Bridge Over Troubled Water, Live, Tear-Jerking Pleasure


I used to post a lot of excellent species of YouTube videos on JimOnLight — things that I found amazing, outstanding, or shitty, terrifying.  Here’s one that is pure “I fucking DARE you to watch this at work, and not cry.”  Seriously, I dare you, tough guy!  Come on, bad ass woman!  You got the testicular fortitude?  BRING IT!

Here’s an older Simon and Garfunkel doing Bridge Over Troubled Water at Madison Square.

Here you go.  You’ll need some of these now.

Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead has Died

Here’s a little bit of information I did not know before I wrote this post…  did you know that Lemmy made more money having written the song “Mama, I’m Coming Home” for Ozzy than he did with the entire Motorhead catalogue?!  I had no idea.  RIP, Lemmy.


AH!  Crap crap crap.  I’m sorry to Lemmy’s family and friends and fans across the world.  Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead has lost his fight with cancer.

From The Guardian:

Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, founding member and singer in the British heavy metal band Motörhead, has died at the age of 70 shortly after learning he had been diagnosed with cancer.

The band announced on their Facebook page that Lemmy learned of the disease on 26 December, and was at home when he died.

Lemmy, born Ian Fraser Kilmister, formed Motörhead in 1975 and was its only constant member, as singer and bassist. The band released 23 studio albums and are best known for their 1980 single Ace of Spades.

The band requested fans “play Lemmy’s music LOUD. Have a drink or few. Share stories. Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself.

“There is no easy way to say this … our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learned of the disease on 26 December, and was at home, sitting in front of his favourite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made it’s way down the street, with his family.

“We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness; there aren’t words.

“We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please … play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD. Have a drink or few.

“Share stories.

“Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself.


The band signed off: “Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister

“1945 -2015

“Born to lose, lived to win.”

GAH!  Admittedly I am a jam band fan, but I try to keep my musical selection quite diverse and multi-palatable.

So, for Lemmy, here’s one of my favorite Motorhead gems.  I love this fucking song, crank it up loud for Lemmy.

Holidays Aren’t Happy for Everybody


Brothers and Sisters of Light — Lighting Designers, Lighting Directors, AV Teams, Touring Techs, Shop Techs, Students, Teachers, Projection Designers, Production Designers, Lighting Industry Sales Force personnel, Product Managers and Product Leads, Electricians, Engineers, Physicists, Photonics Scientists, Lighting Industry Writers, Lighting Marketers, and anyone else I’ve left out accidentally:

We know a lot of people this year who had it kinda rough.  We’ve all been on some kind of edge this year, granted there were some pretty fucked up things that happened.  No need to go into detail, I think we’ve all lived that enough.

I wanted to write this post to say that this season, some of our brothers and sisters out there need an extra hug, or that simple inclusion in a conversation at catering, or maybe just a pat on the back to say “hey human, I think you’re cool.”  Maybe thank someone for something they normally don’t get thanks for, ever.  Maybe one among your group has been hitting the sauce a little hard, distancing themselves from the group, being kinda not with everyone else’s wave in the group all of the sudden; that person needs some attention, even just a small bit.  You might just save their miserable life and make it not miserable for them.

All kinds of shit happens at the Holidays.  While we’re all out there celebrating or working, both are equal most of the time to me, some folks are doing the same in their minds remembering something mind breaking they go through every year.  Also, we live in an industry where you have to pretty much maintain a constant level of crazy just to get by, so there’s that.

If you know someone hurting, I’ve posted some resources below.  If you’re hurting, call these people.  You know why you should bother calling these people, none of whom you know?  Because they take these jobs because they give a shit about you.  Do you know how much fucked up shit they hear on a regular basis, and come back the next day?  The people at these places are there because they give a shit about YOU.  As trippy as it sounds, please believe me if you’ve ever believed anything I’ve ever written here before, these people want to help you be happy, even just long enough to take a breath.

One last thing before I post something else that is way happier than this is right now…

I have done a shit ton of traveling over this last six months with Avolites.  People of the world…  You gotta be nicer to your servers, people who check you into your hotels, and airline personnel.  I know some of them really should be doing other work, but you have no idea what value a smile and a polite demeanor has to someone who deals with trash all the live long day.  Try making 2016 a year where your order doesn’t actually make someone want to strike you with a cleaver.  Seriously, folks, they’re humans too.  Don’t be the last asshole who ever talked to them like that.


The National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
You can call these people 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they are there and ready.

The Samaritans:
(212) 673-3000

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255
Please call these people if you need a hand and can’t seem to reach out.  Happy Holidays, everybody, make sure to do something nice out there.  It costs nothing, and it might save a life.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO – Shawn London, FOH Audio for Eagles of Death Metal and Le Bataclan Attack Survivor, Speaks to JimOnLight

We’re honored to have a life-changing video to share.  I wish it were about something cool like Rate masters or inhibitive submasters used to protect certain parts of your effects live, but no…

This is Shawn London.  Shawn reached out to us here to tell his story of the coward Daesh attack on Paris, he was mixing audio at FOH when these assholes came into the venue and started killing people.  Once you watch this video, once you hear how Shawn was shot at several times, how he had to hear the pleas of people being purely executed, and how he got out while saving a life or two beyond his own…  you may have a change in heart in the way you do things.

These assholes blocked the exits, you guys.  They were executing people trying to escape.  Shawn will explain to you all of this, please watch his frankly horrifying account while standing behind a Midas Verona at the Le Bataclan when the bullets started flying.

In addition to the video with Shawn, Eagles of Death Metal was interviewed by Vice News founder Shane Smith.  I’ve been watching Vice since that great network started, I’ve tried to model a lot of the ballsiness of Vice’s, well, ballsiness, into the posting on JimOnLight over the years because those who work in our various lighting industries are usually pretty no-bullshit.  This second video is raw too, the band is glad to be alive and pretty destroyed that this happened, as you would imagine.  Hang in there though, there is real talk in this video too.

If you cannot watch this one, please don’t watch the first one.  But please, put on some adult underwear and save your life.  Learn from their experiences.  We humans SUCK at not repeating the history we all suffer through, so let’s make this the last time I have to give an interview like this.

JOL Sunday Flickr #30

It’s been quite the week, huh.

I know people come and visit the JOL Sunday Flickr posts every Sunday that they get posted… this particular episode happens to be #30 for those keeping track, officially on the “JOL Sunday Flickr” moniker…

Today we’re doing peaceful.  Peaceful is good today.  Tomorrow or the next day is going to be a rough watch, because I was given an exclusive interview with Shawn London of Eagles of Death Metal.  As soon as the Vice episode with Eagles of Death Metal posts, we’re going to post our interview.  It’s fucking rough, you guys, but it needs to be heard.

