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rock n roll worship circus

At a point in time when rock/worship artists The Rock N Roll Worship were still little-known, performing at the great Creation East Festival in the Summer of 2002, The JfH had the pleasure of interviewing the quartet. What unfolded was an open conversation with four real people who have a tremendous calling. Get to know the band a little more intimately as they share on the Circus's direction, experiences, and even Summer blockbuster preferences.
This interview took place on: 6/28/02.
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  • Jesus freak Hideout: OK, To start off can you please state your name and your position in the band?
    Gabe: I'm Gabriel. I'm the lead vocalist, play guitar kinda.
    Solo: I play guitar, I'm Solo.
    Zurn: I'm Zurn, Solo's best friend in all the world. (Gabe jumps in: "No, Solo's my best friend!") No I am... Zurn is! (Gabe responds: "Gabe is!")
    Blurr: Solo's wife is my best friend! I'm Blurr and I play low end and I sing backing vocals.

  • JFH: Why the name "Rock N Roll Worship Circus?"
    Gabe: It started back in '95, '96, '97, something like that, when our church was going through a little bit of a revival. Our church is located behind a homeless shelter and it was downtown, so you'd have people that were drunk or high - just unsaved, filthy lifestyles - coming into church. Some people would come in to disrupt the service and they'd end up getting saved. It was like this freaky thing, tons of people were getting saved. So we'd invited people to our church by telling them to come check out our "worship circus." And they'd be like "worship circus?!" And I'd be like, "Yeah, it's not a service, it's a circus because you can actually see God moving in people's lives." So, it was this kind of joke catch phrase that I would invite people to church with. In the Fall of '99 when the Lord called us out to start doing this stuff, then we just decided to call it the Rock N Roll Worship Circus and take the circus wherever we go.

    Gabe

  • JFH: So are you guys all the original members?
    Gabe: Yeah. JfH's Amy chimes in: Were you guys the worship band at your church? We're one of a lot of worship bands. For awhile the musicians rotated kind of and then Zurn and I liked playing together and Blurr's my wife and Solo's great, so we ended up playing together all the time.
    Blurr: Well, we weren't married then...
    Gabe: Yeah. So, you just kind of end up with people that are like-minded. For awhile, there were about almost seven fully independently-functioned worship teams. Now it's gone down to about three I think.
    Blurr: But as far as worship-leading goes, Gabe and Zurn and I have been playing together for about ten years, almost eleven years now. And Solo joined up with us three years ago, so that's when the Worship Circus really gave birth.
    Zurn: He wouldn't let us in his little kid worship team! (Gabe jokes: "Yeah, We were 'too old' he said.")

  • JFH: What artists have influenced your sound?
    Gabe: The Monkees! Beatles, Pink Floyd
    Blurr: Rolling Stones.
    Zurn: David Bowie's pretty cool.
    Gabe: Yeah, old Bowie. Saw him on A&E last night, it wasn't that cool. (Zurn: "That's old Bowie!") Not OLD Bowie! *laughs* Anything that was great in the sixties, we listen to it. A lot of garage rock. (Blurr: "The Turtles") The Turtles, The Beach Boys. Influences after we started growing up. You're influenced by what the media tells you is cool as a kid and then you start thinking for yourself after awhile and realize they don't know what they're talking about. Not that you guys don't! *Blurr laughs* I'm just talking about you're fed whatever MTV says is cool, y'know? The Beatles aren't on MTV...

    welcome to the rock n roll worship circus album cover

  • JFH: What is your favorite song off your new record Welcome to the Worship Circus?
    Gabe: Yeah right! (Blurr: "Oh gosh! I can't...") Amy: Can you actually name one? Like when you play 'this song' the crowd goes nuts? *thinking* No...
    Blurr: We can't... Well, that's part of the Circus, because you just never know. You can't predict from night to night or set to set what God's going to do.
    Zurn: But I will have to say that pastors and people that hear our stuff say that "The Undiscovered" is the song.
    Gabe: Yeah, there's three that always get commented on: "The Undiscovered," "Loving You," and "Glorify the Son."
    Blurr: Well that's true. "The Undiscovered," if any, is the one that a lot of times we're playing and I'm thinking that I'm not going to be able to keep standing and playing cause I just want to get down on my face. Sometimes I think "If the low end just drops out all of a sudden it's cause I'll be over here on my face laying underneath my keyboard." *laughs* Cause that's how it feels sometimes!

