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Mary Murphy :: Monique Henderson :: Skillet :: Richie Furay Jabbawockeez :: Doyle Young :: Kutless
04 Monique Henderson :: More Than Genetics With two gold medals from two different games, this Olympic track star talks training and motivation. Plus while Monique has managed to stay clean and still rise to the top, she shares the disappointments that surround doping in sports.
10 Mary Murphy :: Choosing to Laugh Known as the Queen of Scream, this So You Think You Can Dance? judge opens up about domestic abuse, her family and how dancing saved her life.
18 Skillet :: John Cooper, Following His Heart When front man John Cooper formed Skillet, he was just following his heart… little did he know, his Grammy-nominated rock band would break industry molds and bless everyone involved.
24 Jabbawockeez :: Faith of the Unbelievable They won the first season of the reality dance competition America's Best Dance Crew, this all-male modern dance/hip hop group gets up-close and unmasked.
28 Richie Furay :: Best known for forming the band Buffalo Springfield, and performing the song that has come to symbolize war during the 1960s, but Furay is more than just For What it’s Worth. This Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member continues to influence America with more than just his music.
35 Kutless :: Believing in Something Bigger This band’s music has been featured in film, television, and video games… currently on tour, guitarist Nick DePartee gives us a glimpse of life on the road.
38 Doyle Young :: in Vietnam It’s been 35 years since the Vietnam War ended, and while the country that was once considered the enemy remains Communist, one American professor finds himself training Vietnam’s next generation of business leaders.
Ben Herrera Lou Mora 52 The Twilight Saga Vampires are all the rage right now and we have most-talked about bloodsuckers on the screen: Rob Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Reaser
THERE’S SOMETHIN’ HAPPENIN’ HERE ere's somethin’ happenin’ here… is the opening line in the Buffalo Springﬁeld song, For What it’s Worth. e song became something of an icon during the 60’s representing the collective feelings brewing during the Vietnam-era. But that’s not what the song was actually about, according to band member Ritchie Furay who states, “It was about the cops trying to shut down a club and kids were in a tizzy.” Regardless of the song’s many interpretations, the theme of change is clear. Change can be exciting and scary; change can liberate individuals or impede individuals; change is inevitable and aﬀects everyone’s life. In this issue, Furay talks openly about his musical inﬂuence on America and the personal changes that have occurred in his life since he ﬁrst took to the stage. (page 28). Queen of Scream Mary Murphy may be boisterous and full of joy when you see her on television judging the reality competition, So You ink You Can Dance?, but her life hasn’t been without challenge. Murphy opens up about her family and how she is using the domestic abuse she endured in her ﬁrst marriage as a catalyst to help other women change their situations (page 10). Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Monique Henderson is one of the fastest women in the world. She’s earned this title without the help of any of the performance-enhancing drugs that continue to change the landscape of sports in America. Henderson is candid about doping, her training and the trek to London for the 2012 Olympic Games (page 04). Change has not escaped Risen Magazine either. I’ve stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief and will make the commitment to our readers to keep the things they love about the magazine, while striving to oﬀer a great balance of articles featuring actors, athletes, authors, musicians, and more. I’m excited about the future and know the Lord will continue to bless our readers, our staﬀ, and the wonderful subjects of our interviews. All I can say is, “ere's somethin’ happenin’ here…” and I’m excited to be used by God and to see Him work in your life too. Kelli Gillespie
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faith * hope * love PUBLISHER :: Allan Camaisa OPERATIONS DIRECTOR :: Doyle W. Young EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:: Kelli Gillespie CONTRIBUTING WRITERS :: Chris Ahrens, Dean Nelson, and Krislyn Smith COPY EDITOR: Patti Gillespie
ART ART DIRECTOR :: Rob Springer CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS :: Bil Zelman, Estevan Oriol, Grant Brittain, Natalie Thesing
MULTIMEDIA WEBMASTER :: Brett R. Schoeneck APPLICATIONS PROGRAMMING :: Mick Oyer MARKETING & SALES DIRECTOR :: Aimee Friend PUBLIC RELATIONS & PROMOTIONS :: Krislyn Smith EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RISEN PROJECT :: Megan Camaisa PROJECT SUPPORT :: Shelley Barski and Monica Gotschin PUBLISHER ASSISTANT :: Aileen Catapusan RISEN Magazine is a subsidiary of RISEN Son, LLC. The views expressed by the subjects interviewed in RISEN Magazine are not necessarily those shared by the staff or publishers of RISEN Son, LLC. All interviews are recorded live and exclusively for use by RISEN Magazine. Interviews remain the sole property of RISEN Son, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of RISEN Son, LLC. PRINTED :: USA
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More Than Genetics Monique Henderson
he made the Olympic team at only 17 years of age, yet Monique Henderson went Son to compete in Athens, Greece in 2004, and Beijing, China in 2008. Both times she brought home a Gold Medal in the 4x400 Meter Relay. Now, at 27, she shows no signs of slowing, with her eye set on competing in London in 2012. This two-time Gold Medal Olympian talks family, disappointments when it comes to drug accusations in the industry, mentors, motivation and the responsibility of her celebrity status. Writer: Kelli Gillespie Photos: Jackie Wonders
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine at Point Loma Nazarene University in san diego, California. Risen Magazine: Who introduced you to track & field, and when did you start running? Monique Henderson: My oldest sister, she’s 8 years older than me. She started running when she was 11 or 12 – I can’t really remember clearly because I was young. But she was really good, so my dad would drive her about 25 minutes away every day to one of the only other youth track and field clubs that was around our area. After about one-year-and-a-half (years) of that he said, ‘You know what, I should start a track team in the inner city of San Diego, down in southeast San Diego.’ So he did. He partnered with the Martin Luther King recreation center and started a track club called The MLK Blasters,.. It started with 13 kids in 1987, and from there it grew and by the time I was 5 – the starting age to be on the team was 6, but I was going to turn 6 in a few months – he let me be on the team. Both of my sisters were on the team so every day they would go to practice, I would ask, ‘Dad can I go now? Can I run now?’ Because I didn’t know what it was; I just knew that my sisters weren’t home, and I wanted to be where they were. So eventually he let me come out and join the team and that’s how I started.
