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I’m not opposed to rock music. But somewhere along the line the music at some of the churches turned into rock and roll that is all about me, myself and I. Now I can’t say the music is evil, but I do think it’s distracting. When you’re trying to focus on God and someone is beating the heck out of a crash cymbal it seems counterproductive.
Also the focus seems to be more on what I personally get out of a worship service. How does it make me feel? The lyrics are many times biblically off-base or semi-narcissistic. I’d like to see more music that has lyrical content like hymns. I’m less concerned with the style as long as it’s not distracting. The hymns have a certain quality where you can hear everyone singing as opposed to just one voice. And honestly there aren’t many CCM worship songs that compare lyrically with Be Thou My Vision or Come Thou Fount.
The band released a press release a couple days ago that Delirious will be breaking up at the end of 2009 when the band’s commitments will be finished. Delirious started in 1993 playing at church events, but the band did not become a full-time gig until a few years later after a serious car accident involving the singer, his wife and the bass player.
Delirious is a prolific band that regularly releases studio albums and live CDs. The British band tours extensively throughout the world including Christian festivals in the United States. The breakup was likely due in part to the drummer’s decision to quit the band in April for family reasons.
I got to do an interview with Delirious? in 2002, which you can find on this site. I didn’t have any way to set up an interview in advance, so I talked to a guy who was running the stage crew the morning before their set at Northwestern College in Minnesota. I waited around for a while until the band’s road manager agreed to give me a 20-minute interview. Of all the band interviews I’ve done it was probably one of my favorites because I interviewed Martin Smith, Stu Garrard and Tim Jupp. I think it’s great when you can interview the people who play the music that you listen to on your stereo.
It’s sad to see the band breakup, but it’s probably time. The thing that impressed me the most about the band members was their humility and their absolute musical perfection. I have rarely seen a band that sounds better live than on a CD. Delirious? was a terrific band and their music will be missed.
Recently before their performance at Northwestern College in Minnesota, I was able to sit down and do a face-to-face interview with lead singer Martin Smith, keyboardist Tim Jupp and guitarist Stuart Garrard. Hopefully, this interview will help Delirious fans hear what their favorite band has to say about the band’s latest album, Audio Lessonover, which remains unreleased in America, their views on ministry and what it’s like to play with Bon Jovi.
Matt M: When will the new album be out here in the states and why has it taken so long to be released?
Stu Garrard: We’re not sure when it’ll be out, maybe sometime by next year. The reason was is because we have a new compilation out that could compete. The U.K. had the latest album first, cuz’ in the U.K. we’ve been doing the mainstream and we want to just keep building on that. So our responsibility is to get that record out. In the meantime the compilation “Deeper” came here. We just want to keep [from] turning out too many records all at once. I’m quite certain it will get here eventually.
MM: Looking forward to that.
Martin Smith: Have ever you heard it?
MM: I have actually.
Garrard: What do you think?
MM: It’s different. I like “Waiting for the Summer.” Are the chick songs a new thing for you guys?
Garrard: Chick songs a new thing for us? I’ve been married about 20 years.
Smith: Like “There is an Angel” and “Angel in Disguise.” Well, it’s not that new. On the Cutting Edge one had “What is This Thing Called Love?” on it.
MM: So do you guys like it when people compare you to U2 or Radiohead?
Garrard: They’ve been nominated for eight Grammys. Well, you take that, it’s quite flattering really. No we don’t mind. We just really try to go and do what we think is our own set. But you know you have all these things that you really enjoy listening to and the influences are bound to come out. Music’s an inspiring thing and different inspirations form what you are.
MM: So what’s the songwriting process for Delirious?
Smith: Stuff is bobbing around in our heads for a while. Then, Stu and I will get together and start playing each other what we got. Then, we try demoing in quite a rough state. Hopefully we’ll get enough for us all to get together and learn them. Then we’ll record them. But these days the writing process sort of continues on until the record’s finished.
MM: Do you guys write worship songs still that you don’t put out as a band?
Garrard: Worship is in us, and kind of flowing through and out of us, hopefully all the time. Every song we write is up for the process of elimination for a record. So it’s not like we’ve got worship songs that will never see the light of day. We write what comes out of us, might be a worship song, a light song or a chick song. They all get put in the same pot for us.
Smith: Do you think people are surprised? By the chick songs?
MM: My roommate was really surprised; he’s a big Delirious fan. I think he was kind of maybe a little disappointed. When you listen to the Cutting Edge and these songs you feel the presence of God. Then, I think he feels like, “What are those guys doing? They’ve got this song that’s like-this is presence of God and now they’re writing about you know.” Writing about your wife—that’s cool. But it doesn’t have that same… I think a lot of people use your music in the church and to bring them closer to God. The other stuff’s fun, but I don’t know if it really can bring you into the presence.
Garrard: People don’t really connect with it as much, is that what you’re saying?
MM: Yeah, it’s still very good and people pop in it, but I don’t really know if… “Angel in Disguise,” good song, but I don’t know if you can play it in the church. So what denomination of church do you guys come from back home?
Tim Jupp: Nondenominational.
Smith: House church I guess.
MM: So what are your views on ministry and do you consider the band a ministry?
Jupp: I don’t know what you mean by ministry really.
Garrard: I would say yes because it’s what we feel called to do. That why it’s sort of a take on what a ministry is, it’s the calling to what you’re supposed to do with your lives. We feel definitely that we’re called to do this, but it is a business as well, we’re living in the world. We’re competing with other things that are out there. So it’s a ministry and a business.
MM: So where do you think God is leading your band?
Smith: Honestly, I’m not sure really. I think that’s what’s exciting. I think we’ve always taken it year by year. We know that we love the presence of God and we love it when God meets people, but I think that’s all we know though really. We’ve never tried to write for a market or for a single. So we’re here, we’re on our tour and we’re really enjoying it. But as for the future, I think it’s in God’s hands.
MM: Taking it wherever it goes?
Smith: One minute we could be leading worship in church, the next minute we could get called to play one of those songs that people feel a bit let down by; [they] might get on our Levis after that. Suddenly being out there touching people in a totally different way. You can’t underestimate God really, what he can do and what to do, so it’s exciting.
MM: Have you guys ever had any radical encounters with the Holy Spirit when you’ve been playing, that is the Holy Spirit coming on you or the fans?
Jupp: Yes, several. It’s one of those things, you never really know, do you, until God’s calling you. You don’t know the hearts of what goes on. It’s up to you what you should be doing. Thankfully God and the Holy Spirit is meeting his people-people who know him and also hopefully people who don’t know him find him to be true. That’s what we hope more that mostly wears out everywhere in the world: God meeting with people.
MM: Anything you guys want to say?
Smith: We endeavor to do everything we do to the glory of God and that’s whatever we write. I think most important is that we aim to be people that carry the presence of Jesus wherever we go whether it’s writing on an album, sitting doing these things or playing with Bon Jovi, which requires you to wear slightly different clothes. So I think that we’re very excited about the last place and we’re not giving up. We really want to press forward and keep going with it.
For more information on Delirious? click here.