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Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home

201 25th Ave North, Nashville, TN

OBITUARY

Stephen Taylor Gudis

August 21, 1951January 6, 2020

Stephen Taylor Gudis, a beloved music executive who worked with artists ranging from Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin to Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, The Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels, died on Jan 6 at age 68 in Nashville. Called “a production legend” by Pollstar, he was the beloved dean of road warriors. Known for making artists feel safe and understood with his Southern demeanor, he was the last person artists preferred to see before they took the stage and the first one to greet them when they finished.

Born in Morristown, TN, on Aug. 21, 1951, he and his sister Patricia were raised by their parents, Bertram Gudis and Jean Taylor Gudis, as well as their doting grandparents, two uncles and an aunt. Uncle Emanuel mentored him to become the generous, calm and giving person that he always was to everyone around him. He became a Bar Mitzvah and attended Temple Beth El in Knoxville with his family throughout his life.

While attending Morristown West High School, he worked at his family’s P. Taylor Shoe Store, but found his life’s calling at age 15, when he formed the Stephen Gudis Talent Agency. His 10-year-old sister served as the firm’s receptionist and the family basement was the rehearsal space for R&B artists such as Percy Sledge. He cherished his early career years, where he was on the forefront of a musical movement while taking R&B and soul bands around the South.

He attended Walters State Community College and studied criminology. He was a sergeant in the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office, a member of the Morristown Civil Defense, Morristown Fire Department and the Tennessee Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

In the early 70’s, Stephen joined the Lashinsky Family, who were promoters of live entertainment and Broadway Productions, in Charleston, W. VA. During that time, he learned the skills of being a stage and production manager with The Doobie Brothers, America, KISS, Elton John, Aerosmith, Journey, Michael Jackson and the list goes on.

He moved to Nashville in 1994 to serve as in-house production manager for Pace Concerts, which booked shows at the Starwood Amphitheater, while traveling throughout the Southeast as a promoter rep. Beginning his career as a rock show promoter provided him the opportunity to become an expert in live shows, television and production. Indeed, he was known for mastering virtually every job that contained the word manager—stage manager, tour manager, road manager and production manager—for live shows and television. His shows always ran on time and on budget. A true connector who was invigorated by mentoring young people, he was the first one many called with questions because he knew everyone, and everything related to the music business.

He served as the TV stage manager for more than 20 Farm Aid shows, stage managed Volunteer Jam for over a decade, managed country music awards shows and launched the first Nashville Hard Rock Cafe’s New Year’s Eve guitar drop. He recently worked on both the Music City Irish Festival and Music City Jazz Festival on Public Square Park and served as talent booker/production manager for Innovation Amphitheater in Georgia.

He was the artists’ safe space, the calm in the middle of the pre-show storm of nerves and chaos. He not only solved problems, but also anticipated and avoided them altogether. He had an old-school approach, treating people with kindness no matter what their title or affiliation.

He spent much of his life on the road, working with The Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, Charlie Daniels Band, Toby Keith, Paul Stanley, Brooks & Dunn, Marty Stuart, Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson and more. But after he met singer/actress, Beth Anne Musiker, on a blind date and marrying her in 2005, he wanted to spend more time at home, so he took on more event management opportunities with his company, The Production Department LLC, for clients including, Nissan, T.J. Martell Foundation, Tennessee Performing Arts Center and Warner Music Group. He was also a board member of the Parnelli Awards and longtime stage manager for the awards show, which was one of his favorite events annually. Known for his limitless generosity with friends, he loved fishing, hunting, boating, collecting coins, eating lobster and cheering on University of Tennessee football and the Tennessee Titans.

He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Beth Anne Musiker; his sister, Patricia Gudis Smith (Chesterfield Smith, Jr.); nephew Chesterfield Smith, III. (Elizabeth Beasley Smith); niece Taylor Vivian Smith; father-in-law Seymour Musiker (Marsha Hills); sister-in-law Jamie Nemirov (Michael); nephews David, Daniel and niece Samantha Nemirov; sister-in-law Randy Musiker (Ed DeLoreto) and sister-in-law Debbie Chizewer (David) and nephews Andrew and Jeremy.

