been gaining a reputation around the venue as being a pretty awesome human being in general. Exemplified in his nice-guy style of security work, and cornerstoned by his recent role as Santa at a Libertine-organized neighborhood toy drive. A Santa who went above and beyond the call when, after gathering the toys, went out and delivered them, for the love of Kringle.

We can never have too many good hearted people working concert security, much less in general in our local music family. However, you won't be seeing as much of him in the future. He's been promoted to Granada Theatre's backstage manager. Dude..sweet gig.

You've been at The Granada for years now. Ever work in a venue before this one?

In my early 20's, I managed a nightclub for two years back home. That's where I met my ex-wife. She was a singer in the house band. One hell of a musician. She came to Dallas with me 26 years ago. She's even sold merch at the theater for me on occasion along with my daughter Molly and my son Casey. After my divorce six years ago, [Granada Sound Engineer/Tech] James Gee and I moved into an apartment right behind the theater.

At that time, six years ago, you were living behind behind the theatre, and roommates with a staff member, but not actually working here yet? I was working as a handyman for a restaurant company here and was laid off. Gee was running production then and I met [owner] Mike [Schoder] and the staff. I started doing some maintenance around the theater and Gee would ask me to sell merch for the bands or be a stagehand whenever it was requested from the artists, which I was glad to do. After a while I asked if I could work Serenity, which is the full time security staff there, which I did for a while.

And you just recently got promoted to events staff, and working backstage?

The decision to move Gee to the front of house was being tossed around if they could get a replacement for backstage. Gee really went to bat for me. I'm thankful to him and Mike for putting there faith and trust in me to do this.

Alternately, as cool as it looks from the outside, every job has it's "no picnic" side. What's that side at The Granada?

I can't really say. I look forward to going to work every day. If there is a problem that comes up that you can't fix, you ask for help and you will get it. If you don't ask for help, that's when the "no picnic" part will come into play...usually in the form of two big red ants known as Gee and Tim.

I'm sure you'll witness some colorful things working backstage! Seen some already working out front, though?

We had a band come in one night and we had to keep people from stage diving. I was posted on the stage to keep folks off of it and as was doing that the singer asked for some girls to come and dance, and I didn't hear him say that. As I got back to the side I turned around and saw this girl on stage, she could not have weighed 85 pounds and as I put my hands on her back she leaped off stage, flew about ten feet into the crowd. As I turned around the singer said I asked her to come up. I never felt so bad. I still get teased about that.

Were you there when Leon Russell's tour bus caught fire? That would be a colorful memory.

I was on The Granada Volunteer Fire Dept. that day. We were called into action when we were getting Leon Russell's band loaded in and his tour bus caught on fire. Some insulation around the generator fell on the exhaust and ignited. All of us grabbed fire extinguishers and kept it down till the fire dept. showed up after a 911 call. It didn't get out hand and Leon posed for pictures with the Dallas Fire Dept. after it was over with.

Tell us more about your new position. Sounds like a labor of love.

I look to see what's been advanced with the artists, I line up merch sellers if needed or stagehands, meet with the tour managers and talk about guest list, start and end times, meet and greets if any, hospitality, anything to do with the backstage area, introduce our production staff. Heath Gage, our front of house engineer, who also advances with the bands before they get there. I'm working alongside Travis Porter, the monitors engineer, Drew Polansky, the Lighting Director, and Bill Ellison our photographer. Great crew all around. 

So if not Dallas, where did you grow up? Were you a kid when you were bitten by the bug for all this?

I grew up in south Arkansas, outside El Dorado. My mother was a big influence of my love for music. I remember she would wax the hardwood floors in the house then put a stack of 45s on the old console player and polish the floors by putting me and my sister on a blanket and dance around the house while pulling us around on it. She would listen to CCR, The Stones, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Willie , Waylon, bluegrass, gospel.

Are there certain bands or artists from here that people might not expect you to be a fan of, but are? Surprise us.

There are bands here that I am a fan of but it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, to name a few: The O's, Quaker City Nighthawks, Somebody's Darling, Eleven Hundred Springs, Meridian, Sarah Jaffe, Josh Weathers, Larry g(EE). 

 It sounds like you're having a blast at work.

It is truly a great experience to work at the Theater. Gee and I have been friends for about 12 years now and have always talked about working together, it's a blast for me, he might think otherwise now but I wouldn't trade for anything.

From the management team, the bar staff, serenity, production, the office staff, special events team. I've never worked with so many people at one place that got along so well with each other, it really has a family feel to it. Even when we are not working we are all hanging out together. The staff at businesses around the theater all hang out with us. It's all business on the clock but when we are off its more like Animal House. I honestly believe I have the best job in town. Thank you Gee, Mike, Tim, Production, and the whole Granada staff for everything you do!

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Alan Ayo

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