Here’s the Vice interview video intro, it actually airs this coming week some time.  Teaser is just not very fucking apropos right now, is it.

Ok, back to some peace. Please, check out the Flickr Group photo pool. People post some excellent stuff there, support your amateur (and professional!) photographers!


file under open xy

---dw--- B.efore O.ptics---


Light Curtain

the beauty of an arriving storm

shadows of refraction

Abstract motion lights


Wow. #florida #skies

Never gets old, that view


Light and drops

Tunnel Driving


Si ens llevem ...


wax on wax off

O What A Sunrise!

6:30 a.m.

Pretty Florida skies.

ben d'hora, ben d'hora...


What If I’m Attacked at Work? A Crew Primer, Part 3

Please be warned, this post contains graphic imagery of death.

This is a multi-part series on on what to do if someone comes into your gig shooting at you.  This is by no means the answer, or even an answer.  Every situation is different, everything that can go wrong will go wrong (as we all know in Entertainment alone), and the information and interviews here are meant solely to help you be less unprepared.  Very few of us out there in the field have the kind of training that it actually takes to combat people who are hell bent on killing us.  This article series is just meant to give you things to think about in order to put your head in the game.  Use this information at your own risk and with steadfast understanding that if you’re attacked at a gig, it is you who will be responsible for you.


Part 1 and Part 2 talk about Situational Awareness, and what to do when you’re faced with an Active Shooter Event.  That means when you’re at work and some asshole comes in firing at people.  The Situational Awareness part comes from having your head out of your phone and watching what’s going on around you to notice that there’s an Active Shooter in your gig.


We’ve learned that there is no reason for you untrained cowboys out there with concealed carry permits to insert yourself into a situation, it’s most likely going to end up with me writing a story about you on JimOnLight, and tens of thousands of people are going to like it, comment on it, say how nice you were when you when they worked with you…  but you’ll still be dead.  People bent on death don’t think or train past the moment of your death, it is best to JUST GET THE FUCK OUT.

I’m super glad to have gotten Brendon’s thoughts on what’s been going on out there — if you sit down with Grimey at a show, he’s actually quite a knowledgeable guy and his company kicks ass.


Brendon Grimes at the base of Entebbe Tower

Grimey, you spent time in complete shitholes during conflict.  What are your thoughts as to everything that’s gone down in the last 6 months?

Brendon Grimes:
“The recent terrorist attacks in Paris fall in line with so many other attacks throughout the world. It saddens me to see any of this happen, yet I am still amazed to see how many individuals that live with their heads in the ground about this real and dangerous threat. Almost as if it does not pertain to them.”

“I know that every terror attack somehow affects me. I’ve spent 20 years in the United States Air Force, as an MC-130H Combat Mission Loadmaster. I have had so many great experiences, and met so many great people and friends over that time. I have traveled to well over 100 Countries around the world, during which time I always recognized that I was there as a representative of the USA. This meant that I followed and obeyed the host Countries laws and respected their practices or beliefs. OK, I admit there may have been a few Countries that I visited that we were only there for a short period of time, and it was to ‘correct’ their policies, or administer our policy. However, for the most part, we always respected the host Nations policies, just like tourists or visiting Tours should do.”

Do you think that your career has prepared you for the threats that we face today?  Are those threats real, or are we going all ‘prepper’ on the business?

“I served a distinguished career, retiring with an honorable discharge.  So now we have the same threat that has affected the entertainment industry, and an entire new group of individuals believe that maybe, just maybe, this threat is real, and could involve them.  The threat is global, the threat is real, and it is not only aimed at Americans, but against Western civilizations and beliefs. So maybe a reminder every once and awhile is in order, the below list contains just a few of a very long list, but these attacks were against Americans, or killed Americans:

“So, you ask my opinions regarding recent terrorist events because of my military background?  Well this is nothing new to me.  I am discouraged that our political leadership has failed to take appropriate actions over the past several years.  I am very concerned that Americas trend towards ‘Political Correctness’ has taken us down a path that has no easy return.  This problem is not America’s problem, it is the World’s problem.  Each and every one of us have a responsibility to stand up against terrorism, and fight for basic human rights.  Nearly 30 years ago, I took a sworn oath to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That oath did not have a expiration date, and today I still stand against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Ok brother, let’s put your brain through these questions.  Starting with number one – If you were at a show at FOH in a venue like that of Le Bataclan and attackers burst in with automatic weapons, what are the first and second things that would be going through a trained mind like yours?  

Brendon Grimes:
“Remain Calm, take cover and identify the threat, then take appropriate action.” 

Now imagine that question with AND without a sidearm, and how you would react differently.

Brendon Grimes:
“I’d still take appropriate action.  I’d take cover.  Though, I might use tools at hand such as lighting and audio to confuse and disorient the attackers.  I believe that as long as we allow the threat of terror to exist, we will continue to see changes in the ways public events are handled. Specific guidelines for patrons, and venue staff. Kevlar matting built into crowd barriers, snipers or armed security at larger public events, there are many possibilities.”

Considering our environment and the various things we have to use as cover and concealment, can you recommend what to use and what not to use?  Obviously a rolling dimmer rack would probably provide more protection than a wardrobe case, for example — What would you go for?

Brendon Grimes:
“This would completely depend on where I was at in the venue.  Many people don’t realize the benefit of hitting the ground and lying flat.  However, any flight case would work to start because you become out of sight.  Heavier cases such as cable trunks, stage decking, and so forth obviously would be better to hide behind, but in reality, whatever you can do to make yourself a smaller target is the best option.”

What are your thoughts generally on protection inside of venues by crew personnel?  Do you think that our own protection is something that we need to take on at this point in our industry?  How do you feel about arming ourselves at gigs?

Brendon Grimes:
“I know several crew members that have concealed carry permits, and some that don’t, both of whom carry concealed fire arms. Some crew have actual weapons safes in their touring work box. They normally do not carry while loading in/out as the threat is lower, however once they sit back into go mode such as at a FOH position they sometimes arm themselves. I have been told by one freelance technician named ‘Levi’ that he carries depending on his feelings towards his own personal safety at each event.”

It is not my belief that it is our responsibility as touring crew to provide security for the events we work.  I also believe that I cannot depend on anyone else to defend me, however I expect to be provided a safe environment to work in.  So as we have seen, this is not always the case.  While not creating an argument over second amendment rights, I do believe that anyone who wishes to provide additional protection for themselves in the form of weaponry, needs to be fully trained, and qualified to do so, and this means maintaining safe practice and regular training. As some of these weapons can be more harmful in the wrong hands.”

