Jamie Soles is a musician out of Alberta Canada. He is probably best known for forging his own style of original Christian family music. Some of his albums are geared more toward kids, and some toward adults, and they all demonstrate artistic integrity and uncompromising Biblical lyrics. He has samples of his music available at his website, and of course you can also purchase it there, which I recommend you do.
Jamie was kind enough to take some time and answer a few questions for the Working Class blog. So enjoy the interview, and then go to his site and get some great music for the young and the old.
WC: Where did you grow up?
JS: I grew up in northern British Columbia. I was born in a city called Prince George, and spent most of my growing up years in a village called Chetwynd, which is 60 miles west of Dawson Creek, the mile 0 point of the Alaska Highway.
WC: How far is where you live now from the US border? Do you come to the US often?
JS: My home is now in Grande Prairie, Alberta, a city of about 50,000 on the 56th parallel. It takes an 11 hour drive straight south to reach the Canadian/American border. These days I seem to be making it into the States 2 or 3 times a year, sometimes for concerts, sometimes for church related events.
WC: Tell us more about your first recording efforts. What were your first studio experiences like?
JS: I had aspired from the time I was 13 to be a recording artist, but the opportunity never arose until I was 22 to actually go into the studio and record something. Our band, Damascus Road, was pretty popular among the young in our town, and we felt we needed to get some of our songs recorded. If I recall rightly, one of our guys informed us in June that he had booked the studio for 2 days in September. Not knowing what it was like in the studio, and thinking too highly of ourselves, we agreed, even though we knew that we would not be able to get together to practice until the week beforethe studio was booked. We recorded 10 songs in a total of 9 hours and made our first cassette. I remember being absolutely sick of that album by the time it came out, but the kids in town weren't. They bought 76 of them at our first concert after they arrived...
WC: Back in the day you had a band named Damascus Road. Reflecting back on those days, what were some of the victories and pitfalls from that era?
JS: The Lord used this time in my life to solidify my pursuit of music as a career. I was writing songs and they seemed to be well received by those around me, which only encouraged me. Working in close proximity with others in the band showed up a number of problems, though, where wisdom was needed and all we had were short tempers.
WC: Having been raised in a Christian home, tell us about the pull that the"rock and roll lifestyle" had in your life, if any. Did you have tendencies toward rebellion, or was that not really an issue for you?
JS: The Rock-and-Roll lifestyle really had no pull on me, even as a youngster. It seemed quite obvious to me that if I pursued immorality I could not pursue Christ at the same time, and immorality seemed to me to be the constant companion of all these rock stars. No thanks. I remember a time when I was 9 or 10 when my older siblings came home from a youth conference (Bob Larson was the speaker) and burned all their rock records. I didn't miss them till I was a mature adult, then I wished they hadn't...:-) I never went through a period of teen-age rebellion, and neither did any of my siblings. It seems to me that there was a firm expectation on my father's part that his children would grow up to love and serve the Lord, and the Lord honored his faith.
WC: Tell us more about the means that were used in bringing you to"reformed" theology. For example: Books, people, personal study?
JS: I suppose that there is some level of "Oh, yeah?" in me. When I reflect on how a number of the major changes in my beliefs have come about, I see that they happened when I was being told by someone "Don't look there!" or "You can't read THAT book!" or "Don't listen to HIM!". These tactics backfire with me quite often. I was working at the Christian bookstore one day, when a shipment came in of a new book from Hal Lindsey. I was quite familiar with him already (and by this time, thankfully, the Lord had given me the sense to take the Hal Lindseys’ of the world with a grain of salt), but I thought I had best familiarize myself with his book if I was going to sell it. It was called "Road to the Holocaust", subtitled "The Dominion Theology movement among us could lead us, and Israel, to disaster!" "What is Dominion Theology?" said I, so I looked in his book to find out. Lo and behold, some of the promoters of this nefarious theology were sitting on our shelves, and I picked up one called "The Reduction of Christianity" by Gary DeMar and Peter Leithart, and began to read for myself what was so bad about these guys. I never even made it through the foreword before I knew that these fellows were onto something that Lindsey was missing. They expounded several things in that book; covenant theology, Calvinism, presupposition apologetics, theonomy, and most importantly to my need at the time, postmillennialism. My conundrum was fixed. 1 Cor. 15:58 really was true, I could work for the upbuilding of God's kingdom in full assurance of faith without having to worry that all my labor was going against God's plans. God was sovereign not only over men but over history as well, and He would certainly accomplish all that He set out to do. What a relief! It was like being born again, again!
