Monday, May 30, 2011

'Lies' or why I haven't been to church regularly for 6 months. Part 1

The song 'Lies' will be the first track of the CD.  I was inspired by Avenged Sevenfold's song 'Nightmare' and wanted to do something I thought could be similar.  I took some pieces from the Tempered Steel concert intro we would do and added to it.  The music was the most difficult part of the song.  Once I put together the verse chord pattern, it took the words to fit in the chorus.  Unfortunately, the words came to us all too easily.  Every Christian has had to deal with the leadership of the church.  Every Christian has had to deal with the fallout of lying church leaders.  We all have had to explain how we felt about people like Jim Baker or Jimmy Swaggart, but many deal with good people doing bad things at a local level.

My church had a new pastor for about a year at the time we did this song.  At that time, he started making some changes and doing things that were not popular.  We lost a large percent of the congregation with the decisions made by the leadership.  Our pastor tries to say the church puts families first, then they close the preschool.  They say family first, but when the singer had marriage problems, he was asked to leave.  It's probable that things would have ended up the same, but it didn't look like they were putting family first.  It looked like a side was chosen.  Part of the words are directly from his experience.   The leaders of the church had said how much they missed him, but didn't show any Christian attitude.  They will still ask me how he's doing when I show up, but no one has ever called to ask him directly.

Next time, the rest of the words and hopefully some healing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Possible Covers: Who Am I by Casting Crowns & Noah Found Grace by ?

Just about every band plays cover songs when they start.  Some bands have big hits doing cover songs.  Cover songs are usually easier to do since the hard part is done for you.  We started out recording 25 or so cover songs and printed a few CD's to give to friends.  You can't sell cover songs without a mechanical license.  We purchased mechanical licenses for Jim Croce's 'You Don't Mess Around With Jim' and 'Hey Joe' for the Barn Dawgs' Off The Leash CD.  At that time, we purchased license to sell 500 copies as that was the minimum.  Now you can purchase as low as 20 CD sales, but there is a different one for downloads that must be renewed each year.  Depending on the cost, the cover songs might change.  I think it would be cool if someone from Casting Crowns heard our version and gave me an opinion.  If they see this on Facebook, who knows?  If you are looking to purchase a mechanical license, I'd go to and use the Harry Fox Agency.  It's easy to look up songs and do it all online.

'Who Am I' is a great song.  We play it like Judas Priest wrote the song.  It's heavier and guitar oriented, but we keep the vocals in front as the words are the best thing about the song.  We added a solo section and the song goes almost 7 minutes.  We recorded several Casting Crowns songs to do for special music at church.  I use a backtrack CD with bass and rhythm guitar.  We do the vocal and lead live until we can find a drummer.

'Noah Found Grace' is a song that I heard on Tennessee Ernie Ford's 'Spirituals' album when I was a little guy listening to my Grandparents record collection.  That song has stuck with me for 40 years and when I started the Christian Metal music, I knew I had to play it.  I never found a chord chart for it, so I made it a blues based 1-4-5 progression.  I'm hoping that it will be in the public domain so I don't have to pay for a mechanical license and just use it.  I couldn't find it on the Harry Fox website, but I'll keep looking on other websites.  Don't need lawyers contacting me looking for money.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Song 13 is now "Children Of God"

After the last songwriting session, the words came together for 'Children of God'.  We may change the title since there is currently another song titled 'Children of God' by the band Third Day.  That may not make a difference.  There are a bunch of songs called 'Blessed be the Name', so similar titles mean nothing.  The tune came from putting a drum patch that we don't use much and jamming with it.  It was a jazz fusion patch and we tend to use the rock/heavy patches.

The songs verses are about Noah, Abraham, and David.  God worked through them, even though they worried and sinned.  We are all the children of God and he can work through us if he could work through murders and doubters.  It also reminds that he will correct us if we get too far away from His will.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Soldier (of God)

I was trying to channel my inner Megadeth while writing the music of 'Soldier'.  I had been listening to the song 'Angry Again' and we used to play 'Peace Sells' during my days in Tempered Steel.  The song refers to the battle all Christians have against Satan.  The Bible mentions the armor that we put on through reading and knowing the Word.  It is hard to love those who hate us for being Christians, but the Bible says that we have to love our enemy.  We also need to remember that giving is part of the Christian life.  It takes a long time to grow up in Christ.

I tried to give the solo a different feel.  My buddy A.C. Nakagawa reminded me that changing the scales can give a different feel to the music.  I added a little harmonic minor to my solo for some flavor.  I need to remember to insert some different scales than just the basic blues to the music so all the songs don't sound the same.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Running (Back to Jesus)

This song is about how we seem to always tend to stray our own way as Christians.  When everything starts getting to you and you 'can't get out of bed', there is always One who will get you through.  Sometimes we need that extra help to just get through another day and we need to lean on Christ.  That's when we come 'Running' back to Jesus.

The music for the song was inspired by part of an old Tempered Steel song.  My old buddy Don had a little riff that we had made into a song called 'Night Fighter'.  I took that riff and reinvented it into the main part of 'Running' and added a different chorus pattern and a bridge.  Court found John Folgerty not guilty of plagiarizing himself, so it must be OK, right?