Saturday, January 29, 2005

Wake up sleeper. Posted by Hello

Spiritual Snooze Alarms

It's amazing how easily we can get sidetracked by the trials of life. Whether it's a major crisis in our lives, or the annoying headache, the 5:30 traffic, and the unchangable fact that we're late to a meeting...again. Eternity is so real, God's love is so concrete, and yet...the moment is so consuming. James 4:14 reads, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." Shouldn't our minds be focused on the long term? The 401K is great, investing in the stock market isn't a bad idea...but when all those foundations crumble, what will be left? God and people. That's it. Where's your attention today? Are you more frustrated about your slow internet connection than you are about the fact that your next door neighbor is lost without a Savior?

Remember the disciples at the Mount of Olives right before Jesus' crucifixion? Christ asked them to pray, but moments later, they were fast asleep. We may think we're wide awake...but if our main concern is for the temporary things of this life, aren't we potentially out a spiritual sense? 1 Thessalonians 5:6 reminds us to stay alert: "So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. " We live in a spiritual world, and we have an enemy who longs to divert out attention from what really matters...even if it's as small as a headache.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Photographs of "Backstage Pass" (p1)

Today I thought it be interesting to give a little background behind the photos in the CD booklet of "Backstage Pass." The cover photo was taken in front of an old sewage pipe off of high street in Clintonville, OH. Leading up to the pipe (which is the black tunnel behind my face) are two cement enbankments. This is what I and other skateboarders once lovingly referred to as the "blood bowl." I haven't skateboarded in years, but I was a serious "boarder" in middle school and high school. Fittingly, my nickname used to be "Skater." I still have intentions of getting back into the sport one of these days, although I don't know that I could pull off the stunts I once executed so gracefully as a teenager. Anyway, Jeremy Slagle (photographer) and I thought it would be an appropriate location to take photos for an album entitled "Backstage Pass," as skateboarding used to be such a big part of my life. The title "Backstage Pass" has a double meaning...for one, the album is a more intimate look into my emotions and thoughts and two, it's a cry to be home with God, a "Backstage Pass" to the "meeting after the show" (heaven). I will give more details later when I cover the background of the song "Backstage Pass."

As you open the booklet (under the song "Pull Through"), you see a picture of me as a boy decked out in furry boots and a red starred cowboy hat. Yep, I was stylin'...that's fo sho'. This photograph was taken in France, as I lived there from age 1 1/2 to about 4. My parents were missionaries for many years...we returned to the states in 1980. I, unlike my brother and sister, was born in the states during furlow. In this picture, you will notice a number of small a boy, I was fascinated with vehicles.

If you turn the page, you come to the tune "Hurricane." This photo was taken in my basement and is an image of a zip disk which I used for transferring some files between the Mac in the basement and the PC on the second floor of my apartment. I use a Macintosh for recording and composing purposes, and I use a PC for web design.

Beside the lyrics to "Making of a Rock Star" is a photograph of my brother Joel and I, in our apartment in France. Notice the mom used to cut our hair. We were hipsters, real trend setters. My brother is holding a yellow race track. As kids, my brother and I used to perfectly line cars bumper to bumper along the molding of the long wooden hallway. So began my perfectionism. =) The caption to the lower right reads "Joel plays cars with me or helps me build things. The long hall is our race way." This is my mom's handwriting, a quote pulled from an old family photo album. Behind the words to "Making of a Rock Star" are some technical diagrams, taken from one of my synthesizer manuals.

Stay tuned for more background on the photos of "Backstage Pass." Also, a background on the song "Fooled" (track #7) is coming soon.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

This might be your grandfather on the way to school. Posted by Hello

I Used To Walk Barefoot, Uphill, And Backwards To School Every Day

Can somebody say freakin' cold? Welcome to Ohio. The snow glistens beautiful as I gaze out the window, but since my too-sled-stricken-to-care days have faded, I'm now more content to watch the brave little snow frontiersmen from my blanketed java-warmed sofa. Ok, enough with the imagery. You know it's cold when you bugers freeze, that's what I always say. =)

So what's new in music world, you ask? This has been an interesting week...maybe discouraging at times, but I can clearly see that God is trying to teach me some lessons. I worked a late job last Monday night (I started at 3am), and I've spent nearly a week trying to get my sleep patterns back in line. I have some doctor friends, and I don't know how they can handle those 24 hour shifts. I used to pull some all nighters in college, but something changed abruptly when I hit 25. You teenagers who laugh from your nocturnal pedestals...just you're turn is soon arriving.

