During Bandit Lites Annual General Meeting, Vice President Mike Golden was honored for his four decades of service. Michael T. Strickland shared how he came to know Golden, recounting a classic photo from the Bandit archives that feature a crew of young men standing in a parking lot. Strickland is on one end sporting an orange Kenny Rogers crew shirt, while at the end stands Golden, arms folded, in a plaid button down. Golden had jumped in the photo at the last minute.
“When I saw that photo, I had to ask, ‘Who is that guy on the end?’” laughs Strickland. “I had no idea he’d be standing here forty years later.”
Golden had started working as a stagehand at the coliseum in Johnson City, when a friend who worked for Bandit Lites told him Michael Strickland was looking for someone to go on the Kenny Rogers tour as the stage builder.
“I drove to Knoxville and met with Michael, and he gave me the job,” recounts Golden. “From there he offered me a position on Alabama and things just continued from there.”
Golden spent the next decade as a lighting technician, then crew chief, lighting director and designer. He worked on countless productions including, Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Debbie Boone, REM, Paul Young, Cameo, Suzanne Vega, Crystal Gayle, Charlie Daniels, Dan Fogelberg, Stryper, Blackfoot, The Judds, The Tubes, Anita Baker, Menudo, Neil Young and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
In 1989, he came off the road and transitioned into the warehouse manager for Bandit’s new Nashville facility before being promoted to Vice President of the company.
“There is no way I can express the memories, relationships and accomplishments I have been a part of as a member of Bandit Lites in the past 40 years,” said Golden. “It takes many parts of a dedicated team to achieve success and to have been a part of this machine has been my lifetime passion. I am honored to have worked with Michael Strickland for all of these years and through it all I have admired his drive, dedication and vision.”
“Mike grew up in the neighborhood with my brother Steve, Kent, Kyle and Eric Shafferman,” said Strickland. “All became Bandits, and Steve and Eric are here today as well. Mike made the very delicate, graceful transition from crew to crew chief to lighting designer and then into the office. His ultimate position as VP is one richly deserved. Mike is loved by all and every client he has ever worked with has come back. Bandit would not be the same without Mike. I want to thank him for what is now 41 great years, as he actually crossed the threshold in 2020 and Bandit did not hold an AGM due to COVID. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”