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Richard Cheese the Ultimate Classless Act

Posted by geeknews at 12:47 PM on August 19, 2008

Update 2: Out of Respect for Brian Ibbott at Coverville.com I have opted to remove the video for Brian’s sake. I will be talking more about Richard Cheese and his demand letter later.  A simple apology by Richard Cheese which has been asked for, and not yet given would have gone a long way.

Well over 20 people video taped the performance of Richard Cheese I was not the only one. Every performer prior to Richard had been taped by a huge number of attendees. We were never told that cameras were not allowed. As it turns out, post event Richard Cheese has a clause in his contract that prohibited filming. No one attending the event knew this at the time.

In my video I only played two short clips to show the attack on me personally and that of Richard Spitting on another fan which clearly falls under fair use regardless. While Richard did forcefully remove the camera from my hands and throw it back at me which hit me in the chest then fell to the ground I must say I was surprised by the assault. He could have simply stopped the music and said that no cameras were allowed we all thought it was part of his act up until he took my camera away and then spit on another person with a camera.

Update 1: It appears that Richard Cheese had some ridiculous clause in his performance contract that no video would be allowed during the event. The participants of the event were not informed of this. It appears now that Organizer Brian of Coverville is possibly being threatened by Richard Cheese because of my Video. Sadly I submitted this video to all of the major video websites before I was informed of this. I will make a decision on removal after consultation with my lawyer!

During the Coverville 500 a concert held during the new media expo I got to witness the biggest jerk I have ever seen during a live event.

I want to preface these comments with the following statement. The organizer of the Coverville 500, Brian Ibbott did an amazing job and brought in some amazing talent at a terrific venue. Sadly, little did Brian know how badly one of his performers was going to behave. Overall the Coverville 500 of which my company was one of the sponsors was a great event.

But lets talk a little about Richard Cheese here is the setup. You have 500–1000 new media creators at a concert organized just for them. All of these media creators carry video cameras or audio recording devices. This is an event where cameras and recording devices are allowed. The artist performing all knew this in advance.

New Media is all about cross promotion and many of us had cameras there ready to capture performances that are shared with our audiences and cross posted on multiple sites worth countless dollars.

When Richard Cheese stared his performance he started complaining about the Audio levels, and from what I heard later he had demanded from the organizer that all other prior performers audio levels be at a lower level then his. This complaining continued for the first few minutes of the show. Then during the show he kept turning his back on the audience and was texting someone on his mobile device. It turned out he was texting Brian the organizer and bitching about the Audio levels (note Richard’s Manager said he used his phone as a timer and says he was not texting). The Audio Levels were fine from my vantage points. 

But this is just the beginning of his antics. He started out by telling everyone to put their cameras down and was complaining about us filming him. There were probably 20 people with cameras. I was shooting video of him with a small hand held camera. He then pushed someone out of the way and came partially off stage, grabbed my camera pulled it from my hands shut it off and then threw it at me which I subsequently dropped as I was so surprised.

Then he went down the line, and spit on some people to get them to put their cameras away. Did he not understand that this crowd was 100% new media. Did he not realize that he pissed off the very people that would have given him some props?

(Video Removed out of Respect for Brian Ibbott of coverville. While the assault of me and one other fan is well documented unknown to us Brian had agreed to a clause that prohibited filming during the Cheese performance)

One of the people he spit on was a very big fan of his, that has given him many props and accolades over the past year. How do you think he feels now?

33 Comments

  1. From Jon Payne at 1:22 pm on August 19, 2008

    Wow! I left early, sorry I missed that. How about posting this on YouTube for maximum effect?
    Pleasure meeting you in person at NME.
    Jon

  2. From langley at 1:32 pm on August 19, 2008

    Great guy. THere are about 20 other angles of that whole scene. Here’s what happened to me when i approached him after the show:
    (sorry about the quality)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yY4779VY7g

  3. From Megan Enloe aka, PodcastJunky at 10:46 pm on August 19, 2008

    Wow, I left after Jonathan Coulton played, when the really loud people started. Came back during the Cheese part because I had been told he was good. I left again after a few songs, sorry that I had waisted the time to come back. Missed the part about coming off stage and spitting. That was probably the only interesting part of his show.

    Everything before the loud people were great.

