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Back in the States, we resumed playing and headed to
Florida to play a real exciting show with Novella. We played in St. Petersburg
in an old Spanish building. Novella played acoustically, which was a mistake for
them. You just do not open acoustically for Bride. When we took the stage, the
crowd went wild, dismembering thirty of the theater chairs, which were bolted to
the floor. Earlier in the show, while swinging from the balcony, I had kicked a
hole in the fancy trim, which eventually cost us over $200.00 for the damages.
The next show in Orlando was less enthusiastic in the terms of destruction. We
could not afford any more bills for damages.
By this time our resume was beginning to look like we had arrived. Our AWARDS/NOMINATIONS included: 1993 DOVE AWARD-For the Song: "Rattlesnake," 1993 SESAC AWARD-"Top Contemporary Christian Writers of the Year," 1992 DOVE AWARD-For the Song: "Everybody Knows My Name," 1992 DOVE NOMINATION-For the
Album: "Kinetic Faith," 1992 SESAC AWARD - Two #1 Singles, 1992 SESAC AWARD
- Outstanding Achievement in Gospel Music-Dale & Troy Thompson, 1991 SESAC AWARD - Two #1 Singles, 1991 PURE ROCK REPORT AWARD - For Album of the Year: "Kinetic Faith," 1991 PURE ROCK REPORT AWARD - For Song of the Year: "Everybody Knows My Name".
#1 SINGLE (ROCK MUSIC CHARTS)
1994 "Rattlesnakes" CCM Update-4 consecutive weeks at #1
1993 "Rattlesnakes" Pure Rock Report-4 consecutive weeks at #1
1993 "Psychedelic Super Jesus"
#1 SINGLES (HARD ROCK MUSIC CHARTS)
1994 "Would You Die For Me"
1994 "Dust Through a Fan"
1993 "Rattlesnakes" CCM Update-8 weeks at #1
1993 "Rattlesnakes" Pure Rock Report-8 consecutive weeks at #1
1993 "Psychedelic Super Jesus" CCM Update-6 weeks at #1
1993 "Psychedelic Super Jesus" Pure Rock Report-8 consecutive weeks at #1
1992 "Hired Gun" CCM Update-8 consecutive weeks at #1
1992 "Hired Gun" Pure Rock Report-10 consecutive weeks at #1
1991 "Troubled Times" CCM Update-2 weeks at #1
1991 "Troubled Times" Pure Rock Report-11 consecutive weeks at #1
1991 "Same ol' Sinner" CCM Update-8 consecutive weeks at #1
1991 "Same ol' Sinner" Pure Rock Report-10 consecutive weeks at #1
1990-1991 "Everybody Knows My Name" CCM Update-10 consecutive weeks at #1 1990-1991 "Everybody Knows My Name" Pure Rock Report-12 consecutive weeks at #1 GMA 1992 and 1994 - GMA SONGWRITERS SHOWCASE(sponsored by BMG/Sony Music Publishing, Tree Music Publishing, and WORD) - Bride's Dale and Troy Thompson perform with Wayne Watson, Twila Paris, Steven Curtis Chapman, John and Dino Elephante, and Bruce Carroll.
- SESAC ANNUAL GMA AWARDS LUNCHEON - Bride honored for Outstanding Achievement in Gospel Music, and for two consecutive #1 singles.
- GMA EVENING CONCERT SERIES - Bride is the first metal band to perform in GMA history, sharing the stage with Wayne Watson, Michael English, 4 Him, Allison Durham Speer, and Babbie Mason.
We were coming off another Dove Award for the song Rattlesnake, and being recognized as SESAC "Contemporary Artist of the Year" we had the inspiration to tackle the festivals. We played most of the U.S. festivals. We performed at the Agape Festival with bands like White Cross, Legend and Bryan Duncan. Bryan was getting a sound check on the main stage during our set, which was on a smaller side stage. He must have been impressed with us because he had one of the people who worked the festival find us. Through walkie-talkie communications, he told us that he wished he could sing like me, and what he had heard of the set he really enjoyed. That was amazing that he would feel like telling us something like that.
We played The Alive festival with D.O.C. and Steven Curtis Chapman, Atlanta Fest with Audio Adrenaline, Creation Festival, where we hooked up with The Brave, Guardian and the forever crazy guys from The Stand. The Stand was an alternative band with some crazy members that enjoyed having a good time. They were very entertaining. We hung with them and joked in the backstage trailer until it was time for them to do their show.
