This interview took place on: 1/28/10.
Well the title is "For Those Who Wait," which is a song on the album. The theme of the album is that God
has a purpose for the times of waiting in our life. And really, sometimes our whole life can feel like a time
of waiting, and really it is in some ways. And the way it weaves in and out of the whole album is just that
it's in those times that we're waiting for these things that we think that we need or we want that life
happens and you discover what you really believe about God. And it's in those times that we draw closest to
God. And I think a lot of times in our lives we are like, "OK, well, when I make enough money, then
the family's going to take a vacation." or "When my mom's not sick anymore, then I'm going to spend more
time [trying to] be healthier." Things like this. And those things just sit off in the distance and we totally
try to focus on those instead of what God's trying to teach us in our day-to-day life. And it's the hard
things that happen along the way that become the cornerstone of who we are.
And, again, it's the same with Unbreakable. We didn't really shoot for a theme. Typically, what
happens is we write all the songs, take a step back and see what the underlying theme is. With this
one being "waiting," y'know, it was just obviously something God wanted to teach us about as we were writing.
We always pray over everything and we feel like if we allow Him to speak through us and use us without
trying to steer it a certain way, then that's what's going to impact people the most. And I think
Unbreakable is proof of that.
I think with the theme of the album, too, it's something we all felt personally - since we did Unbreakable
to when we wrote For Those Who Wait. If not personally, then within our families. Things that our families
were going through or we were going through where it's kind of like, "OK God, when are you going to show
up? We've been waiting forever here! Why is this still my daily life?" And it's just been an eye-opener for
me especially - and I know for everyone else - just to realize it's not just all about achieving that
one thing or getting out of this one hole you feel you're in, it's about letting God use you and work in
your life no matter where you are and not being so distracted by where you want to be that you don't let
Him use you in the here and now.
Justin: It's like therapy. *laughs*
Dawn: It is. And honestly, I feel like Unbreakable, for me, I learned so much from that album and it's ridiculous! *laughs* And I guess that's just how much that, really, the songs came from God. And I felt like singing the songs over and over really helped to teach me things in my life. And I think [it's] the same way with this [album]. It's different in every song, like for instance, one of the songs is about two stories that were relayed to us through fans. (John: Which song?) "Name." And so, in that situation, that's something we were learning from those situations and we wrote it then. And then other songs, it's just kind of like you write what you're going through. All of our hope is in God, and so, through that, I feel like it does help to grow us - writing the songs, and then as we sing them - to really believe them and live it in our lives.
Justin: We're by no means experts on life. I think that's what makes it relevant, though, because we're learning along the way and we're allowed to express that learning curve. And show people that we're just as screwed up as everybody else.
Wendy: I think sometimes people think that because we're a band and we've written these powerful songs that we have it all together and we must be so super "Christian" because we have all the answers. I mean, to be perfectly honest, as we're doing the writing process and we're listening to all the songs with all the people from the label trying to figure out "OK, which one's going to go, which one's going to stay," there were moments in that room when I was convicted by our own stuff listening to our own music! And there's been times, and songs, on every album where a song I've been listening to after its release has ministered to me in that day and moment. It's pretty powerful when God hits you with something He's given you, like way later and it's like, "Oh my gosh! I need to listen to what my own music says!" Y'know what I mean?
Dawn: That's when she'll come pat me on the back and be like, "Those are words from our song!" *laughs* And I'll just be like "...OK." *laughs*
Wendy: I mean, that's just when you know it obviously wasn't "us" that came up with this stuff, it was God-breathed and inspired. Because He's ministering to us as well, not just our fans.
Glenn Drennen: I don't know if we went into it with the mindset of doing something different. I know that we went into it with the mindset of not recreating Unbreakable. I know we keep going back to Unbreakable, but that was pretty much the only thing. We specifically said we don't want to focus on writing Unbreakable 2. But as far as doing something different, I don't think we really had a strong focus.
Dawn: I think we were just hoping we could continue our career! *laughs*
Wendy: There's a lot of expectation. It's very stressful.
Justin: It's generally our goal to continue to be able to speak to people. Like, that's all that really matters. Because if this record comes out and it flops, and we lose everything, then that's fine, because God used us for some people. But like Glenn said, we didn't really didn't have a plan other than "Don't mess it up" and don't try to write the same album a second time.
Glenn: Yeah, we just always try to remain open. Like Justin said, we always pray over everything every time we go in as a band or sit down by ourselves as one of us tries to figure something out. I don't want to say there's not a plan, but there kind of isn't. We just want to be open.
Justin: It kind of drives our label crazy. Cuz they're like, "Have you guys thought about a theme?" And we're like, "Nope." "Have you guys been writing for the last two years?" "Nope." *laughs* Cuz, I don't know, maybe it is bad practice, but I think it always comes out better if we wait - not necessarily till the last moment, but it's when those songs will be more relevant to what's going on in that moment. It is definitely way more stressful, but it makes for a way better song, I think.
