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Pursuing and being pursued
Up to this point in our book, I have shared our thoughts and feelings; the way they were expressed and carried out during the period of times of their happenings. Many of the people that we had problems with in the past are now dear friends. When presenting the honest truth of the past I have attempted to spare feelings yet at the same time not to paint a rose colored picture of events. All that we have endured was for our good. Many people who played key roles in our lives did not always follow the Lord. We as Bride did not always follow the Lord nor were we perfect.
Not everyone was nice to us and in our immaturity as growing in Christ, we were not always the most pleasant bunch of people no matter what combination of band members we had at the time. There were times I must admit that we wanted to quit, to walk away from it all but because God's purpose for our lives was stronger than our desire to leave we remained.
We can only be faulted for being slow learners and when God tested our faith we did not always measure up. However, the Father made sure that we crossed the valleys crossed over the mountains in His time.
Our journey has been one of scholarship. God was teaching and continues to teach compassion. As Jesus turned to the multitudes in compassion, He is our example to follow.
On with the Book
With the uneasy feeling I had about Steve Baker I was not sure if I could make correct judgements at this point even if a record company offered me the world with no strings attached. Aug 10th Steve headed for Nashville on a PFR/Bride trip. He was going to knock on a few doors and see who would let him in. I was hoping that he would bring back some positive news from at least one of the bigger companies. Troy and I had talked the night before and agreed in order for us to sign on with another Christian record company it would take a lot of up front money. We needed the money to be able to tour other wise a record deal with no financial incentive would be useless to the advancement of the band. That morning I got a call from Jeff Moseley, who informed me that Scarecrow had shipped thirty thousand plus. He seemed thrilled that the record had come out of the gates so well. Then he went into his record company pitch. "Dale, I feel like there has been a lot of water pass under the bridge and for that reason I want you guys on board here at Star Song" he said. I had already had a similar conversation with Jeff a few weeks back however this time he was not pitching a long-term agreement. He said give him just one more record and he was sure that we would want to sign on for another multi album term. I was a little shocked by his call and even more surprised that he would offer us a single record deal. Star Song just did not normally operate that way. I did not give him any type of answer, to react immediately would be foolish. I thought about trying to reach Steve on his mobile and get his impression then I decided to call Troy and see how he felt about what Jeff had proposed. I had said many times that "unless by some strange act of God we would not resign with Star Song under any circumstances."
At this point Star Song felt better in my heart than Steve did. I had prayed hard the night before for the Lord to give me direction and point me down the right road and all of a sudden, Jeff calls. Why didn't I feel this way months ago? Did something within the heart of Star Song change for God to give us a go ahead? Maybe the Lord had this plan the entire time and had to clear some obstacles for us. Whatever the reasons and the changes I knew I had to consider Star Song seriously if not for any other reason than Jeff's friendship.
We finally made it back to California. We were to play supposedly this really huge festival. Seemed like every band that was anybody was going to be there. We had a Saturday time slot, which we felt should be a great day to play. Turned out no day was a great day. This was Summer Fest.
We were hoping that since we had not played California in so long that we would have an enormous audience. It had been about four years since we played Fontana, and now here we were in Burbank. Before the show even started there was trouble. Bill Reed had flown down to meet us and be a liaison in retrieving money from the promoter for us and a few other bands that he had booked at this event. Rumors had it that there was such a terrible turn out that the bands were not going to get paid. Bill was much younger looking and less greasy than I had envisioned him in my mind. His voice was very commanding and he handled himself very well. Guardian, PFR, and Bride had decided that we would not play until we got paid. We thought that if three bands joined together that the promoter would come up with the money. It worked and right before we were to go onto stage one of the organizers entered our dressing room with Bill and counted out our money. It made us feel a little better however this festival was really sad. There was so much confusion that I could not see that God was being represented at all. We decided to do our regular show with me preaching between tunes and during parts of songs that we called free. It was blistering hot, California was setting some type of Summer heat record this day, and luckily, for us we only had a 45-minute set. When we came off stage I passed Patrick the bassist for PFR who looked really bummed and all he said when I passed him was "Steve Baker" and he rolled his eyes and twisted his face slightly. I couldn't imagine what he meant. Soon it was evident. Steve was being thrown out of the festival for coming to the aid of my wife. It seemed there was a man in the audience with a "watersoaker" water rifle-blasting people. The water kept hitting my wife. Sharon and Steve, were standing together watching our set. Sharon had asked the man several times to stop with the water. When he ignored her request, Steve marched up the bleachers to have a word with him. As Steve got within a couple of feet, the man pulled the trigger blasting Steve directly in the face. Steve quickly snatched the gun out of the man's hands and tossed it away. That seemed to be the end of that until security for the festival came and apprehended Steve. They claimed a woman was struck in the leg with the toy water gun and was cut. Steve asked to see the women but the security would not take him there. They merely said that he was being thrown out of the festival. Back stage after our set I also found out that PFR had been penalized for Steve's actions. The promoter of the show decided that since Steve represented PFR that he was not going to allow them to play their set unless they gave back all of the honorarium. PFR wanting to play gave back their performance money and Steve was ejected from the grounds. We stayed to sell merchandise which was miserable. I did however have the chance to speak with Robert Sweet who had a Stryper booth at the event. He was very friendly and it was nice to see him again.