RM: So on one side that’s got to be really nice with a definite comfort level built in, but on the other side, are you able to separate (from everything else)? MH: We definitely talk about track at home! We definitely do, track’s our life. But you know what? I think it just works out because he’s been coaching me since I was 6. We know each other so well and we avoid things that will push each other’s buttons. I just know that no one else in this world will truly have my best interest at heart as much as my father does. So it works out really well. Even the days where I might not agree with what he’s trying to get me to do, I know that it’s for my benefit and he sees something in me that I probably don’t even see in myself.
...by the time I was about 8 years old I was beating boys and girls that were several years older than me…people started realizing I might have a pretty good talent.
RM: At point did you realize you were really fast? MH: No one else remembers this, but in kindergarten, we had relay races and I was beating the boys. (They) were really mad at me and one of them was crying and I remember that clearly. After joining the team, there were a lot of good runners on the team in that area, and so it was by the time I was about 8 years old that I was beating boys and girls that were several years older than me…people started realizing I might have a pretty good talent.
RM: Comment about having two older sisters. MH: They were both really good athletes and good at track. My older sister Monica would set records at our high school, then my other sister Starla, came a few years later, and would break the records, then I’d break Starla’s records. So we had a nice little legacy at Morse [High School in San Diego]. RM: So your dad served as your coach then, is he still your coach now? MH: Oh yes he is! [Laughter] RM: Did that come about because you had worked with him for so long and it was a trust issue? MH: My dad coached me until I started high school. And then the Morse High School coach, who had coached my sisters began to coach me - with some input from my dad. But (at that time) it was mostly my coach, Gary MacDonald. In college I had my collegiate coach, but my dad still had some input there, and so they ended up being really good friends talking about different workouts and things. After graduating from UCLA I spent another year (in L.A.) with my college coach and then her schedule just didn’t work out. That’s when I moved back to San Diego and realized, who better to coach me again than my father, who’s always been there. So he’s been coaching me since the end of 2006. 06 RISEN magazine
RM: You were the first high school athlete to make the US Olympic team since 1976, how did that feel? MH: It was crazy. I had no idea. It was just something I hadn’t even thought about going through my junior year of high school. I went and ran through our high school season. I went to our high school state meet and ran really fast there. All of a sudden there was this buzz, ‘Are you going to go to the Olympic trails?’ And I was like, ‘Wait, what I’m only 17!’ It took a lot of convincing from a lot of people to even get me to go to the trials and then when I got there it was just like, ‘Okay I’m here.’ And there was a lot of media buzz when I was there - and that was really stressful. I made it all the way to the finals, which was a big deal, and I was happy with that! I got 8th out of 8 people in the finals and I was soooo happy. And then about a week-and-a-half after the Olympic trials, they called me and asked me to be on the Olympic team, which was a huge shock. At that point I started learning the history that no one my age had made the team since 1976 and it was a really big deal, so I was really honored.
RM: Getting to go to the Olympic Games - what’s something we wouldn’t know from your perspective about the Games themselves or the Olympic Village? It seems like it would be a lot of fun, but I imagine it’s quite a bit of work. MH: [Laughter] Actually, it in itself is not a lot of fun. It’s really intense. You meet a lot of people who are the best athletes in their country…in the world, and that’s huge. And then, you meet our great athletes and we’re all intermingled. But as fun as you think it might be, it’s just really intense and everyone is extremely focused. RM: How do you mentally prepare for such intensity? Do you have pre-run rituals? MH: It’s really a crazy thing when you think that you’re training for years and years to go out there and give – I mean my race, 49 seconds is the goal – and it’s like that it, it’s all you have. It starts in practice and everyday life, it’s just focusing on every single run you do and really reaching within yourself and blocking out all the outside factors. Meditation and visualization… you have to count on all those, and all your practice and training. RM: Who did you look up to on the track, who was your mentor or someone that you aspired to be? MH: When I was coming up through high school, even into college, it was
Marion Jones. She was one of the people that reached out to me when I was trying to decide to go to the Olympic trials in 2000. She called me and encouraged me and she was a really big role model in my life. (Later) When her drug accusations came out and she confessed… it really had an eﬀect on me, on how I felt about her, and the sport of track and field, and it was a tough time because she was someone that really exemplified being a classy female athlete who I had looked up to for years. It was pretty disappointing. RM: What are your thoughts on that? It’s not unique to track and field, we are seeing it in baseball, football, even cycling, it seems like in every sport, performance enhancing drugs are being used – how do you think that should be dealt with? MH: When you are an athlete that is doing it naturally, it’s just really disheartening to have a feeling that someone else isn’t. You just feel like you’re never going to have a fair playing field and that’s really troubling. In our sport, it’s rampant. It really hits home when these are the athletes that you’re around every day and they seem like normal people doing the whole anti-drug/anti-doping campaign right along with you, and then you find out, ‘Oh you were doing drugs too! Wow. Okay.’ No matter what, it’s still shocking.
and lent your name to charity events, there’s a Monique Henderson Award – which is awesome! MH: [Laughter] Yea, that’s a little known fact in San Diego track and field! RM: What are some of the causes you tend to see your heart drawn towards? MH: I love to lend my time to help out with diﬀerent causes and organizations. When I (began) training at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego there were a lot of Paralympic athletes training there as well. A lot of them are from the military – amputees – who were getting their lives back on track and by pursuing athletics and participating in the Paralympics. Many of them are now my training partners at the center. They are such great people, and it makes me realize that sports are something that transcends disabilities, culture, gender, race, ethnicity, whatever it is, it’s something that everybody loves and everybody needs. (As a result of this) My main charity, is Sports for Exceptional Athletes [S4EA] and it provides sports activities and recreation activities for all people with developmental as well as mental disabilities. I just love going out there with them because you see what sports are about. It’s about the competitiveness – that’s there for sure – and just the drive, and the love, and it’s so motivating to be around people that are doing it for those reasons again. I love that charity.