Suddenly, Calvinism made perfectly good sense to me, now that I had a framework for it. If God can choose the ends for all of history and accomplish them, then surely He can do so for men on an individual basis as well. If He can do it on a grand scale, surely He can do it on a small scale!This was my entrance into things "reformed". It came thru a change in eschatology for me, from pre-mil to post-mil.
WC: St Anne’s Pub interviewed you awhile back. What kind of response did you receive from that? Were you able to reach more people as a result?
JS: That St. Anne’s Pub interview opened up hundreds of doors for me. I found myself shipping CDs to states I had never shipped to before. It really seemed to resonate with people who want to fill their children's bones with Bible.
WC: Do you have any plans for more mid-week traveling/performing when your children get older?
JC: Ideally, if I could fly to Roanoke (or Dallas, or Sacramento, etc) on a Monday, and do 3 or 4 well-planned concerts in the area, and be home by Friday, and do this once a month all year round, I could probably make a living for my family doing this. I don't have any well formulated plans for doing this yet, but I am working toward it. I am actively looking for opportunities to sing in churches and classical Christian schools. If you know of any that want to host me, let me know!
WC: If someone said to you "Modern popular music has it all wrong", and then asked you how to set it all right, what would your advice be?
JS: "Modern popular music has it all wrong." I'm not sure I would agree that it's got it ALL wrong. But I am also not at all sure that I am the man to say how to fix what IS wrong with it. I do think there is something seriously wrong with most modern North Americans taste buds. Musicians can make their noise as ugly as they are, but people buy it by the millions. So where is the real problem? I listened to and watched a youtube presentation of a skit recently, done to a song called "Everything", by Lifehouse. Great skit! But the song that formed the backbone of the skit was almost unintelligible. I had to read the words in order to understand it, the singer mumbled so badly. But lo and behold, there were 3.8 million hits on that skit. I must be missing something. Maybe it is the frequency in my hearing where all the lyrics were... Oh, singer! Stop mumbling! Enunciate your words! Get out of bed at least 1 hour before you appear for a public performance! Shave! Wash your face! Practice!
WC: You seem to play almost exclusively acoustic, is that correct? What type of guitar equipment did you use for the rockier sounds on Weight ofGlory for example?
JS: I am an acoustic guitar guy. On Weight Of Glory I borrowed my friends electric for a few songs. But most of my instrumentation is done by my most excellent studio guy, Craig Learmont. He is one of those fellows who can play everything, and do it much better than you. He makes me sound better than I do, believe me.
WC: If you could sit down and talk music with any musician, past or present, who would it be and why?
JS: If I could sit down with any musician, past or present, I think I would choose David. I'd get him to sing the Psalms for me as they were originally done, then I could take what I heard and record it, and be hailed as an innovative genius (Or run out of town as a troublemaker, as the case may be)... We have been trying to figure out how to sing the psalms in the church for the last 500 years, and I don't think we have come as close as we think we have.
WC: Have you ever attended one of those big Christian music festivals, like Creation Fest or Cornerstone? If so, what was your impression?
JS: In 1985 I went to a festival in Seattle and watched White Heart, and DeGarmo & Key, and some others. It was all very cool as far as I was concerned. I went home and practiced screaming till I could sing as high as that guy from White Heart could... In 1988 I played on a side stage at a festival (I think it was a pre-Creation-Fest festival) in Pennsylvania. I was staying with a Mennonite pastor who, as it turned out, was the fellow who shut off the power at a Larry Norman concert at a previous Creation Fest because he was offended by his lyrics. Left Larry dark and quiet... He didn't do the same to me, so I felt good about my lyrics...
WC: The traditional evangelical church usually had a choir. Many reformed churches currently do not for various reasons. Where do you stand in the role of a traditional church choir?
JS: I have not given a lot of thought to the propriety of a church choir. I think it would be a helpful thing for teaching the congregation new songs, and that it should be in the back of the sanctuary, to support the congregation.
WC: For the young people out there that are trying to learn guitar, and do not have access to an experienced teacher, what would your advice be to them? Are there certain musicians they should imitate to help them along,or should they steer clear of that method?