Why was the week discouraging? Well, I think because my perspective was off again. I can be a control freak, and sometimes when "things aren't happening," I get a little concerned. A friend and I have been trying to make contact with a number of churches (for concert reasons), and few people have responded. I've been wondering, "God, if this is what you've called me to do, why can't I even get in the doors of some of these places? I mean, I'm ready to go...what's the hold up?" Again, I've had to step back and recommit my path to the Lord. His timing is perfect, and more than likely, He is working behind the scenes more dramatically than I could ever imagine.

We're all bombared daily with advertisement...on the tv and even in our unsurprisingly, most of us are pretty guarded and quick to turn down the unsolicited salesman. It's just a tough balance trying to "get the word out" without "promoting yourself" in subtle arrogance. I would love to be doing shows at various venues, but how will people know if I don't share my heart and my ministry ambitions? In talking with several friends, I've decided to try to meet these youth pastors, pastors, and ministry leaders individually...take them out for coffee and talk one on one. This will give them the opportunity to share their ministry vision, and it will also give me the chance to share my heart. Basically, the "cold calls/emails" haven't been terribly "successful" my friend put it..."an unknown guy named Matt is telling these people about an unknown guy named Marc." So, for those of who are praying for this ministry, please ask that God would give me patience and wisdom as I call and hopefully meet with folks of various churches and ministries. God has His plan and timing, and one of the worse things I can do is to attempt to microwave His slow cooker handiwork.

One other minor setback...I recently began the process of registering "Backstage Pass" with ASCAP (, but as it turns out, I went about it in the wrong way. I thought I was supposed to register as a writer...however, it would have been better had I instead set up a company as a publisher. As a writer, I would have to register every one of my songs individually...a major pain in the a publisher, I can put all my music under one umbrella...even instrumentals and future compositions. It's not a terribly big problem that I mistakebly signed up as a just brings about another time setback of potentially getting my songs on the radio. Not every radio station will require that I am an ASCAP (or BMI) member, but most will. I've been told it will take several weeks for everything to go through for my publisher's membership.

In the meantime, I am starting to create a special "only-for-radio stations" webpage which will contain audio downloads and additional information which they may find useful. I've been considering the idea of mailing out CD singles (with one or two songs), but the related expenses have caused me to strongly consider the alternate webpage idea. Besides, most radio stations end up transferring any music you give them on CD to their massive hard drives. Why not save them the work by posting high quality mp3s or even wav files to your website?

There are basically 4-5 songs I am considering for radio: Pull Through, Hurricane, After Everything, Making of a Rock Star, and A Thousand Gods. I will select specific songs for specific radio stations based on the stations' particular musical format. Sorry...this will be a private webpage, so those of who want to get the music for free, sorry. =( You can however download the songs from "Backstage Pass" for a minimal fee at

Enjoy the snow!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The blur of life. Posted by Hello

Savoring the Journey

We can spend our entire lives wondering what tomorrow holds, in the meantime, missing out on all the joyous nuances of today. I think I've had the wrong attitude recently. I've really been buying into this idea that contentment will find me when I reach a certain "settled" place in life. Personally, I'd love to be married someday and I'd also really like to be doing music fulltime, in one form or another. For so long, I've lived with this belief that I would discover peace when I found the right woman, or maybe when I finally landed the "perfect" job. These are all great blessings that we can enjoy, but nothing on this earth will really fulfill us in the deepest sense. Only a relationship with Christ can give us "stability." I'm reminded of a particular illustration. Have you ever riden down a highway while starred at the "green flags" on top of the cement medium? (Hopefully, you aren't doing this while driving) If you look directly out your side window, you will simply see a green blur, but if you gaze through the flags at a slight angle, you will see trees, houses, and other sites along the road. Sometimes, we live life "starring directly at the green flags" the other words, the "markers" in our lives. Markers are simply times of transition...what we often interpret as "arrival." Graduating from a college or getting engaged could be markers. Often, all we focus on are the markers, and we may very well be missing all the lessons, and even blessings God is trying to show us along the way.

