Listen to the new single from 7 Hills Worship!
Listen to the new single from 7 Hills Worship!

Kevin Max

With his newest solo offering the Serve Somebody EP due out July 7th Kevin Max sat down with Jesusfreakhideout's Josh Balogh to discuss life, music, and the upcoming dctalk cruise ship reunion...
This interview took place on: May 31, 2017.

Click here for Kevin Max's Artist Profile page.

  • JFH (Josh Balogh): I want to hear about the Serve Somebody EP, but I want to start, I've heard a lot of words and I'm sure you have too that describe Kevin Max, enigmatic, innovative, different, what word best describes Kevin Max in 2017?

    Kevin Max: Tired. *Laughter*

  • JFH (Josh): Just busy? Working hard?

    Kevin: No, tired. Grumpy, I guess, I don't like to use the word busy because then everybody's like "oh, he's saying he's busy, like he's doing a lot of business." Let me think of a better word... optimistic.

  • JFH (Josh): Optimistic of the future and what it holds?

    Kevin: You just said one word dude! You keep adding words and throwing words out there. *laughter*

  • JFH (Josh): I just wanted to capture where you are in this season of your life right now.

    Kevin: Oh man, you can't do that with one word. That's impossible. You'd have to put that into a few paragraphs.

  • JFH (Josh): Speaking of seasons, any big plans for your milestone birthday this year? I noticed you will be turning 50.

    Kevin: Big time. I can't give away the coordinates because we don't want undesirables showing up, but let's just put it this way, it's going to be "fantastical," hopefully surrounded by old and great friends. My kids are going to be included on this birthday because it's half a century, so it's kind of a big deal.

  • JFH (Josh): Speaking of your kids, I was reading that you and your wife chose to homeschool your kids. Is that still the case?

    Kevin: We homeschooled for a couple years after we bought the farm, and the farm is a good hour and fifteen minutes away from Nashville. We decided to move back into Franklin, so we are no longer going to be homeschooling this year and will be moving back into our old neighborhood of West Haven. We are actually in the process of selling the farm right now, we have a contract on it, and it is going well. It's kind of typical of us. We are like a gypsy family where we move around all the time. I'm a romantic adventurer, so I don't like to sit in the same place for too long. But I do really love the feeling of West Haven because it's an all-inclusive community, but it's also a great neighborhood filled with people.

  • JFH (Josh): What was your role as a homeschool dad? We homeschool our kids so I'm the music appreciation teacher and P.E. coach.

    Kevin: I am big into literature so I read to them a lot. I am definitely music teacher, dance instructor. I am probably like some strange good time pirate that shows up once in a while and reads them scary stories. It's a good role to have as the dad that just comes in and out and does the fun stuff. But for the wife, that is carrying the brunt of the homeschooling it's a very different situation. Lots of responsibility, and obviously a lot of painstaking hours. She loved it, but it's just too difficult with four kids, one is special needs child, and three absolutely over the top, smart, wonderful kids so it's just a lot to take on for anybody.

    Album Cover
  • JFH (Josh): Tell me about the Serve Somebody EP. Just doing a little bit of research it looks like it's a covers album. I just wanted to know why these songs, what was it about them that inspired you to want to record them?

    Kevin: Serve Somebody EP was an idea that Dan Pitts and I came up with (Dan Pitts is my manager with DC Talk) and we came up with the idea to come up with a product that we could push out there around the time of the cruise and beyond. I've always wanted to do a covers record of spiritual rock songs, and songs that were done in the general market that had spiritual content. We had this long list of jams that we wanted to do really badly, and we filtered that down to seven selections. If we were going to do twelve or fourteen selections, it was going to take a lot of time and we didn't have that kind of time to turn this project around, so it ended up being an EP. We chose seven songs covering Bob Dylan, The Call, Rich Mullins, U2, dcTalk, Mister Mister, and Larry Norman. So it's kind of all over the place. It's a really fun, great little pop/rock record.

  • JFH (Josh): What are some of the songs that did not make the cut?

    Kevin: Good question! There were several actually. I think the one that I really wanted to go for was a song called "Bird on a Wing" by David Bowie, but it just didn't have the spiritual content that we were looking for from a lyrical standpoint. It's definitely a spiritual song, he's talking about prayer. Another was "Hey Jude," you know HUGE wonderful pioneering songs, but again the lyrical content wasn't what we were looking for.