...it’s what you do outside the arena that everybody sees you in that really makes you the person you’re going to be remembered for.
RM: Is track still fun? Or do you look at it now as a job? MH: It’s definitely still fun. It’s still what I love to do and it’s always going to be something that is a part of me. It’s just my life. But at this point it is a job. There is no easy way around that, so that does bring another aspect of it into reality. It makes it a little bit diﬀerent when you’re not just doing it for the love of it anymore, but you’re doing it to pay bills. That does change things a little bit. RM: You won gold in Athens, and then again in Beijing, in 2012 the Olympics are in London, I’m assuming you’re going to continue and compete there too? MH: Yes. My goal definitely is to be back in London. I haven’t competed, actually since 2008, so I think a lot of people are just counting me out, saying, ‘You’re retired.’ I’m like, ‘You can think that, but I’m not going to say one thing or another.’ But I’ve been kind of oﬀ the radar just doing my training, focusing day-in-and-day-out because after 2008, more than anything, (I needed) a mental-spiritual break from the sport. Like I said, it was just a lot of politics, the drug accusations and everything made me want to take a step back. But I can never stop training and I’ll never stop wanting to make another Olympic team. So that’s where I’m at right now. RM: You mentioned the spiritual-side, does faith play a role in your life? MH: Oh, absolutely. From a young age, it’s the way I grew up just being a strong Christian and I mean at this point when I look around, I know the talent I have is truly a blessing. It’s more than genetics or anything like that. It’s really a blessing. And to have made it to this point, and made it this far, to do the things I’ve done I know it’s a blessing from God and I’m very thankful for that.
RM: I know a lot of times when you get attention for one specific area that you excel in it is hard to kind of separate from that. You get defined as an Olympic athlete, or a teacher, or whatever your occupation is… but there’s more to Monique as a person, do you feel like you can separate yourself from that at all? MH: I hope so! My dad told me when I was getting ready to go to college that it’s what you do outside the arena that everybody sees you in that really makes you the person you’re going to be remembered for. So to me, I just feel like I can use what I’ve done on the track to give back, or help out, or grow as an individual. To me it’s just a starting point. It’s the recognition I can use there, to go and do other things and bring attention to other causes. In a way it’s great to be Monique Henderson, the Olympian, the track star, but it’s also what I can use that for that’s really important to me. RM: What advice would you give to young people if they are interested in pursuing a dream - that seems to others unattainable - but to them, they’re like, ‘I know I can do this?’ MH: You have to focus on yourself. Surround yourself with positive people and then the people that are negative… turn that into motivation for yourself that is going to drive you every day. Don’t ever be discouraged by having a goal or a dream that others might laugh at, or has never even been done before. Or hasn’t been done in 30-something years, like the situation I was in. That should never deter anyone from still trying and at least giving 100% of their eﬀorts to try to reach that goal.
RM: And with that blessing comes responsibility and you’ve done great things
Writer: Kelli Gillespie Photos: Bil Zelman
ary Murphy will make you laugh and she’s proud of it. Aﬀectionately called the Queen of Scream, this ballroom dance champion and judge of the show, So You ink You Can Dance? has used her discipline, ambition, and perseverance to rise to the top. Opening up about her past abuse, family and faith… Murphy’s story is not only inspiring, but a lesson in healing and growth. Risen Magazine: You’re a nine-time Dance Champion, how did you get into competitive dancing? Mary Murphy: That’s a really good question because I certainly didn’t grow up dancing. Most people start at the age of three and I didn’t start until I was 19. I had three brothers and I was pretty much the fourth boy. I grew up in a town that was very similar to (the movie) Footloose. No dancing going on in that town… and if you did, you’d probably be arrested. It was a very small religious community. There really wasn’t a lot of access to anything for women or girls; the only sport that was available to us was track. So that’s what I did, and my three brothers did it as well. I just wanted to do everything my brothers did. I played the drums with them, but unfortunately that was only cool and okay until we went into high school. The rest of the guys were not happy because I was one of the first (female) drummers in the state of Ohio. I played all of the instruments back then… but it didn’t matter, it wasn’t a place for women at that time. So (the guys) beat on me a lot and I went to the band director one day and I said, ‘Listen they are really beating me up with the sticks back there.’ And he said, ‘Well I think you should ﬁnd another instrument to play.’ I was really hurt by that because I wanted him to stick up for me, and that shouldn’t be any type of behavior that (the school) should condone. So the funny thing is, I started playing other instruments and I ended up playing bassoon. I got really good at it and became first state, all-chair, in band. If I had wanted to go to Ohio State I could have had a partial scholarship to play the bassoon, but I decided to go to Ohio University and run track. RM: Wow! So obviously you had a music background and rhythm in your blood – you could definitely keep a beat. MM: The first time I was starting to change and not act like a boy, as far as wearing sweat pants and T-shirts, was my junior year in high school when I became a majorette. I had to dance a little in that
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and became head majorette my senior year. That was the first time I was out in front of lights and cameras and applause…and if I threw the baton really high in the air and I caught it, the crowd would go nuts and I loved it. But it also gave me such anxiety every week because as head majorette, I had the big toss to do (Mary laughs). I caught it every single week and that was a lot of pressure, so when I went into college, I studied Physical Education. I wanted to be the best Physical Education teacher and Elementary School Specialist with an emphasis on Creative Dance. I started modern dance in college. There was one small ballroom class I took, but I had zero interest, zero interest in it. I took some jazz and ballet, but I really liked modern dance. I liked being funky and crazy at that time in my life. I got married my freshman year in college and my husband at the time pretty much forced me to move to Washington, D.C., where he had an embassy oﬀer. We moved and he proceeded to go overseas. That summer, I walked into a dance studio for a job. It was a ballroom dance studio, and I still didn’t really like it. To be honest, the average age of the client there was probably 80. The dancers were not high level and it didn’t really set with me. The manager asked me if I’d like to go watch the U.S. Ballroom Championships in New York City. As a dancer right out of college I wouldn’t have dreamed of going to New York City by myself, it scared me. (But I accepted) and he took me and it was just like a scene in the movies. I walked through these massive double doors and into a magnificent ballroom that was threetiered with chandeliers… very, very ornate. Everybody was dressed up, everybody had formals on in the ballroom and then I looked out onto the dance floor and that’s when I saw what professional ballroom dancing was supposed to look like. The fabulous costumes, the hair, the make-up -- why tha t even interested me, I don’t even know. But I can honestly say I was hit like a lightning bolt. My path for whatever reason had led me there for that day and someone let me know this is what I’m supposed to do with my life. I knew it without a doubt and I said it right out loud, right there at that minute, and without even staying and watching the entire competition, I said, ‘I want to be a United States Champion.’ I left that weekend and went back (to Washington, DC) and began searching for the best instructors and started taking a course. I didn’t have an incredible amount of dance experience (other than what I got in college), but I took to it naturally, and worked really hard for a long time. RM: Did you have support along the way? What did your parents think when you said you were going to pursue dancing? MM: No. After my parents mortgaged their home to put me through college, that announcement didn’t go well. We had a heated discussion over it and my father didn’t talk to me for two years. He was a school teacher and wanted me to be a school teacher as well. I was the only one who was following in his footsteps and he knew I would be a good teacher. So he did have a real issue with my decision.