JS: There are plenty of online courses on how to play guitar that are now available. If someone is a self-starter they could follow this course; if not, you really need a regular teacher... I never took lessons myself. I learned by fooling with the guitar, and when I saw someone play something on it, I watched their hands and then did what I saw them do. I would experiment with sounds. I would play 1 string, then play with my finger on the next string until I found a note that harmonized with the first one. When I found a harmony note, I would try to find another one on the next string that would work with both the others. I found lots of chords that way, but I didn't learn what they were until I had some music theory under my belt.
WC: Technology is changing the way we live at an incredible rate. In 2003, one of my interview questions to Kevin Kribs was "Downloading music from the internet: for or against?". Of course at the time I was referring to the ill-defined music swapping practices that were in full swing. Today that question seems ambiguous. The music industry seems to be slowly catching up with the technology, and many artists are making their music available to download for a fee. Where do you think this all ends up? For example, will the traditional 12-15 song album become obsolete, being replaced by a steady release of online singles? Do you see this "music distribution revolution" if you will, helping the little guy, or will artists still need a big record company to really make themselves heard?
JS: I don't think that full length CDs are going to go out of style anytime soon, but there is definitely a trend toward downloading the music from the net. I do think this will help the little guy and make life difficult for the big music corporation. And the guys that will really do well are the ones who will figure out how to connect the little guy with the most customers. CDBABY is a great example, as far as I can tell. The future of music distribution is in the hands of guys like these.
WC: I have this theory that many young men embrace loud and heavy music because they are generally wired for a call to go, work, fight, protect,etc. The theory goes there is some sort of relationship forged between the fire within young men and the aggressive nature of heavy music. How do you approach the question of “how heavy is too heavy"? Lyrical content aside, how do we formulate a Biblical filter through which to judge the spirit of the sound itself?
JS: I don't have much to say about this. Music needs to be done skillfully and well, whatever the genre. If there are vocals, they need to be heard clearly, and if they aren't, the singer may as well shut up, especially if the band purports to be Christian. Music needs to match with lyrics. Music can, I think, be ugly on purpose, but it needs to be called what it is, and it should not be singing a song of praise or a wedding song or a lullaby if it is ugly. Ugly themes and ugly music go well together, but screaming in angry voices with dissonant instruments should stay away from the corporate worship of God. Heavy music should not be regarded as all-occasion music, as so often happens among those who love it. I know several young men who love this sort of music, and have no inclination whatsoever to go, work, fight, protect, etc. Perhaps it serves that function in their fantasies, but they need to grow up and put off their fantasies. The aggressive nature of the music, if not guided by godly principle in other areas of life, will produce rapists and other power mongers, but it won't produce godliness.
WC: In your bio on your website you mentioned an effort to turn away from subjective "this is how I feel" songs and toward "this is what God has done" kinds of songs. Please elaborate on this for us, and tell us why there is such a need for this right now.
JS: I think there is a great need for "this-is-what-God-has-done" songs, because there is a great dearth of knowledge in the church about what God has actually done. I have been in churches where they boasted about being "people of the Book", but they had very little knowledge of the contents of that Book. You could tell them story after story of things that happened in the Bible, but they had never heard of them before. I have been in churches which were good at catechism, but were still lousy at Bible stories. I mean, how can a boy grow up to be a man and not know the tale of Ehud? There are a lot of stories in the Bible, and a lot of ways to approach each story that will make it come to life. I have been making songs about these stories for years, but there needs to be an army of songwriters doing what I am doing if we are ever going to cover the whole Bible. And this goes not only for story songs but for psalms. There needs to be a bunch of artists who will catch the vision to see the church singing the psalms again with all her might. There are not enough of them yet. Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to us, and send us a whole bunch more.
WC: Lastly, please share with us a few blessings in your life that you would like to give God praise and thanks for.
JS: I thank God for my home church, Christ Covenant Church in Grande Prairie, AB. Canada (CREC) www.christcovenant.ca There is much good that the Lord is doing among us and for us, in our worship and in our body life. I thank God for my wife Val, and my children Timbrel, Zion, Judah, Jewel, Jonathan, Eden, Chloe, and Joseph. They fill my house with music and laughter. God has done great things for me, and I am glad.
