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We had one more live show before we were to fly out to LA for the record. This
show was in Decatur IL. It turned out the best show we had played since the trip
to Brazil. This was a good show to come from before the studio.
Working with John and Dino was a breeze. They were very easy going in the studio and not domineering like we thought they might be. We had been warned from many people who said that John and Dino would change Bride's sound and we would sound like a watered down 8o's metal band. We found them to be very honest and genuine. They let us record the record the way we wanted to and dictated nothing. Matter of fact at one point when I was laying down my vocal tracks John commented and said I wish I had some suggestions for you but I do not. That is the way we wanted this record to be. "Totally Bride without the influence of producers and record people."
John and Dino however had good ideas and when they made suggestions we tried them. Sometimes things worked and sometimes they did not. John and Dino were always the first ones to admit if one of their suggestions was not working.
They put us up in the Los Alamitos hotel, which was just around the corner from the studio. We worked quickly utilizing the two Pakaderm studios. As soon as one track was cut, they would send the tape over to studio B where I was able to lay down vocals. It was like working twice as fast. We even got a chance to meet the Elefante's parents and had a great spicy Italian meal with them while watching the Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe fight. At this point, as the record was coming to a close and the last few notes were being recorded I felt that John and Dino should be made a part of the future of Bride. We opened the door for a business relationship and began drawing up future battle plans. By the end of recording, we were spiritually drained. We were tired mainly from the hassles of arguing with Star Song and we were highly disgusted at the Christian music market. I felt as though Christian labels were using the excuse "we must get secular distribution" as an excuse to become more worldly. Other labels such as Word, Benson, And Reunion had signed bands and released records that had nothing to do about Jesus Christ what so ever. At this point in the life of Bride, I debated with myself if I should even be a part of the hypocrisy that I witnessed taking place.
I wrote this article inspired by the Holy Spirit about the condition and disintegration of Christian Music.
"There is an ever-growing concern about the state of our natural environment. The pollutants, toxic waste, cutting down of rain forest, the filthy carbon air we are forced to breath, but I have found a worse infection. This more disgusting thing is cankerous, poison; it defiles, weakens, endangers, violates, and desecrates the very fabric of Christian life. It is called compromise! What is happening spiritually and lyrically in so called "Christian music" is abhorring. Jesus came to bring a sword not peace! He came to destroy the works of Satan not to hold hands in partnership! Does it not seem odd to you that the world is now embracing mainstream Christian music as their own?
Some would consider this a great break through, however I see it as compromise. Jesus is a controversial person who caused an uproar everywhere he went. I believe if we preach the gospel in spirit and in truth that the world will be offended. Some will come to repentance because of the Holy Spirit drawing them closer to God and this is our purpose to preach the gospel as laborers because the fields are ready to harvest. But, when Christ becomes fashionable, I believe the wrong Christ is being preached.
Jesus seems to have become the "in thing". Jesus preached if they hate me they will hate you, that we would be hated of all men for his namesake (Luke 21:17). Romans 9:33 speaks of Jesus being a stumblingstone and rock of offence. Christian festivals compromising and secularizing their stages to the most popular groups no matter their message, magazines flaunting Star like photos of "Christian super groups" on their covers in the name of entertainment. How far will we take this idol worship? How many smaller Gods will we put before "The God"? 1 Thessalonians says 5:21 "Prove (test) all things; hold fast that which is good.
Romans 12:2 "prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God". Can anyone remember humility? Can anyone remember the anointing of the Holy Spirit? As ministers of the gospel of truth, we have a duty to preach the gospel. We are to follow God's purpose and grace not according to our work but His will.
Christ is the authority and He alone should be lifted up. Try and test the spirit of those whose music you have supported. If there is not confirmation in your spirit then walk away from it.
God will sort the good from the bad one day, let us have the integrity for the sake of Christ to have followed only those who have followed Jesus."
Scarecrow was an album to be proud of and I could see it doing very well for us but I could not see us continuing down the same path as we had already traveled with Snakes. Although we would win 1995 DOVE AWARD-For the Album: "Scarecrow Messiah" and have # 1 radio songs with "Place" and "Beast" I decided to take a whole new approach for the future. We would go after the secular market with our resources. I felt like our motives were legitimate and our goals within the realm of reality. Unlike the general market place, I wanted to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ instead of promoting Bride. Steve Baker was right behind us and at this time Bill Reed joined us for the ride. I made a couple of big decisions not to play two prominent Christian festivals for the New Year because we were tired of repeating ourselves. By not stepping out on faith and shooting big I felt like we were limiting the Lords ability to open doors and to work in our favor. We were now stepping out on the water and I am sure everyone from outside the Bride realm thought we would sink. In many ways we felt desperate and knowing the worst, we still had confident hope.
