So when I heard The Guess Who (American Woman, No Time, These Eyes) were performing at Kokomo IN's Haynes Apperson Festival, I googled to see who the lineup was for a band whose heyday was the '60-70's.
The drummer (Garry Peterson) is an original member, but, what?? Rudy Sarzo's playing bass?!
You're saying to yourself, if you're not a musician or an '80's music maven, "Rudy who?"
Rudy Sarzo is one of THE rock/heavy metal bassists of this era. He's played with Ozzie, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Dio, to name a few. He's been in more huge, monster MTV videos than most musicians, played to packed-out stadiums, been on plenty of musician magazine covers. He's a big deal.
I'd known about him since back in the '80s but had never seen him play live (uh, heavy metal isn't exactly my cup of musical tea).
So Sandra and I settled in for the Foster Park free concert and from the first note to the last, I could not stop watching this guy!
He played every note like it was the only one that mattered. His body language, facial expressions, musicianship was super-dialed-in the whole time!
And I'm thinking,
"This is a free gig in Kokomo IN. The crowd is ok--they're not like on-their-feet into it or anything. It's sweltering out here. But this guy--this guy is going for it like it's a sold out stadium show!"
I did not catch this guy coasting for a second during their entire show!
As I kept replaying their concert in my mind, it made me start to think about worship leaders and musicians. I mean Rudy Sarzo was killing a clinic on the whole "audience of One" concept!
So for my friends who take the stage every weekend in a church, whether you're the worship leader, back-up singer, bass, guitar, drummer or keyboard player, here are five tips inspired by Rudy Sarzo:
Play/Sing Every Note with Everything You've GotDon't pace yourself. Be in the moment every moment. When you're on stage someone is looking at you every second. So every moment is an opportunity to inspire and point someone to Jesus. Because Sarzo plays that way, in musician speak, we call that being a pro. Being a pro translates into being disciplined. Working hard every day, every gig, every song, every note. In church speak, we call this living for Jesus.
Dress for the Times and the GigSarzo has been around since the '80s and was playing with a band famous decades ago, but he looked like it was 2018 and like he was at a rock gig now. Clothes matter. If you're not dressed for the times, the place and the style of music you're presenting, you will distract people.
Clothes and fashion are not a deal until you're out-of-step with them. There will always be people in your audience who are fashion-conscious, and to those people, fashion-misses, make them think about your wardrobe instead of what you want them to focus on. Clothes matter. If clothes and fashion aren't your deal, find a friend who can help you.
Or here's a scary idea. Approach someone in your church who consistently has a good sense of today's fashion and ask them what they think of what you wear. Told you it was scary ;-)
Be ExpressiveWe all love the old joke:
"Are you happy?"
"Then tell your face!" ;-)
It doesn't make sense to sing about joy with serious angst on your face. And it doesn't make sense to sing about hard times with a Cheshire Cat grin on your puss. When I was watching Sarzo last week he ran the gamut of emotions throughout the gig. He didn't just have a "bass face," he had a variety of emotions just like the songs and like the complex human being that he is.
Odds are you probably don't know what you look like when you're performing. Ask a friend to record you on your phone the next time you perform and then watch it. One of the best disciplines for me as a communicator has been watching all of my talks that I can. There's almost always a void between what I intended and how I actually came across.
Know When to Focus on Others on StageWhen the light shined on others in the band, Rudy was looking at or moving towards them. That's a pro move. That told us as the audience to do the same. Know where the focus is and help point the audience in that direction by your body language. Simple and effective.
Have Other InterestsSo Rudy Sarzo is an author, a podcaster and takes a serious interest in animal rights. It's such a healthy discipline to have a variety of interests or hobbies. They are a way for us to refuel, to jettison our worship thoughts for a while as we allow ourselves (our mind, body, soul) to engage with other things.
I think of it in the same way that athletes never work their same muscles all the time. Working other muscles is healthy--so work your non-worship muscles. Worship is amazing; if you're reading this, you were probably made to help lead others in it. But God put other things in you too. What are they? Don't know? Go exploring!
Thanks, Rudy Sarzo, for the inspiration!