Brendon Grimes laid out some serious dead rules for what he thinks is appropriate action.  Notice though, he goes straight into the most important thing first — GET DOWN, GET COVERED, GET OUT.  We’re on Part 3 here, and this is still the main theme.  When someone attacks your gig, GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT — and take as many people as you can.

Ok, some real talk…

Here’s what an AK-47 looks like pointed towards you:


Here’s an AK-47 with and without a man-targeter on the front of it.  There is no mistake that you have a deadly weapon pointed at you:


SO when you see ANY of those things at a gig out of place…  What are you going to do?  Especially while not carrying a firearm, which should not be our responsibility at the gig in the first place?


LET’S JUST SAY that you’re carrying your legal sidearm at a gig or on a tour, and some terror douches come into your gig, shooting up people and firing indiscriminately into the crowd. What are you going to do?  If you have ignored the four military minds here stating for you to GET OUT OF THAT PLACE AND DON’T ENGAGE, and you are going to take your own life and those around you into your own hands like some kind of hero, what are you going to do?

Rick Reeves in Part 2 mentions that “there is one exception:  If you have a gun that you can get out without being noticed, and there is a bad guy 7 feet in front of you with his back to you, and you KNOW you cannot miss from 7 feet, shoot him.  Then take all of the rest of the advice I gave you.”  The rest of Rick’s advice was GETTING OUT AND TAKING AS MANY PEOPLE OUT AS YOU CAN GET.

For all of you cowboys out there who think you’re going to save the world when the shit hits the fan — and this is coming from a person who owns, maintains, and practices operating his weapons systems — please know that there are so many things you could do by pulling your sidearm that could cause people around you to get shot.  Here’s a few scenarios:

  • You’re in an actual Active Shooter situation, and you were too gung-ho about pulling your gun out so you were identified by the gunmen, so now you and all of the innocents around you are going to be the victim to a hail of bullets, all because you wanted to be a hero.
  • You THINK you’re in an active shooter situation…  and you pulling out your pistol gets you shot dead because others around you were also quick on the draw and not so quick on the intellectual steps following up to even unsnapping your trigger guard.  Mistaken identity, friendly fire.  You’re still dead as shit.
  • Same situation, you THINK you’re in an Active Shooter situation, and the police onsite mistake you for the shooter.  You’re fucking dead.  Have you watched the news lately?  Police are NOT AFRAID to shoot you, they are protecting their own lives and managing their own agendas.  Not all, but many.  Oh, and they’re trained to land their lead into you.  Repeatedly.
  • Let’s say you’re fortunate enough to not only have some excellent cover, but to be excellent under fire.  What if you miss?  What if you miss and you make the attackers aware to your location?  Can you shoot back under a hail of automatic gunfire?  Chances are, if people are storming some place that is going to have a ton of people in it, they’re going to have some kind of multi-round-firing, high magazine capacity device.  The largest concealed carry magazine I can fit in my pants in .45 is 9 rounds.  In 9mm, I carry 10 rounds on me, and in .40, I carry 8.  Do any of those match up to 30 rounds per clip of assault rifle ammunition?  No, they do not.  You will get shot dead.

IF YOUR BOSSES ALLOW YOU TO CARRY CONCEALED AS PER YOUR PERMITTED STATUS ALLOWS, you should already know the next four rules I am going to list.  If you haven’t heard of these four rules and you’re carrying, please go put a trigger lock on your pistol, lock that bitch up, and sign up for a Pistol Safety and Self Defense course quick.

These four rules make sure that you don’t have accidents.  People cleaning their guns who shoot themselves are full of shit, they did not follow the Four Rules of Firearm Safety.  If you are dead set on deterring or defeating the threat in an active shooter situation and there are not already TRAINED ASSAULTING FORCES aiding in your rescue…  You have GOT to remember…



The last rule is so extremely important when you think you want to be a cowboy in an active shooter situation.  When you miss while dodging automatic weapon fire after feeling the need to shoot back INSTEAD OF GETTING THE HELL OUT, what happens if you kill an innocent bystander?  That isn’t collateral damage of war, you’re not a trained fighter.  You just killed someone’s mom, dad, sister, brother, wife, husband, lover, friend.  Dead.  It would have been better to lie flat, and get out.

Also, you’re not trained in determining who and what is a suspicious target, nor is it your responsibility.

But… when all else fails — police security, private security hires, private contractors, local security…  when all of that is exhausted and you find yourself in a situation where you and other people are going to die because a terrorist attacker is about on you, do whatever you can do to keep hidden and safe and get out.  Or, when all of those options are exhausted and the terrorist assholes are bearing down on your position, do whatever you can do.  If you have a sidearm, use it safely while watching that you’re not going to make some additional innocent people collateral damage.  But you better be goddamned sure that if you start shooting, you knew you had no other option but to die.  That’s why we can have Concealed Weapons permits.

Things to read:  FEMA’s ACTIVE SHOOTER Guide and ALICE Active Shooter Training

ALICE is actually a pretty cool acronym:

  • ALERT:  Use Plain and Specific Language.  Avoid Code Words.
  • LOCKDOWN:  Barricade the Room. Silence Mobile Devices.  Prepare to EVACUATE or COUNTER if Needed.
  • INFORM.  Communicate the Shooter’s Location in Real Time.
  • COUNTER.  Create Noise, Movement, Distance and Distraction with the Intent of Reducing the Shooter’s Ability to Shoot Accurately.
  • EVACUATE.  When Safe to Do So, Remove Yourself from the Danger Zone.

More things in mind that tell you NOT TO STICK AROUND unless you are TRAPPED.  GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT OF THE LINE OF FIRE.

Quick links:

Patrick Dierson Interview, Part 1
What If I’m Attacked at Work?  A Crew Primer

Rick Reeves and Matt Hazard, Part 2
What If I’m Attacked at Work?  A Crew Primer

Brendon Grimes, Part 3
What If I’m Attacked at Work?  A Crew Primer

What If I’m Attacked at Work? A Crew Primer, Part 2

This is a multi-part series on on what to do if someone comes into your gig shooting at you.  This is by no means the answer, or even an answer.  Every situation is different, everything that can go wrong will go wrong (as we all know in Entertainment alone), and the information and interviews here are meant solely to help you be less unprepared.  Very few of us out there in the field have the kind of training that it actually takes to combat people who are hell bent on killing us.  This article series is just meant to give you things to think about in order to put your head in the game.  Use this information at your own risk and with steadfast understanding that if you’re attacked at a gig, it is you who will be responsible for you.