Dawn: *laughs* Those Who Wait... *laughs*
Glenn: Those Who Procrastinate.
Justin: There are going to be SO many bad jokes with this album title! *laughs*
Justin: Yes we did. Used some pretty awesome amps and our guitars. We did drums in two different studios which was cool. And two different drum kits or same?
Phee Shorb: Same.
Justin: Same drum kit.
Justin: Yeah! Just massive. And the guy who mixed was awesome. Ben Gross and his assistant, Paul Pavao. I guess we did have another goal, I told our producer I wanted it to be bigger. And I think it is bigger.
Justin: No, we had more time actually. I may have said there was a different setup, because we were recording guitars and bass and drums in the morning at one studio and then Dawn would do vocals in the afternoon.
Glenn: It actually went quicker, I don't know if that's what he told you.
Wendy: We kind of did less time because we didn't do weekends. Last time, we did the same amount of time but through the weekends, kind of. So it was kind of odd having breaks.
Justin: Last time, on the very last day, we were there till midnight recording. And this one, it was just way more organized because of the two studios. It was awesome. It was a cool experience.
Justin: I don't know, it was pretty cool. It was definitely way different. We've had some interesting responses to it.
Glenn: We had a lot of people who were disappointed because when we released it, they thought it was the new record. So when they got it, they were like "Well this is a big disappointment!"
Justin: There is a sticker on it that says "New studio album coming 2010."
Dawn: Um, I think we did kinda worried a little.
Justin: Yeah, it was pretty out there and we were a little bit concerned.
Glenn: There are a couple songs like that, "Name" and "Recovery Begins," that are a little different. But it's kind of one of those things where it's like the song is too good NOT to put on the record. But it's different.
Wendy: Broadening our horizons.
Dawn: Yeah, that's one thing that's funny about this record is we feel like the hard songs are harder than our old stuff, and the soft songs are softer. We went to extremes, I guess.
Dawn: Yeah! Well, there's two stories. The first one is about a little baby boy. Actually, a friend of ours - a friend of Wendy's family and was one of my best friends in high school - she was friends with this couple. I think her husband knew her through work. And they tried and tried for a long time to have a baby but they were unsuccessful for years, but finally they got pregnant and the baby was born three months premature. And it was given like a less than one percent chance of being born alive. This couple was not a Christian couple. So this baby was born and our friends, they're a Christian couple, were trying throughout this time to witness to them and everything just to show them God's love. And when this happened, they just knew that they really needed hope. And so what Lisa did is she took our song "Wrapped In Your Arms" and she got all the pictures from the day the baby was born, and she made a slide show. And she had words in there like, "I'm baby Jack, the doctors aren't giving me much hope right now, but mommy and daddy love me very much," and just tried to make the slide show for them to help inspire them to hope and believe that God could save the baby. So then that got circulated on the Internet, she showed it to us and it started being used in our community to help raise money for baby Jack's many surgeries and all that stuff. And now, a year and a half later, he's a healthy bouncing baby boy and doesn't have breathing tubes or anything anymore. Now there's a new video with pictures of him from all the way to where he is now. I got to hold him at church and the couple is now coming to our church. So it's just really neat to meet the couple and the song really meant a lot to them. So it was really neat hearing that.
And then about midway through this [past] year, I believe, a woman came to our show. This is where the second story comes from. She spent a ton of money at our merch table and gave a huge, big amount to our bus fund, so Jess, Justin's wife, who works the merch table started talking to her (and we got to meet with her) and found out that her husband was a firefighter. He had been on a ladder truck responding to a call and had fallen from the truck and he'd been in a coma since around February. And the whole community had rallied around, praying for him, and he was a public speaker, so she would travel and try to do the speaking arrangements, trying to pay the bills. And one night, she was on iTunes and it suggests Fireflight to her, so she starts listening [to] "Unbreakable" and "You Gave Me A Promise" and all these songs really started speaking to her, so she said the album had kind of become her anthem to face this challenge. And so, the second story is about him. And we actually found out about a month ago that he did make it into a light coma and was able to come home from the hospital, but unfortunately passed away about a month ago.
So the whole point of the song, though, is that in these different circumstances where things seem so desperate and terrible, God is still there. He knows who we are, He sees us, and He wants to help us along through those times. And sometimes things turn out the way you want them to and then sometimes they don't. But in both places, God is there.
Wendy: I really like the bridge too, cuz it ties in a lot of messages we get on MySpace about people that feel like they're completely alone and that no one understands that they're really hurting and the bridge talks about maybe you're alone in a crowd and no one knows you're there. Maybe you're home in the corner of a house. There's just so many people out there that put on this big front that they're happy and they have their life all together, but really they feel completely empty. And that was another thing that was inspired by so many messages that we get and things we hear from people all the time. So we basically almost cry every time we hear that song. *laughs* Just cuz we can all relate to people that we talk to about those specific things and felt their hurt and pain and wanted to take it away for them, but unfortunately you can't always do that.
