Guns ‘N Roses and the Importance of Being Nice

Posted: November 30, 2016 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
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Okay, another confession. I really like Guns ‘N Roses, like a lot. Now in these post-salvation, preacher days, I would do without some of the imagery and content, but the music is pretty great. Axl’s unique voice and insane range with Slash’s amazing guitar work and one of the strongest rhythm sections of their day made them hard not to like. They could do it all. That moment in Paradise city where the whistle blows and the guitars charge in is a musical moment like few bands could muster.

That being said, I would never have paid money to see them live. Oh, it’s not because I don’t think they could have put on an amazing show, it’s because of Axl’s penchant for getting angry, flipping out and walking off stage sometimes only minutes into their set, combined with the mayhem and riot that would ensue when the crowd figured out they weren’t going to get to see the rest of the show. It happened one too many times for my blood, so no thank you.

Today as I thought about this, it hit me. “Who told him that kind of behavior was okay?” Oh some will excuse it to the artistic temperament, but if you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know I think that’s a crock. Others will say, “Well he’s a star…” Yeah, that’s a crock too. So my fellow artists, here’s what I want you to know. No matter what you do, no matter how good you are, YOU ARE NOT A STAR! None of us are and we need to adopt a different mindset, especially those of us who follow Jesus.

Talent is not an excuse for bad behavior. Those of us who get to earn a living working in our talents and gifting should be the most grateful people on earth. Think about it, we are in a very real sense professional bringers of joy. I mean when you hear the first notes of a favorite song, you smile. When you see a great movie or a great piece of art, it touches something inside you and brings you joy. We get to do that for other people while doing what we love, and it is an immense privilege. Now add to that the fact that there are people out there who are willing to pay us to do what we love and you should begin to understand that we are blessed beyond measure. We should be humble and one more thing, we should be nice.

I know some of us are introverts and relating to others is tough, but we should at least be able to muster the ability to be polite and when people are depending on us or have paid or traveled or whatever to see us do what we do, we should be dependable and working really hard to over-deliver. Without them, we might still do what we do, but who cares? No one would see it. No one would appreciate it and we would have to do something else, possibly something very unpleasant to keep food on the table and grooves over our heads. We can’t afford to be “stars” instead we need to shine.

So be nice.


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