Folks, that’s real talk right there without saying a word.  I want to make sure that you know how real this shit really is.  Our “western society” was attacked on Friday the 13th, November 2015 in Paris.  over a hundred people lost their lives in an instant or two by some coward Daesh ISIS terrorists, most of whom are dead now with one still on the run as of 15:41, November 18.  They came into a concert hall with a concert going on, killed crew and audience, indiscriminately.

In Part 1 of this series about protecting yourself at a gig, we talked with Patrick Dierson about what he thought was the most important points to be discussed, and more than anything he says that, when you’re attacked at work, the most important thing to do is to GET OUT OF THERE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, and to take as many people with you as you can get.  Very good advice, I say.  I also reached out to two people who have had major influences in my life — my grad student lighting studio supervisor at The Ohio State University Matt Hazard, who was involved in Marine Intelligence back in Serbia and Croatia when Milosevic was douchebagging around the region indiscriminately killing people (and is himself a hell of a lighting tech and designer), and production designer Rick Reeves, who was with Navy Security teams during the Iraq wars, having been a member of CENTCOM and MNF-I.  Both of these men have seen combat.  Neither of them recommend sticking around when the bullets are flying.

Just to kind of paraphrase what Patrick Dierson said in Part 1 before we move on to hear what Matt Hazard and Rick Reeves had to say…  If the shit hits the fan:

  • Get behind something quickly
  • Don’t get shot
  • Get outta there, and take people with you.
  • Don’t be a hero.  Don’t PLAY a hero either, you might get yourself shot.
  • Leave your gun at home, or keep your gun in your pants and get the hell out.


Don’t let his sweet goofball face fool you, Matt Hazard is one awesome lighting professional. And he also used to be a hitter for the US Marines Recon Force

This is Matt Hazard; Matt helped me learn that I had it within me to suck it the fuck up on a few occasions.  He’s the Lighting Studio Manager at The Ohio State University, he was my “drill sergeant” when I was in graduate school.  Well, really Mary Tarantino was both of our drill sergeant, but she’s tough all on her own.  Hazard was a Recon Marine who served in Kosovo when Milosevic was douchebagging around the region indiscriminately killing people (and is himself one hell of an ETCP-certified lighting tech, AND designer).

Lighting Design by Matt Hazard

Lighting Design by Matt Hazard

“Matt, thanks a lot for this, and for talking to me about such a distressing thing.  I have to ask you up front — what do you see when you see the photo aftermath of this mess?”

Matt Hazard:
“I’m guessing that FOH was in the back on the floor.  That’s my guess from looking at all of the attached pics.  If the fuckers with AKs came in the back of the floor, the FOH would have been one of the first things they saw.  The Twitter shot from the balcony looks like it might show the FOH in the bottom left of the pic. Pretty gruesome pic, that venue reminds of the Newport here in Columbus [Ohio].”

Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH -- very similar size and layout to Le Bataclan in Paris

Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH — very similar size and layout to Le Bataclan in Paris

“I’m trying to think what I’d do in that situation.  Most likely, you have zero time to react.  If crazy fuckers come in, they’ve likely blown by or shot the security staff to gain access.  If when they got to the floor and the first people they saw were the FOH ops, then that might have been where they began — I am entirely speculating here.  The first reaction would probably be incredible surprise: what am I looking at?  A guy with an AK-47?  It’s just not something you expect to see at a concert.  Loud noises are common place, although when the rounds begin cracking off, it would certainly stand out. I read that the band heard the shots and headed backstage. I think that is the natural reaction: seek cover and don’t get shot. Unfortunately, at a typical FOH, there’s not a whole lot of room to hide.”


How the attack went down — and how some escaped

“Where do you think the responsibility for security lies in our shows?  Are we at at a point where we should be concerned with handling firearms as part of our kit?  Is that just stupid?”

Matt Hazard:
“Three summers ago, I had to help eject a guy from the FOH tent here in Columbus at an outdoor Skrillex show, I was hanging with the crew.  The promoters had not provided any sort of barrier or security for the FOH tent, and people were pushing up on it the entire show.  I kept an eye on the guy because his behavior was not what it should be. He eventually got pissed at the sound guy who kept telling him to back off and punched him. I grabbed his arms and pushed him out, but there was no security or police to take the idiot away.”

“Drunk idiots are an entirely different ball game from what happened in Paris.  I’m not sure if there is anything that could have been done to protect the tech staff at the venue.  Speculation is difficult as is asking yourself, ‘what would I have done?’  If you did have a gun and you did have the training, it is possible that you could have recognized the threat and fought back.  Will venues hire armed security guards if they think they might be targeted?  I’m not sure how many venues would condone their operators carrying weapons.”

“Something else to thing about,” Hazard adds, “We had a concert shooting here in Columbus years ago, at Alrosa Villa…  Five people were killed, including the gunman.  One was a performer on stage, one was a club security guard, another was a club employee, and the final was a patron. It’s a much different story with a much different outcome, but it shows that public places are simply vulnerable targets.  Keep your head up when you’re out.”

Anything else you can think of to add?

Matt Hazard:
“The main thing I want to convey is that the folks who work shows a lot will probably notice things, people, behavior that is out of the ordinary.  But even with that, you just cannot be prepared for everything and anything and the crazy fuckers.”  

More Matt Hazard, LD

More Matt Hazard, LD

I asked Rick Reeves the same questions, same results.  Rick is a production designer, quite talented with projection, and is known to do some lighting here and there, or actually every day since he’s back in grad school after working at the famous OU in Norman, Oklahoma where I met him, shaping minds, eating burritos, drinking margaritas.  This was Rick back in his service days:

Yes, that's Rick Reeves, yes, that's an M-60 he's slinging, and yes, those are his massive balls he's standing on

Yes, that’s Rick Reeves, yes, that’s an M-60 he’s slinging, and yes, those are his massive balls he’s standing on

I asked Rick the three questions, but Rick is also a good friend, so I tended to be a bit more to the point and he replied as such.

Rick.  What do you think would happen if production crew started arming themselves?  Would this lead to a huge game of who can be the biggest cowboy?

Rick Reeves:
“Cowboys?  There is no room in the world of an active shooter (terrorist) attack for cowboys.  ISIS does not pick these guys up off of the street on the way to an attack and give them a gun, they go to terrorist boot camp.  Do you know what they learn at terrorist boot camp?  How to kill YOU.  They people that are carrying out these attacks are highly trained individuals, probably with decent weaponry.  If you have no, or little, training, get out of Dodge.  You will not win.  I don’t care if you have a weapon or not, your primary goal should be to get out, or stay out of the line of fire.
Also, these guys will probably have automatic weapons and the best you will have is a handgun. A handgun is no match for an automatic weapon, you will lose.”

Jesus.  That is right to the point, my friend.