David and his wife recently moved to the central Virginia area so that he could attend a local law school. I have a good deal of respect for this gracious homeschool graduate, and I always seem to benefit from his stimulating conversation and vast range of knowledge. Enjoy:
WC: Where did you grow up?
DH: I grew up in a lovely climate of suburban sprawl, Honda mini-vans, and Williamsburgesque architecture known as Dunwoody, Ga, just north of Atlanta.
WC: What was life like before moving to Virginia? What type of work did you do?
DH: I have lived with in Atlanta for 22 years of my life. I managed to stay a student and live with my parents for 21 of those years. Most of the time I was allotted fell to the ordinary travail of schoolwork, household chores, and what-not. From the time I was twelve years old I was privileged to be able to work in lawn maintenance with my brothers, up until my wife and I moved here to Virginia.
Speaking of which, the fall after my senior year (November 2004), Elisabeth Frey blessed me with her hand in matrimony. During the months preceding and the months following, since I was not inhibited by school, I was able to devote myself to a workload of three jobs: lawn care, construction, and file clerk in a law office.
To sum up, my existence before Virginia was a primarily blue-collar one lived out in the midst of white-collar yuppie-dom.
WC: You've told me that George Grant's Gileskirk Curriculum was part of your education growing up. Tell us a little bit about that curriculum, as well as two things you learned from it that particularly stand out to you even now.
DH: Simply put, the educational model of the Trivium was an outstanding framework in which to learn. Franklin Classical school is carrying on the tradition of the rigorous education of Augustine. Gileskirk provides a strong Liberal Arts survey of the disciplines of University, from literature to science.
The two things I learned in my studies through Dr. Grant:
1) We have been the recipients of an amazing inheritance of art, literature, music, science, and history, a tradition of excellence. And all of this is the result of Christendom.
a. To know and realize this is to experience a paradigm shift that significantly refines one’s understanding and one’s calling (at least, it did mine).
b. Such an understanding then serves to break through this shell of Americanized, post-enlightenment Christianity, which has relegated the Church to the margins of life and a position of general and cultural irrelevance.
2) History is not simply a collection of dates and dead guys, to be put into the dungeons of memory, rather it is a system of models, good and bad, to be sifted through and pored over in the pursuit of true understanding based on or presupposed by Faith (“Credo ut intelligam;” I believe that I may understand).
WC: Tell us about your decision to move to Virginia.
DH: It was difficult to leave one’s family and friends and travel many miles to attend a law school that was unaccredited and virtually unknown. In the end it can only be chalked up to God’s providence.
Speaking of which, the decision to move was not comprised of only negative elements. Providence Church was definitely a large contributing factor in our plans. Knowing when we moved that we would be able to join a community of believers every Sunday with such passion and accountability for the purity of the Gospel was a great relief as a husband and future father. On top of that, Virginia is beautiful state, and the heart of the confederacy. One cannot argue with that.
WC: There is a lot of negative baggage associated with the profession of practicing law. In your opinion, what are the main reasons for this reputation?
DH: Reputation is different than character. Character is what/who you are. Reputation is what others think you are. Character is obviously the more important of the two since it influences reputation. To the question you ask, the reputation is in many times deserved (as far as lawyer jokes and disparagement of the law community).
As to why the character of the legal profession is connoted as negatively as it is, I think the answer is that like any other profession, it is tainted by bad characters (lawyers). Like humanity in general, people are bad and people are attorneys. It just so happens that these particular bad people know how to maximize other’s misery because they know the rules of America, and they play by them. We all know that there are as many bad bakers, butchers and candlestick makers as there are bad lawyers, we call to mind the lawyers more often because as a profession they charge more and generally deal with significant (and sometimes bitter) conflicts in a person’s or business’ existence.
Character and reputation interplay when a skilled lawyer or judge with a bad character pulls the carpet out from underneath an inferior lawyer or judge with a good character, the profession's reputation is harmed. Similarly, when a good lawyer represents a bad person, the lawyer's character becomes irrelevant to most onlookers. If the good lawyer wins for their bad client, even though they were doing their job, the good lawyer's good character seems bad to half-witted or ignorant critics. The primary example of this is Johnny Cochran. This is why it is so chiefly important for the lawyers with good character to make themselves the better lawyers so that the system is more fairly balanced. (As a friend of mine liked to ask: Is it Johnny Cochran's fault that a criminal was set free, or is it the prosecution's fault that they failed in matching Cochran's finesse and expertise?); thus, the need for Liberty School of Law.