  4. From Mike James at 10:47 pm on August 19, 2008

    Wow…that was YOU! I couldnt see who he took it from because of the crowd. I was at the table just to the left of the stage and was floored when I saw him take the camera and act like a general jerk. I left very soon after that.

    Each and every other performer was very classy and I found R Cheese to be just useless. I kept trying to figure out if it was an act or he really was that big of a turd.

  5. From Shawno at 11:21 pm on August 19, 2008

    Hadn’t heard of this guy before now. Don’t care to hear anything from him in the future. What a douche.

  6. From Richard Cheese / Michael Stand at 4:23 am on August 20, 2008

    First of all, these videos are unauthorized and need to be removed from this site and all other sites immediately, otherwise we will take swift and severe legal action.

    Second of all, the performance contract for this event stipulated that videotaping was forbidden. This is due to the legal issues surrounding the live exhibition of the cover songs we perform. That is why Richard Cheese asked people to stop videotaping during the performance, FOR LEGAL REASONS.

    Thirdly, the person videotaping was told NOT to videotape FOUR TIMES, yet continued to do so. Richard is the victim here, not the person who blatantly violated Richard’s privacy.

    This violation of Richard’s rights is punishable by fines of up to $50,000 and JAIL TIME. Our attorneys have documented this violation and if these videos are not removed from all platforms and destroyed immediately, we will pursue every available remedy at our disposal.



  7. From Richard Cheese / Michael Stand at 4:30 am on August 20, 2008

    First of all, these videos are unauthorized and need to be removed from this site and all other sites immediately, otherwise we will take swift and severe legal action.

    Second of all, the performance contract for this event stipulated that videotaping was forbidden. Our contract with the event organizer specifically prohibited any videotaping, whether it be amateur or professional. This is due to the legal issues surrounding the live exhibition of the cover songs we perform. This is standard policy for our band and for 99% of other professional acts. That is why Richard Cheese asked people to stop videotaping during the performance, FOR LEGAL REASONS. Richard specifically asked the audience to refrain from such videotaping numerous times. Numerous people disobeyed this request, and it was Richard’s prerogative to take action to protect his rights as an individual and his band’s rights, and to enforce the legal obligations associated with the performance. The event organizer’s failure to enforce such contractual obligations is the cause of the problem here.


    Thirdly, the person videotaping was told NOT to videotape FOUR TIMES, yet continued to do so. Richard is the victim here, not the person who blatantly violated Richard’s privacy.

    This violation of Richard’s rights is punishable by fines of up to $50,000 and JAIL TIME. Our attorneys have documented this violation and if these videos are not removed from all platforms and destroyed immediately, we will pursue every available remedy at our disposal.

    Furthermore: at no time did Richard demand that the other acts’ volume be “at a lower level” than his.

    At no time did Richard send text messages during the performance; he uses his cellphone as a clock/timer.

    At no time did Richard turn his back on the audience with any intention other than to communicate with his band members and obtain props.

    At no given time were there more than 500 people at the event, and when Richard was finally permitted to perform, more than 15minutes later than scheduled, there were only 150 people in the venue.

    During the show, Richard’s complaints about the sound pertained NOT to the sound in the audience but the sound in the ON STAGE MONITOR SPEAKERS.

    If you have any further complaints or comments, please refrain from making any further cowardly posts, and bring your complaints directly to our attention via lounge@richardcheese.com.

  8. From Richard Cheese at 4:37 am on August 20, 2008

    Removing my post and not allowing my side of the story to be heard? Now who is “classless”?

  9. From Michael Stand at 4:48 am on August 20, 2008

    In regard to your post at:

    http://www.geeknewscentral.com/archives/008190.html

    First of all, these videos are unauthorized and need to be removed from this site and all other sites immediately, otherwise we will take swift and severe legal action.

    Second of all, the performance contract for this event stipulated that videotaping was forbidden. Our contract with the event organizer specifically prohibited any videotaping, whether it be amateur or professional. This is due to the legal issues surrounding the live exhibition of the cover songs we perform. This is standard policy for our band and for 99% of other professional acts. That is why Richard Cheese asked people to stop videotaping during the performance, FOR LEGAL REASONS. Richard specifically asked the audience to refrain from such videotaping numerous times. Numerous people disobeyed this request, and it was Richard’s prerogative to take action to protect his rights as an individual and his band’s rights, and to enforce the legal obligations associated with the performance. The event organizer’s failure to enforce such contractual obligations is the cause of the problem here.