All that my parents could see, and what most people saw back in those days with ballroom dancing, was that you’re dancing with men. And that wasn’t a proper business; to get paid to dance with people was not highly respected in those days. He (dad) didn’t see what I saw. He wasn’t there at the Waldorf. He didn’t see the fabulous professional ballroom dancers, the person that I wanted to aspire to become. Eventually, dad came around and he would come to some of my dance
competitions. It was just such a diﬀerent world, but he saw I was so determined, even though I wasn’t making much money at it. (She pauses)…you’re extremely poor, but there’s something in you that just won’t let you stop. It’s very addictive and you’re going to do whatever it takes, and you’re driven and you want to be a champion. It didn’t happen overnight for me. I won the U.S. 9-Dance Championship in 1996, but in 1990 and 1991 I was the Austrian national champion, which was actually bigger than placing here in the United States. That didn’t matter though to me…I said I wanted to be U.S. Champion all those years ago... deep inside me it was still irritating me…I hadn’t finished a goal. After dancing for Austria I came back the United States and was very determined (to win). I kept on going and finally won the U.S. 9-Dance Championship and retired the next day. I wanted to have a U.S. title and it was time to move on and do other things. Once I’ve accomplished something I want to move forward and experiment and do something new. RM: I think ambition, drive, focus and hitting goals is so important. What is it within you that drives you to want to be that way? That’s a definite character quality that not everybody has. MM: I have to thank my first husband. I was in an abusive relationship – I wasn’t allowed to dance by the way, so any time he came back into the country I had to stop – the fact that he told me I would be homeless, probably a million times, if I ever left, kept me motivated. He threatened to kill me if I left, and all the things that came along with that relationship (made me strong). I really feel like dancing saved my life and I am still driven today, I hate to say it, by a feeling that I could be homeless. I attribute much of that experience to what motivated me in life, but also that my father was very professional as a worker in his life, and me, and my three brothers are all really loyal, hard-working people. I owe some of that to my parents and some of that to my first husband. From that situation, I strive to make a diﬀerence in domestic violence and treat people the way I want to be treated. RM: I see so much strength in you. You’ve been able to use your celebrity to bring attention to the abuse in your past that you handled yourself. What made you decide now was a good time to talk about it? MM: I carried it around for a long time and a lot of my close friends obviwww.risenmagazine.com
ously knew about it. Back then it wasn’t something you could talk about and as far as I knew there weren’t any shelters (for women). Nobody talked about it… period. Parents at that time never talked about it because domestic abuse wasn’t even in our vocabulary. I did go to my parents for help. They did see me with a black eye one night and I just really wanted my father to kick (my husband’s) ***. But we were Catholics, and we were told that you need to make your marriage work. I was devastated by that. I went back (to my marriage) to keep trying to make
the situation work. It lasted about eight years. Luckily, I lived through it and got out. It was a hard decision (to talk about the abuse), but it was so liberating to talk about it openly. I had no idea the impact it would make. I knew that I needed to let women know – because they see me all the time as strong, laughing and screaming on TV – I came from that (abusive background) - because when you’re in it, you can’t imagine that anyone else (that shows joy) could have come from something like that. (It’s easy to assume) my life’s been hunkydory the whole time. I think most people’s impression of me is that I’ve had a very carefree life and the best of everything. There was something always in my spirit, no matter how many times I’ve been beaten down, that within a few days after (abuse) I would be laughing. I don’t know where that came from. I always seem to find the humor in something. I could even laugh at my face if I saw bruises on it a few days after. I choose to laugh in life. I choose to find the humor. Thank God everything strikes me funny. I know it probably drives some people nuts, but I just don’t really care. I am who I am and I want to see more people laughing. I know sometimes I’m over the top and I’ve heard some people can’t stand it when I scream on the television show, but I don’t care. I don’t care what that side says because those kids deserve all the enthusiasm I have to give. I’d do more if I could, I’d get up and do back flips! RM: I think you’re definitely a fan-favorite when it comes to So You Think You Can Dance? and they named you the Queen of Scream! I think that’s an endearing name – you’re good with it? MM: It’s a good thing. Definitely it was something that resonated around the world because the scream, and the Hot Tamale Train, that phrase, literally went around the world in just one week. People were screaming… people were screaming at me… and I would travel someplace and I would get people to move their arm up and down and they wouldn’t even have to scream, I knew what it meant. I knew what they were saying to me. They were like, ‘Whoo-whoo’ or ‘Put me on the Hot Tamale Train,’ everywhere I go in the world. I was just shocked by that. It took me back. 014 RISEN magazine
We get so programmed in life to be a certain way, act a certain way – follow, follow, follow – and be like the next person. My hair has to be like that, I want that dress, I want that face, or I want that body. We’re in a society where we’re preprogrammed, or we at least think we need to be like something else. I was so completely oﬀ the chart in the other direction that people saw that, and in a way wished they could not be embarrassed to scream full tilt and just let it go. Some of the people I talked to said, ‘When you scream Mary our whole family screams too.’ I feel blessed people like the phrase, I feel blessed that people love it when I scream. I just feel blessed. It’s just me, being me. RM: I think it’s so genuine… and it is hard for people to be themselves especially with fame because people want to know about you and it’s harder to stay grounded. How do you do it? MM: (I do it with the help of ) my very best friend who I’ve known since I was five years old. I think also living in San Diego is another really large part of me staying grounded and having my dance studio (here). I can be at a premiere in LA, riding in a limousine, and then (in a matter of hours) be driving my butt down (to San Diego) and (deal with) a toilet problem at the studio and then Mary’s in there cleaning the toilet. That has the tendency to bring you right back! You can get caught up (in the fame). It is nice to be riding in a limousine and having people do your hair and make-up, and running around doing everything for you. But living in San Diego and having a business keeps me grounded. I have been burnt several times in Los Angeles and I have learned my lessons. I go in, I do my job and then I get back to people who are real; my close friends. Being a celebrity is really tough in Los Angeles. A lot of people are nice to you because of who you are. Let’s face it… there is always somebody working an angle to make money oﬀ of you when they could really give a rats-*** about you. RM: You mentioned growing up that your town was Footloose-style and you grew up in a Catholic home, was faith a part of your life? MM: Absolutely. I was in Catholic school up until the seventh grade and also (in church) every Sunday, and Wednesday, plus (I attended) Catechism. In school we studied religion, so it was a big part of our lives. One day we were placed in public school and I never knew why. For years I never had the courage to ask my father about it. (I later found out that) my parents left the church because one day the pastor put up a chalkboard showing exactly how much money each person gave to the church, (at least the lowest in the parish), for everyone to see as they walked into church that morning. My father was a school teacher that made next to no money and my mother stayed at home trying to control all of us four kids. I remember seeing the chalkboard but I was young and didn’t read anything anyways. That was the reason we left the church… my dad said, ‘Never again. at’s no kind of religion that would do that to somebody. We gave what we could.’ It was upsetting to me years later to find out that was the reason. It made me angry with the Catholic church. I know not all Catholic churches are like that, but I can only talk about our experience. It’s sad that it had to end that way and that’s why our faith stopped there, so to speak. But I don’t think it ever stopped me from being spiritual.
RM: So where do you find yourself now as far as faith? MM: I find myself struggling today, honestly, especially this last year. I go to church now, but I struggle because of situations. I think I’m very spiritual. I think I’m generous and deeply committed to making a diﬀerence in my community.
I was doing three hours of physical therapy - not training. Physical therapy and training are two diﬀerent things. I never did get to train for Broadway to get the endurance and to get myself in shape again. I had the (So You ink You Can Dance?) finale, the after party and the very next morning I flew to New York City and four days later I was on stage. It was a whole new world
RM: It seems that where you are placed is definitely for a purpose. You’re being used to aﬀect so many people. Would you have ever thought that dance would be this popular in modern day with shows like So You ink You Can Dance? and Dancing With e Stars? MM: It was only six and a half years ago that everywhere I went, every charity event, or place I’d go people would ask, ‘What do you do?’ and I would be horrified because the next words were, ‘I’m a ballroom dancer.’ And they’d say, ‘ You’re a what? What bar do you work at?’ I’d say, ‘No, no ballroom – waltz, tango, cha-cha-cha.’ A lot of time they’d say, ‘But what else do you do for a living dear?’ It was so condescending. To think that Dancing With the Stars and So You ink You Can Dance? made such a transformational, global change in people’s minds concerning ballroom dancing, and the idea that you can lead a healthy, happy life doing it and actually make a good income, is amazing to me. That’s the power of television…now it’s respected around the world and everyone wants to do it I’m so deeply grateful that I lived long enough to have this experience.
of hurt and my body had never been in so much pain. It was the ultimate test on my perseverance, but when I was on stage… I loved every single second.
RM: I was so surprised that with all your dance accolades, this year was the first time you’ve been on Broadway. Was that your decision? MM: Dancing on Broadway is the highlight for sure in my dance career. Honestly, for ballroom dancers there was really no opportunity to dance on Broadway. It was never even part of our mindset… it wasn’t something you could even put into the universe. It wasn’t made available to us up until all of these dance shows. Burn the Floor has been around, the company has been together for close to 9-10 years now and they’ve been traveling the world and revamping the show until finally all the ballroom stuﬀ (was added) and the timing was right. The show was fine- tuned and tweaked to be a really hot, dynamic show, and it did amazing on Broadway. When Jason Gilkison (director/choreographer) called me and asked, ‘Would you like to dance on Broadway?’ (I paused) thinking how old I was and that two weeks ago I was in a wheelchair because I threw my back out for the first time in my life…I had a tumor in my right foot…only two working ligaments in my right ankle…acute tendonitis in my right arm…a torn right rotator cuff…check, check, check, check – as he was waiting for my answer and the next thing out of my mouth ‘ Yes I would!’ I hung up the phone, and thought, ‘What the*** are you thinking, girl!’
RM: You’ve gotten to do so many amazing things, is there anything left on your checklist that’s important for you to accomplish? MM: Certainly part of my legacy will be my Chance to Dance program. We’re in our fourth year right now and we have about 500 kids in the program to make dancing aﬀordable and basically free to the underserved areas of San Diego. That is one of my big missions and will ultimately, I think, be my legacy in life. I just started a new program called, Soldiers Who Salsa – we’re not necessarily married to that (name) – but we teamed up with the Wounded Warriors program at the Navy base and it serves all forms of the military. We have a dance program for amputees, brain-inflicted, and post traumatic syndrome soldiers. I’m hoping my program will go nationwide to military bases. I’m really proud of it. I would also love to have my own show one day. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to do a variety show. It’s the weirdest thing that I’m moving closer and closer to that being a reality. I used to love e Carol Burnett Show, (and a show like) that would be a lot of fun for me. I want to do things I haven’t done before. It scares me, but at the same time it makes me grow.
