Sunday, February 28, 2010


Sunday - skipped church. But, I got to hear some cool Christian music that nobody else has heard! Where? It's somewhere on Lake Huron. Beyond all roads. Tucked away near the lake is Beach Road Studios where my friends The Light Division and To Tell have recorded their recent albums. Siegfried Meier greeted me at the door and I sat in on a session. This is a picture of Zach, Sig and me doing our pose for Rolling Stone magazine.

Yesterday, was To Tell's last day in the studio - vocal tracking day, actually. While the rest of the band had gone home, Zach Havens remained behind, to lay down vocals on the unfinished songs.The studio is pretty nice. Dozens and dozens of guitars on the walls, pre-amps, post-amps, jumbo-tron speakers to deafen you, mixers, fluxcapacitors, flippy switches and harmonizers for humanoids. All of it makes sense if you're Sig. I like it.

When the CD is finished, To Tell will have 10 new tracks and a re-recorded version of "Down And Out" - the duet with Hello Kelly. Their tour dates are here.

(Hope I get a pre-release....nudge nudge)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

1-2-3....S H O U T !!!

I'm still thinking about last Sunday at church.

I can't remember how Pastor Wayne got from the sermon topic to the demonstration, so I'll just jump ahead to the wild part.

He said, "we cheer for Team Canada. We CHEER! We yell and scream and slap each other on the back! We get excited for sports." (You probably know where THIS is going so I'll get to the point.)

He asked us to shout to the lord. SHOUT! He hyped us up a bit, reminding us of God's goodness, and grace, and salvation, and His creativity, and gave us an image of the glory of God. Then, on the count of three, the worship team was instructed to play AS LOUD AS THEY COULD! (Man, wish I had been drumming that day!) 1-2-3 - the place went N uTz!!!! You'd think Bono had walked in!

This went for about three minutes with people praising God, shouting to God, singing to God, stomping their feet, clapping hands, jumping up and down.

Reminded me of two songs.

"Shout to the lord". All the earth - shouting in praise!

And "I Can Only Imagine". And I think about the line - "Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all?"

Which is it? Shout it or be soft and reverent? Come in casual flipflops or wear your best clothes for the King of Kings?

Does it matter?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When All Else Fails

Busy days at LIFE. Renovations - the smell of paint. Mmmmm. (cough cough) Tubing night yesterday with 150 fans in Huntsville. Lots of Club Card users - awesome! Working on the CD release for Karaoke Superstar. Looking forward to Sharathon. Internet is slow - working on a resolve. Got another concert in the works.

I'm asked - "Is LIFE 100.3 work or ministry" Today, it's definitely work. Work that requires a few moments of peace with God.

When all else fails, there's always American Idol.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Sunday at church Pastor Wayne presented us with a very interesting question. It went something like this:

If you could go to heaven and have no sickness and all your best friends were with you; if you could eat all your favourite foods and never get fat, have every leisure activity and hobby to do as much as you liked; if all your favourite music and TV shows were available; if there was no crime, no conflict and no natural disasters, could you be satisfied if Christ was not there?

Could you?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


There's a lot of junk buzzing around in my head. Ungodly junk. I read the Rolling Stone interview of John Mayer and was very disappointed with his wandering mind. He openly talks about matters that I wouldn't repeat here - yet it's on the public magazine rack. And unfortunately, on my mind. I'm disappointed because some of his music is quite good. Perhaps he wants to be "the bad boy of Rock". I don't know. I just know what I read.

I rarely watch music videos because most(mainstream)videos are basically pornography for music fans.Movies that are rated PG are generally acceptable to me. Seemingly good stories, but even so, once in a while there's a scene that leaves me feeling - "Aw I wish they had skipped that part".

I went to see Sherlock Holmes the other night. I went with a friend who I wanted to spend time with. It was more about being with my friend than the movie. But even with a PG rating, the amount of violence was over my threshold. I found myself looking at my feet for half the movie.

Yesterday a pastor friend who I've asked to "pour into me", reminded me of the verse to "take every thought captive". (2 Cor 10:5) The notes in the margin of my Bible refer to strongholds and anything opposing God's will, warfare in the mind, against arrogant and rebellious ideas.