    Thirdly, the videotaper was told by Richard Cheese NOT to videotape FOUR TIMES, yet he continued to do so. Richard is the victim here, because of this blatant violation of Richard’s right to privacy.

    This violation of Richard’s rights is punishable by fines of up to $50,000 and JAIL TIME. Our attorneys have documented this violation and if these videos are not removed from all platforms and destroyed immediately, we will pursue every available remedy at our disposal.

    Furthermore, in regard to the posts at http://www.geeknewscentral.com/archives/008190.html:

    At no time did Richard demand that the other acts’ volume be “at a lower level” than his.

    At no time did Richard send text messages during the performance; he uses his cellphone as a clock/timer.

    At no time did Richard turn his back on the audience with any intention other than to communicate with his band members and obtain props.

    At no given time were there more than 500 people at the event, and when Richard was finally permitted to perform, more than 15minutes later than scheduled, there were only 150 people in the venue.

    During the show, Richard’s complaints about the sound pertained NOT to the sound in the audience but the sound in the ON STAGE MONITOR SPEAKERS.

    If you have any further complaints or comments, please refrain from making any further posts, and bring your complaints directly to my attention via lounge@richardcheese.com.

    Thank you.

    Michael Stand (email handle; lounge@richardcheese.com)
    for Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine





    For more information about Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine, please visit the FAQ page at richardcheese.com.

    Michael Stand, Operations Manager
    Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine
    lounge@richardcheese.com
    http://www.richardcheese.com

  10. From Brian at 7:51 am on August 20, 2008

    Sure, Richard Cheese’s actions were unbecoming of a professional performer. However, he had every right to do what he could do at that moment. When someone asks you NOT to videotape them you stop. YOU STOP. Put your camera down and call it a day.

    Continuing to videotape is a violation of that person’s rights- period. That request was recorded and seen in the video.

    The proper thing Cheese should have done was to stop the show, ask security to remove the offenders, then continue. I don’t agree with his actions but don’t blame him either.

    With all respect, it was over the line on anyone who disrespected his request. You may also want to be careful posting the song in your video as well he can claim copyright infringement.

    I’m not an attorney and this is not legal advice but in my opinion and by my experience, he would win if this goes before a court of law and this video is incriminating evidence against the videographer.

  11. From Andrew Coffey at 7:52 am on August 20, 2008

    What part of “cheese” don’t we get? The little bit I saw he looks like he sucks anyway.More then likely gets off on Micheal Bubble snaps when he is alone.
    Wanna Be Lounge singer

  12. From Chris at 8:38 am on August 20, 2008

    This is GREAT viral Marketing – how many people are now going to try & get video of this guy! :)

    There should be a perpetual contest to see who can get the best video (w/sound) of this guy. It will grow to mythic proportions! I’m sure he’d LOVE it…

  13. From AndyCast Andy at 9:40 am on August 20, 2008

    Wow…what an asshole!

    We came in near the end of his set…it was little wonder that there were so few people left at that time.

    I wasn’t a fan of Chase and we had left for a bite and returned only to listen to Richard. I’m glad I missed his earlier antics or I would have left too.

    The man is truly a dick in so many ways.

  14. From mike mcallen at 10:28 am on August 20, 2008

    Wow-
    I have to say I thought his show was really funny and I posted this on my blog when I reviewed the show.
    http://eventsmedia.blogspot.com
    I did not know he was such in ass in real life. I thought it was an act. Wow what an incredible dick. Sorry you have to deal with this Todd.
    m

  15. From ctd3 at 10:31 am on August 20, 2008

    Supremely Cheesey (now black listed) act, mediocre talent horrendous behavior, needs a social skills 101 of WHAT NOT TO DO @ A SOCIAL MEDIA EVENT. The guy’s a hack and to folks like him I say; (you’re history A-Hole) NEXT! Not sure how i would handle a puffysmoe grabbing @ my gear & Throwing it at me, over here we call that theft/assault. Now they know who not to hire.
    The video is evidence.