A Graveside Service will be held on Monday, Jan. 13, at 11 a.m. at Congregation Micah. A Celebration of Life Event will take place in a few weeks, details to follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to MusiCares or the Tennessee Kidney Foundation.

Services

  • Graveside Service Monday, January 13, 2020

Memories

Stephen Taylor Gudis

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Scott Laughon

January 24, 2020

Gudis and I first met during his ENTAM days. Later on we did MJ in Knoxville and I went on to Atlanta with MJ to finish up. Last time I saw Steve was in Knoxville on a Greenwood show. I needed work badly and he really didn’t need me at the time, but his heart brought me onboard. You are a Legend my friend!

Gods Speed.

aimée moreault

January 20, 2020

Steve we had so many fun times over the past 25 years. So many gigs, so many late lights but most of all so much laughter. I am blessed to have had you as a friend. I will miss you greatly!

Lisa Bush

January 15, 2020

He was such a great guy! He was so good to me at my time with Pace concerts and Starwood Amphitheater. You will be missed. My sincerest condolences to family.

Mike Campbell

January 15, 2020

Such a great, warm-hearted guy. A shocking and sad loss. My deepest condolences.

A consummate professional. We worked together on several tours concluding with the Disney PremEARS in the Park tour. My story of his “coffee and donuts” speech at Jones Beach amphitheater with local #1 is the stuff of legends. I hope to share that with many of you at his celebration of life.

God speed.

Cathy Benson

January 14, 2020

Stephen knew my brothers years if not decades before I knew him. I had heard about Gudis forever, and was aware of some of their shenanigans. I met Steve maybe only less than ten years ago, and immediately understood the attraction. What a guy! He was kind, generous, fearless, and loved my family. I was not aware of how accomplished Steve was until the tributes came out. Wow. He was top of his game. I'm proud to have known him, and will miss him when I travel to Nashville.

Mark Haney

January 13, 2020

Steve was in my life from 1982 when I first met him. He was one of my big brother's best friends in our hometown of Knoxville, and he was very kind to give me my first job in the music business. Steve was a mentor, mensch, and most importantly a friend. I always had an advocate in him, and someone who would always be willing to listen and encourage. He was there when I lost my parents to grieve, and when I got married to celebrate. He and my brother Hud were particularly close, and shared many good and bad times, but always supporting each other. I am devastated for his family's loss, and for my family's loss as well, as we always felt Steve was a part of us. To Beth Ann, his sister, and his family I send all my love, and that of the entire Haney family. We pray for peace for you all, and hope to be with you all at the celebration of his life. God Bless You All!
Mark Haney & Family

Doc Livingston

January 13, 2020

Gudis and I Met in Pigeon Forge Back in The 80s.He Liked My Elvis Connection .At That Time He Had G Force Productions. We went on To Produce Some. Shows Together At Tommy Bartlett’s Water Circus. in Pigeon Forge Tn..After He Went To Nashville To Do Production At Starwood Amphitheater We Continued To Stay In Touch Though-out The Years . Every time I Went To Nashville and We Would Meet Up.I Remember One Particular Time Is Was Working With A New Group Just Starting Out ,Called Rascal Flats .He Bused Them OverTo A Local Park And They Preformed On A Small Make Shift Stage To A Small Group Of Fans...Maybe 35 People Total,And The Rest Is History...They Are Many Many Story’s Like This...I Will Miss You My Friend Rest In Peace..

Robert Coston

January 12, 2020

I just want to say that I will miss you. Gudis you are my stepfather for life and I will always remember the times that we had together. Love you. (Bobby-BR-Coston)may you rest in peace.

Jacki Imbrey

January 12, 2020

Always such a gentleman; a very nice person; his parents were very proud of him

Steve Wallach

January 12, 2020

I just heard this saddened news about a man..... a gentle man, who put everyone first before himself. I’ve known Steve since 1982 and I’m just shocked to this news. Truly one of a kind and he will surely be missed not by just a few but more like the thousands that worked with him for so many years.
Steve you will be remembered as one of the true road warriors of tours with the heart as big as the moon. Rest In Peace Brother and I will be there in spirit for your memorial as I am out of the country presently.
Shocked is the only thing I can say right now.
I recited the Mourners Kaddish as well as our words of the Shama. 😢
B Shalom dear Friend

FROM THE FAMILY