I was looking forward to working with John and Dino in a production deal in the future we were waiting at this time for them to get relocated and settled in Nashville. Their move was a convenient move for us. We no longer would have to go but a three-hour drive to record in the finest studios anywhere. My days in the metal scene had been well spent and we had reached a lot of people touching many people with God's word through rock music. I was however burnt out. We took the entire month of December 1993 off to rest. Although I felt like Scarecrow was an great record I also felt it picked up the torch where Snakes had left off. As good as Scarecrow was it was not cutting edge enough for my taste. I knew that it would carry us through the next 12 months and in this next year, I wanted to write the greatest album that I had ever put on tape before. I had my solo project mixed at this time and I was just waiting to hear from Star Song if they wanted to distribute it or not. I really did not feel that Star Song would know what to do with it seeing that it was so abstract but being under contract I had to let them have first chance at it. I was hoping that they would reject it and give me permission to shop it to other labels or manufacture it myself. It was with my own money that I had recorded mixed and self produced it anyway. I felt a bit out of touch with the new music scene that was developing and seeing that I had just turned thirty it was time to make even more changes.
December the 16th I got a real hair cut. I figured most of the famous rockers in the world did not have hair down to the middle of the back. People like Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Don Henely, John Melencamp, and the list goes on. I figured my fans would be shocked but the long hair was a drag to mess with. Along with getting a haircut, I vowed to never stage dive and to stop the moshing at our shows. I wanted to be contradictory and controversial in my new approach. "My motto was cut your hair stop the moshing!" Don't give them but one reason to persecute you. Our first shows with the new hairstyle was New Years Eve 1993 in Dallas. There was mixed reaction but after the crowd stared at me for about an hour and a half believing me to be a stage hand I think they got used to the new look. Tammy Winters, a friend from Ohio just happened to be in the area with her parents on vacation and they dropped in to see the show. I had been trying to launch her career as a singer and now I had a new plan to get her some notice. Matter of fact I was even thinking at this point about starting my own record label and shoving to the side all of the hassle with the record executives.
1994 Tulsa Ok kicked off the band. About 400 people showed up and even though we had problems with the promoter who failed to get insurance on the building and she had no security which by law she was supposed to have we played as they say in the Christian market for a love offering. It was our first pass the plate around show ever and it was humiliating in a lot of ways but things worked out. After we returned home, our next show was a unplugged set in Coryden In.
We had the week off so I took this week like the month of December to try to burn off the Holiday foods I had consumed. I had always been an excellent weight lifter for my weight and at one time had benched 380 pounds. However, this particular day was not my day. As I lay on the bench with only 225 pounds above me, I got the most agonizing Charlie horse in my left hamstring that I had ever got. I usually got muscle cramps but this one was painfully tight. I had already did one set with this weight this morning and I had not even thought of having a spotter. When I benched I never wrapped my thumbs around the bar but I cupped the bar in my hands. For a split second I must have lost my concentration on the weight and focused in on the muscle cramp. In a split second with no time to react I lost the weight and took the entire impact on my chest and sternum. I did not feel much pain but a lot of pressure. As I attempted to push the weight off a couple of guys rescued me. They asked me how I was and having the wind knocked out of me I could not speak. My mouth was moving and I was trying to smile but nothing was coming out. Finally I got a squeak to come out then my voice weak but audible said, "I am fine I guess." I guess I was in a little shock because my chest did not hurt that badly. The people at the gym offered to take me to the hospital but I declined and worked out for another hour. That night and the next day I was miserable in pain. I am not a fan of doctors so I toughed it out and to this day I do not know if I broke anything or not but I do know the pain and discomfort lasted for weeks.
The day after that accident we met with Steve who was passing through from Minn. going home to Raleigh. We discussed the future of the band and the direction that we knew we had to take in order to stay a float. I tried to stay focussed though my chest hurt. The fans at this point had know ideal of how hard it had become just in the past three weeks to keep the band together. No shows, no tours, no money and now we decided no more Star Song. It was the lowest we had felt in a long time. It was truly a very lonely feeling. Star Song had decided not to release the new record until June just out of stubbornness and to play hard ball. Star Song was attempting to force us into resigning a long un-adventurous deal with them. The new deal would keep us tied up for years. In addition, later they would even try to trick us by sending us a 6-month contract extension, which would have bound us for two more releases with them. I decided to call on the fans to help by asking them to write to Star Song and demand that Scarecrow Messiah be released sooner. I sent out flyers and wrote letters to folks and I could tell that the fact that Star Song would pull something like this made the fans angry. Bill Reed was having trouble booking the band without a new record and I was determined no matter how bummed out I was over the politics of the record business I was not going to give up. Troy and I began writing music again trying to gear it to appeal to a wider audience which meant making it a little lighter but still writing with an attitude an edge. We were hoping that by the time Scarecrow was released we would have a new record waiting there in the wings to be released. I had felt for a long time now that there was something strange going on in the Christian market and I felt like that the Lord was moving us around for a reason. Maybe the reason was that some one was going to take a fall and he did not want us to be in the way. We all called this a disturbance in the force. We did not know what 1994 was going to bring but we knew that things were going to be different. We would either advance by leaps and bounds we thought or disband completely, no one was sure so we put it all in the
I had heard through the grapevine that Star Song was going through some personal changes. Jason Parker who had been instrumental in our radio success was now gone to another label. Mike Kyle was rumored to be bailing out. Mike was the head of marketing. There was the rumor that Dez was leaving the label. These were just more signs to us that we had made the right choice by turning down Star Songs resigning proposal. Another rumor floating around was that we had been black listed from some of the festivals this coming year? Tim Landis, who organized Creation in Pa. and Chuck Tilley who organized most of the Christian shows at the amusement parks across the country had, wrote us off according to my source. I never felt these two promoters understood Bride or the Bride fans anyway.