I know we can't walk around with blinders on or we'll be clueless about current events.

Movies are a tough call because there are so many justifications. "The plot outweighs the bad stuff". Or "good conquers evil in the end so all the evil stuff shouldn't bother you". (I disagree with those validations, by the way.)

I'll confess - this "stuff" clogs up my head. I don't always think clearly and I don't always make the best choices. And I surely don't always say the right things.

The key, I think, to taking every thought captive, is that I do a better job at discerning what's good and what isn't, and only keeping the parts that are good and not carrying around in my mind the stuff that is garbage. Coz it's the garbage that builds up and I find myself desensitized from the will of God.

Monday, February 15, 2010



10am - the sound and video crew for Air Raid 17 arrived.

2pm - sound checks for all bands began.

6pm - The Bat-light we rented was showering the snowy sky with beams of light! You couldn't miss it! I think Pastor Jay would like to make it permanent!

6:15 - 1,000 kids in line, gobbling up our free hot chocolate!

6:35 - doors open to a flood of fans who traveled from Brampton, Alliston and Huntsville.

6:36 - free flares given to the first 500 kids.


7:30pm - The spotlight shines on LIFE's Woody Woodland who welcomes the crowd and Levi denBok hits the stage with his band from Stayner. Levi did a short, inspirational set and we look forward to a full CD of songs really soon. (My kid, Brett does front of house sound mix. Not a big deal, but I thought I'd mention it.)

7:50 - The Light Division rock Air Raid with "A Map To The End Of The World". Shaun, Dave, Adrian and Brad are the coolest guys. Anberlin - look out! You are about to be dethroned! (Once again my kid mixes - not a big deal but I'm pretty proud and it's worth another mention.)

8:20pm - The ivories are tinkled by Zach Havens. I don't know if keyboards are actually made of ivory anymore but regardless, Zach's band is so tight and Zach IS an entertainer. Into the studio this week recording new music.

8:55 - Group1Crew and their road manager are pacing backstage because To Tell has gone five minutes overtime. A whole five minutes! Personally I think G1C were feeling a bit upstaged. Regardless, G1C's manager demands (Nashville people are very demanding) that To Tell finish the song and get off - and skip the final song "Closer To You", which is their biggest radio hit. Me, very upset.

8:56 - Intermission. LIFE 100.3 premiered the new Street Team video. Woody Woodland and AJ the Wonderdog giveaway a bunch of prizes. Me, second bottle of water.

9:10 - Stage lights - on! The live video screens light up. Group1Crew and the their crew let it roll. (Did you notice the computer assistance of extra instruments and back-up vocals? No? You didn't notice. Ok, good.)

(L-R Steve and his wife Shauna Jones, Tyler Knegt from the Street Team, me, my wife Janice, our son Brett and LIFE's Jojo McKnight!)

9:20 - Manuel talked about how much they love Canada, except for the snow. (Typical American comment) and then said "well at least we get to leave tomorrow". I couldn't believe it. Thanks. Happy traveling.

10:15 Even though they forgot to play "Our Time" - possibly their biggest song - the crowd seemed to love the performance. Very slick. Very pro. Very - "Nashville". Oh wait, they're from Florida. Well, like I said - "very Nashville".

10:20 - G1C closes the show and meets and greets fans in the foyer. (I'm told by our runner that the band were super-nice all day, never complaining, and quite excited to be at Air Raid.)

This Air Raid was the most extravagant of all. Working with various third parties - sound and lights, video companies, artists (and their "friendly" managers), concessions, Mapleview staff, security and catering company providing food for the band - LIFE Air Raids have become a mini "music industry" requiring dozens of people to hold it together. The relationships between LIFE and Mapleview, TLD, To Tell, Levi, Upsight Sound and Adam's video company have all grown. Bless you guys.

Hopefully we won't have to wait a year for Air Raid 18! Hey! I have an idea.... "Win Air Raid 18 for a concert at YOUR house!" Sound good? Jen... what do you think?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tomorrow Night! Air Raid 17!