RM: It sounds like to me the fight is still there! MM: Last year I was red-eying across the country weekly. When I was in LA www.risenmagazine.com
John Cooper Following His Heart 018 RISEN magazine
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Writer: Kelli Gillespie
anned from listening to rock music when he was little John Cooper felt God calling him to be in a band. Faced with the tough decision of following his heart or his parents, Cooper chose the desire God placed in his heart to pursue his dream. And blessed he’s been - his Grammy-nominated rock band Skillit has released 7 albums and sold more than a million and half records to date. Fans love their passion, songs, and shows packed with pyrotechnics. And one summer night in San Diego was no exception. The stage went black with only the glow of cell phones and cameras, while the crowd chanted, “Skill it, Skill-it, Skill-it.” The voice on the loud speaker bellowed, “Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the show. You are invited to stand. You are invited to scream…” and scream they did! But before front man Cooper took the stage, he took some time to tell Risen Magazine his story.
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine in san diego, ca Risen Magazine: Being a Christian working in mainstream secular music, how do you stay true to what message you really want to get across? John Cooper: I find it kind of like anything else in life. For instance, when [you go] to college, you're making a decision to go to college and you know there is going to be new temptations and new stuﬀ out there trying to lead you astray or vie for your aﬀection. You’ve got to make decisions for who you want to be and then hopefully you put in safeguards to help those decision last. I find [the same] with any kind of business, or relationship even, what I mean is that practically for me, I need to have people in my life that I trust to speak into my life - my pastor and my wife, and whoever that's going to be that we're open about things and I know that I'm human and I can mess up and I need those people to be there for me and to keep me, not just to keep me accountable, but to be with me, to fight with me and to pray with me. A lot of bands if I see they've really gone oﬀ track from where they started from, it’s normally because they don't have people in their lives like that. It's very easy to get sucked into this world; the music world is almost like its own separate world from normal life, especially mainstream music.
n't think you'd have to? JC: That's always been there on the pop side mainly, with pop artists that come and go, all looking for the new thing. I'd say 12-13 years ago, Brittney Spears and N'Sync and all these people popped up on scene… that was the next level of that evolution [with the idea] we can make stars, which kind of lead up to American Idol and stuﬀ like that. There definitely is a ‘Hey we're going to show you how much power we really have, we can make people be stars as long as they can do this good, or this good, etc…’ That pressure has happened. I was basically told if Skillit wanted to sell one million records, we're going to have to sign at least a few chests/boobs. It was a conversation with my label, I was saying I've been in Christian music for a long time and that's never come up before. When it happens you don't really know what to saw and there's an issue of you not wanting to oﬀend people because they're like, ‘ You're a rock band and that's what they do.’ They feel almost like somebody said, ‘Hey will you sign my shirt,’ and you say, ‘No I don't feel comfortable with that.’ And then they feel oﬀended. It started this whole conversation of basically you're never going to sell one million records if you're not cool. So those began to be the challenges for Skillit. You'll never sell one million records if you don't do that, you'll never sell one million records if you're not willing to sing about some things that you don't believe in, or maybe it's not that you don't believe in it, but it might not be the best influence.
I've done a lot of praying and soul searching about what it is God has asked me to do.
RM: Do you have safeguards for that when you're on the road? Do you do devotions together and hold each other accountable? JC: Absolutely. We do all of those things you just mentioned. Some of that is also natural because my wife is in the band and we have our kids on the road with us. So it really does seem like a family; the whole band seems like a family. We're very open about what we're trying to accomplish and who we want to be. We all go to church together and the leaders of our church are very interested in our lives and being that authoritative role for us. All that is set in place, and then yes, we'll have worship times together. The girls were just in here, and walked out there, they are reading the Bible together. They're going through the Bible together and that's what they are doing in the other room now... they do that together every day. And absolutely, if somebody sees something that is questionable we bring it up. The good thing is that as a group we've already decided who [we] want to be together. When it doesn't work, is me coming to you and saying, ‘Hey I say you doing this and is everything okay with that,’ and you being like, ‘Well that’s just who I want to be.’ From the bottom this is not built correctly. Skillit is built well from the bottom up. RM: You write your own music and are a true artist. I think the industry has changed and it's more about the game-changing song, what are some of the biggest challenges you're facing in the industry that you did-
RM: So how do you handle something like that? Do you continue to blur the boundary or do you say, ‘No this is where we're going to be and we know our music will stand alone?’ JC: We've had some issues, but we haven’t gotten music pressure from the label about having to change lyrics, but honestly, I always knew I wouldn't do that. And I think even if it started to seem like maybe that’s not a big deal, I have my wife, I have my pastor at my church, I have my band together, those things I believe don't happen because of all of these safeguards. So I don't sound like a blast to my label, they haven't been hammering me like you've got to cuss in a song, that's not really what they're saying... but there have been a couple songs where they've said if you could just say "hell" or "damn" it's not really that big of a deal, what's the big deal with this. And from my point of view, I just say it's not who I am, it's not in my artistry and I'm just not going to do it. I think that God has honored that and taken Skillit to a place, that honestly we've sold so many records that we're a little bit of an enigma, I think our label doesn't know why we've sold so many records. I don't know how we've sold so many records. I don't really know how it's happened. RM: God doesn't make mistakes and He places people in specific industries that aren't necessarily Christian. It's important to have people like you that are
bringing music to a secular crowd that can relate and read into your message more. And it's not like your songs are preaching, they just deal with real issues. JC: I hope so, thanks. I feel very passionate about all those things you've just said, why we do what we do, and what I feel called to do. I've done a lot of praying and soul searching about what it is God has asked me to do. Five years ago we had a record called "Collide" that was 3 records ago, and that was my 5th record, and that was my first album we ever recorded that I didn't say Jesus on. It was a real soul searching time for me, I feel like these were the songs that God gave me and I never thought I'd have a record that didn't say Jesus on it and I don't know how I feel about it. You know what it was like, for people that care about stuﬀ like this, it was like in the New Testament, Simon Peter's dream with the animals coming down and God telling him to take and eat and he was saying, no I'm not going to do it, it's unclean, and God was saying, stop saying that what I’ve told you to do is unclean. I really felt like it was that way. I felt God was saying these are the songs, you're not meant to say Jesus on this record. You're starting a new thing and I had a real hard time with it. It was my sensibilities, because I am an evangelist at heart. But I knew it was the Lord and that's why God just kept taking us down that road and now I can see why He's done that. Write songs people can relate to whether you're a Christian or an atheist. I want it to be like last week when we played with Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains, somebody came up to me and said, ‘Hey I love your music man, I love all your albums, I'm an atheist I'm not Christian, but I don't even care I love all your records.’ I think people are relating to what we're singing about and a lot of people know we're Christians, but they just like the way the songs make them feel.