We were underestimating the power within the market but they were underestimating our fortitude.
We were to meet with Steve and Dez in Nashville Jan 17th of 1994 to try to convince Dez to fight for an early release of Scarecrow and to bid a friendly farewell to Star Song. I was not looking forward to the three hour trip to Nashville I had been very ill with a sinus infection. However KY received a record snowfall of about two feet. The snow blanketed everything and made any travel what so ever impossible. Steve had traveled from Raleigh the day before so now he was stranded in Nashville. Nashville did not get all the snow we did but they got a lot of ice. Steve having lived in MN for many years would not be stranded long though. Back home we were without electricity so I moved Sharon and the kids next door to my parent's house where we could stay warm by the fireplace. Within 36 hours we had power and the thaw began.
The mail coming into the office was like a whirlwind after the snow. Our mailman was unable to get through for two days so when he finally arrived we had stacks of fan mail. I had always personally corresponded with the fans and filled all the merchandise orders myself. Everyone seemed to appreciate getting personal letters from a band member. After a year and a half after Snakes had been released the mail was still rolling in at a steady pace.
The band finally got to rehearse and the New Union was planned for the last weekend in January 94. I had not seen Rik in three weeks and when Troy and I walked into Jerry's house I was surprised. I guess he had decided over these weeks to get more tattoos than me. He had about four maybe five more new ones. They were not the stylish kind with color but more like real good prison tattoos. The new tattoo on his neck would keep him from getting a real job so I guess we were stuck with him for a little while longer.
By this time the letter writing attack upon Star Song from the fans had made an impact. I heard from my connections and what few friends I had left that Jeff Moseley was enraged and he defended the honor of Star Song with a letter back to the fans. The letter said something to the effect "There are two sides to every story and here is mine." The fans were not convinced and could read through that record company penmanship. The support for us to get this new record out was overwhelming but I was convinced that Jeff would not budge. It was never my intention on making enemies with Jeff and Star Song and I personally was not angry with anyone but I knew Jeff was furious and annoyed with me beyond belief. I sent three songs from my solo project down to Dez for a possible deal of some kind and he seemed to enjoy the songs however Jeff was not in the least willing to listen to them. I knew the letters had crushed his pride and that he probably would never want to see me again. It was nothing personal on my part though, Star Song turned this entire episode into business and that is all it was to me was business, nothing personal. March 1st I sent a long letter to Jeff calling a truce and an end to this war. I wanted to repair our friendship and take care of all the bad communications that had went down. Jeff responded the 4th with a telephone call to me. He was very much willing to shake hands and put all of this confusion behind us. He assured me that the record would be on time which the time was still June, and that he would work with us like he had
always did in the past. I felt much better taking care of this situation.
When I had called on the fans to write to Star Song I never intended on them writing vicious letters and boycotting Star Song products but it happened. Some of the letters came to me from the fans of proof they had sent them. I never found out how many letters Jeff actually received but our office was buzzing with disgruntle letters. Some wrote that they felt "that the ministry had been compromised or jeopardized by exec's who have no ideal what it is to be on the front lines of the battle for souls and lives in the
subculture known as metal heads." Some accused Star Song of " corrupt
politics. " They accused Star Song of
"blackmail ". Others offered their prayers in the matter. Some even used profanity. There was even a fifty-name petition. The support we received in this matter was overwhelming. It had been effective in drawing much attention however it did not do anything for the date of release. I felt that everyone involved in the situation, Star Song, the fans, and myself had learned from this lesson and now it was time to pull the troops off the front lines and call a truce in the matter.
Jeff was kind enough to give me permission to manufacture and sell through our shows and fan club my solo project. It was near completion and this was a relief financially. I was unsure if anyone would like it or understand it. I felt some would tolerate it, some would appreciate the effort put into it, but without a lengthy explanation I felt most people would not get it. I hoped most would feel like Jerry who told me "it was border line genius." Then again Jerry was my drummer and he liked all types of strange music anyway. I never got a response from Rik but I never got a response from him on hardly anything. It was time now to spend the real money out of my own pocket on advertising, printing, and postage. I figured the reviews would be mixed from the magazines but I was hoping that they would give it a fair listen. It was not the type of project anyone was going to digest all at once or listen to it nonstop.
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