Headbanger’s Rule #3 – Share the Stage/Solidarity

One of the most exciting nights of my young life was in August, 1989. It was the Moscow Music Peace Festival, held 20 years after Woodstock and more than 20 years ago! We watched the concert live on Pay per View. I can still remember sitting on my front porch in-between sets to catch some pleasant summer nighttime air.

A lot of my favorite American Bands, Motley Crue, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, and Ozzy joined German band Scorpions and Russian bands Gorky Park, Nuance, and Brigada-S for the concert. It was so cool to see bands from the USA, Germany, and Russia share the stage at this exciting time in history. While there was a lot of unpeaceful behavior behind the scenes of the concert, the idea and historical significance is quite amazing.

The lesson for leaders is to demonstrate solidarity across entrenched boundaries and share the stage with others, making difference a strength rather than a diversion.

Headbanger’s Rule #2: Go with the Flow

Believe it or not, there is a ton of wisdom in Def Leppard Lyrics. I could probably write a series just about them!

In Rock of Ages, lead singer Joe Elliott tell us to “feel it, don’t fight it, go with the flow.” As leaders, we need to be in touch with and trust our feelings and just let them flow out through us. By doing so, we can “watch the night go up in smoke.” Or in other words, we can be very impactful leaders!

Headbanger’s Rule #1: Share the Lead

Yes, I am a total metalhead. While I love all kinds of music, heavy metal holds a special place in my heart.

It may surprise you that there are tons of ideas about leadership that can be extrapolated from this genre of music. I am going to feature just a few in this series, and perhaps I will share more at some point in the future.

Most rock groups have a lead guitarist and a rhythm guitarist. Ratt was a unique band because they had two lead guitarists: Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby. They alternated guitar solos, building upon each other’s artistry within each song. This is quite beautiful to see in their videos.

So from this we can learn that as leaders, we can share the spotlight with our fellow workers, our bandmates. In fact, when we do, we can create beautiful music together–and it doesn’t matter who is in charge.

The Only One

No ‘rock video girl’ touched my heart so deeply as Jayzik Azikiwe, who starred in Dire Straits’  Skateaway video. When I was a little girl, I so wanted to be continually imbued with the spirit that she embodied: vibrant; independent; carefree; and confident. Just listening to that song now makes me feel fantastical.

This past summer, we had a Rock of Ages party the weekend that movie was released in theaters. After the movie, we went back to my house to overindulge in food and alcohol, perform karaoke (everything from the movie’s soundtrack songs to The Sound of Music), and watch old videos. I was a meticulous music video recorder for many years, and have a collection of nearly ten complete tapes full of videos – most of which are now available on YouTube. One of my sisters, who also loved the Skateaway video, looked up information about Jayzik on her phone as we watched the video.

I was fascinated to learn that her father was the first president of independent Nigeria. Like her father, Jayzik was also an activist in addition to being an artist. I learned that she really was very much like that girl in the video – but so much more. Sadly, I learned all of these things by reading her obituaries. Jayzik passed away in 2008.

I think I might write a book about her one day. Or maybe I could write something about her with one of my very favorite authors, Chimamada Ngozi Adichie.

Jayzik makes such dreams seem possible.