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At this point in the book, I wanted to break briefly and explain a few things.
The book at this point may seem very out of control, rebellious, defiant, etc. There seems to be more negativity than positiveness. It may even appear to some that have read up to this point that there is very little about Christ within these first few chapters. The reason is this; the Lord was doing a great work in our lives. We were being seasoned, tested, tried and proven for the greater work which lay ahead.
It is very important for me to be as truthful in these accounts as I can be in order for you to see how the Lord can take a group of guys and mold them and shape them into vessels for His purpose. Yes, we were very rebellious and independent in many ways. However, God our Father never let go of us through all of this, and He alone would receive the glory due to His name. We were justified because we had received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. However, our Father was doing an incredible work of pruning our lives, which we really were not aware of until later years. This pruning I call being sanctified and brought into maturity, being made complete in Him, perfecting Holiness in our very being.
Once again, Bride was bass-less and broken. We began the relentless task of auditioning bass players. We had friends out, unknowns out and wannabes out. It seemed like we gave everybody in the Louisville area an audition, but no one had the style or personality that we were looking for. We were about to make a terrible mistake out of desperation when Vince Brinly brought us a name of a friend of his that he claimed was a dynamite player.
He introduced me to Rik Foley, a six foot, five inch tall long hair who had been playing in bands all over town. Rik was already a fan of Bride. He had seen us play out a few times and even knew our tunes. We immediately arranged a rehearsal. (We never auditioned Jerry, feeling as though he was such a good drummer that we were auditioning for him.) Everyone else went through the same auditioning process, and now it was Rik's turn.
Rik arrived at Jerry's house where we rehearsed in the basement. He went right for the amp, which I thought was a great sign. He plugged in, flicked the switch and was ready to play. I don't ever remember Rik looking up through the whole audition or saying very much, but he was very well rehearsed and knew everything we shot at him. Everything went well, considering that we forced Rik to try songs that he had never played before. I made my mind up just a couple of songs into the rehearsal, and Troy and Jerry agreed.
Days later, we received a call from Dez Dickerson, an exec at Star Song music group. Star Song was a record label out of Nashville. Dez mentioned that Star Song had just purchased Refuge Music Group's metal library of music, which included our three albums. He said that they wanted to do a "Best of Bride" record, and wanted to know if we had a couple of new tunes that we would like to record for the album. I told him that we did have a couple of tunes that we would love to showcase for possible consideration of a new record deal.
Not too long after that initial conversation, we were in Nashville under the producing eye of Steve Griffith. Star Song did not like Petri's work and wanted to bring a new sound to the band. We had no objections. We were a little burnt with Petri, too. We picked the songs "Everybody knows my name" and "Same ol' Sinner." We knew these two songs were very good, and if any song could re-ignite our fire it would be these two songs.
Steve did not like the structure of "Sinner" and wanted to change it around a bit. I believe our original version was better, but I did not want to make waves and wanted to appear to Star Song like a easygoing band. In two and a half days we had successfully recorded and mixed both songs. I did not attend the mixes, and when I got them in the mail I despised them from the first listen. I could not believe that Steve could be proud of what he had done to these songs. There was no one really to complain to because Star Song, at this point, had no intention of signing us to any further records. They had made their money back on us from the purchase of our catalog from Refuge, and, in their mind, they would never have to deal with us again. Little did they or we know what was about to happen.
"Everybody knows my name" was a huge success on the radio, staying at the # 1 spot on Christian metal radio for 12 weeks. "Same Ol' Sinner" went # 1 and stayed for 10 weeks. I was blown away. Star Song had no answers for this sudden approval of Bride in the industry. The press began to write apologetic, great reviews on the two new songs, and now Star Song was faced with a dilemma. What to do with us now?
No other record company was beating our door down that I knew of, so we were somewhat still at the mercy of Star Song. With an outcry from our fans who had never given up on us, Star Song had to take us serious. Even if this was a fluke, they felt they needed to get involved. We had now charted ... in more ways than one. I had wondered if a "best of" record was appropriate this early in our career, and my wonderment was answered by the press.
Cutting Edge magazine, with writer Marc Carpenter at the pen, wrote in issue #83 ... "I must say in the case of Bride, probably the most underrated metal band, it was a great idea." Unfortunately, he too did not like the song Hell No. However, this "Best of" project, called "End of the Age," was put together upon request from the fans and consisted of THEIR favorite songs. This record would be like a come back record for us. This Prophecy magazine
wrote: "... For those of you who haven't really given Bride a listen, now is your time to be impressed."
Cross Fire magazine must have had a telescope peering in to our band. Kevin miller wrote: "Sadly enough, this may be Bride's last release on Pure Metal if their contract doesn't get renewed." Then, writing about "End of the Age," he continued: "Believe me, you've got to hear this stuff: it's awesome." He was somehow predicting the end. It was the end of an age, and we had no idea it would be the beginning of a new one. David Gould called it correctly by writing: "With Bride's constantly creative lyrics, strong musicians that rock hard and newly found production standards, thiscould be the turning point to a wider acceptance if they keep Christ central."
I was still working for my dad as a electrician, Troy was working in civilian management at Fort Knox army base, and Jerry was still working where we had found him at the music store. A lot of people had never taken us seriously. They thought that we had already dissolved and had disappeared. Even though we were not successful we were feeling more important to the over all scene of things. Scott hall, our first bass player, was now made manager, and he now was involved with promotion of the band and getting all that bothersome paper work organized. As quickly as we had been elevated in our status, it all came crashing down.
