God Gave Rock and Roll to You: Part 9 - We're A Band

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We’re A Band

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve known way too many people who have said, “This is the year! I’m going to do P90X!” Most of them get up at 6:00 AM the next day, struggle through the first routine, go to work and exuberantly tell people “I’m doing P90X! It’s so hard! I’m so awesome!”, go to bed that night tired out but with a sense of accomplishment… and then wake up at 6:00 AM feeling like they got run over by a convoy of 18 wheelers. At this point they decide to “take a day to recover” promising to “hit that P90X twice as hard the next morning.” Instead they wind up throwing in the towel and spend the rest of the year sitting on their ever-widening ass, pounding Doritos and watching Pawn Stars. Next time around, same routine.

Maybe next year... doubt it.

Nope. Not for me. I’m just as fat and lazy as the next guy, I just don’t want to be a hypocrite or build myself up for a letdown. So, I have another New Year’s beer and polish off that plate of leftover Christmas cookies, knowing that if I don’t have the motivation to change on any other given day of the year, there’s no reason to believe I’m magically going to be any more likely to do so on January 1st. Doing something new takes real inspiration and desire. You can’t arbitrarily pick a day to find those things. They just happen, and when they do, coming up with the motivation to persevere is usually not much of a struggle, no matter how monumental the goal.

So it was that when my friend Shane and I decided to start a Christian rock band, no one needed to give us a push. We were so incredibly stoked, and the mentality was, “We are 100% ready to tackle this beast… whatever it is.” That I suppose, was the big question… What is a Christian band? Our answer would continually evolve as the years passed. For the moment however, there was a much more tangible ordeal to resolve. How does one go about starting a band?

With Shane on the bass and me on drums, the obvious missing piece was a guitarist. Herein lay the problem. We were living in a town with a population of around 1,500 people and our combined Jr. High and High School consisted of less than 500 students. Of those 500, maybe 10 played guitar, and I think 2 of them were in our grade. Lenny B and Henry.

Len was a musical prodigy. He’d been playing piano and harpsichord since he was a little kid. His folks had him practicing for hours a day and he was literally on his way to becoming a world class musician. He could play the guitar really well, and was one of the first guys in town to try to get a group together. But alas, Len had no interest in being in a Christian band. I suppose if you’ve been listening to Tom Waits and Nine Inch Nails since the 5th grade this makes sense. Lenny would be something of a nemesis for a couple of years, the ringleader of those who would paint us as losers for playing Christian rock. For my last two years of high school though, he would be one of my closest friends.

I think every guy who was in highschool between the years 1997 and 2003 tried to rock this haircut at least once.

So, Len was a no go. The other burgeoning guitarist in our grade was my best friend Henry. Son of a forester-turned-banker father, and a neo-hippie artistically inclined mother, Henry was a seriously cool dude… and good looking to boot. The mere sight of him rollerblading by with his meticulously gelled Carson Daly front flip haircut, bright yellow Sony Walkman cassette player, and bottle of Dr. Pepper, was enough to make the heart of every 7th and 8th grade Lutheran girl in town skip a beat. Unfortunately, Henry was brand new to his instrument. Despite his inspired, spastic attempts at the Jimi Hendrix version of the national anthem, we just didn’t think he was ready rock quite yet.

Even though we felt that there was little hope in securing someone to jam with us if we were going to start a Christian band, we weren’t about to give up on this thing. We would go to whatever lengths we needed to. Even if that meant importing our talent. As it turned out, Shane had a guitar wielding friend from back in the big city of Moorhead that he thought he could tap. I was unsure about this idea… bringing in an outsider. But out of necessity and desperation, I decided to give it a shot.

Within five minutes of having met the Prince in Shane’s basement I knew that Shane had picked a winner. He had all the qualifications. Into rock music? Check. Cool with being in a Christian band? Check. Plays football? Double check. Yep, the Prince had it all. I don’t recall what we jammed that first day, but I do remember that for some reason having a guitar, bass, and drums somehow made things seem official. Though we didn’t know what came next, the three of us were committed to busting some faith-filled rock and roll. We were a band.

 

Here’s a teaser for next week.

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