Rick Reeves:
“This is no game.  These people are trained and led by their fierce ideology.”

How do I even begin to think like you?  What goes in your head when you enter a building considering the training you have?

Rick Reeves:
“My protective service training puts me in the habit of knowing what two exits are available to me at all times.  When you walk into a building for the first time, remember how to get out, and then find a second way out. This isn’t just good for terrorists, but for fires. It can help keep you alive.  SO, KNOW TWO EXITS.  Also, the biggest thing to do in any situation is to keep calm.  Panic causes people to make mistakes. Minimize panic and you will minimize your mistakes.”

What would you do if you heard some gunshots all of the sudden in the theatre, or the arena, you know?  What if someone starts shooting up the gig?  What’s the first objective?

Rick Reeves:
If you confirm gunshots, your objective should be to get to one of those exits you remembered with the least amount of resistance.  If you can help people move the same direction, do so.  But there is no sense in risking your life at this point. If you cannot safely exit the area, find cover and do NOT attract attention to yourself.  Don’t rush, but exit when you are able, but until then, HIDE!”

Is there any room for heroism in these situations, or is that just some thinking that would get more of us killed?

Rick Reeves:
“The only way I am going to be a hero is if I am guaranteed success AND it is for sure going to get me laid.  Both big ifs.  Once you are safe, call 911 or whatever emergency service you can.  Know the emergency number for the country you are in, everyone doesn’t use 911.”

Don Giovanni-Scenic, Lighting, and Projection by Me. Costumes and photograph Kasey Allee-Foreman, Director William Ferrara

Don Giovanni-Scenic, Lighting, and Projection by Rick Reeves. Costumes and photograph by Kasey Allee-Foreman, Director William Ferrara

Can you share any advice on watching the crowd or things that might look out of place?  Is this just a common sense thing?

Rick Reeves:
“People up to no good look uncomfortable.  When you are waiting for the show to start, people watch.  Who looks uncomfortable, who looks out of place?  If it is 90 degrees outside and there is a guy with a big coat on?  Big question marks go off in my head. It won’t be that obvious because terrorists are smart and train on blending in, so spotting a bad guy before they do something bad is not easy.”

You know me, you know I love my guns.  Help me dispel the bullshit about being a hero at a gig — what can you say to those of us who have concealed carry permits and some training?

Rick Reeves:
“I cannot stress to you enough that these guys are not stupid.

They want to kill you.
They train to kill you.

They have no other goals past this attack.

YOU don’t want to kill anyone.
YOU are not trained to kill anyone. (Maybe to shoot at a paper target, but not kill)
YOU have a lifetime of goals past this attack.

There is one exception:  If you have a gun that you can get out without being noticed, and there is a bad guy 7 feet in front of you with his back to you, and you KNOW you cannot miss from 7 feet, shoot him.  Then take all of the rest of the advice I gave you.”


Just a reminder that some of those who make the greatest light and art also fought to make sure you can do that same thing right now.



Matt and Rick, I cannot thank you guys enough for both your service, and for sharing your thoughts.

Rick mentioned knowing the EMERGENCY CODES for different countries abroad — so I found that the State Department actually publishes this document!  Here’s a link to that document — 911_ABROAD.  [Direct PDF link when you click]


Funny enough, this is actually available through FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Administration):

The Department of Homeland Security offers Active Shooter information:

Also — a PDF [direct PDF link] on Active Shooter Preparedness and Situational Awareness that you can print out and keep in your show minder from now on, really:

Active Shooter: How to Respond

A few excerpts from the brochure on Active Shooter Situations – and the potential shooters themselves

Employees [or concertgoers/theatregoers] typically do not just “snap,” but display indicators of potentially violent behavior over time. If these behaviors are recognized, they can often be managed and treated. Potentially violent behaviors by an employee may include one or more of the following (this list of behaviors is not comprehensive, nor is it intended as a mechanism for diagnosing violent tendencies):

  • Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
  • Unexplained increase in absenteeism; vague physical complaints
  • Noticeable decrease in attention to appearance and hygiene
  • Depression / withdrawal
  • Resistance and overreaction to changes in policy and procedures
  • Repeated violations of company policies
  • Increased severe mood swings
  • Noticeably unstable, emotional responses
  • Explosive outbursts of anger or rage without provocation
  • Suicidal; comments about “putting things in order”
  • Behavior which is suspect of paranoia, (“everybody is against me”)
  • Increasingly talks of problems at home
  • Escalation of domestic problems into the workplace; talk of severe financial problems
  • Talk of previous incidents of violence
  • Empathy with individuals committing violence
  • Increase in unsolicited comments about firearms, other dangerous weapons and violent crimes

Your human resources department and facility managers should engage in planning for emergency situations, including an active shooter scenario. Planning for emergency situations will help to mitigate the likelihood of an incident by establishing the mechanisms described below.

Human Resources – [should also fall to venue and promoter liability] Responsibilities:

  • Conduct effective employee screening and background checks
  • Create a system for reporting signs of potentially violent behavior
  • Make counseling services available to employees
  • Develop an EAP which includes policies and procedures for dealing with an active shooter situation, as well as after action planning Facility Manager Responsibilities
  • Institute access controls (i.e., keys, security system pass codes)
  • Distribute critical items to appropriate managers / employees, including: – Floor plans – Keys – Facility personnel lists and telephone numbers
  • Coordinate with the facility’s security department to ensure the physical security of the location
  • Assemble crisis kits containing: – radios – floor plans – staff roster, and staff emergency contact numbers – first aid kits – flashlights
  • Place removable floor plans near entrances and exits for emergency responders
  • Activate the emergency notification system when an emergency situation occurs

Reactions of Managers During an Active Shooter Situation:

  • Employees and customers are likely to follow the lead of managers during an emergency situation.
  • During an emergency, managers should be familiar with their EAP, and be prepared to:
    * Take immediate action
    * Remain calm
    * Lock and barricade doors
    * Evacuate staff and customers via a preplanned evacuation route to a safe area


The FBI, for example, has put out a video called RUN, HIDE, FIGHT:  Surviving an Active Shooter Event:

If you watched that video, you’d know that our Federal Bureau of Investigation says to RUN THE FUCK AWAY first.  If you can’t do that safely, then HIDE YOURSELF AND OTHERS.  If all else fails and you’re concealed but the gunman or gunmen is coming to kill you, FIGHT TO THE DEATH TO INCAPACITATE THAT BASTARD or BASTARDS.

We need to talk to Grimey about some stuff now.  Matt and Rick, thank you for your service and for being Entertainment Industry players!


