Back in December I was closing out a long year of work travel. I was tired from the travel, ready to get into time off for Christmas and ready to tackle some new goals I was setting for myself. Then one night I read online that a friend of mine had passed away from cancer. Then a text confirming what I had just read. That friend was John Hampton. Hampton produced a couple of Big Tent Revival records for us and had mixed everything we ever recorded. Before Big Tent went on the road full time, I was employed at Ardent Studios where Hampton worked as producer, engineer and mix engineer. It was during this time that I got to know Hampton really well.
I have some good memories, great conversations and learned a lot as a player when he produced our band. When I learned of his death, I cried myself to sleep. He was one of the greats. Not just as a man, but his mark on music was amazing.
Six days later, another friend named John passed away. This John was John Fry. Founder of Ardent Studios. His legacy in music is also great. In fact, to call Fry a pioneer in the music industry would probably more accurate. What he meant to me as my boss and later the head of our record label had a major impact on me as well. He didn’t look anything like an icon in the music industry should look, which spoke volumes when you took the time to really think about him in that way. He didn’t conform to the norm. He dressed in dress pants ad button down shirts ( and the occasional tie ) when the rest of the music industry dressed like rockstars. He didn’t care. He just wanted to make great music.
Fry was awesome. Great conversation and always there to give advice and teach something to whoever would listen. He had these great one liners of crazy wisdom that made sense. The best part of how he built Ardent Studios
Both Johns were christians. Both Johns were the greatest of friends and had worked together for more years than i can count. Both Johns loved music. But here’s the big part. Both Johns loved people for who they were. Nothing more, nothing less.
When I saw how they treated people, I wanted to be as respectful of others as they were.
I was proud to have known these two. When John Fry passed away 6 days after John Hampton. I was beside myself.
Their deaths stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t stop thinking about them and the impact they had on my life, but more than that, I couldn’t stop thinking about the legacy they left behind and the kind of legacy I want to leave behind.
It was a wake up call for me.
I know I’m a flawed person. I know I will constantly be working on being a better version of me. When my son Micah looks up at me and just says “Daddy”, it makes me want to be the best I can be in every way possible at that very moment.
When I see my friends pass away. It’s a wake up call to make sure I am living in the present and not in the past and for sure not thinking that I can just do whatever I need to do tomorrow or next week or whenever is easiest.
Now is the time to live and just be thankful to wake up everyday. Thankful to hear a child’s voice call out to you and thankful to know that life is a work in progress.
Life is too short people. Spend it making a difference. Forgive people. Respect people and be the best human you can be. The best version of you.