WC: Just beneath the surface of all of our modern hot button social issues lies the real contention- the question of moral absolutes. Please comment on the question of the existence of moral absolutes, as well as how law relates to a fixed point vs. relativism.
DH: Moral absolutes exist. The other side of this debate is not presented by people who do not believe in moral absolutes, but people who claim not to believe in them. People who claim not to believe in moral absolutes are shoe-gazing. They have been socialized by modern pop culture to believe that self gratification is they tickets to a fulfilling life. This makes sense, as we understand that the unregenerate hates God and, consequently, hates anything reflective of God, including absolutes. This position (since it is based on the self) is as weak as wet plaster (Why waste time deliberating over something that is known by all to be true, but is denied by some because it conflicts with their pleasure-seeking agenda?)
This discussion is a distraction to the real issue in our society.
When faced with a moral dilemma, humans have a tendency to take the easy road. One day in Torts class we were given a hypothetical which led to the question of whether it is better to allow ten people to die in a train, or to "flip the switch" on the track to divert the train to safety, and allow the train to kill five people that are standing on the track, we get flustered. The question is a trick question because both results are bad. In both situations you were faced with the decision and in each you end up walking away with guilt. To overcome the guilt imposed upon you from this contrived situation, you might listen to a professor who talks about the free-love romantic Rousseau-ian perspective that claims there is essentially no right or wrong. That way, you are allowed to make a subjective decision and not feel guilty about it. How quaint.
How arrogant! Surely this is arrogance; to think that you have the ability to decide, subjectively, who should die and who shouldn’t? Is such a thought/act outside the laws of nature and nature’s God?
Moral absolutes exist because the universe cannot function without such a natural law. Just as there are absolutes in physics, there are absolutes in morals. The physical fabric in our universe is as impenetrable as the moral fabric. People may claim that they have broken through the moral fabric by openly participating in adulterous orgies or what-have-you, but no matter how proliferated and mainstream such a practice becomes, it will always be immoral. The irony is that anyone who claims that they "broke" the moral fabric acknowledges that one exists. They are not about to leave out the elephant in the living room when calculating renovations.
As to the nature of law, there is God's eternal law and then there is man's particular and changing law. God's law is absolute absolutely. The law of man has become relative (e.g. prostitutes will not be charged in San Francisco but will in Pratt City, Alabama) but God's law does not change. We are to follow the heart of God regardless of what man may say.
WC: Please comment on the statement: "You can't legislate morality"
DH: You can't legislate the way people feel (heart), but you can legislate the way people act. So, it is immoral to cheat on your wife. It is also immoral to think about cheating on your wife. As a lawgiver, one you can prevent (or deter), the other you have no control over. Why would you make a law that has no possibility of being enforced? To do so is bad lawmaking. In doing so, you only succeed in undermining your own authority. To do so is bad leadership.
Morality appears to be currently legislated (i.e. speed limits, tax code, and murder), though thick-skulled modernists prefer to think otherwise. The law must exist to make things more moral (Aquinas). The debated question is: whose morals? As Christians, we are called to take dominion of ourselves, our families, our churches, our communities and then our government, in that order. As these things happen, man's legislation will improve drastically.
WC: What type of law do you anticipate practicing?
DH: God only knows at this point. Criminal law (maybe something in the vein of district attorney) and property law are big draws for me right now. But, this is said with minimal knowledge of the other fields and that windy factor of God’s Providence.
If I have to sue, I want to sue bad people.
WC: Tell us about some of the materials, or case studies, you have come into at law school so far - has there been anything that has surprised you or caught you off guard in studying America's legal system?
DH: Law is currently governed by a philosophy of law known as positivist law basically interpreted to mean that whatever is established as law is, de facto, law. This philosophy of law was what was used by the Nazis (defense) at Nuremburg in international criminal law – the Nazis tried to justify their crimes by stating they were merely soldiers following orders; that is, they were following the law of military action and could not possibly be prosecuted for their obedience. The prosecution appealed to natural law: there are some things that cannot not be known. Which philosophy of law is primarily used now in America? That’s right, positivism. Nothing changed. The same way we justify the practice and operation of law in our community (and abortion doctors justify their vile deeds) was the same justification used to authenticate Nazi war atrocities. That is quite shocking to me.