MOVE ON to Part 3 of
What If I’m Attacked at Work? A Crew Primer

What If I’m Attacked at Work? A Crew Primer, Part 1

Heads up folks, this post contains graphic imagery of death.

This is a multi-part series on on what to do if someone comes into your gig shooting at you.  This is by no means the answer, or even an answer.  Every situation is different, everything that can go wrong will go wrong (as we all know in Entertainment alone), and the information and interviews here are meant solely to help you be less unprepared.  Very few of us out there in the field have the kind of training that it actually takes to combat people who are hell bent on killing us.  This article series is just meant to give you things to think about in order to put your head in the game.  Use this information at your own risk and with steadfast understanding that if you’re attacked at a gig, it is you who will be responsible for you.


Many people in our business are asking this very question right this minute at their gigs after the Friday the 13th terror attacks in Paris:
What if I’m attacked at work???  What do we do if somebody comes into our gig shooting?  What if they have a bomb?

This is what happened at last Friday’s Daesh ISIS coward rampage:


In Paris last Friday, 13 November 2015, a few jihadi cowards stormed into Le Bataclan and murdered scores of people with AK-47’s.  At FOH, the house lighting tech, Nathalie Jardin, took rounds and died form her injuries.  Merchandiser Nick Alexander died from his gunshots onsite.  They were just at work, doing what they loved, making the almighty dollar, but mostly digging the journey that we call Entertainment.

When it really comes down to it, can you actually be prepared at work AND do your job to the extent you need to do it?  Can you be banging on playbacks and running your rate master on that cool effect, or watching that the bass player doesn’t loudly hoark into his mic again, or making sure that everyone has the right monitor mix, or that the media servers are happy…  all the while looking out for someone or a group of someones who look out of the ordinary and preparing yourself for what to do in the event that the shit hits the fan?

I cannot.  I cannot do both of those things, admittedly, and I do not want to try.  I don’t have military training.  I occasionally carry a sidearm onto gigs with me when I have to do something like walk the Fort Lauderdale docks alone at night with a $12,000 console, but really that is the extent of my need to carry at the gig.  I want to go to work and know that I can provide the client with the best possible creative services I can provide, as I’m being paid to do that — I chose this field because it’s fun, mostly safe fun!  But what can we do to protect ourselves in the event that some crazy bastards decide that we’re all going to pay for someone else’s sins so they can placate their need to murder in the name of an ideology?  What do you do at work?  Where do you hide?  How can you get out?

The reality is, folks…  we’re dealing with people who want nothing more beyond the moment of your death to happen, and they are prepared not to live beyond the moment of your death if they have to just to make sure you don’t go on living.  Imagine how much time we put in on a production, from design to prep to pack to tour, and instead of spending that time and money on the show, imagine how proficient you could become at killing human beings in the name of an ideology if that’s all you spent your time doing.  That’s what these people are doing — they’re spending their time and money to learn how to kill you.

But… We live in America, right?  There are certainly some states that allow us to carry guns to protect ourselves.  I personally take full advantage of that constitutional right on many occasions around the country legally, as I am a concealed carry permit holder in my state with reciprocity in other states.  I can also handle myself, I’m a hell of a consistently accurate shooter (at man-shaped paper, on a range) and I have some firearms training that I felt was necessary to maintain my concealed carry permit.  The reason I mention those little facts about myself is that I asked myself the same question when I was writing the initial reports of our brothers and sisters being attacked that night.  What would I be doing if someone came into the gig shooting?  Would I be carrying my pistol?  Should I be carrying my pistol at work?  What the hell makes me think now that I’d try to be some kind of hero then?

The reality of 13 November 2015 at Le Bataclan was that the scene went from a full-on show with people having fun rocking to Eagles of Death Metal, the hall probably looked a lot like this below — here’s a shot of the inside of Le Bataclan, packed with people jamming:


This is the aftermath of the shooting, and I apologize but it’s gonna be hard to look at, it’s horrifying.


That is a theatre.  That is one of OUR places, you’re supposed to be able to let go inside there.  These poor souls were stolen there, and all they wanted to do was rock.

Let’s be realistic — can you prepare yourself for that to happen?  What are the first and second things you think you would do if someone came in shooting?  It is a fucking terrifying noise, gunfire — and it’s even worse when you’re not expecting it.  I for one have never had the experience of being shot at, or being startled by gunfire because I have never been in an uncontrolled environment where gunfire occurred suddenly.

Listen to this footage — watch the drummer dive for cover, this is from close to the stage at Le Bataclan right as the shooting started happening:

Ok, sorry but that is terrifying.  The sound of 7.62×39 rounds, which are AK-47 rounds, are distinct, powerful, and frightening.  These terrorist pieces of garbage came in with fully automatic firing assault rifles, which means when they hold in the trigger, the full-metal jacketed bullets come flying out of the gun until they let go of that trigger.  Here’s what they look like unfired — I have an AK, but mine is a semi-automatic WASR model made in Bulgaria, like many of these automatic variants — these are surplus military rounds:

7.62x39mm ammunition for the AK-47s used in the murders at Le Bataclan

JimOnLight’s 7.62x39mm ammunition for the AK-47…  the automatic version of this weapon was used in the murders at Le Bataclan

What would you do if chunks of steel and lead were snapping into equipment and people around you while the band was playing and you were working on the show?  Do you have a clue what you think you might do?  I like to fool myself into thinking I have a few ideas about what I would do, but I reached out to some of our industry brothers who have combat experience in various areas of operation across the world.  What they’ve done and where they’ve been is, in their words, unimportant; what is important to these three individuals is that they are Entertainment Industry people, production and lighting designers, all who have had shots fired at them in anger.  I reached out to these three people because they know what it feels like to be in a scary situation, and they have the important training that it takes to survive some really bad scenarios like the one in Paris.

What I think you will be interested, maybe even thrilled to find out, is that each of these three former professional hitters all say the same thing:
GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT OF THERE, GET OUT OF THERE.  GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE — and take as many people with you as you can.

When trained fighters tell you that they would leave a situation like this as quickly as possible while trying to also get as many people around them out as fast as possible, perhaps we all need to take heed.  I’m going to let you be the judge.  I asked three very direct questions to Patrick Dierson, a great, popular production designer with some OGA experience early in his military career (and an even more impressive Entertainment career, frankly); Matt Hazard, a lighting designer and hell of a huge hearted (and footed) man who was in Marine Intel during the reign of Milosevic in Serbia and Croatia; Rick Reeves, a great friend and talented designer who was in Navy Security, having been a member of CENTCOM and MNF-I in his military career; and Brendon Grimes, everybody knows him as Grimey, he owns TSC Productions in Florida. Grimey, a Combat Mission Load Master for two decades, and brings a lot of those experiences to our industry.

