“Oh listen to me,

I’m on the stereo.


From “Stereo” by Pavement.


This week a friend passed me a CD version of the only E.P. I ever recorded in a proper recording studio.  It’s been funny listening to it after all these years.  Fond memories of the sounds of a different period of my life.

In 1991 whilst at Uni, I met someone who has become like a brother to me ever since.  We were two long haired guys who shared a love of music (everything at that stage from All About Eve to Pop Will Eat Itself, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Wonder Stuff, NMA, The Mission, Nirvana, The Pixies, Mudhoney, etc) and who also shared a Christian faith.  We wanted to push the boundaries and harness that power of music and message and take it into the pubs and clubs.

It was a dream I have had since a very young age.  We played very loud music and tried to challenge preconceptions wherever we went between 1991 and 1994.  We recorded one EP and also have a couple of decent quality videos of us playing live.  The highlight was touring with Eden Burning on half of their UK tour in 1992.

It was such a laugh lugging our gear around the country, playing in student unions, music venues and churches, sleeping on floors and loving the music and the scene.  I have really fond memories of those days.  Our long hair, big boots, walls of feedback.

Here’s a review from Cross Rhythms magazine that someone emailed to me a few months back:

Tuesday 1st June 1993

RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
FORMAT:Cassette EP

This product is currently not available from Cross Rhythms Direct

Reviewed by Tony CummingsAn EP from an Aberdeen team who toured with Eden Burning on about half of their Vinegar And Brown Paper tour and despite the relative production crudity of this 4-song EP a band definitely to tip for the top. They possess in Kathy Garden a distinctive lead vocalist while the band show a nice line in ringing some changes out of all those recycled indie riffs. Not sure if the band have truly settled on a distinctive style yet both “Home”, a song about Kathy’s homeland of Orkney, and “The Search”, a song of righteous anger and conviction would be great with a big studio production. So the grassroots scene is still throwing up bags of talent. Encouraging, isn’t it? 
My wife was smiling to herself a while back in church when she thought about those times whilst myself and Missing Jane’s old guitarist lead the worship time.  The truth is, I used to always think playing in church and “worship” music was so second rate to gigging.  More recently I’ve found myself blessed enough to be in  a place where I can lead the music section of the service from behind my drums, share stories and thoughts and try to be relevant in a post-post-modern day.  To try to create time and space for people to reflect on life, God and how close or how far apart those things can seem at any given point in time.

I am so lucky, if that’s the right word, to have a fluid group of like minded folks around me.  Those who want to lose themselves in music and expression and who don’t want music to get in the way.  Those who don’t want to be on a stage or performing, but who want to make a glorious sound.  Those who don’t get hung up on quavers and semi-crochets.  Those who see something much bigger.  Rock ‘n’ roll and amazing grace…

Yet, despite all of that I am wondering if that particular season is coming to an end for me…


10 Responses to “Stereo”

  1. 2 thestatethatiamin April 30, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Is your “Noooooooooooo!!!” directed towards my wondering about stepping down from worship leading?

  2. 3 theWeir May 1, 2009 at 8:48 am


    It’s healthy to make sure you are in the right season, so good on you for that!

    I think there’s a delicious tension between the need for musical skill (“play it skillfully” as the Psalmist said) – and the necessity to transend dots and timbre to express our worship to the King of Kings and Lover of our souls. Making that Glorious Sound you mentioned.

    That can be anywhere – from a pub to the highest Anglican Church.

    My view is that dots are not a problem, but staying locked behind them can be.

    And it’s Full-Fat Rock & Roll, if you please ;-P

    Much Grace & Peace


  3. 4 thestatethatiamin May 1, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Thanks Andy.

    Quietly trying to figure it all out at present. Also got some ideas about your worship expressions or playing in the prophetic. I’ll speak to you soon. How about a catch up for lunch?


    • 5 theWeir May 1, 2009 at 9:38 am

      You are very welcome,

      Lunch sounds like a blast – I’m around most of next week, a few days of the week after too. Let me know what works for you (perhaps via the gift of email tho!)

  4. 6 brunettekoala May 1, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Yes. 😦

    Also I think you just plagiarised from your wife’s blog “quietly trying to figure it all out”.

  5. 7 thestatethatiamin May 1, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks BK – my thinking is as follows:

    a) I have a deep passion to see people meet with God at church and to be freed from ritual and routine. I believe music is a powerful vehicle that can help all of us find time and space and be prepared ahead of hearing a sermon or to respond to what we have heard.

    b) 7 or 8 years ago the church we still go to looked and sounded very different. Many of us were at the verge of giving up on it and musical style was a very real stumbling block. About that time I was asked to join a group who felt that way and to try and go about changing things.

    c) We met and we prayed. We were small in numbers, but God added to our little group and I felt some form of annointing.

    d) We ventured out, made some mistakes, but found our feet. People seemed to respond and things changed slowly. It felt like the right time and the right place.

    e) Four years ago we got a new Pastor with a fresh vision. The combination of the right Man of God in the right place at the right time has lead to many being used to transform our congregation to something barely recognisable.

    f) About 2 or 3 years ago I did the Network Course. I discoverd my giftings were: creative communication; faith; and encouragement. All of those seemed to be things I could use in worship leading as I often tried to incorporate thoughts, stories, quotes or video clips.

    g) Now services are full of information and often my role is purely prayferfully considering which songs to use, how they might flow, arranging the sheet music, organising the band line up and then drumming. Leading from behind a drum kit can be quite hard at times. I wonder if what I do now really corresponds with my giftings as much as the role once did? I don’t know if my gifting is actually worship leading or whether I just stepped into a gap for a season.

    h) As church grows, there are new gifted worship leaders emerging. I wonder if it is time for me to let them step up to the mic and for me to concentrate on losing myself in worship behind my drums.

    i) As I look at how I spend my time, I recognise how I am constantly spinning plates. I don’t want to be stingy in my use of time. I want to commit to the right things in terms of work, family life, church life, rest and play. Church life is busy in terms of preparing small group and preparing worship. I wonder if I should be doing less and doing it better? I also have a whole bunch of ideas about missional expressions and may wish to pursue some of these.

    k) That’s where I am at with all this stuff.

    l) I recognise that some folks who read my blog know me to varying degrees and have seen me lead worship or have a good overview of our congregation right now. Some of you who fall into this category may be the people to help direct my thinking right now.

  6. 8 brunettekoala May 3, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Ok see where you’re coming from…but don’t give up drumming altogether.

    Surfing, all for surfing…

  7. 9 thestatethatiamin May 3, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Mmmmmm. Jesus, all for Jesus.

    Still musing upon a beach focussed missional expression, but what I need to keep in mind is that if oi does emerge, then it’s all to be for Jesus and not just for surfing.

    I still think there’s a lot of mileage in something along The Art Of Joy lines too. Maybe one is more based on the person I am and one is more on the person I’d like to be?

  8. 10 brunettekoala May 4, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Or maybe it’s because you don’t fit in a box.

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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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