WC: Tell us about the relationship between the culture of a particular people- that is, the overarching religious beliefs of a particular people, and their system of law. What has history taught us about that correlation?
DH: Religion precedes law- in every society (Christian = U.S.; Muslim = Mid-East; Confucianism = Far-East).
History has shown that both religious non-Christian and Christian countries are capable of oppression via the law. America, however, is different. A Christ-centered America is tolerant of all of those who abide by the law; those who do not, face punishment. America is currently a sad example of a Christian nation, but it would still appear to have a severely Christian founding. And by God's grace and the current system of law, America is sustained as the most comfortable (I hesitate saying “best”) place to live and worship. An "a-religious" society would crumble this current state.
Christ lives, reigns, and works through His Church. When the Catholic Church (meant in the creedal sense) owns up to its mission… well, that is a big condition… so I will stop there.
WC: G.K. Chesterton said, "If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments.” Please comment on his statement.
DH: The Ten Commandments are apodictic, meaning they express the nature of the law by choosing the chief example of a particular breach or transgression. For example, the commandment regarding adultery should serve to heed us from breaching any covenant with one another. The same goes for the rest. When we cannot follow the summary, we will need the whole tome of laws. Jesus expresses the Ten Commandments as the summary of the entire work of Scripture, which He culled down further into the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22:36-40. If we as a country would follow the letter and spirit of the Ten Commandments, we would not need the millions of other pages.
The Ten Commandments are therefore a basis for the rules in our society. Our ancestors (Judaism) and our founding fathers followed them because they had faith in God. Likewise, we must also have faith in God to follow them truly. But essentially, we can be governed by the Ten Commandments all day long.
WC: In the state of Virginia, there is a seatbelt law. Everyone operating or riding in a motor vehicle must, by law, wear their seatbelt. (Then the state uses taxpayer money to put up signs that read "Click It or Ticket"...) I find it difficult to appreciate laws that serve only to "protect me from myself". What are your thoughts on the "protect people from themselves" laws vs. personal liberty?
DH: Some people are insensitive to common sense and so reckless that they pose a danger to their community. The possibility that such a person could hurt themselves, leaving those who depend and/or care about them in a state of dependency upon the government or out of luck is such a likely one with the way our centralized system is set up (e.g. welfare), the government has an interest to protect. That coupled with the pet theory that insurance lobbies pack a lot of clout on Capital Hill, would explain the reach of such laws. Now, one still has the personal liberty to not wear a belt. He can simply pay the fine, move somewhere where there is no enforcement... or he can be above reproach and drive 2 mph under. The question, I guess, would be do we have a right to do as we please on the roadways?
Now, using taxpayer dollars to put up signs is a horse of a different color. Seemingly, it would be better for every road in America to be privatized and such signs as are deemed profitable should be paid for by the companies/communities that own the roads.
WC: We are seeing vehicle safety and security services becoming available, such as GM's OnStar service, which can do everything from unlocking your cars doors remotely, to giving you directions, to notifying emergency services after you're in an accident. One such option allows the company to find your car using a global positioning satellite system if you report it as stolen. Do you think our culture will continue to move in the direction of technological conveniences that also have a potential to erode privacy? Or is there no reason for concern?
DH: Yes, we as a society will continue to move in the direction of technological conveniences that will also have a potential to erode privacy. We seem to have agreed that whatever has been and will be paid for so-called technological progress is acceptable. If that price is the diminution of privacy and increase of government power and secrecy, then so be it. We all hold cell-phones that serve as a beacon that conveys to the world of satellite realm our current position on earth. Had we known that 20 years ago, would we have continued to buy up land and put cell-towers on it, make odds and ends to cell to burgeoning teenagers across the land? You bet. Why? Money has devalued any sense of privacy we once might have possessed.
Being a hopeful Postmillennialist, I hope there is no reason for concern, and that our society does not overreact to privacy "concerns" surrounding such devices. Overreaction = rashly expecting and lobbying for the government to handle the situation. Privacy is something we, the society, should protect for ourselves if we value it as highly as we appear to, judging from the talking heads on the news (i.e. - If you do not like the technology, don't buy it).
WC: Tell us who you believe were the 2 most influential men of the 20th century? For better or worse, they etched the two deepest marks in the last century.