  16. From Christopher S. Penn at 11:18 am on August 20, 2008

    As the co-founder and organizer of another major new media conference series, I can assure you that at least for the PodCamps that I run, Mr. Cheese will NOT be invited as a performer. Not because I approve or disapprove of his acts per se (though personally I do disapprove) but because he is now…

    … an insurance liability.

    And that’s an instant ban for any conference which carries a certificate of insurance.

    If he had wanted to enforce his contract terms, his ONLY legal recourse would have been to notify the organizers, who would have instructed security to ask anyone violating the contract terms to leave.

    By doing what he did, that’s not contract enforcement – that’s assault. Regardless of whether anyone presses charges, as a conference organizer, there’s NO way I’m taking on that liability.

  17. From Nick Schmidt at 11:28 am on August 20, 2008

    Wow.. that wasn’t nice Mr. Cheese.

    Does he usually do this at shows? Some of the crowd is laughing, so I was wondering if this is normal or not.

  18. From mel at 11:28 am on August 20, 2008

    I never heard of this guy and I don’t think he has ever had a top 40 hit record. He doesn’t deserve one and he certainly did a huge wrong by the way he treated the crowd.

  19. From Ken at 12:24 pm on August 20, 2008

    Wow I missed the expo this year. Kinda glad I did miss it at least for this part of it as well.

    The guy is a douche thats for sure. Hmm I wonder if the original artist allows their lyrics to be used in a cover like that….. Probably but makes you wonder. Seriously why would he get so but hurt about being on camera…. Just makes no sense at all.

  20. From Nicole at 12:27 pm on August 20, 2008

    See also:

    http://matthewebel.com/main/2008/08/20/how-not-to-treat-your-fans/
    and
    http://averagesamaritan.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/post-27-controlling-your-identity-in-the-social-media-world-or-richard-cheese-is-an-asshole/

    It is such a shame that the excellent party that Coverville threw at the NME in Vegas had to end as it did. Your account and analysis is appropriate and the actions of named performer – an incredibly unfortunate and inappropriate experience for many people.

    There are a number of things I do not understand. If there was a valid reason the performance should not be recorded (other than ego) – Why didn’t Richard Cheese address the crowd with civility and simply say that the show should/could not be recorded and why? Particularly because cameras were involved – why was the response a nasty haphazard tantrum? If the behaviour of the crowd and the organizers was such an offensive violation – why not just walk off and spare us all?

    I wasn’t at the party for Richard Cheese and could have left a ticket/merch/cd buying fan. Instead, I found myself among friends who were all but physically attacked by this guy. Luckily tech nerds are a fairly rational crowd and didn’t turn it into a brawl. I didn’t understand/believe that someone performing for a media-related crowd would act Amish… and so I tested the scenario myself about 15 minutes in. I stood against the front of the stage, at times resting my camera on a hand rail in plain sight of Mr. Cheese and the band. I captured nearly 20 minutes of video. There is no complaining or bitching in my video – just what could have been perceived a decent performance. R. Cheese looked directly at me a number of times and even threw me a pair of thong underwear from the stage.

    I wondered if maybe the whole unfortunate opening was part of his act until I heard through the grapevine that his tantrum continues by way of threatening legal action via email and ordering videos be removed from the web.

    Dear Richard Cheese,

    If you know where and who to target your demands of video removal, it is clear that you or your lawyer is following this lil debacle.

    I implore you to respond publicly. What is your side of the story?

    We’re a reasonable bunch and I think it is only fair for you to have your say.

    Until then, I remain a bit baffled.

    Sincerely,
    Miss Something

  21. From Rick Savoia at 1:54 pm on August 20, 2008

    Throwing something at you and spitting on people is considered assault. Had he done that to me I would have pressed criminal charges against him. There is no excuse for that sort of behaviour.

  22. From Alex at 2:03 pm on August 20, 2008

    I also have never heard of him and don´t think I missed anything. Maybe we shouldn´t pay too much atention to him, as even bad press sometimes plays into their hands. I hope Brian and you won´t get into trouble for this as you´re clearly the victim of insensitive and rough behaviour.

  23. From mattgunn at 3:47 pm on August 20, 2008

    Did I see some mention of “cowardly posts” in one of those threatening letters? Are you serious?

    What about the guy whose back Cheese jumped on at the end of the show? Cheese went at him blind. You call that cowardly?