It's been nearly two years since Air Raid 17. Were you there? Stellar Kart headlined. They were entertaining, loud, and shared Jesus with the crowd. Red Cloud was a last minute addition, doing his free-style rap, and from what I hear, it was the big talk at school the next day. Air Raid 17 was one of those shows that I thought would be hard to beat.

Well tomorrow night is gonna be it. We have the most pre-sold tickets in the history of LIFE. There's less than 100 tickets up for sale. There's a bunch of surprises. Our whole staff will be there. The band line-up is awesome - Levi denBok from Stayner - great heart for worship; The Light Division rockin' in from Hamilton; To Tell featuring an amazing keyboard player who will blow your mind - and of course Group1Crew with all those radio hits like "Our Time", "Everybody's Gotta Song To Sing", "Love Is A Beautiful Thing", "Keys To The Kingdom".

Actually, they're in town now. They flew in today just to avoid any silly border issues.

We'll even have video screens so you can see the action from just about any angle. Thanks to Pastor Jay and the Mapleview team for being so accomodating and letting us blow the roof of the church! Doors open at 6:30PM!!!

Check out AJ's podcast with Blanca - here.

Monday, I hope to have some photos on this blog. But better still, go to the show! Who knows how long it will be until we do Air Raid 18!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Place Is A Mess, But Not For Long

We're working in the offices at LIFE behind paint cloths, paint drops, ladders and other everything that used to be on the walls, is now resting on the floor.

The main hallway is five years old. Lotta bumps and nicks in the walls and around corners from moving equipment. Time to make things pretty again. And with Sharathon just five weeks away, now is the time to give this baby a bath!

When it's all done, the lobby will have fresh paint, and hopefully a big screen TV that showcases our Street Team on location. There's talk of some new furniture and other nicknacks.

The Hall, from the lobby to the back is being repainted. Today would not be a good day to visit, but just wait! An electronic wavy chair rail goes along the middle with flashy wallpaper above and a nice bloody red coat of paint below. I know, it's hard to envision. Harder to explain.

Thanks to last year's Sharathon we held the cash for this purpose as the deals were better now than last Fall.

Next time you visit LIFE, ask for a tour. I think you'll like what you see!


Thinking about: toothpaste. And missing playing drums in Ascension. Anyone need a drummer?

Listening To: New Toby Mac, Christian Hiphop playlist in my iPod

Reading: Wiki - about Amelia Earhart and skimming thru "Catcher In The Rye"

Praying About: A friend asked me to "pray out" someone who my friend works with and the office doesn't get along. I seem to have success praying people out. Hahha! Look out!

Monday, February 8, 2010


You might notice a few differences on LIFE 100.3 today. They're minor changes, but for us on the inside, they were massive. It took hours of planning. Some of the changes were kept secret even from the DJs, so I bet some of them turned on the radio today and said - "huh, what's going on?!".

We like to think of LIFE and you - our listeners - as friends. Friends have interesting things to say to each other. Friends do fun things together, go places, meet people, make comments, encourage.

It's nothing that big. Just the stuff you hear between the music is fresh and some of the songs you hear might feel a wee bit different.

Simultaneously, we're doing a bit of interior demolition. You might hear the hammering on the air! Changing our lobby and the long hall that runs from the lobby to the back door. A fresh coat of paint and some other fun things. Stop by in March - we'll show you around.

Changes. I like it. Routine? Ha - not for me.

Do you like change or routine?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Air Raid 17 & Changes

Next week is gonna be the busiest in LIFE history.

Air Raid 17 is next weekend - Saturday night - Mapleview Church in Barrie. We're flying these guys in from Orlando. Gonna be a great show! You should be going. If you're not, I hope you have something really important to do. Tickets at the door but we're over 500 sold, now.

My son Brett is coming to town. Yeah! We'll have him doing some tech work in the station - stuff he learned at school in Nashville. And, he's going to mix sound for one of the Air Raid bands. When you see the sound guy in the middle of the room, mixing, that's called "FOH"-front of house sound. Use that term and people will think you're really smart.