I personally am pursuing music as a fulltime career/ministry, but I think this illustration goes for anybody. I may or may not end up in music fulltime. Regardless, God is more concerned about my heart and how I respond to His voice along this highway of life. Have you been starring at the green flags?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The cattle on a thousand hills. Posted by Hello

Registration Day

Well, I finally received my membership card from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers). Today, I began the registration process for "Backstage Pass" (on ASCAP's webpage I'm not sure how long the entire process takes, but I was told to check back in two days to see the status of the registration. I was quite surprised at the benefits which are offered to ASCAP insurance, life insurance, studio/tour/travel insurance, software and music store discounts...and much more. Many radio stations require that an artist's music is registered with either ASCAP or BMI. These companies pay royalties to the writers/publishers involved...and in my case, I'm both. Regardless, it is a very small amount of money...a little bit each time one of your songs is played. However, it opens a whole new door of possibilities of getting my songs on radio.

Have been working to set up some more shows. I'm really realizing the importance of prayer. As I mentioned before, the Lord was totally involved in last Thursday's chapel and concert. A lot of prayer went in that...not just from me, but many of my friends and family were praying as well. It's easier to complain and worry about things than to take them before the One who owns the "cattle on a thousand hills" (Ps 50:10). Today, I'm going to the park to walk and pray and then I'm heading to a coffee shop to hopefully finish up "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis. Great book. I recommend it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Beware of the industry. Posted by Hello

Beware of the Industry

It’s funny how often I’ve been cautioned about “The Industry.” “It’s so hard to break into the industry”…”These days, it’s about who you know”…”The Christian music industry is corrupt”…”Do you know what you’re getting into?”…”Record companies won’t even look at you if you don’t already have a following”…so let me ask all the lawyers, politicians, construction guys/gals, business men, and may I even say it, “ministry folk” out there…were you ever warned about the field you were going to? Were you continually discouraged to drop what you loved because other people had given your “calling” a bad name?

Let me start by saying this…I do know and have noticed that the entertainment industry is pretty twisted…I noticed that a long time ago. It’s often all about competition…even among Christian musicians…C.S. Lewis says it quite rightly that “pride is not about being good; it’s about being better.” (Mere Christianity) Believe me, the whole “Rock Star” attitude totally annoys me, and I pray I will never be so full of myself that I think I’m any better or any higher than anyone else. We’re all parts of the body of Christ, and every part is equally important. “Making of a Rock Star” is not about me…it’s about a concept/idea that I don’t want to be a part of. Anything we have is from God, so why play arrogant? Read this verse: “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” I Corinthians 4:7. I am a fool if I start putting people on pedestals, or sub-labeling them for what “type of gift” they’ve been given. Aren’t we all guilty of doing this? The silly thing about the music industry is how people are often either considered “gods” or “morons.” I’ve never heard of a kid being mocked for going to school to be an accountant…however, a kid going into music fulltime…especially as an entertainer…you’d better believe it. Let me explain.

Gods: (little g) Anyone who is afforded the opportunity of mass advertising (MTV, CCM magazine, etc.) is easily labeled as “successful”…yet the guy/gal who is just starting off in music is more often than not told to turn around and “go back to his/her day job.” I’m all about encouraging young Christian musicians because unfortunately, music is one of the highest accessed sources of theology these days. It seems like a lot of kids are quicker to believe what comes out of their mp3 player than what their parents or even youth pastor has to say. Sad, I know. Go to any high school and hang out for week. Tell me if you don’t catch that impression.

