Chapter 27

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Some have called Bride a dark cloud in the Christian Industry. These are folks who refuse to admit that we have evolved according to God's purpose, evolving with popular music. Others have accused Bride of conforming to popular sounds and trends thus compromising the original style and sound. Both of these observations cannot be true. We will admit and accept the accusations of being a dark cloud. It normally does not rain on a sunny day. The dark clouds gather rain to water the earth. If people gather under the dark cloud, they will receive nourishment. There have been many one-dimensional groups over the years. The fear of change can stagnate and prevent growth in a band. "If you hear one of their albums you have heard them all."

One of my friends over the years called me the Jim Morrison of Christian music. I think he was implying that I spoke from the heart, shared my convictions, and told it like I saw it. Many people both conservative and liberal felt my boldness to proclaim my faith was a bit much at times.

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:15 "And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made [them] other five talents. And likewise he that [had received] two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, [there] thou hast [that is] thine. His lord answered and said unto him, [Thou] wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not

strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and [then] at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give [it] unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have

abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."

Faithfulness is rewarded. Faith is something not yet seen. Bride has indeed invested by faith into the Kingdom of God. Bride enjoys the adventure and challenge of rediscovering ourselves and learning to depend on God even more with each album.

John 12:25 "He who loves his life will loose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

In this situation, my interpretation of this scripture is this…{I hate what I can accomplish on my own strength. I hate my own personal goals, desires and wants. I love what God can do through me by his Holy Spirit when I depend solely upon him for inspiration.}

God's orchestration has kept Bride making records throughout the years. Revelations 15:3 "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

I seldom question God as to why he sent me down certain roads but I always ask him to give me a peace and an understanding of the situation.

So rest assure that no matter what style of music Bride writes and records in the future it will reflect the move of God's Spirit in our lives. 1 Timothy 4:9-10 " This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."

So, Oddities was released. It seemed as though Bride was no longer being labeled a metal band. After Drop we did amp things up with a heavier sound on The Jesus Experience but Oddities was not going to convince anyone that Bride had returned to its metal roots.


The Phantom Tollbooth reviewed the CD as follows: Right up front on Oddities, an emcee declares, "Under the big top - its Bride!" This latest release from the hard-music heroes Bride continues on the path laid by such records as Drop and Scarecrow Messiah, with just a squirt of Live to Die on top. But on Oddities, which was produced by Dino and John Elefante, Bride's speed metal history rears its head just a few times, mostly from Dale Thomson's microphone.

The name Oddities threw me when I first heard it. I thought it was another of the latest popular craze, a collection of B sides and rarities, but it is not. It's all new material - well crafted new material! Oddities, the name, speaks of Christians being odd men out, in that we are a peculiar people, people who do not follow the world's philosophies and trends. That makes us Christians oddities.

This record may take a few listens to catch up to, but the music on Oddities is superb. Bride is still at the front of the pack of other rock bands. Dale has an exemplary rock and roll voice, and, wow, can he use it! He has a set of lungs and a scream like no one else these days. On Oddities, he uses that scream sparingly, and thus wisely. He sings with passion at the right moments, and with tenderness when the music is tender. The diversity of music on this record calls for Dale to stretch in both directions as he sings with conviction on so many topics.

Although Dale has never compromised his strong words, now, more than ever, the focus seems to be on the lyrics. Some of the song titles are "I Found God," "Spirit," "God's Human Oddities," "Under the Blood," and "Restore Me." These new songs are well written, even deeply written, with scripture references recognizably seeded throughout.

Troy Thomson's guitar work is also diverse. Heavy and down tuned, then alternative and flowing. New bassist Lawrence Bishop, with drummer Jerry McBroom, keep a driving low end pace under the brothers Thomson's masterful rock sensibilities. Troy's music is always moving and beautifully played.