Next Friday, I'm hosting a 30-minute radio special called "Air Raid Spectacle." (I hope Elvis Costello enjoys the tribute.) Anyway, AJ The Wonderpooch researched it, scripted it, conceptualized it and deserves all the credit. Except for the idea. That was mine. Hahaha.

At Air Raid, we're premiering the new LIFE 100.3 video. It's a Street Team On Location thing from the last year, places we've been, fun we've had, ministry in action.

I'm pretty excited about Air Raid. Did I mention that? Hey, remember reading Batman comics or watching the TV show and whenever Commissioner Gordon needed Batman,
he would flash the Bat-signal in the sky and pan the clouds? Remember that? Well we rented the Bat-light and it's gonna be outside at Air Raid. You won't see the Bat-signal, but at least you'll know where the action is!
That's not all. We've got the demolition crew coming in next week to freshen up the LIFE lobby and halls. Next time you visit LIFE, it's gonna look a whole lot different. It's been five years at this location - time for ch-changes.

Next week we have some on-air changes coming. I love on-air changes. Wish I was back on the air. I miss it a little. Just a little, not a lot. I just heard that Mark Schultz has a new song coming out. I definitely won't be on the air until it's off the chart!

I bought the Nick Jonas solo CD yesterday. "You did whaaaat?" Yes, I bought it. It's nothing like the Jonas Brothers which I knew, having seen his appearance this week on Letterman. His band looks like they are all more than 40 and they sound like they've been jammin' for a while. I ran their names thru Wiki - turns out these guys once played with Prince, so I guess they have the chops! And Nick has found a groove that's nothin' like the Jonas Brothers. One song is written by Leeland who was rumoured to be the next big thing in Christian music. He wasn't, but it's cool that he co-wrote with Nick. When you're finished laughing, go buy the CD. You'll be surprised.

Mostly I want God to give me new vision. I'm stuck in the moment and (sometimes) I can't get out of it.

That's a lot of rambling. Any thoughts? Comments? Gifts?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Philippians Filter

I'm in a Bible Study with some friends and we're reading "Good To Great" and discussing it as a group.

The chapter I just finished talks about Paul's verse in Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

I've always thought of that verse as a "Christian filter" that I can apply to situations - like going to a movie. I almost always read the movie review - both Christian and secular - before I go. And I think - - "is it pure, is it praiseworthy?" - and I make a decision from there. (Sometimes it's the wrong decision because I override the verse!)

Or a secular song?

Or a friend who I hang around with.

When I filter my life through that verse, the discernment of what is Godly and holy, and what is not, is painfully obvious. The bad stuff still is enticing, but I know the difference.

The "Good To Great" book comments that once upon a time, we would buy a can of vegetables and the container would list the contents - "carrots." But now people are more health conscience so most food containers, including fast food, will list the nutrients - the carbs, calories, protein - so we can make healthy food choices.

It's become important to us to know the contents of the food we put in their body. So why is it that we are so casual about the content of films, music, advertising and friends that we put in our minds?

Philippians 4:8. It's the nutrients filter. It's the music filter. It's the movie filter. How come we don't use it? Why do we ignore it?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Grammys - From My View

First time since 1999 I've watched the Grammys since Christian music came along. I haven't paid much attention to mainstream artists with rare exception and I probably couldn't name you one artist in the Top 10 right now.

This year's Grammy show, from a production standpoint, blew me away.

Comedian Stephen Colbert did a good job as host and I giggled at his comment about rock stars who come to the awards to pat each other on the back for a good job and then give them an award. That's about it, right? We do that in Christian music - we give ourselves awards for doing ministry. I guess we're no different.

But at this year's Grammy's, it was different. It wasn't about the award - it was about the celebrities, the stage sets and surprise appearances.

My goodness - who would have thought 62-year-old Elton John would still be relevant, let alone open the show in a duet with Lady Gaga. And, they were good together! It worked! I guess I wasn't expecting much from Lady Gaga but, I was impressed.

Pink performed "Glitter In The Air" in a sleazy acrobatic outfit that wrapped her up, swung her into the air as if she was in Cirque du Soleil. She spun, she sung, she was soaked in water, suspended over the crowd, still singing, and then lowered to the stage without missing a breath. Hard not to say "oh wow!". It was very Vegas!

