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Stephen T. Gudis

USA – Bandit Lites chair and founder, Michael T. Strickland offers the following condolences and thoughts on the passing of Stephen T. Gudis: “If you knew him, you called him Gudis. People call me Strickland. We were so different. We were so the same. If you look at Steve and I, we seem to be miles apart, but really, we weren’t.

“He was from East Tennessee. I am from East Tennessee. Born and raised 40 miles apart. We both started in entertainment in the late 60s. We both love music. We are both UT grads. From here it gets funny. I am 6’7. Steve was 5’ 4”. Standing together we looked very Mutt and Jeff. “Watching us talk was always a hoot. Steve was a Jewish guy with earlier roots elsewhere and I am a born and bred Southerner.

“I belonged to IATSE Local 197; Steve hired Local 197. Steve was a promoter’s rep; I was a road guy. Everyone, and I mean everyone in the industry over 55 knew Steve. He was the promoter’s rep for National Shows, and then Entam. If you played in the south-east, you dealt with Steve. He was the first guy you saw in the morning, and the last guy at load out. In between, you settled with the Lashinskys.

“I wanted more stuff for the show. Steve wanted less (it was our jobs!). But you were always together, each day, all day. A lot of hours. You and Steve.

“Steve and I both worked for Charlie Daniels and The Oak Ridge Boys. He in management and me as the lighting vendor. Different sides, same goal, same team.

“Steve worked at Starwood in management; I worked for Starwood as a vendor.

“Then there were all the events we did with one another: Volunteer Jams, Farm Aids, CMA events and countless tours. Yes, if you were in the industry from 1973 to 1992, you knew Steve well and worked with him often.

“The differences in us were many. The similarities were even greater. He was Stephen T and I am Michael T. Funny that. And I never knew what his T stood for. Yes, we were very different. But we were also very much the same. We will miss you Steve. Sorry you left so soon my friend.

Take care, God bless, and we are all better for knowing you.”

9th January 2020

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