    Blurr

  • JFH: Can you tell us a little bit about your recent experience on Tattoo Chat?
    Blurr: We were in Mobile, Alabama and we were sitting in O'Charlie's Resturant and we were having my favorite chicken caesar salad with cranberries on it. And we're just sitting there talking with a couple of guys from our label - our label is in Mobile, that's why we were there - and this girl comes over to the table and she's like "Hey, are you guys playing at 'The Vineyard' tonight?" We're like, "No, we're playing over at the Baptist Church..." And we struck up this conversation and she said "I noticed a couple of you guys had tattoos..."
    Gabe: We find out that she had this show called "Tattoo Chat" and she's like, "Mind if I bring a camera crew?" and we said, "Go for it!" and the next thing we know she's bringing this whole camera crew in and she's interviewing Zurn and our sound guy -- cause he's a tattoo artist -- and it was just weird, but totally cool. She's pretty influential in the tattoo circle, too. She's been on eleven tattoo magazine covers...

  • JFH: Although our current culture has been inundated by this subject, it's naturally something that has changed our nation forever. Where were you when you heard about the terrible events of September 11, 2001 and how did it effect you personally?
    Gabe: I was getting trailer brakes put on the trailer and Zurn called me and he was crying and he said, "We're under attack! We're under attack!" So I said, "You're joking man" and he said "No I'm not" and then he called back on my cell phone again when the World Trade Center went down which was about a minute later and then he was just bawling and I could barely understand what he was saying. And I was freaked! So I'm in the place where they're putting on our trailer brakes and we're all listening to the radio, they didn't have a television, so it was about four hours before I even had a chance to see what was going on. It was really weird. Schools were cancelled, it was a very weird day. I kept thinking of Red Dawn, y'know? That eighties movie where the Russians attack our high schools.
    Blurr: It's effected me. I watch the news now and of course everything's still related. Our government's trying to figure out what's the answer and the next move and how can we avoid war. I keep thinking to myself, "Wake up, America! This is a call to repent!" If we had been on our faces before the Lord and we had been following Him with reverence to God, this would never have happened. It's like the Lord saying, "I will allow your structures to crumble because it is nothing."
    Gabe: Yeah, the people are what was important to the Lord obviously.
    Blurr: Right, I know it broke the Lord's heart, but I mean when I think of it now I just want to get on my face and cry out, "Lord, have mercy on us!" because as a government, as a nation, as a people, we have a lot to repent for.
    Gabe: And then there's that dude that even now is trying to get the pledge taken out of schools.
    Blurr: We're just asking for judgement! Hopefully we'll start going out there and start telling more people in our generation about Jesus and how important it is that we be repentant for our sin. JfH's John: And it seemed like people started getting serious after that and then it faded away pretty quickly. Yeah...
    Solo
    Zurn: I heard a guy speak about that and he talked about how there was like a third of the amount of people that should have been there on that day. And he referred to that as being God's Grace. I mean the place could have been filled with more people. *Amy turns to the silent Solo* Do you remember where you were?
    Solo: I was just at home. I watched it when it happened. It was kind of weird. Little bit of shock, but then I went around my day as usual because there wasn't really anything I could do about it here.
    Blurr: It was a little weird in that sense because here we are way over on the west coast and New York is way over there, y'know? I'm sure the fear was a lot more intense here than it was on the other side of the United States.

  • JFH: Thoughts on the rising popularity of worship music?
    Blurr: Praise the Lord! Y'know, it's about time!
    Gabe: Entertainers need to do their entertainment thing and that's cool, but for a long time a lot of Christian music lacked a real message. It was almost cool to be the Christian band that doesn't let anybody know they're Christians. That's fine, but it's kinda cool because all this modern worship music is just like what Christian music started out as, as really great Christian music. Second Chapter of Acts, Keith Green, Larry Norman -- all these people were worship leaders of their time, even earlier Michael W. Smith, it was just awesome. It's almost like a resurgence of that. Somewhere in the eighties and the early nineties we thought that being culturally relevant meant that we had to water everything down. I think what's happening is that God's gonna be blessing worship music and the greatest innovations and greatest musical advancing are going to be on things that glorify Him. I really believe that will all my heart. And it's a privilege to be a small part of that, it's just awesome.
    Blurr: Gabe was saying earlier today -- he and I watched the history of rock n' roll, rented it at the library -- and we were talking about how cool it would be if twenty years from now they have to go add to the documentary this movement of worship. Where artists and people in bands just stopped just writing music for people and started writing music to move God's heart and all of a sudden there was this worship revolution. And there was this actual stage in music's history, y'know? Wouldn't that be amazing? And it wouldn't just effect Christians, it would be really great music that's culturally relevant to people outside of the church too. I hope that's where we're going!