The bidding game
When we returned, I was so happy to get out of California I just wanted to put this trip behind us and hope that the following week in IL, and up at the New Union in Minneapolis would turn out better. Steve Baker called me mid week to report that both Word records and Benson had thrown their hat into the pile wanting us to sign a new record deal with them. This made everything the more interesting. People were reading reviews on the record and the reviews were good. The Syndicate Magazine who had done an interview with me months before the release of the record finally printed the interview and review of the record. David Jenison the record reviewer said in his review, "the album is the best display of Bride's talent that we have ever seen. While their spiritual lyrics will keep the Epics and Atlantic of the world at arms reach, Scarecrow Messiah will obviously-and deservedly-become another huge hit in Christian music." I felt like David had said the obvious. I knew we would never be accepted by the world unless we agreed to play by their rules and agree to their terms. I was not willing to compromise anything about my ministry for the wolves and vultures of this world. Troy and I hoped that one of the Christian companies who had secular distribution would be smart enough to see the selling potential of a band like ours in the secular market and take a real stab at it. We felt even a Christian record company with limited secular distribution could raise our record sells considerably. Since Troy and I were still feeling uneasy about Steve Baker taking over the managerial duties of the band we called him on the phone and conducted a conference call. Troy grilled Steve for about an hour and a half on what Steve could do for us as a manager. What was the duties of a manager? I'm sure Steve felt he were on trial but Troy wanted to relieve the gut feeling that we both had. We now knew that Word records was not interested in signing us. They said something about down sizing the label. Now it was down to Benson and this was the area where Steve felt like he could help
Michael Betts the president of Rugged records was now hot on our trail. After our phone conversation with Steve, he was off to Europe with PFR, so he would be out of the loop for the next week or so. Michael Betts was trying to sell me the idea of Bride signing to his label. His was a small unknown label however he claimed to be a label for the artist claiming that he knew how it was to be an artist since he had come out of the band Neon Cross from California. He even wanted to fly me to California to meet with him. He was being endorsed heavily by the folks at Heaven's Metal. Charles and Doug both had mentioned Rugged Records to me and I was open to the possibilities if they existed but then again what could a beginning label do for us? I felt it was time for Bride to refocus and in some ways start over but we wanted to start big. I didn't mind to fly to California for a couple of days I could add it to my frequent flyer miles but Troy seemed uninterested. What to do? "So many possibilities but what path?"
We had the trip to Alaska to take our mind off the lower 48. We played two shows in Palmer at the state fair. The response was good however the crowds were low. One boy who attended the show had traveled two hundred miles to see us. He had worked two weeks chopping wood to be able to afford to get into the fair. All of this we found out after we had left the fair. Our host a couple named Paul and Kim were overly gracious giving free items from their Christian book store and even buying a couple of expensive meals for us. They gave us free reign of their home and became out tour guide on the couple of free days we had after the shows at the fair. We were lucky enough to walk on a glacier. Steve our bassist and I venturing further than anyone else did. We went out at a dangerous distance and were told later that it was a foolish thing to do. Coming back to the rest of the group I slipped and fell about 5 feet down into a crevice busting my shin. I lived. We did some deep see fishing for halibut where we caught about a dozen fish. Sharon caught the largest at about 50 pounds. Three type of halibut shakers, thumpers, and if their big enough shooters. Alaska was more spectacular than the films I had watched on t.v. with its snow capped mountains, wild life, and fresh air. We encountered a moose along the roadside (which Troy got too close for comfort to), gray whales in a large river, even a hump back out on the sea. The most eventful part of the trip was the food and soda fight between Jerry and Michelle in the close quarters of a van full of people. I documented the thirty-minute free for all on videotape. It was originally provoked by a verbal attack by Jerry. We all got the worst end of it when the soda Jerry was drinking was viciously shaken and maliciously opened and like machine gun fire, we all were hit. Alaska could bring out the worst in people I guess but over all it had to one the most beautiful place, we had ever visited.
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