Don't feel odd about buying another Bride record. They keep beating the odds and putting out worthy music. Odd, isn't it? This band of God's oddities has made a deep and strong album. In that sense, Bride's Oddities is not odd at all, oddly enough.

By Tony LaFianza (12/6/98)

We received a 4 ½ out of 5 Star rating from christian Headbangers and screamers rejoice: your soundtrack for life has arrived. Keeping the dwindling flame of Hard Rock/Metal fresh and alive is one of Christian Music's longest-standing bands of the "modern Christian" era. Why are they still around when so many of their fellow Metal bands have fallen out of the spotlight? Let's see if we can find out.

Could it be their relentlessly hard sounds, which have never lost their edge in 15 years of ministry? Or maybe it's the rising excellence of their lyrics. The lyrics of Bride are a true oddity (no pun intended): Bride is less interested in turning a clever phrase, or deciding how to say something, than they are in what they really want to say. This lends an original honesty and meatiness (is that a word?) to their lyrics. I didn't find a single cliché anywhere. At thirteen tracks, if you're a metalhead, you won't find a better way to get your money's worth (and get spiritually fed at the same time) than Oddities. (End quote)

The fans did enjoy Oddities but Bride was still searching as to where we fit in. Metal was fading, rock was a broad term, and all of these happy bands were touring non-stop with 50 style dancing and horn sections. Most festivals were not interested in having a band like Bride any longer. The face of Christian rock was changing and we could not afford the face lift.

Time past and our touring was dismal at best. Oddities had not helped Bride to resurface and all we were hearing about was these new bands especially the ska and punk groups.

In 1998, the band played almost 50 shows. About 21 dates was a tour with an REX band called Rocketboy. The tour was booked solid but the shows were not promoted very well. In 1999 the band played about 40 shows and the crowds were getting smaller.

I was at the boiling point of frustration and venting on anyone and everyone I could. I was taking lots of supplements and lifting more weights. I was very angry and depressed and the band now basically was afraid of me. I remember Jerry telling me that he was afraid at anytime while driving in the van that I could just go off and kill everyone in the van. His remarks were not unwarranted.

At the time I wanted a piece of everyone. I was so wrong for driving the band members away and setting such a barbaric example while preaching Jesus to the lost. There were times that I would be so depressed, fatigued, and frustrated that I truly wanted to just get out on stage and vent through the aggression of the music. While the band was performing I would be really angry at times. When it was time to present the Word the anger would subside and the Lord always used me. This was not God's perfect plan nor what He willed for me. Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee.

I wasn't able at this time to get my mind focussed on the Lord until I opened the Word to minister and then the inner conflict and frustrations would subside. I knew it was God who created the fruit of my lips Isaiah 9:6. As the Word begin to come forth the tribulations of this world and the troubled would simply vanish. Phl 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Oddities nor The Jesus Experience had sold very well and we still to this day blame the sales reps who were not on top of filling orders after the initial rush. We got reports back that there was many returns and that the sales people had dropped the ball in pumping the album up like they should have.

Gary Randall was the President of Organic Records. Since we were not getting much information from Dino or anyone else at the label for that matter, I thought I should go directly to the top. Gary had been gracious enough in the past to take my phone calls concerning other things. When Gary picked up the call I explained to him our frustrations and that I felt as though I was "getting the runaround" because no one at the label seemed to have to clear up some contradictions and help us understand the current situation. I figure Gary would be sympathetic and try to at least smooth things over, over say let me get back to you with your questions or concerns, but Gary did just the opposite. He screamed into the phone with a very angry voice. He pleaded the case of the label as a business who was working hard to promote Bride and exhausting every resource they had. He had taken great offense to the term "runaround" and vented on me for 10 minutes. He came to Dinos defense and the defense of others who were on the payroll at the label.

Uncharacteristically I said nothing and took the blows. In my frame of mind, I truly wanted at this point to fly to Oregon where Organic was based and shove the contract we had signed right down his throat. As he went off on me, I was thinking many things.