mom was a Jesus-freak, passionate about Jesus, taught me about Jesus and I had a huge respect for my Mom and she is the reason I am walking with God. But there were definitely things in my upbringing I had a hard time with and the reason is because they didn't make any sense from the Bible to me and that is probably the reason I hate religiousness and I've really fought against that my whole life. You know in 5th grade I wanted to wear black jeans and I wasn't allowed to wear black because it was the devil's color, and I wanted to have a mullet, I wanted a mullet so bad, like MacGyver, but not allowed to do that because that's what non-Christians do, Christians don't do that. So all that stuﬀ really bothered me and I had a real hard time with this whole music thing, I could not wrap my head around why God would create music but there would be a genre of music that was inherently evil or poisoned by the devil. I just couldn't buy it. I thought they're trying to control me and I don't like that I want to do what God says and I want to obey my parents, but this just doesn't make sense.
I was 18, I feel God telling me I got to do this and it's either going to be do what the Lord says, or do what my parents say, and there is only one right decision here.
RM: When you were young did you know that this is what you wanted to do? Or did you want to be a basketball player, or a teacher... JC: I did want to be a basketball player and a musician. RM: Because those hybrids are so common... JC: Competitive people. Musicians are very competitive, unless they are high. The high ones don't care anymore. I started listening to rock music when I was in about 6th grade and it was all Christian music - Petra was my band Christian music was so impactful to me that I did have a dream of being a Christian musician. I didn't necessarily think that would happen. I didn't even know what I'd play, I was a piano player at the time, and thought I could play keyboards and that could be really cool. I didn't know I'd end up being a singer. I thought that would be amazing. If I could do anything in the world, I'd be in a Christian rock band. It never crossed my mind to be in just a band, because I listened to Christian music. I grew up in a family that was against all music besides Classical and hymns. I wasn't allowed to listen to Christian music for a very long time because my family believed the drums are from the devil, and guitars are from the devil and Amy Grant is the anti-Christ. RM: So what gave you the confidence then to pursue it? I would think parents are usually a big motivating factor. JC: Yeah, they were really against it. I became a Christian when I was five. My
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RM: So are your parents supportive now? JC: This was all leading up to 6th/7th grade and we started fighting, and fighting and I started listening to Christian music and my parents did not like it but I think they finally realized they were going to lose me. I loved music, my mom was a piano teacher and she felt I was a gifted musician and she knew how much I loved music and when I heard rock music I just freaked out. I just wanted to sit in a house and listen to rock music all the time. I think they realized we are going to give in a little bit and let him listen to Amy Grant, Michael Smith and Petra, or else he might be listening to Metallica and Motley Cru with all my buddies. So they gave in a little bit. My mom passed away actually when I was a freshman in high school and apparently her big thing was - I love my family by the way, I'm close with my family and everything is fine now - but the big thing that my family really believed for years and years was that mom was on her death bed saying her biggest concern for her whole life was that I would get ruined by rock music and Satan was going to use me and they held that over my head for a long time. Then eventually I remember praying, I was an adult, I was 18, I feel God telling me I got to do this and it's either going to be do what the Lord says, or do what my parents say, and there is only one right decision here. I talked with my pastor about it, it wasn't like I was being rebellious, I was an adult, I wasn't 13 or something. It was diﬃcult because still to this day I respect my mom a whole lot, she was the cornerstone person in my life that lead me to Christ. A lot of opposition at first, but now everybody loves it and is really cool about it now. Things have changed a lot in the last 10 years even in the church concerning rock music the way people dress, tattoos, piercings and what not.
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JABBAWOCKEEZ Faith of the Unbelievable
Writer: Chris Ahrens
o dance is natural, to dance like the Jabawokeez is supernatural- sort of anyway -in a coordinated event that is part miracle and revelation that is attained by few. The 7 to 11- member crew, counting (and they always count him) the recently deceased Gary “Gee” Kendall brings illusion to life, and with it, a faith in things unseen. I arrived at the scene of this interview, to see the Jabawockeez laughing and speaking with a TV reporter. Kevin “Keibee” Brewer shows oﬀ the knot on his head from his endless spinning and then joins the crew who joyfully attempt to teach the reporter to dance. When asked to join them, I passed, instead memorizing the steps to try them at home, beyond the eyes of America’s (some would say the world’s) Best Dance Crew. Alone with the music blaring, I found that even the basics are more diﬃcult than they look, and they look diﬃcult. It’s like that with the Jabbawockeez—they and their art are illusionary, causing you, at times, to doubt what you see, and to believe in what you don’t see. I spoke with them about the seen and the unseen world, both realms familiar to them. Now, it’s for you to decide what’s real.