The festival that really stood out in my mind was Cornerstone '93. We were on the main stage, Friday July 2nd, in a prime spot. We would go on between Rez Band and Guardian. Cornerstone was the hippie Christian Festival of America. It drew thousands of people from all over the U.S. and Canada. Bushnell, IL was (is) the spot. The festival was (is) held on a huge farm, organized by JPUSA. We had tried to get a spot on the main stage for years, and now we were given the opportunity.
Rez band went on and sounded as good as ever. They were one of my key Christian influences musically. Their front man, Glen Kaiser, had the ultimate rock voice. They were the granddads of Christian rock.
The crowd were heavy Bride fans, and they were chanting Bride over and over before we took the stage. After a few announcements, we hit the stage. I felt like a stick of dynamite, my vocals really felt good. The band seemed as tight and improvisational as ever. We never played the same set twice, and would just make it up as we would go. The crowd was not disappointed.
I had a reputation for diving off high objects into the sea of hands below, and this would be the flight of a lifetime. The crowd was thick and forever pushing forward, so I knew there was no way I would hit the ground. I climbed the scaffolding to the second stack of main speakers, which put me about 15 feet in the air. I leaned way out and let go. My body dropped through the air into the hands of the fans. I then was carried overhead back to the stage and went to the other side to repeat the high intensity feat.
This time I climbed up another 5 ft or so. It looked like a long way down, but I had now obligated myself for the jump. Once again, I performed my daring, death defying stunt into the hands of the crowd. They made sure they were under me, and then I body surfed over their heads to take center stage again. I remember the second drop. It was just a split second longer fall, and since I had gauged this second jump by the first one, I thought the crowd had missed me. The extra five feet or so put doubt in my mind that they were going to break my fall, but the crowd was there, and they surfed me back to the stage.
The crowd was atomic. This was the largest crowd that we had ever played to, about 6000 ecstatic metal fans. Mosh Pits, stage diving, body surfing ... this was the real thing. I repeatedly had to ask the crowd to take three steps back because the fans up front were being crushed by the weight of the people behind them.
After our encore of Hell No and Same ol' Sinner, our set was finished. Guardian had to take the stage now. Even though Guardian was a fantastic band, I would not have wanted to follow the set that we had just played. While they played, I was still pretty energized about the show, so I asked Jerry and Rik if they wanted to storm the stage and stage dive during the Guardian set. Jerry had reservations at first because he had experienced a bad stage diving situation the last time we had played Cornerstone.
Cornerstone 92', after a blistering set highlighted by an electrical storm and rain that made getting to the stage a real pigpen, Jerry decided to dive. Rik had pulled his kit off the riser on the last song, and, after dropping his bass to the ground, he air planed into the crowd. He had perfect form and technique. I dove in less professionally, but was caught.
Jerry, having no instruments to play because they were scattered on the stage, decided he would take the leap of faith. "Jerry lacked faith." The crowd parted like the Red Sea, and Jerry landed on his hip and shoulder, knocking himself out. He was revived a short time later, and his body was bruised like he had been hit by a truck.
Now Cornerstone '93 presented the same temptation, to redeem his last less glamorous fall. After Troy agreed to pay Jerry thirty bucks to dive, Jerry agreed. "Let's do it," he said confidently. During Guardian's second song, there we came like wild dogs. We raced from backstage, all three of us jumping at the same time. Rik and I were caught, and Jerry was missed again. However, this time he jumped feet first, so he was uninjured.
Guardian was not impressed with our intrusion.
Our next show was Norway. I had been able to take Sharon, my wife, to Germany, but she had to stay behind on this trip. Zachary, my youngest son, had been hospitalized a few days before we left for overseas. He was suffering dehydration after the flu. He had been released from the hospital the day before we left, and this weighed on my mind. Troy's wife Michelle went on all of the trips as a merchandise person.
The flight to Norway was miserable. Scandinavian airlines served the worst food I had ever had in all my life. We were greeted at the airport by the promoter and a couple of the other artists who would be playing the festival, Kenny Green and Larry Norman. Larry Norman had been my all time favorite Christian artist, and I had met him once previously, but this time I was actually in the same bus with him. I owned at least 20 Larry Norman records at the time. I found Larry to be a little different than I had pictured him in my mind.
He had his son, his brother and his father with him. His dad was very knowledgeable of every tree and plant that we passed along the highway. He knew so much that I felt I was back in my 9th grade science class. For three hours we were lectured on flowers and trees. Larry sat in the back of the bus humming tunes to himself, looking content.