DH: 1) Winston Churchill, for standing contra mundum, fighting a wall of lethargic and cowardly opinions to resist the ideology of the Nazis and save Western Civilization. This feat, coupled with his talents as a writer, painter, statesman, orator, etc. makes him one of the leading figures of the 20th century.
2) Men on the Princeton Review Board-- To paraphrase Neil Postman: The greatest impact on the way people in the 20th century gauge intelligence has been made by “quiet men in grey suits in a suburb of New York City called Princeton, New Jersey.” It was here that they developed, tested, and promoted what has come to be known as the standardized test (e.g. IQ tests, SATs, GREs). These tests have ostensibly redefined what we mean by learning, and have resulted in the restructuring of curriculum in all levels of education so that students can do well on the tests, thereby validating a school board and stimulating patrons, gifts, and grants.
Notable Mentions: Ronald Reagan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ludwig Von Mises, Guglielmo Marconi, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Pope John Paul II.
WC: When you are not toting around really big law books, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What type of music do you enjoy?
DH: To me, a well-spent hour involves a book, my wife, and rooibos tea. If there were two hours available, you could change that to lemonade, tennis rackets and tennis balls, and a court with a nice shady tree beside it.
Musically, anything from Bob Dylan to Sufjan Stevens to J.S. Bach to Derek Webb to Nick Drake to P.I. Tchaikovsky to Leadbelly to The Magnetic Fields to Joanna Newsom to Jack White to Cole Porter to The Arcade Fire to Johnny Cash to Rachmaninoff. The great music of the world is the stuff with soul. Such music has the power to stop you in your thoughts and make you wish you had written that song.
WC: Lastly please tell us of a few blessings in your life that you would like to give God praise and thanks for.
DH: Generally: where does one start? I rejoice that God has placed me at this point, in this time, immortal till the work is done.
Specifically: I am blessed by the weekly ability/privilege to gather together with my wife in a fellowship of believers to worship the only true God. I am blessed to have ears to hear, eyes to see, a nose to smell, tongue to taste, and hands to feel the magnificent creation all about us. I am blessed by a wife whose many great abilities and good work are effected “by being what she is,” which, in the words of Chesterton, circumvents the crude requirement for polygamy (“So long as you have one good wife you are sure to have a spiritual harem”).
Kevin Kribs (far right) played guitar on Outer Circle's 1998 self titled album on Tooth and Nail Records.
Outer Circle members:
Matt Bailey - Bass
Kevin Kribs - Guitar
Jesse Nason - Drums
Mark Salomon - Vocals
The sound, the lyrics, and the spirit of this album made the band an instant favorite. Kevin Kribs gives the Working Class some insight into the inner circle:
WC: Where did you grow up?
KK: I grew up right here in Orange County, CA. I like it here, but I can't afford to buy a house.
WC: When did you begin playing guitar, and who were your first influences?
KK: I got my first real guitar when I was in tenth grade. That was 1986. I had been getting into punk at that time also. Minor Threat has always been my biggest influence as far as playing guitar goes.
WC: What tapes were always playing in your stereo in the late eighties? Remember, you're under oath.
KK: I was into punk mostly. I loved Uniform Choice, Verbal Assault, RKL, D.R.I., Ill Repute, Misfits, Social Distortion, Social Unrest,The Germs, etc. etc. etc. I listened to some other music too like The Alarm. I was really into them.
WC: Who was the first Christian band you respected musically?
KK: There was not a whole lot around back then. I liked the Altar Boys alot, but I have to say that The Crucified was my favorite. The first time I heard them I couldn't believe it. Christian bands didn't sound like that.
WC: How did you meet the other guys in Outer Circle, and how did the band come together?
