I had the privilege of doing front of house sound for a sitting President of the United States. It was one of the simplest and easy gigs I have ever done. It was also one of the highest paying gigs I have ever done. You can read about it here
During the 4 hour warm up (The President was over 2 hours late) one of the Presidents detail handed me a few CD’s for pre-music. It was they typical stuff of that day U2, Madonna, Bon Jovi and even Kenny G. During the wait the famous song RESPECT by Aretha Franklin came on. I have to admit I chuckled, thinking yeah respect, I don’t agree with the Presidents Policies or morality.
I was struck somewhere during that song how wrong my attitude was. While I did not agree with this man, He was in a position of authority and was the reigning leader of the free world. I am called as a Christian to respect the office of the Presidency and at least honor this man as he was placed in this position.
As I later pondered that moment, I began evaluating about where I was and was not showing respect to those around me. I found it was easy to “respect” those that I liked and agreed with, but really had a hard time showing to respect those I did not like. It didn’t matter if they were of superb moral character, in authority or under my authority. If I did not like them, often I did not show respect to them.
Yes, respect is earned, but it is also freely given. I think more importantly respect is 100% reflected in our attitude. Webster gives us this definition of respect “a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way”. When I look at it that way everyone deserves my respect because each person is made in God’s image and is important to Him and thus should be important to me.
Now let’s break this down and apply it to TnT (Tech and Talent)
- Yes, even the guitar player whose stage volume overpowers the entire P.A. deserves respect. Yelling at him will not help the problem.
- The Worship Leader that demands you to change your mix deserves respect
- The drummer that plays like a freight train 100% of the time deserves respect
- The vocalist that occasionally points his mic right into the monitor causing feedback deserves respect.
- The sound guy who gets frustrated and gives you the cold shoulder deserves respect.
So how do you show respect for someone you don’t like or are upset with? For me when I was running front of house for the President, it was simply a matter of changing my attitude. I paused and realized the great privilege I was given, the trust placed in my control. Yes, it did cross my mind that I could silence the leader of the free world. In that moment I chose to give my best, act my best and serve in the best possible way.
Now don’t take respect in the wrong way and think that you just ignore the loud guitar, rude worship leader, forgetful vocalist or cold sound guy. The issues need to be addressed however, it must be none in a respectful way.
WARNING Video contains Offensive Language
Many of you have probably seen the video (WARNING offensive language)currently circulating the internet were Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump berates the sound system and the sound guy, cursing and vowing not to pay for the service provided.
If you have seen the video you can clearly see why Mr. Trump is frustrated. I would be, but his handling of the situation in my book was not appropriate. Now I will add if I was at front of house and somebody treated me the way Mr. Trump treated that sound person, my first reaction would be to mute the mic, pull some wires and walk away.
So was Mr. Trump in the wrong in how he handled it? I think yes. People often say that respect is a two-way street. But is it really? As far as I know the sound guy at the Trump event did not retaliate in anyway. I believe he kept doing his job to the best of his ability. So he showed respect for his job and responsibilities and thus to Mr. Trump.
Now would I ever hire the sound guy again? Whether it was a system or operator problem I would not hire him again. Point blank he failed and hopefully he will learn from that failure.
So my challenge to you is to forget that stupid idea that respect is a two-way street, and whether you are on the Tech side or Talent side of the equation, Respect yourself by showing respect to everyone around you!