    The truth is Richard Cheese is a pathetic, no-talent, washed up hack. His whole career is based on ripping off talented artists’ original work. And then this unoriginal Nathan Lane wannabe has thinks he has the right to keep his work from the public? Good thing you’re retiring, Richard. You’re a no-good relic of an act and deserve any sharp criticism you receive.

    Richard Cheese is a public figure. Maybe if you went up there as Mark Jonathan Davis it would be different. But then you didn’t.

    Next time try doing your homework before agreeing to perform for something called “The New Media Expo.”

    http://averagesamaritan.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/post-27-controlling-your-identity-in-the-social-media-world-or-richard-cheese-is-an-asshole/

  24. From RICHARD CHEESE at 4:33 pm on August 20, 2008

    All I can say is this: 95% of what has been written about this incident is inaccurate, inflammatory, exaggerated, taken out of context, and just plain unfair. Furthermore, the accusing parties have been behaving like children, flinging baseless lies, recklessly breaking the law, violating copyrights willynilly, posting cowardly anonymous crank rants all over the internet, and disregarding common decency, courtesy, respect, and the First Amendment along the way.

    I am a performer. I put on a show. At the Coverville500 concert, things did NOT happen the way they have been described; I am innocent, I stand by my actions, and while I would be happy to explain my side of the story, I sense that I will be shouted down regardless. In late September on richardcheese.com, I will post my own blog about this. Until then, below is a link to the only blog which came close to being fair, accurate, and, most importantly, civil.

    http://mwgblog.com/archives/2008/08/20/cheese-v-cochrane-et-al-%E2%80%93-new-media-showdown/

    If you don’t like me or my act or my show or my music, then don’t listen, don’t watch, and don’t stay. Just leave. You will not be missed.

    There were plenty of people at Friday’s performance who LOVED the show, who STAYED for the whole thing, who GOT the joke, and who kindly gave me and my band a nice ovation of applause and calls for encores. None of THOSE people committed felony copyright infringement, and we are grateful to them for their support. Those people are my true fans.

    The rest of you can go ahead and continue to call me names and spread lies and make libelous accusations and infringe my copyrights and violate my civil rights and complain that I’m just an awful person. Have fun with that!

    I’m done talking about this. All other comments, blogs, videos, and emails will be summarily ignored until September. And, AS A REMINDER, if you EVER distribute any unauthorized recordings of me or my band, my attorney will spit a lawsuit on you.

    Adios,

    RC

  25. From Barry Kantz at 7:27 pm on August 20, 2008

    So, Richard was acting in self defense when Mr. Stand says, “Numerous people disobeyed this request, and it was Richard’s prerogative to take action to protect his rights as an individual and his band’s rights, and to enforce the legal obligations associated with the performance.” So, hypothetically Richard could escalate his use of force beyond assault and battery and justify deadly force against someone continuing to violate the terms of his contract?

    I’ve been a lawyer for a long time and in the criminal justice business. There are no contractual terms in this country which can be enforced by physical violence. Sorry, a contract and arrogance does not create a prerogative to take such action. Contracts are enforced in courts. As other comments here have indicated, a reasonable approach would have been to stop the concert and/or call security.

    Oh, and by the way, where do privacy rights come into play on a public stage at a public event? Are there expectations of privacy on a public stage by a public figure? I would love to hear an explanation of how this legal concept might work in relation to a violation of Mr. Cheese’s privacy rights. I would also like to see a cite to the Nevada Revised Statutes where privacy rights are re-defined, made into a felony, with jail time and a $50,000 fine.

    I believe the letter written by Mr. Stand on behalf of Mr. Cheese is another example of the bullying behavior I witnessed during Mr. Cheese’s performance this past Friday night.

    My advice, taken from Harry Truman is, “if you can’t stand the heat then stay out of the kitchen.”





  26. From Langley at 10:39 pm on August 20, 2008



    I too was at this event and found Mr.Cheese’s behavior slightly unnerving to say the least. Yes, he did ask people to stop filming, AFTER he grabbed a camera away from Mr. Cochrane’s and threw it back at him. No one knew if this was a joke or if he was being serious. If you watch any of the many angles of this action, you’ll hear the crowd laughing. Obviously if people thought it was part of the act, they continued filming until he spat on another fan, and scolded the crowd. It then became suddenly clear he was serious about the ‘no photography’ request.