  • JFH (Josh): Are there any updates or wider release plans for Fiefdom of Angels Side 2?

    Kevin: Side two was recorded. The songs are in like a demo phase right now. I never really finished them because I wasn't happy with them ultimately. That's why we decided to put only an EP out on the songs that we were happy about, and the songs from a production level that I felt really good about. But it's not to say that there's not some nuggets on the second side. If I had my druthers, I would finish them and reproduce them, and think about a couple other songs as opposed to the ones I chose. I did release them in demo form through my membership a couple years back. We had an online membership through a company through a little Canadian membership club, and so I did release those to the people that signed up under the name and those were distributed, so they are out there you know. But I haven't decided to release them on a wider scale for many reasons.

  • JFH (Josh): I want to switch gears and play a little bit of a lightning round game of "this or that" and then identify a few Kevin Max favorites if that's okay. We are going to go rapid fire here, and just go with your gut instinct on it. Beatles or Rolling Stones?

    Kevin: Beatles.

  • JFH (Josh): Hot coffee or iced coffee?

    Kevin: Hot coffee.

  • JFH (Josh): Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?

    Kevin: Lord of the Rings.

  • JFH (Josh): History or future when thinking about music?

    Kevin: That is a great question. I would say history.

  • JFH (Josh): Okay, and a couple favorites questions. Favorite member of the Beatles?

    Kevin: John Lennon for sure.

  • JFH (Josh): Favorite DC Talk song to perform live?

    Kevin: "Mind's Eye," "Dive," and "Colored People."

  • JFH (Josh): Favorite Poet?

    Kevin: Favorite poet? Wow, I have several. I do really love William Blake. I love Charles Butowski. I love Pound. I love Whitman, EE Cummings, and Emily Dickinson.

  • JFH (Josh): That's a solid top five. Right there. Do you have a favorite song that you didn't write, or have a hand in creating? One that you like to cover or perform live?

    Kevin: That's another great question. There are lots of those too. I would say "Bittersweet" by Roxy Music. I mean obviously "Within you Without You" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles. Specifically for royalties, "Stairway to Heaven."

  • JFH (Josh): Last one on this topic here: favorite Karaoke songs to sing?

    Kevin: Dude, that a great question because I will be performing these on the DC Talk Cruise, so.I won't be performing all of them but, you know maybe a few of them. My top three are "Careless Whisper" by Wham," "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, and if I had to pick a third it would be "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen.

  • JFH (Josh): I could definitely really see your lower register fit "My Way" by Sinatra.

    Kevin: Yeah man, that's a seminal favorite.

  • JFH (Josh): Is there anyone currently in the music world that's really inspiring you, or artist that you are listening to that are helping inform some of the sounds?

    Kevin: No. *Laughter*

  • JFH (Josh): No?!

    Kevin: *Laughter* NO!

  • JFH (Josh): More historical?

    Kevin: I mean just the old guys are doing it for me still. The Smiths, Morrissey, Robert Smith, The Cure, Scott Walker, David Bowie (may he rest in peace). You know, there's the odd group that shows up once in a while that does something cool that kind of starts to register like Muse, but then they never really claim it. I heard the lead singer from the band Oasis, Liam Gallagher, is going to put out a solo record and I'm going to see what that's all about, but It will probably be a let down. I don't subscribe really to a lot of the new stuff out there. I want there to be a new Bob Dylan you know, I want there to be a new David Bowie, but it doesn't seem anybody is going to take on the mantel piece, so maybe I will.

  • JFH (Josh): There you go!

    Kevin: Maybe I will be Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Bowie, and John Lennon all wrapped into one.

  • JFH (Josh): Hey I'm down. I've been a fan for a long time. I was just looking at the DC Talk tree, if you will, and how you guys have branched out and the things you've produced. You are very prolific for sure.

    Kevin: I 'd like to think so man, but you know, people find music subjectively and these days music is an amalgamation of the same thing over and over again. It's like finding something that sticks out, that's truly unique where you feel like you are listening to something brand new is harder to do these days than it ever has been. All because of the dawn of the internet, or should we say the sunset of the internet; the next phase is on us.

  • JFH (Josh): I know often I find myself going back to more music from when I grew up in the 80's/90's than the current stuff now.

    Kevin: What do you like?

  • JFH (Josh): I was just listening to the remix of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's yesterday during my lunch break. I really enjoyed that. Newer stuff, I don't find as much I enjoy, I really kind of go back to a lot of the 90's Christian music.

