Yesterday I partook in a yearly ritual known as the 'Fairfield Summer Celebration Party'. Kevin and Karen Fairfield are friends of ours and many others through church, their dental practice, their kids basebal teams, etc. Always a large and varied cuisine with all the Faygo Red Pop I can Guzzle.
One of it's many features is a band I like to call "Dr. Kevin and the Feelgoods". He's a doctor. Get it? "They call him doctor feelgood, he's the one who makes you feel alright". Motley Crue? Get it?
Anyway we don't rehearse much but we can play some above mediocre versions of classic rock and blues standards. It's fun for us and not that painful for everybody else. This year the band played a short set and then my Dad and I played a set of our acoustic music. So in a way I got to wear both my acoustic and electric hats in the same day.
While the band was rehearsing I had this sense of 'this is not what I'm best at'. It's the truth, I'm not. I listen to a lot of classic rock, but it's just not what I do best. Classic rock requires you to big and bold and bombastic. I'm reserved and regulated. I like to create soundscapes and find just the right part for a song. I can shred and play over the top solos but I don't really care to.
I finally decided that I missed playing Praise and Worship music (P&W from here). Playing P&W is much more like I am. There's more dynamics the lyrics aren't about sex and most importantly, I'm not the star of the show. I played in a power trio for about a month, but it folded because I couldn't be a frontman, not in the way a rock band needs.
You may or may not know what's happened lately with me and my home church. Let's just say that I haven't really been in the mood to play P&W for a while. I had a real disstaste in my mouth for a few months that I didn't think was going away. So this is what psycologists call progress.
About 5 years ago my best friend and I sat across a table in the cafeteria.
Jesse - "You need to lead worship at the Encounter"
Me - "I've never lead worship before and you want me to lead the service for a whole year?"
Jesse - "You do it all the time, it's in your nature"
He was refering to the fact that I played in every worship band on campus. Two chapel bands and the schools traveling band. He's right it is in my nature. I did it at the Fairfields party, in fact.
One of the songs my Dad and I play every chance we get is called 'the Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead'. It's Jesus lifestory told very simply
Peter Pumpkinhead was too good
Had him nailed to a chunk of wood
He died grinning on live TV
Hanging there he looked a lot like you And an awful lot like me!
But he made to many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hurray for Peter Pumpkinhead (Andy Partridge)
It's my favorite song that we play, right next to U2's 'when love comes to town'. "I was there when they crucified my Lord / I held the scabard as the soldier drew his sword / I threw the dice when they pierced his side / But I've seen love conquer the great divide"
They both point to Christ in a way that's poetic, honest and accurate. In other words, they're worship. And that's what I miss about playing worship music.
Dan - "You want to solo on this one Chris?"
Me - "No, I'm good."