Stick To Your Guns

Once upon a time, in the far-off land of Southern Ontario, a young 20-year-old musician (that would be me) left his “secular” band and – within a matter of days – was recruited by a Christian rock band. There were promises of being the opening act (and possible touring) with another up-and-coming Christian band, which for me felt like confirmation that I’d made the right decision.

After a whirl-wind month of rehearsals – including the panic-stricken feeling, just days before the Big Gig, that there was no way wed be ready in time – we gave an adrenaline-infused performance. The audience responded enthusiastically. The band we hoped to tour with gave us wide grins and thumbs-up. Whew – we did it!

We decided to throw ourselves a party the next night to celebrate. I doubt most of us got much sleep after the concert – the adrenaline rush was significant. But when I arrived at the party the following evening, things went quickly into some unexpected directions.

Our keyboard player showed up with a car crammed full of alcohol. I enjoy a pint of good ale as much as the next musician, but our keyboardist drove a behemoth-sized land yacht, and the trunk was packed-t0-the-rafters with canned beer. We were all of legal age, but it was clear that getting [insert favorite slang for inebriation here] was the intent.

When I expressed my reservations about a Christian band getting “hammered” (the trendy phrase in 1982), I wasn’t prepared for the response I got – or the vehemence. Disturbed, I went looking for our band leader, the guitarist who’d recruited me. He was in the basement, trying to get to “second base” with our female sound tech.

I’d just left my so-called “secular” band – playing “worldly” music in “worldly” places where people got drunk and then fornicated in the bushes (according to church legend) — so I wasn’t impressed to find the same dynamics in a “Christian” band. Frankly, my secular band mates had higher standards.

I spoke up at our next rehearsal, and was again met with hostile “who do you think you are?” defensiveness. And so ended my first foray into Christian Contemporary Music.

Fast forward one week, to a truly comical cluster of phone calls, proving yet again that God is faithful and also has a great sense of humor:

The telephone rang while I was in mid-explanation to my sister about why I’d quit the band. I answered and discovered the caller was a drummer from a different Christian band. Theyd heard (a) about my other band, (b) my reasons for quitting, and therefore, (c) wanted me to audition for their band — that evening. 

“Do you know a good singer?” the drummer asked. Well, yes, but she was in the band I’d just left, and I didn’t feel right about trying to “steal” her … The drummer said he understood and gave me the address of their rehearsal space.

I hung up and began explaining to my incredulous sister what had just happened. The phone interrupted a second time. “Hold that thought,” I said to my sister. This’ll just take a second.

The caller was the afore-mentioned singer. “I’ve been thinking about what you said at our last rehearsal. I phoned the guitarist a few minutes ago and quit the band. I really enjoy working with you. If you hear of another opportunity, please let me know.”

“We’ve got an audition in 30 minutes,” I replied. “I’ll pick you up in 10.”

We passed the audition, and a third phone call came two weeks later – from the band we’d hoped to open for. Word had reached their ears about my quitting the first band – and why. They wanted to adopt my new band as their opening act.

A few observations from that comical but encouraging season:

  1. My tendency to dig my heels in and stand my ground goes back a long way. And it can (often) be contrary to popular opinion, even among Christians.
  2. You often pay a price for having convictions and standing by them.
  3. Not every situation has a happy ending, but you stick to your guns — regardless of the cost — because it’s the right thing to do.
  4. God sees. And it’s His opinion that matters.

Popular Posts