First, if he did have respect for the band and the work that we did he most certainly would not be giving me an ear full when I as an artist on his label had gone to him looking for sound advice and answers.

Secondly I was thinking, no one yells at me like this, not because I was Dale Thompson Christian Rock Star but because I was a power lifter and boxer and my flesh wanted to dismantle this guy. I knew face to face he would be less enthusiastic to yell at the top of his lungs.

Thirdly, the Christ in me which kept my flesh under control through this tongue lashing ordeal saw into Randall's heart and nothing lined up. In other words his Spirit did not bear witness with my Spirit and I became even more concerned about this label called Organic and all associated with it.

After this verbal assault, I told the guys in the band what had happened. They all agreed that this label was using us as some sort of tax write off with no long term vision or commitment and we agreed that they did not take us serious nor had we won their respect. They were treating us as if we were some rookie band with no experience, no track record and as if we were guilty of something. It might be time to look somewhere else.

It was getting nearer to recording another CD for Organic and I put in a phone call to Dino who finally took my phone call, he said that we would be under way very soon. We were not looking forward to doing another album with them because we felt as though everyone associated with the label had lost interest in the band. At first I guess we seemed like a trophy piece now the novelty was wearing off. Dino called me a few days later and said that the label was not interested in doing another Bride album. Dino gave no reason nor did he personally seem upset. This was the guy that we had put a lot of trust in and who claimed at one time he really believed in us. I immediately asked to be released from Organic and it was just as quickly granted. I got a letter in the mail which basically read "YOU ARE FREE."

Without writing all of the details; After Oddities Steve came back into the band for a short while. With things nothing like the glory days of old, Jerry and Steve both decided to leave the band to pursue their own project the ZOObabies.

Steve was tired of flying from place to place and facing diminishing crowds. Steve also wanted to play heavier than Bride. I remember being sad, hurt and confused by their departure. Our last show together just happened to be an out door event July 17 1999 in Louisville KY. Hitting the last note of that show seemed to really slam the book shut on this era of Bride. I looked around the stage as Jerry stood up from behind his drum kit thinking "wow, it's over, what a run." I looked across at Steve who was slipping his bass strap from over his head. I gave both the guys an embrace with solemnity in the air we all went our different ways. I will never forget the empty feeling and the lump in my throat when we hit our last note together as a band. Jerry had been with us for 11 years. All of the animosity that had built up inside of me left the instant I gave Jerry and Steve a hug goodbye. As we left the stage for the last time together I looked back at the stage, the small crowd that we had played to for the last time. I really felt alone.

I had found out even before their departure that they had actually teamed up with Rik Foley and was thinking of carrying on a band with him. I knew that Rik was far too unreliable to trust. I was shown a promo photo of the Zoobabies and there was Rik in the mix. This angered me. I had found out while coming back from one of our last concerts together. As I remember it, Doug Lucas was driving the van that Troy and I were in and Steve and Jerry were in the second van. At the time, I wanted to stop the van and fire them on the spot. Throw them from the vehicle and make them walk the couple of hundred miles home. Troy became the rational one and said let's not worry about it.

For the next few shows, I pretended not to know their plan. Eventually I decided to let them know that I knew their plan. I had a T-shirt printed up and wore it beneath my normal stage shirt. The shirt said something like "Where's Rik?" Plus I had screened the promo shot of Jerry, Steve, and Rik which I had seen. In the middle of the set I took off the stage shirt revealing the Rik T-shirt. Steve looked surprised, Jerry just laughed about.

By this time, I knew they would not stay much longer. Bride had been running on fumes and they were not into the band anymore. It showed at our live performances and for the first time in years, I just plain didn't feel like the heavy weight champ of the world any more. Now they were gone, what would become of Bride?

Troy and I never really discussed how the actual breakup of the band affected us personally. We went right back to work building the band from scratch.

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