  1. If you were at a show at FOH in a venue like that of Le Bataclan and attackers burst in with automatic weapons, what are the first and second things that would be going through a trained mind like yours?  Now imagine that question with AND without a sidearm, and how you would react differently.

  2. Considering our environment and the various things we have to use as cover and concealment, can you recommend what to use and what not to use?  Obviously a rolling dimmer rack would probably provide more protection than a wardrobe case, for example.  What would you go for?

  3. What are your thoughts generally on protection inside of venues by crew personnel?  Do you think that our own protection is something that we need to take on at this point in our industry?  How do you feel about arming ourselves at gigs?

I asked what I thought were pretty straightforward questions that I hoped to address safety issues in a venue if the bullets start flying…  the answers I got were not what I expected, but they are what I need to be expecting, and I think they’re what you need to be expecting.

“Everyone in this business has some tales of harrowing experiences to share,” says Patrick Dierson.  “Some are simply left for a good story while others tell of downright life threatening situations.  Personally, I’ve encountered all sorts of potentially life threatening issues around the globe from being pistol whipped with the rifle butt of a Kalashnikov rifle in West Africa to listening to small arms fire hit the side of our aircraft in South America while landing during a rebel uprising.  In its most extreme case I found myself stepping between the chest of my team’s local Nigerian driver and the muzzle of an 18 year old’s AK-47 in an attempt to keep the driver from getting shot and ultimately denying us exit from the country.  For the record, I do not condone the latter course of action despite the fact that it worked.  And, it stands to be noted that each of these situations happened while under the employ of the entertainment business as a lighting or production designer.”

Video of the people who escaped from the rear exit door of Le Bataclan — heads up, this is gunfire:

“Now, truth be told, what’s required here is not much more than what should normally be expected of an everyday citizen living in a major metropolitan city when we’re discussing situational awareness,” Dierson continued.  “We’re just discussing it here in the sense of sensational acts of terrorism instead of what would normally be considered street crime.  Your level of awareness and self-preparedness shouldn’t have been any less prior to recent events.”

First and foremost, the average citizen should not be feeling as though they need to live in a state of fear.  However, they should always be alert to their surroundings particularly in large crowds.  The military term of keeping your head on swivel isn’t out of line.  You don’t need to be walking around the mall in a serpentine pattern just to get yourself to the next Foot Locker but you should at least know what’s going on around you and your loved ones as well as having the basic directional ability to know where the closest exits are.  In short, get you head out of your cell phone and know what the heck is going on around you.”

You have to admit, Patrick is right.  Whether it’s the airport or the grocery store, we’re literally all staring down at our boobs looking at our phones in an attempt to escape boredom and pass time.  But do you know what is going on around you while you’re schooling a game of Plague, Inc?  We all must have some situational awareness — a good example of a lack of this would be standing in the way of a bunch of people while you’re staring down at your phone and the line you’re in has moved forward several spaces.  We’re kind of all siting targets unless we pick up our heads and pay attention a little bit.

Patrick Dierson, keeping up with his training

Patrick Dierson, keeping up with his training

“What do you think about vigilance on the job site?  How prepared do we need to make ourselves?”

Patrick Dierson:
“For the most part, the jobs that we do in the live entertainment industry do not come with the inherent dangers that one would normally find within a combat zone but every once in a while a very unfortunate situation can present itself.  You could easily be forgiven for considering any talk of this nature to be that of an alarmist prepper but the basic fact of the matter is that the world that we live in has changed dramatically over the past decade and, regardless of your political or philosophical views as to why things are the way they are, global citizens that could once consider themselves extremely safe need to err on the side of caution and be much more aware of their surroundings.”

“Let’s talk about the second question…  can you give me some examples of how your thought processes would be, armed and unarmed, at a gig?”

Patrick Dierson:
“I’ll clearly state that my actions in the past, whether I’m carrying a firearm or not, have always been the same.  The second you hear weapons being fired in ANY situation your immediate reaction should be to get to cover.  You are not active duty military in a uniform tasked with being offensive protection of the public and therefore you have no legal duty to act otherwise.  Get to cover immediately so that you can ascertain what your next course of action should be.”

“What about cover and concealment and all of those terms that not many people understand — can you make sense of that for the readers?”

Patrick Dierson:
“Understand that there is a huge difference between what is considered ‘cover’ versus what is considered ‘concealment.’  Cover offers some level of protection from foreign objects while concealment merely hides you as a target.  You want to move to cover immediately and then start assessing what your exit options are.  You are not concerned with combating an attacker unless the threat is imminently upon your physical being and threatening lethal force.  Your primary concern is to remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.”

“There are a million and one variables that come into this scenario and I am not about to suggest that anyone, armed or not, should entertain inserting themselves deeper into an active shooter situation particularly if you have never had appropriate training in how to handle that type of situation.  Remember that holding a guitar does not make you a guitarist.  The same goes for firearms.  Even if you have undergone extensive training in how to utilize a weapon offensively you still stand a chance of making a bad situation worse by trying to intervene.  The best course of action is to always move yourself and anyone else you can safely assist along to cover followed by a safe exit and then only count on utilizing a weapon as a last attempt to protect your life or that of someone in your immediate vicinity.”

“There is also a very real issue that must be discussed here and that is one of potentially mistaken identity.  If you brandish a weapon in a public situation with the most heroic of possible intentions you may unwittingly make yourself out to be a target for the next ‘hero’ that’s going to try and save the day.  Don’t be that guy.”

Considering our environment and the various things we have to use as cover and concealment, can you recommend what to use and what not to use?  Obviously a rolling dimmer rack would probably provide more protection than a wardrobe case, for example.  What would you go for?

Patrick Dierson:
“I’m going for the exit and taking as many innocent people as I can with me.  Any other talk to this simply opens up a ton of speculation on ballistics and what can stop what.  Common sense rules the day.  You’re going to leap frog from the largest and heaviest object that you can find to the next so that you can make your way to an exit and remove yourself from the threat.  Sure a dimmer rack is a great start.  I don’t specify very many conventionals these days so if we’re talking about what my personal situation may be then I’ve probably already put us in jeopardy by the nature of my design style.  The audio boys still like to use heavy stuff so maybe get behind their kit.  In all seriousness, in an arena venue situation, the concrete walls are most likely your safest object to get behind and those walls tend to lead to exits.  There’s not an object on stage that I can rightly imagine being what I would want to seek cover behind to be perfectly honest.  When you know what a 7.62 round can go through you quickly start reassessing what you previously thought could offer you safe haven.  So, once again, get the hell out of the area.”