Morons: Now this is an extremely touchy subject. I think we all have to be wise with our resources, and I’m not going to tell any kid that he should drop college and go try to get on tour with Aerosmith. I personally went to college for communications, so that I can always have something to fall back on, if I just “can’t make a living” doing music. I think the “cast your bread on many waters” is a great illustration (Ecclesiastes 11:1)…talk to any investment counselor, and he will tell you the same thing…”don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” I often come back to this verse: “A man's mind plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9. There is nothing wrong with lots of planning and dreaming, if you constantly remember that God is the one directing your steps. That can also be an encouragement when people around you tell you you’re a “moron” for trying. There are many days when I feel that weight. Sometimes, I feel like people are looking down on me for not having a better car, or a better paying job…and this is the reality I stick to: God is my strength and my source of confidence. When people label me as a “starving musician,” I again look to Christ, my source of meaning and value.

For the aspiring musician, I don’t know that there is much of an in between. When you’re “low” (poor but trying), you may get ridiculed…and if you’re ever “high” (famous on MTV), you’ll have to battle away the thought that you’re above everyone else, as people will more than likely pour undue praise upon you.

In conclusion, I would agree, the music industry is an incredibly tough one. I live it every day. You’re talking to a guy who laid down a $30,000+ job for what some would call a “pipe dream.” Am I financially poor? Absolutely. Am I famous? Not that I know of. Am I loved and secure? Yes. Beyond a doubt.

We all seek after security…whether that means a steady job, a beautiful wife, a healthy 401K…but here’s the reality: any of those things can be pulled out from us at any given moment. The tragedies of our world are a testament. There is a bigger, more dangerous industry than the music industry…above all else, my friend, let’s remain cautious of the industry we’re all a victim of…materialism.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Concert photo: Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. January 6th, 2005. Posted by Hello

An Incredible Day

Thursday's morning chapel at Worthington Christian High School and evening concert at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship (Worthington, OH) were awesome!! I totally believe God brought the right people together for this event...I could see His fingerprints all over the details. Pictures from the morning chapel are coming soon. To see photos from the evening concert, visit:

A special thanks to all the players and those involved:
Brian Houts (drums) /Joey Bradley and Shawn Wright (bass - morning & evening)) / Rich Barrett (piano/keys) / AJ Maynard & Garett Boham (guitars) / Adam Schlanker & Brent Dye (sound) / Bryan Parrish (lights) / Nate Paulus (powerpoint) / Jonathan Kistler (stage hand) / Phil Stoll & Tim Adams (CD table) / Cornerstone Christian Fellowship (food & decorations) / Jeremy Slagle (photography).

Check out recent reviews of "Backstage Pass" in The Columbus Dispatch and The Other Paper (Columbus, OH). Click here to read the articles:

I'm taking a little break for the weekend, but plan to work on future concerts starting next week. Am also planning to launch a "radio campaign" in the near future to get songs from "Backstage Pass" on the airwaves. Most of my time recently has been consumed in preparing for the two concerts we had yesterday. God is good.

The fire trucks arrive as 100+ people stand outside in the cold at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Worthington, OH. The combination of a fog machine and candles set off the fire alarm after the first two songs of the concert.

This is great!! Smokin'!!

Cue the Fire Alarm!!

The chapel and concert went great yesterday! The highlight was probably in the evening concert when the fog machine set off the fire alarm, 3 fire trucks came, and everyone had to evacuate the building. =) Photos coming soon...

Monday, January 03, 2005


What an incredible practice tonight! These guys are on fire!!!! Everyone seems to be really pumped about the chapel and concert on Thursday. We're having one more practice tomorrow night. All I can say is God is in this. All the glory goes to Him.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Concert Preparation (Part 2)

Tomorrow evening, we have another band practice. I really have to give God the glory on how the band is coming together. Last week was pretty discouraging as I had knocked on so many doors and was having trouble finding a couple guitarists to play for Thursday's show. I've actually been planning for this concert for over a month, and it's taken me this long to actually get some guys together who can pull the songs off live. Anyway, I am thankful as I've seen God provide in the nick of time. For every door that's been closed, there's been an opened window.

I will be spending a lot of time this week simply practicing on my own, and figuring out exactly what I'm going to say between songs, etc. Some final details include finding out how we can get in the building early on Thursday morning to set up as well as testing some intelligent lights to see if they work with the venue's light board. I've had a number of people tell me that they are coming to concert...that's been encouraging.

Stay tuned for the background of "Making of a Rock Star" (track #6).