  • JFH: What is your favorite all-time worship song?
    Blurr: Hymns. I love old hymns and spirituals.
    Gabe: I think one of my favorites is "The Song of the Harlot" by The Violet Burning. Probably is one of my favorite all-time worship songs. Anything from the Violet Burning's "Strength" record. "Holy, Holy, Holy," by Keith Green. That is an amazing song.

  • JFH: Favorite on the road moment?
    Zurn: *big laugh* When we left her at the rest stop! *claps*
    Blurr: Go ahead! Go on record! Talk about that... Amy laughs: That was the next question. The next question is the "most embarrassing!" OK back up then--
    Zurn: Ok, this is our favorite and embarrassing.
    Gabe: This is probably the most monumental thing that ever happened on the road to us (Blurr: "So humiliating..."). Yeah, it's horribly humiliating to me. We were doing a night drive from Portland to L.A. At the top of the Grape Vine there's a rest area. It's four in the morning and I was driving and pulled in this rest area to use the bathroom. Zurn comes in the bathroom with me. What we didn't know is that Blurr and Solo are sleeping in the back on the bed and Blurr got out to use the bathroom without waking him up to tell him...
    Blurr: I always beat them out anyway because they're worse than girls. They all go in together, they chat and hang out. I'm always back at the van before they are.
    Gabe: So we go back out and I look back and I see what I think is her body - it's a clump of blankets - and I see Solo's head and it's dark and I didn't want to turn on the dome light and wake everybody up. So we take off just as she comes out of the bathroom and watches us go down the road and we didn't know it for about an hour till we got to Magic Mountain.
    Blurr: I was in my pajamas, hair everywhere, make up down to here. I came out and see the tail lights on the trailer and I'm like "this is funny..."
    Zurn
    Gabe: So we get to this gas station in Santa Clarita and I'm filling up and Zurn comes in as I'm paying for the gas rubbing his hands together and laughing. I go, "What's up?" and he goes, "Dude, you totally left Blurr at the rest area!" I'm like "What?!" And he says, "Dude, Blurr's not in the van!"
    Zurn: Solo wakes up and starts laughing and goes (in an imitative voice), "You left Blurr somewhere!!" So we didn't know where we left her!
    Blurr: Yeah, they didn't know because they had made other stops. So they turned around and came and got me and I was there with my "friends" at the rest stop for about two and a half hours in the middle of the night. (Gabe adds: "Four to six in the morning...") Not an area you want to be left in by yourself no matter who you are.

  • JFH: One last question to bring conclusion to all... (Star Wars) Episode II or Spider-Man?
    Blurr: Spider-Man.
    Zurn: I haven't even seen it and I'm going to say Spider-Man... *everyone laughs* *Amy clarifies* So you all have seen Star Wars Episode II? *her answer is followed by a unanimous "Yes"* But you haven't seen Spider-Man? No. But I'll vote Spider-Man. Because we couldn't help but notice your shirt... *Amy points to Solo's worn-out Star Wars shirt featuring C-3P0 and R2D2*
    Gabe: Spider-Man's a better movie...
    Solo: I don't care...
    Zurn: Solo is Anakin Skywalker! *Gabe and Blurr agree* They both have the same life. *laughs*
    Blurr: Spider-Man hands down!
    Gabe: Yeah, I think Spider-Man's a better movie, but I would say that Episode II is more crucial to my life to understanding my life. *everyone asks "Why?"* Cause Lucas always throws in really good moral lessons. I mean, I'm not saying you should abide by his laws more than the Bible or anything like that. I mean I know that when Yoda told Luke that he was too focused on tomorrow and he had to concentrate on today that I was like "Awwww, I'm the worst Jedi ever!" *everyone laughs* That was in Episode five. Episode two, y'know, there's a lot to learn.

  • JFH: Any last comments?
    Gabe: Everything that has happened to us is because the Lord chose us. We didn't do anything, it's happened in spite of us. The Lord has just blessed us with all of this and hopefully we'll be good stewards and let all the glory go to His name. We didn't do anything, except to say "yes" to Him.
    Zurn: Go out and worship God... everyone!

  • Rock N Roll Worship Circus

     

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