    I think this could have been handled much better by Mr. Cheese. Instead of attacking the very ppl who were there to support him, he could have said “Hey guys, there are copyright rules when performing cover songs, so I gotta ask that ya put the cameras away and we’ll have a good time, alright?” See? simple. No attacking, no throwing or grabbing, and no spitting.

    I put my camera away and actually stepped to the back of the venue because I felt a little sick after that. I used to be a big Cheese fan, and even PAID for his music (OMG!) I run an internet radio station, which plays his music, and yes I even pay royalties. No more. I’ve pulled his songs from my list.

    After the performance I approached Mr. Cheese during his photo op / autograph session. He looked at me twice, while holding my camera, and even commented that he liked my jacket. Eventually he realized I was filming, and yes, did ask me to stop twice. I should have, but felt as it was a photo op, whats the hurt? He was no longer performing .. or was he? I wasn’t sure, because after each time he stuck his hand up to the lens, he joked how he liked my jacket. As I walked away, filming myself, he obviously thought I was filming him over my shoulder and grabbed my arm and camera from behind, after a short struggle I retrieved my camera and he threatened to have me ejected from the Hotel. Which was fine, b/c I then left anyhow.

    Now I could easily say I was assaulted by Mr. Cheese, but I admit, I may have had it coming. However, it wasn’t until he actually grabbed me, that I knew he was serious.

    I have the video of the whole scene, but I’ve removed it from the ‘net as per Brian Ibbott’s request. Brian did an amazing job, and deserves no more headaches from Richard Cheese. I’d ask everyone else who has video online to pull it as well, for Brian’s sake.

    I’m saddened how this all played out, and while I don’t expect Richard Cheese to apologize for his behavior, I think it would help his bruised image (at least in the eyes of New Media) if he would at least admit that he could have handled the situation better.

    - Langley

    PS: Nice jacket Richard Cheese.

  27. From mb at 11:10 pm on August 20, 2008

    Two words: Tony Clifton. Look him up on wikipedia. This makes great drama but everyone should lighten up.

  28. From Ferin at 6:11 am on August 22, 2008

    For someone who makes his living by building on the work of others, it’s pretty ridiculous and hypocritical to forbid recording and fair use posting of your own work. What a jackass.

  29. From DanH63 at 10:27 am on August 22, 2008

    This guy sounds 180 degrees out of phase with what new media is about, aside from being a general a-hole. When he started doing this crap they should have cut the power to his mic and told him to leave. Not just because of his tirade itself, but because as someone else mentioned above, the liability he exposed the organizers and the venue to.

    There’s no reason I could ever see myself trying to film a clown like that, but if I did and they tried to touch my camera or worse yet, spit on me, they’d better be flanked by at least 2 bouncers or they would probably be hitting the floor hard.

  30. From Jeff S. at 10:40 am on August 22, 2008

    Yeah, I just deleted your album I bought off my iPod and cracked the disk in half. What a doof.

  31. From Angelo Mandato at 9:11 am on August 24, 2008

    Richard Cheese himself recently edited his Wikipedia entry removing the Bad Behavior section which documented what he did do the audience during the Coverville concert.

    I believe you can now display the video, since Richard Cheese is now denying that he did such things during the Coverville concert. The video is now obviously news reporting and has nothing to do with making money from his copyrighted work.

  32. From Brian in Poland at 2:20 pm on August 24, 2008

    TO RICHARD,

    A.) You had a right to request that customers stop recording. Very few sane people dispute that.

    B.) You showed your arrogance and contempt for your audience when you took matters into your own hands rather than simply making 100% sure that you were clearly communicating and that you were 100% serious and directly pointing out (not attacking) people that had not yet complied.

    If you simply make an honest and heartfelt apology for your auctions, rather than digging deeper into your own ego, you will be SHOCKED how quickly the hordes would embrace you again.

  33. From Aurelius at 9:22 pm on August 24, 2008

    I have managed artists for most of the last ten years. I hope this Cheese character is happy that the first place his name’s come to prominence in a lot of forums is as an abusive petulant artist who spits on and abuses audience members.
    *clap* *clap* *clap*
    RC, if your career suffers, it wont be because someone taped your performance.