KK: I got to know Mark from going to his shows and hanging out with him afterward. He had moved from Madera down to Huntington Beach a few miles from my house after the Crucified broke up. I had been in a band called Fluffy, but had quit that band. I tried going back to this other band I had been in, practiced with them for a while, but was informed that they wanted to "try out" another guitar player. I got bored and asked Mark if he wanted to start doing something. I was happy he said yes. Matt and Jesse had been attending the same church I went to for a while. They had been playing in a different band together and I asked them if they wanted to play in a punk band. So, we started writing music. Mark would come and listen to what we had written, choose which songs he liked, and we'd go from there. Playing punk was new for Matt & Jesse, and it showed with the songs Matt wrote. He became discouraged and quit the band. Jesse and I kept jamming and I kept writing songs. Mark had kept in contact with Jeff Bellew, who I think was sharing an apartment with Dirk Lemmenes. So, the plan was for the two of them to join the band. The problem was, they couldn't practice on the night that Jesse could practice. So, unfortunately, Jesse was told we were getting a new drummer. Although I was kind of bummed about that, I was looking at being in a band with two former Crucified members, and one former Focused member. The new drummer was named Jeremy Moffett. We got together for our first practice together and jammed a couple of punk tunes. One written by Jeff, the other by me. I thought it went pretty well. I guess Dirk and Jeff started talking about it and wanted to play something different. More serious. So we agreed that the band would change format. At that time, I was married with one daughter and another on the way. I had a stable job that I wasn't going to quit so I could go out on tour. To make it short, this was not going to work with the band. So, Stavesacre was formed. I think Mark felt really bad about it. He told me that we could finish what we had started and record the punk stuff we had been working on. I called Jesse up, and we started practicing again. After a while, we asked Matt if he wanted to come back. He agreed and the rest is history.
WC: How did Outer Circle get its name?
KK: I think Mark came up with the name Outer Circle. We didn't have a name until after we signed with Tooth & Nail. We had a couple of failed names. Broken Man was one. Anything B.S.P. was another. We had settled on the name Solid State until Mark found out that it was going be a new label for T&N [Tooth and Nail Records]. The coincidence was bizzare.
WC: What is your favorite song on the Outer Circle album?
KK: It's hard for me to choose just one, so I'll give you my top three in no paticular order. Dirty Hands, Separ8 St8, and It Must Be Wonderful.
WC: In the summer of 2002, Outer Circle played Cornerstone for the first time. What kind of impact, if any, did playing such a huge festival have on you?
KK: It was overall a great experience for me. Believe it or not, that was Outer Circle's first real show. (We had played a three song show to a weak crowd back in 1995). It was great to have a crowd that was really into it. I wasn't too happy with the amp I had to use. It had no gain whatsoever, so my guitar had no distortion. Someone had told me that the amp I was going to use was a Marshall JCM2000, so I didn't bring any pedals. I was in shock, but I think it went ok. The other downfall was that MXPX was playing the main stage when our show was starting. We may have lost a few people to their set. But, I did hear that one guy cried because he forgot about O.C. when he was at the MXPX show.
WC: Are you playing in any other bands right now?
WC: What kind of distortion/sound do you normally prefer to get out of your guitar?
KK: There's nothing like a Marshall, but I'm not too particular.
WC: What music are you listening to right now?
KK: I don't listen to alot of new music. I've been listening to Fugazi and Radiohead this week. I listen to the radio, but I am usually not tempted to buy most of the music they play.
WC: With the speed of entertainment today, people tend to consume one trend after another. MTV pushes a new trend almost every day. How do you feel this affects the kind of music we hear?
KK: This kind of goes with my last answer. We're expected to buy what they shove down our throats. Most of the time, I don't like the taste.
WC: If you could meet any musician, past or present, who would it be?
KK: I think Bono would be great to meet. Mike Ness actually came into my work the other day. I thought that was pretty cool to talk to him.
WC: Do you know why fast music is so much better than slow music?
KK: I couldn't really describe why I like fast music. I wouldn't even say that it is better than slow music. I just like it.
WC: Do you have a prediction on what the next big commercial music trend will be? (Ex. ska, boy band, rapcore)
KK: Whatever the record companies pay the radio stations to play. The kids will gobble it up.
WC: Downloading music from the internet- for or against?
KK: Personally, I don't mind downloading music. I think if you like what you download, you should buy the cd to support the band. If you don't like what you download, don't buy the cd. I wouldn't ban downloads, I would reduce the cost of a cd. They don't cost alot to make.
WC: When I record my album, if I pay airfare, will you come east and play guitar on it?
KK: I think that would be a waste of money. I'm not a very good guitar player. I don't know.
WC: Lastly, please tell us of a couple blessings in your life for which you want to give God praise and thanks for.
KK: I thank God for not giving me the friends I prayed for in school. I thank God for not giving me the girlfriend I asked for. I thank God for His plan for my life. My wife and kids. My family and friends. I have a great deal to give thanks for. Peace.