We stayed in a little town along a huge inland lake that looked like a movie set. During the day, it was quite and peaceful, but at night this neutral country forgot about their non-war associations with decadence. The town became a party zone of heavy drinkers, brawlers, and homosexuals.
The day after we arrived, I talked to my wife via the telephone to find out that Zachary had to be placed back into the hospital. He had refused to drink any liquids, so they put him back on an IV. Altogether, he would spend 7 days in the hospital, quarantined and hooked to an IV. He would recover by the grace and healing hand of the Lord.
We attended a church meeting the day before the show. The Five Blind Boys from Alabama were playing. They were a black group from the heart of the south, and were world renowned. They were really something to hear, and I felt honored to be a part of the crowd squeezed into the church.
The day of the show we finally got a sound check ... after we had to tell the soundman how to correct a buzzing problem in Rik's bass rig. In Germany, we found most Christians to be very liberal in their views with alcohol, and in Norway it was no different. The young people were pretty wild with their bottles under their jackets.
Before we went on to play the show, Rik overheard Larry Norman talking to his brother backstage. Their conversation would make Larry a target for our band the rest of the trip. Larry asked his brother where he was going. Larry's brother replied, "out front to watch the Bride show." Larry's response was a sarcastic two-word sentence..., "lucky you," he said. This did not set right with Rik and Jerry, and now the war had begun. Jerry could change from his easygoing, fun loving, lovable Jerry, to this vindictive, loud and rather rude dog Jerry rather quickly.
We played our set to about 1000 people, and the show went smooth. We hung out with the youth, and stayed late to talk to as many people as we could.
The last day we were there, the promoters wanted to have all the remaining bands together for a last supper type of meal. Bride sat together, Larry and his dad sat a couple of tables over. Jerry had been making loud, undirected comments throughout the meal. We all knew he was thinking "Larry thoughts." Then there was a loud breaking of glass heard. Someone had accidentally broken a glass. I asked, "what was that?" Moreover, Jerry responded, "I think Larry's dad broke a glass."
Larry must have known that he was getting the cold shoulder from us, and he also had good ears. In seconds he was standing at our table saying, "did someone say Larry's dad?" Jerry explained to a calm but irate Larry that he was merely stating that he thought Larry's dad had broken a glass. Larry had an insane look in his eye, and we did not know what to expect. We figured if he started swinging we had him outnumbered, and Larry was not exactly physically able to become a prizefighter.
I don't know if Larry came to his senses, or if he had two personalities, but he instantly mellowed out and began talking about luggage at the airport. Troy had not heard any of the conversation, but Jerry took great offense to the uninvited intrusion of Larry to our meal. Jerry was highly irritated and said, "I thought he was wanting to fight." Rik and I tried to provoke Jerry jokingly by saying, "we don't think you could have took him, Jerry." The last time I saw Larry, he was sitting in the floor of the restaurant singing a children's nursery rhyme with a group of children. I thought how he was more like Jesus than any of us. We still had a lot to learn as a band, and as individuals representing the Kingdom of God.
There were many times when we were childish. We acted like rock stars, and I guess we were not sensitive to what the Holy Spirit was trying to say and to reveal to us. One of the reasons for writing this book is to show the spiritual transformation of this band called Bride. In everything that we experienced, both positive and negative, earthly and heavenly, God was the great orchestration of it all (Psalms 90:1-2). His divine plan included every mistake we would make, the fiery testing, trials, tribulation and pressure and proving.
It takes time to make gold pure. I realized that we were not serving time. I would come to comprehend that we were indeed serving the Lord. Time is only a tool the Lord uses to test us. We would begin to mature from this point on. Our fleshly performances would soon be recognized for what they were. We would see by the Holy Spirit that the only thing with any real substance that we could leave with anyone would be Jesus Christ. The Lord would soon begin the true inner working of the ministry within our hearts.
All the works of the soulish realm only produce sin and death. Their sole purpose is to gratify the desire of the carnal souls of mankind. God would give us a true mission to wake the sleeping souls of the youth. We would be instrumental in taking their souls to the spiritual death of the Cross of Christ, that they would partake of that abundant life in all His fullness.
Cornerstone '92, after a blistering set highlighted by an electrical storm and rain that made getting to the stage a real pigpen (funny, considering that land in Bushnell, IL was once a swine farm)
The last time I saw Larry, he was sitting in the floor of the restaurant singing a children's nursery rhyme with a group of children. I thought how he was more like Jesus than any of us (though it is anything but Christlike to deride the Gifts that God has bestowed upon another. There's no condoning what Larry said, though there is forgiveness.).
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