    Kevin: I will say that I like this; I think the name of the band is Beach House and the album is "Depression Cherry." I really liked that album a lot. But yeah, when it comes to new stuff its really tough. I mean, you know, I picked up that new Harry Styles record because everyone was like "Man, this new Harry Styles record is the most amazing thing I've ever heard!" I was like "really?" so I listened to it as I was mowing my lawn, and I though "hey, there's some good cuts on there, but is it breaking new ground? Or is this like, you know, the second coming of John Lennon? Absolutely not, so. but good job Harry, for trying.

  • JFH (Josh): There you go. I wanted to ask if you, do you have a bucket list of singers or bands that you would love to perform with in your music career that you haven't had a chance to yet?

    Kevin: Oh wow Dude! Yeah. Number one would probably be Moz. David Bowie has passed now, and John Lennon, and Freddy Mercury have passed. So who do we got left? We've got Bob Dylan still alive, so Bob would be a great one. In fact, I'm covering Bob on this new record the Serve Somebody EP. As far as females that are living, maybe Tina Turner. She's got quite a good voice. Annie Lennox has a good voice. That girl named Lorde, if that's her real name. Lana Del Ray. is that enough? *Laughter*

  • JFH (Josh): I have two brief questions about the upcoming dcTalk cruise, if that's okay.

    Kevin: I am meeting with the dcTalk staff here in a bit so it's on the radar. Hit me with it.

  • JFH (Josh): You seem to keep a good finger on the pulse of dctalk fans online. Were you pretty surprised by the backlash from the cruise announcement? Or did that not surprise you at all?

    Kevin: No, because I would have been right there with them. You know, the truth is, this is what everybody wanted to do. I am just along on the boat taking the ride. But hey, at least we did that. It could have been people waiting around another fifteen years for nothing to happen. At least this happened and hopefully this is the spark. This is something to get us back in there making music again.

  • JFH (Josh): What songs are you most looking forward to performing again as DC Talk on the cruise?

    Kevin: "I Wish We'd All Been Ready," "In the Light," "Colored People." I wish we would do "My Friend (So Long)," and "It's Killing Me," and "Fearless" but we probably won't do those. We will do "My Will" and I'm looking forward to doing that with Micahel Tait. He's got a pretty good voice. And Toby McKeehan, he's got a good voice too. And he's got some soul and some rhythm. It's going to be fun. I'm just not a big dance around the stage kinda guy anymore. I'd rather grab the mic and sing than do any coordinated dance steps.

  • JFH (Josh): I would certainly throw a vote in there for "My Friend (So Long)" as that's one of my favorites.

    Kevin: Yeah, me too, and strangely enough I'd love to do something like "Children Can Live Without it" from the first album, throw in like "Spinnin' Round" or something, but I don't think anyone's going to get into that either.

  • JFH (Josh): Yeah maybe a short medley of four or five songs from the first two albums.

    Kevin: You know what would be amazing? Is a Led Zeppelin-like version of "The King (Alleluia)"

  • JFH (Josh): That sounds like a perfect marriage.

    Kevin: We've got the band so I don't know why we don't. I would rather think of creative ways to perform and make albums than I would like to do synchronized dance moves with of a bunch of lights and hokey TV screens and stuff.

  • JFH (Josh): Let the music and vocal talents speak for itself, so to say?

    Kevin: Yes! Because there are some great songs there. Great songs written over the years by Toby McKeehan, great songs in the later years written by Toby, Mike and I. There is a lot of great stuff to pull from.

  • JFH (Josh): One last question, I want to point back to the Serve Somebody EP. Is there anything else you want the JFH readers to know about it?

    Kevin: It's amazing and you have to go buy it. It's like candy, you won't be able to get enough. It's like your favorite candy bar or ice cream. It will be coming out in Vinyl, CD, and of course streaming where us independent artists never get paid.

    And let me say a final word, and just say it's going to be very exciting to get back together with TobyMac and Micahel Tait and do these songs for everybody again. It's going got be a blast. I love both of those guys. We've still been making music ever since we departed, and all of it's been amazing and I'm just excited to do this next chapter. We will all be in our 50s this year. This is the time to kick it in again. This is the B-side to the whole thing. You have side A, and now you are ready for side B.

    Kevin Max's album, Serve Somebody EP will be available digitally and on vinyl July 7th, 2017!

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