The sound of an AK-47 firing full-auto:

What are your thoughts generally on protection inside of venues by crew personnel?  Do you think that our own protection is something that we need to take on at this point in our industry?  How do you feel about arming ourselves at gigs?

Patrick Dierson:
“Personally, I am very much against crew being armed at gigs.  I’ve got at least one guy on every show that can’t seem to climb a truss without dropping a wrench.  I sure as hell don’t believe that him carrying a firearm is going to help matters on a daily basis.  I would much rather see crew properly trained in CPR, basic first aid, & advanced situational awareness before seeing any of them onsite with a firearm.  If you want to run around a job site with the authority and responsibility that comes along with carrying a firearm then simply shift career paths and go into the security sector.  There’s nothing wrong with that decision in the entertainment industry.  Otherwise, arm yourself with a wrench or console and get back to doing some good, fun work in this fantastic business that we’re in.”

“In any adverse situation, your best defense is your mind.  I’ve existed for many years in what military jargon calls NPEs or Non-Permissive Environments.  These are areas where you are not permitted to have a weapon and being caught with one would hold various levels of both mission failure and punishment from local authorities.  You’re trained to utilized improvised weapons if one is actually needed but 99% of the time all you really need is your mind.  Keep your wits about you, learn how to handle unexpectedly chaotic situations, and keep yourself focused on staying safe.  Be alert to your surroundings.  If you see something suspicious then absolutely say something to the appropriate people in charge and let them handle it.  You’re a specialist in what you do and you’re trusted to do that job.  Trust in those that are trained to handle the other stuff and concentrate on removing yourself from harms way.”

Patrick, thanks brother.  I seriously appreciate you, we all do here at  Keep making that good light.

Situational Awareness — we’re going to close Part 1 of this primer and move onto Part 2, with Matt Hazard and Rick Reeves…  I bet you won’t believe that they’re going to have similar themes for us to follow.

Before you head on to part two, just read this little PDF from the Coast Guard about situational awareness.  Do you know where your head is in the game when the game is on?  This isn’t about being at some ready state of war and battle and all of that stuff most of us have no idea about but think you do because you play Call of Duty, this is just about keeping your head out of your phone and up a little bit to make sure you know what’s going on around you.  Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team with regards to the mission. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you.

Situational Awareness…  we’ll talk more about this in Part 2.

MOVE ON to Part 2 of
What If I’m Attacked at Work? A Crew Primer

Thomas Ayad Killed by ISIS Cowards at Le Bataclan

Unfortunately, another industry death to report in this disaster in Paris last Friday.


Thomas Ayad, International Product Manager for Mercury Records, was murdered at the Eagles of Death metal show at Le Bataclan on Friday, November 13, 2015.  Thomas was in our industry, producing the acts that we work and design production for every day, and he was gunned down by ISIS cowards at the show.  He joins Nathalie Jardin and Nick Alexander, both production, both murdered at the Friday show during the ISIS attack in Paris.

Thomas was a friend to many, and artists from the Bieber to Metallica are pouring out their pain for his loss — from Metallica’s FB page with this photo:


We had great fortune to work with Thomas Ayad at Universal Music France for the past eight years and while Thomas had the official title of being our “project manager,” we knew him as a member of our Metallica family, a fan, a friend . . . and a warm, helpful, supportive familiar face each time we visited France. Friday we lost Thomas, at the Bataclan theatre, in a way that none of us can begin to comprehend. Our thoughts are with Thomas’ friends, family, co-workers and all Parisians during these very difficult times. (photo from November 9, 2011 at Taratata TV show)

CEO of Universal Music Group, Lucian Grainge, sent out a pretty tearjerking email to his staff last weekend, posted by The Wrap:

Dear Colleagues:

Today, I’m writing to you with a heavy heart.  

We, like so many around the world, are struggling with last night’s horrific tragedy in France.

Paris is in our thoughts and prayers.  We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims as well as our fervent wishes for healing for all of those affected by this senseless violence.

This is especially painful and personal for all of us.  As many of you know, the band Eagles of Death Metal is part of the UMe and Mercury France family.  The band and its crew as well as our own teams from Mercury and other UMG staffs were present at the Bataclan theater for last night’s show.

At this point, we have confirmed that Thomas Ayad, an international product manager for Mercury Records lost his life in the attack on the theater.  This is an unspeakably appalling tragedy.  I cannot even begin to express the depth of my sorrow.  On behalf of everyone here at UMG, we extend our most profound sympathies to his parents and all of his friends and family.

We will update you further as information permits.  In the meantime, please send all healing thoughts and prayers for those affected by this heinous act.

Today is a dark day.  We are a family. Let’s support one another as we grapple with the weight of this darkness.




This is where we are as a society right now folks, this photo above.  I’m sorry for another loss in our industry.  I’m sorry for another loss period, whether it’s crew, band, audience, or bystanders.  I have also pissed off quite a few people by saying that I am disappointed with the media coverage of people murdered from our industry, and I’m sorry to offend you, but put on your big kid pants and get pissed about something important instead of petty bullshit that matters ZERO to anyone.  I write an industry blog, I’m disappointed that we get left out, we’re dying to bring you the shows you want.  The media leaves out crew for concertgoers and bands.  I accept this as fact, I try to change it.  That’s the end of that, get the fuck over it.  Don’t read me if you don’t like it, it’s just like blocking somebody on Facebook you don’t want to hear from.

People have been getting so fucking pissy in the comments on these posts, attacking each other for no reason but to do so, and we gotta focus this shit inwards and figure out what’s most important to each of us.  Then you gotta work some patience and understanding in there for other people who aren’t dealing with this like you are.  People were murdered at something that is supposed to give them joy and energy and power — now we’re going to struggle with just feeling safe where we should be able to just completely let go.

Just try and have a little patience with each other.  People are dying out there for an ideology, people.  There is more important shit than arguing about nonsense.

Here’s some linkage on this story:

Nick Alexander GoFundMe – Help Our Brother

You cannot blindly give to anyone and for any cause these days.  We’ve had some trouble in our industry with certain cagy personalities trying to defraud people with fake funding campaigns.  People do suck, and they DO try to profit from the deaths of people fallen.


After some research, the Nick Alexander GoFundMe seems to check out.  We recommend if you want to donate to Nick’s family, Miguel Benavides generously and selflessly started the campaign, and it’s a safe/solid route to go.  Please check it out.  Help if you can help.  I’m afraid there will be many more to come.  We stretch the penny as far as it will still conduct electricity, right?

I have to ask if anyone has seen or heard of a GoFundMe in process or any other kind of help for NataLight’s family (Nathalie Jardin), her father…  Please if you’ve heard something, let me know via the contact form, it sends me an email directly.