Katy Perry and Alice Cooper came out to introduce the next selection of nominees. Always an Alice fan, it was good to see him still active in 2010. And Katy Perry who has gone from "Christian artist" to the "I Kissed A Girl" bad girl - I dunno. Something in my spirit tells me the bad girl stuff is really record company marketing stuff. Maybe I'm just hoping she'll return to Christian music. (A second Christian album by Alice would be fun too!)

Bon Jovi - yes, yes! Anytime. Jon is a man of faith. If his songs aren't about having a party, they're probably about hanging on to hope, being imperfect people and "God will get us through" - and I feel motivated by most of his songs.

The Jonas Brothers presented. Another Christian band - each of whom wear purity rings. Well, I guess Kevin would have replaced his with a wedding ring. But hey - what's with the new look on Joe? What's that all about?

Christian girl, country artist Taylor Swift performed with Fleetwood Mac's Steve Nicks. Stevie looked sharp, even for a grandmother. Taylor proved that a recording studio can take any "off tune" singer and make them sound like a million bucks. Taylor probably has the million now but not the voice. Sadly, the pitchy notes were clearly noticeable.

There was the new Michael Jackson "Earth Song" with five "living" celebrities that was fairly forgettable, but it would have been a disservice to the industry to not honour Michael at the Grammys. The appearance of his two children Prince and Paris were cute - (where was the third kid?) The rock stars in the audience were mesmerized by the kids - probably because neither kid looks like Michael. Hmmm.

Now the Christian part of the show - which unfortunately was announced off the air. The category was Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album. Whaaat? Rock , Rap and Gospel competing in the same category? Isn't that a bit like - oh never mind. "Live Revelations" by Third Day won it. Would have rather they had the stage presence than an award.

Speaking of Christian, or are we - Kings Of Leon (who have strong Pentecostal roots), have virtually left their faith at the bar, making several mentions of "shots". Sadly, every article I read about these brothers seems to refer to excessive drinking. Still "Use Somebody" got them the award for Best Rock Performance.

Well, the GMA Dove Awards are next. Can't wait til April. Maybe Alice Cooper will show up!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Olympics

Who cares? Not me.

I'm not a sports guy. I don't follow any teams - I guess I'm just a music guy. Music is my thing and sports is not. I leave that to my brother.

But here's the deal.

Why on earth did the Olympic committee, in all of their vast wisdom, pick Vancouver for a location? It RAINS all the time in Vancouver. All the time. It rains so much that Vancouver has the highest population for depression in all of Canada.

It's raining now. It's almost washing out Whistler. The staff are covering the hills because it's ice on top from the rain and pools of water at the bottom. I thought Whistler was the king of ski hills but the Olympics are a weather-related event and if it rains - it's a wash-out.

Calgary - great choice. Vancouver? Hahaha - it rains!

Think of all that money spent to construct a new highway - the only highway - to take people on the two-hour trek from Vancouver to Whistler. It's a coastal highway - it's the only highway and two years ago it was in such poor condition they had to rebuild it - just for the Olympics. I'm not sure if the mountain slide happened before or after the construction.

Vancouver. Yeeesh. Have you driven through Vancouver? It's a traffic jam all day. It's worse than Seattle. Driving. Rain.

Now I heard on CTV news that people who live in Vancouver don't even care about the Olympics. It's an "out of town" thing. The "man on the street" suggested that residents don't know much about what's going on and it starts in less than two weeks?

Remember the summer Olympics in China two years ago. The incredible fireworks that lit up the city skyline? It was amazing. And then we found out it was studio produced! Half of what spectators saw didn't even happen!

How much money do they spend on the Olympics? The new stadiums, the hotels, the "Village", the promotional advertising? How much money do big advertisers spend during the Olympics that maybe nobody cares about. My goodness I hope they made a lot of money on those stylin' red mittens coz Canada is gonna be paying off this misadventure for decades.

Ok, I watch a tiny wee bit. The gymnastics. That's it. I guess you might say I'm not a big fan.

So, uh, who's on Larry King tonight?