Jerry informed us that, since "Bride was making no money from Bride," he was forced to split his time between us and a working blues band in town, which he would receive a healthy salary from. I knew how important it was for us to rehearse as often as possible because I felt our big break was right around the corner. I was offended by being made second. I did not consider Jerry's financial situation with house payment and a family, I just felt like Jerry lost his faith in my ability to get us where we wanted to go. I had told Jerry that if he could just hang in there a little while longer I knew things would get busy for us.
Jerry needed quick answers, but I had none. I immediately left his house and, on the way home, Troy and I stopped by a drummer friend of mine, Sean Mullins. Sean was a good drummer, and I did not want the band to fall victim to another set back, so I explained my situation to Sean and offered him Jerry's spot in the band. Sean acted a little despondent, as if he did not pay any attention to what was said, but he timidly agreed to give it a try. I left the door open for Jerry to return when he felt he could dedicate all of his musical talents to Bride. We had a lot of momentum at this time, and I did not want to lose any of it.
We began writing songs and meeting with the record company, who was discussing the possibilities of signing a multi-album deal. From the meeting we had with Dez Dickerson and Mike Kyle, we gathered that our new deal was being based on our accountability to a higher authority. Someone must have written a book about accountability and sold it hook line and sinker to the recording industry. This "accountability" which Star Song was preaching would mean that someone outside of the band would be our personal mentor. It would be someone who would take care of our personal struggles and problems and report them to the record company. Because of our jaded past with the press and our relationship with our former criminally minded record company, Star Song felt that we could be a time bomb waiting to blow, and they did not want to look bad if we decided to turn hostile. We basically were appalled by this line of thinking and refused to put any "guru" over us as a baby sitter. Either Star Song wanted the band as is, or not at all.
It was now time to exhibit our new songs for Star Song. Our rehearsals with Sean had gone fairly smooth, even though I felt as though Sean was a bit lazy. We accused him of playing like an old man. His mind set was not that of ours, and he was listening to very dark music away from Bride. We booked two shows at Louisville's Toy Tiger, a showcase club that we knew we could pack out. Dez and Mike from Star Song made the two-and-a-half-hour drive up, and there they were in the audience. Dez was very experienced in the clubs because of his past relationship and guitar work for Prince. However, Mike looked out of place and a little frightened by all the red necks and over-made waitresses.
We wanted to give them an impression that they would never forget, whether it was good or bad. It was our intention to be true in our performance, yet shock the pants off them. When we took the stage we came out like racehorses. We were wild and outrageous. We had their attention from note one. We even broke into cover tunes by the Cult, Bang Tango and Jane's Addiction. At the end of the show, Sean kicked his drum kit off the riser, and Rik began slamming his B.C. Rich on the floor. Troy, who was always less destructive, was doing his best "Jimmy Hendricks,"producing howling feedback sounds from his amp. I exited the stage to watch what was about to happen next.
Sean stood over his demolished drum kit with a lighter and lighter fluid. In seconds, flames were shooting off the drums, and Sean continued to pour the fuel to the fire. He was wearing a huge Billy Idol style cross and held it over the flames. (None of us even today know what he was trying to
say.) By this time, Rik's bass was scattered all over the club, and even the regulars at the club seemed shocked. We had outdone ourselves, and probably would never be able to play this room again.
When the end of the show came, we all knew we had been in rare form. Dez knew if he could take our faith in God, our aggressive stage antics, and somehow capture them on an album, he would have a hit. He informed me that he wanted to sign the band, and he would get a contract written up immediately. Dez also said that he liked Jerry in the band better than Sean. He wanted to know if there was anything we could do about it. I liked Sean, but I knew his rebellion could hurt the band. He was young and mischievous. He was influenced by some of his old friends, and this did worry me. At this point I wanted Jerry back, but had too much pride to ask him to return.
The deciding factor in Sean's future with the band came in Minneapolis, MN at the New Union. We flew into Minn. to below zero weather. The Union was a hot spot for Christian bands in the northwest, and Rik always dressed for hot weather. Shorts and a tank top were his wardrobe. We booked two shows there. Both shows were rough. We played old Bride songs and tried out some new ones on the crowd. After the second show, while Troy and I talked with the crowd, Rik and Sean had ventured up to our upstairs rooms on the third floor. Scott had made the trip with us, and he was anxious to head upstairs to get some sleep, but he hung with Troy and I. The night came to an end, and the three of us walked up to our rooms.
The three flights of stairs seemed like an eternity. When we swung open the door to the 4 bedroom apartment, a thick cloud of fog rolled out of the door. The fog took our breath. The windchill outside was 40 below, but we hurried to get the windows open to air the place out. Sean had discharged a fire extinguisher in the room, and Rik had done nothing to stop him. Other than choking to death, our eyes were burning. The fog left a thick film on everything. The walls, the floor, the tables, were now covered in black. We used towels to clean up the mess. The chemical in the air was on our cloths and in our noses. We were a week blowing the stuff out of our nasal passages.
We were three weeks away from recording Kinetic Faith, but my mind was made up. We must get Jerry back. I called Jerry when we returned, and he did not hesitate. He wanted back in he band and wanted to do this next record with us. Sean was upset that I had fired him, but I had heard through the grapevine that he was only using us to get on a record. That made me even more angry. If I would have had to look at Sean one more day I would have probably done something that would have sent me to jail.
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