Wow…I feel like I’m walking into a house (pardon the pun) I haven’t seen in a while. As much as I’d like to see the rest, I think I’ll explore the attic. You know, the place we store our history. A while back on our Facebook page (salvationshousemusic) I asked for some blog topics, just a little something to stir up the creativity. One of our wise guy friends wanted a biology paper, which I may still undertake. I’m a little busy doing the problems my son’s math teacher gave him. Another suggestion was how we came to be Salvation’s House. Fair warning: this is written from my own perspective, and may not be the perspective of any of the other guys in the group.
It was really a spiritual crisis for me. I had forgotten that the closer we get to being in the center of God’s will, the harder the devil makes it to stay there. So not only did I leave the band, I felt like I had to leave the church too, and I dragged my family with me. I just wanted to sing and minister. I felt like I had something to say, that I could connect with people in a way that said, “I’m no better or worse than you. We’re all in this mess together, and God isn’t done with us yet.” So one February day as I pulled into from work, a white van pulled in next to me. It was Dean.
I knew Dean from a show the church band had done the summer before. We were short a bass player, and Dean filled in. He did a great job, and after that was interested in doing things together. Come over, sing some songs…things like that. I am not sure I have ever told anyone this, but I didn’t because I’m really uncomfortable being around people I don’t know or know very little. Being up on stage is different. There’s a barrier there, a space that is usually off limits to crowds. That is my personal space bubble. Not quite stage fright, exactly, but close. I’ve learned to put it aside somewhat but I feel it creeping in from time to time.
Dean asked me if I would be interested in singing. In a band. With him. I told him without hesitation, “It’s all I want to do.” He said a guy he knew had just left his band and was looking to put something together. He was thinking about asking another guy, but wasn’t sure if he’d do it, and that they were having a breakfast in a few weeks to talk it over. I told him to let me know. I went inside and told my wife. I remember being excited at the prospect, but reminded myself not to get too excited.
Later that month there was a meeting at a local church with a bunch of musicians to talk over a summer showcase. Dean was there as well, and said the guy he told me about would be coming as well. I kept checking the door as people arrived, seeing familiar faces but no one who approached Dean and introduced himself. Tim walked in a bit later. I knew Tim from my own church, where he filled in on drums from time to time. I asked what he was doing there, and he said he came to see Dean and see what was going on. It took me a minute to realize the guy dean had been talking about was Tim. Tim said the breakfast had been postponed a few times, but was happening at Denny’s the next morning. The guy who might throw in with us would be there. It was sort of like a blind date, to see if there would be chemistry.
Dean picked me up and we drank coffee and chatted about what we might talk about. When we showed up and walked in, we sat in a circular booth in the back with Gerry. He was hopped up on caffeine, God and too many sugar packets, it seemed like. He was big, muscular and just…there. I admit to being a little scared of him. As it would happen, we got along just fine. Gerry and I are more alike than any other combination of guys in the band. Same sense of humor, both Navy veterans, and both incredibly good looking. I put that in there to see if you were still paying attention.
We all agreed on what we wanted to do. We wanted to establish a band as a music ministry that wasn’t just using the stage as a pulpit, it wasn’t just singing and playing songs. We wanted to be actively making a difference in people’s lives. We wanted to be about something. We wanted to rock. The four of us laughed, ate and talked until we noticed the waitress giving us looks. It wasn’t busy, it was lunchtime! We had spent 4 hours in there making a ruckus, and she clearly thought it was time for us to go.
We picked five songs to learn and reconvened in Dean’s basement the following Thursday to practice. It was loud, hard to hear, and perfect. The other guys had practiced the songs. I never knew it could be like this. I don’t mean disrespect to the church bands at all. I mean to say that I took it so seriously, cared so much, that no one could have possibly lived up to my standard. But here were three guys who felt the same way.
I guess you know the rest of the story. Dean wrote “Walk the Walk,” we played our first live show that summer, more songs were written, we played out more, recorded our CD (still out there for sake on iTunes), opened for our friends The Wrecking, played Soulfest, will play SoulJam this spring, and most importantly, helped fill buses full of food for the local food pantry, raised money for a Christian school and touched people who needed to hear the message in a way that mattered to them.
We’re still here, even though we took much of the winter off to rest and spend time with our families. We are back at it, practicing, retooling the setlist, trying to be more deliberate about what we play, to better allow God to move people. We hope He opens doors for us this year as He did last. We are renewed, refreshed and committed to showing Him as the reason for what we do, and the answer for what’s wrong in this world.