Dawn: Yeah. Like I said, it's kind of another departure for us. I think that, I know in my life, and I think a lot of people identify with it, that we go in prayer to God, like "We're going to go spend some time with God!" and we sit there and we talk and complain or whatever and then sometimes we think about other things we were supposed to do that day, and then we come back and it's like this whole long shenanigans...
Wendy: We fall asleep...
Dawn: And when you're finally in the right frame of mind, and you get to the end... and it's quiet... and you actually listen. That song is at that moment when you finally get to the point where you're listening. And that's where God is able to minister to you. And it's when you're actually listening that changes happen.
Justin: And that's kind of why we went so simple with it too. Because it's a really simple process but people forget that you have to listen. God will answer you, you just gotta shut up. It's very simple. *laughs*
Justin: It's not easy to do.
Glenn: Know your place and shut your face. It's a riot t-shirt from Radio U.
Dawn: I think it is funny, though, because like in my own life and endeavoring to hear from God and talking to God, I find that the things that separate me from actually listening and hearing God, because really - He's my Father. So it should be like sitting down with my father and having a conversation, and it's not difficult. But there's so many things that I have in my mind that build up little walls and I have to cross those hurdles in order to get to Him. But it's only because of the way I'm thinking and the way I believe, y'know? I believe that I'm not worthy. I believe there needs to be a sacrifice, y'know? All these things! And it's because I believe those things that it'll shove Him away. And yeah, it's so hard! But it's all our mental constructs and so I've just been working really hard to dismantle those and to just realize that it can be just that simple.
Dawn: I think we have a big problem especially in our society, because it's like a "pull yourself by your bootstraps" kind of [mindset], and everyone's so individualistic in your identity. Your job is your identity, basically. Y'know, if you fail at that, people are jumping off of buildings if they lose their job, because that's their identity. That's who they see themselves as. If they can't be that anymore, they don't know who they are anymore and they're a failure. So "All I Need To Be" just comes to the realization that you find your identity in God and who God made you. And that's it. And everything else that you fight for to try to prove "Well, I fit in with this crowd" or whatever it is, those things will all fail you eventually and then you'll have a major crisis. And I think that's when we realize where we're really getting our identity.
Justin: That's one. "All I Need To Be."
Wendy: That's one of my favorites. I like "For Those Who Wait," too. That one has great lyrics and the music is a lot of fun at that one, too.
Phee: "You Give Me That Feeling."
Glenn: I don't know that I do, honestly. Cuz even now, it's still kinda new. I'm still kind of soaking them in, so to speak. I mean, I like the whole record, as a whole. But as far as picking out a specific song, I like different aspects of each different song. It's a tough call for me.
Glenn: Well, I mean like "Name," where the song is just so personal and so broken down. And for "For Those Who Wait," it's just a big anthemic kind of song. "Desperate," even though it's talking about desperate situations and desperate times, it's still kind of a funky kinda tune. "Fire in My Eyes," I like it. That's a fun song to me. Just a fun kind of groovy rock thing. So yeah, there's just different stuff like that. "Recovery Begins." Honestly, at first, I did not like the song. But now that I've kind of heard it in context with the rest of the record, I've kind of warmed up to it. And I really kinda like it - the thought process of it and the lyrics. And like Justin said, the simplicity of it.
Wendy: I'm glad!! I thought you still didn't like it!! *laughs*
Glenn: Since we spent all of our Bell Bucks, not that much. There was a lot of Taco Bell eatin' while we had the Bucks.
Glenn: Yeah. Well, Dawn never got hers, but...
Dawn: I like, didn't send in my address in time...
Justin: Taco Bell sounds really good right now.
Wendy: I don't think I've had it since I ran out of Bell Bucks.
Phee: That should be what I have after my fast. I'm giving up meat for a 21-day fast. *laughter*
Justin: That's gonna be awful!
Wendy: Not shocking to your system at all!
Glenn: I still like Taco Bell, it just hasn't been a priority since I have to pay for it now!
Phee: Yeah! *laughter* Did you... preface that question with "This is a serious question?" *laughing*
Wendy: He just got it, though! He's a little slow on the uptake!
Phee: I'm just making sure I didn't miss the serious question!
Glenn: He tuned out during the serious question and came back in on the Taco Bell question. "What happened?!" *laughter*
Dawn: He's afraid he stepped out of reality for a moment and came back after.
Dawn: Come see us at Winter Jam! And come talk to us on our MySpace.
Justin: And Facebook! Twitter, ShoutLife...
Phee: We want to thank you for doing what you do. Seriously. Maybe not everyone knows the state of our genre, Christian rock. There's only five full-time radio stations that play Christian rock in our country. It really helps to have a strong online presence at Jesus freak Hideout. I feel like you guys are the champion of Christian rock on the web. You really help what we do and what all other Christian rock bands do. It's really an awesome thing that you do for us.
Dawn: On behalf of Christian rock bands, we thank you!
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