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine in Los Angeles, California.. Risen Magazine: Where does inspiration come from? Kevin “Keibee” Brewer: For me personally, I would say that my dancing is very spiritual. When I get into my element, I kind of open myself up to channel a creative force or energy that I feel is coming from God. It’s worked pretty well for me so far. Sometimes I have a block. Then I have to relax and let go, but for the most part, that’s where it’s coming from, for me. RM: I first read the word Jabbawockeez (actually Jaberwocky) in one of Lewis Carroll’s books. Jabbawokeez: [Nod in unison] Absolutely. That’s correct. RM: Does the name have any significance? Ryan “Kid Rainen” Paguio: It does have significance in what we’re trying to do. Actually Joe and Kevin came up with the name from a Lewis Carroll poem. Of course it was Jaberwocky, about a mysterious dragon that a lot of people didn’t believe was real. I guess that’s what we try to do with Jabbawockeez, like we’re a figment of your imagination. We’re not really on stage; what we do on stage is unreal. How are they doing that, or how are they moving that way? The reason we wear the masks is to cover up each other’s identity and show that we’re one unit. That was the main objective, and we kind of tweaked the name out to make it diﬀerent and to make it sound more hip-hopish. RM: Talking about spiritual purpose, do you guys feel a deeper purpose beyond entertainment? Ben “Big-Tek” Chung: I’m sure I speak for the rest of the guys when I say that we believe the gifts we have are God-given. We as Jabbawockeez understand that there’s something bigger that we’re dancing for and something bigger
than we understand. I think the only reason we’ve come this far is to have that purpose fulfilled, so we just keep creating and we hope to continue to inspire people, not just to dance, but to pursue any dream they might have. We’re pursuing our dreams right now; we’re living them out, and we want to encourage that in others. We’re just a part of the big picture and we want to be significant. I think that’s what we’re doing here. Saso “Saso Fresh” Jimenez: I would want the kids to pursue whatever God has given them to do. I think it’s kind of a consistent theme that our parents didn’t really support what we were doing. It’s tough; you want to play both roles and do what they want you to do—maybe doctor, lawyer,dentist-- while at the same time you have this inner thing, this connection, and you want to do that. I would say to definitely obey your parents, listen to what they have to say, and at the same time, don’t forget what that ability is that you have inside. You have to respect that, otherwise you’ll just be like, ‘Man, I wish I’d done that’. Regretting it will just eat at you, so kids, just do it. And parents, I hope you can see the light in your children and help them move that forward. That’s where I’m coming from. RM: In general creativity is at war with perfectionism, yet you guys are so creative and so precise. Is that ever a conflict? Phil “Swaggerboy” Tayag: As artists, we want to be perfect. Nobody can reach that, but we do strive for it. We like to work at the spur of the moment—other people like to call that procrastinating [Laughter all around]. That’s the beauty of our art, because everybody has so many ideas. We can sit there and try to create a masterpiece that can take forever, but being pressed for time, we narrow it down. That gives us the balance.
RM: On America’s Top Dance Crew, you were given less than a week to come up with something. Swaggerboy: That was when we first began creating under pressure. Usually when we put shows together we usually have a lot of time. Some of us are used to taking time and some of us are more organic, letting it flow. We kind of learned how to mesh together and make it work after that. I guess that’s why the shows come out like they do. The truth really is, there is no answer to why the shows come out looking like they do. There are so many diﬀerent minds here, and through that time—we’ve been together over ten years now— we’ve learned how to work with each other.
group. He made his way down from Northern California and ran into Ryan and Chris and some of the other guys and everybody kind of linked up. I joined the crew in 2004 and Ben joined in 2007. Gary was that bridge that put it all together. RM: Is that the significance of looking up and pointing? Phi: Yes, it’s one for Gee. Voice from Crew: He’s actually not a fallen member, he’s a risen member. Faith, Hope and Love, bro.
If I am synchronized with my faith, I am going to go and learn from that person and, hopefully, they will learn something from me at the same time. RM: Have you had any big blowouts? Swaggerboy: Not really. There are times we can get on each other’s nerves and we sometimes bicker, but honestly, I think that just makes the love grow stronger. We look back on everything that we’ve been through; we all know each other’s lives. I don’t see any crazy blowouts or anything like that because, each one of these guys is a good person. They would never yell or want to hurt each other, or anybody else. My brother Chris wants to speak. Chris “Cristyle” Gatdula: At the end of the day, we’re all down for each other. At the end of the day, we have each other’s backs. We all roll on black; that’s what we say, cuz if one person’s going that way, we’re all gonna go that way. If one person decides to go one way, we’re all gonna roll with it. It could be wrong, but if it is we’re all gonna be wrong together. It becomes a beautiful picture. In Niagara Falls we all got some money together and put a hundred dollars on black. It hit black and we all stuck together. You tell us to jump in the lake, we’re gonna jump in the lake, with all the alligators [Laughter all around]. We were able to go to Jack in the Box that night [Laughter all around], but then we lost it again. [Hard laughter all around]. RM: Have any of your parents wanted you to be a track star, or do some other sport? Jeff “Phi” Nguyen: I think I can speak on behalf of the crew when I say pretty much all of us went through that. Dancing for males, especially in our culture, isn’t the most masculine thing to do. On top of that, it’s not the most secure type of career you can pursue. We went with the dancing thing and it paid oﬀ and they [our parents] can see that. Now that we’re all getting older, we can see where our parents were coming from, they just want the best for us. We totally understand that now, but as kids we were thinking, Why you hatin’ on my dancing, I’m dope. Now they see the success and they say, ‘Yeah, my kid is dope.’ So it’s pretty cool. RM: How did you guys find each other? Someone from crew: Craig’s list. Looking for crew…. [Extended hard laughter all around.] Phi: Just through friends. Gary Kendal, our fallen member, AKA Gee-One, he passed away right before we did the show [America’s Top Dance Crew]. He was actually the main force and the main reason we auditioned for this show. Gary was the one; he was like our Yoda in the group. He is the Yoda of our 026 RISEN magazine
RM: You guys ever pray together? Voice from crew: Oh yeah, all day. Phi: After the show, before the show, after we eat, before we eat. We have to man, cuz sometimes the juices don’t flow and we say, ‘What are we gonna do?’ It’s like, we have to pray, we have to pray. We pray, put one up and for some strange reason we bang out materials. Voice from Crew: God is big and God is good. Our last little session that we had, we all just had to go to Sacramento and rehearse. We made provisions to do a 60-minute show, but we didn’t actually finish until a few days before we were on. There were a lot of things that were goin’ on and at some points it was tough to focus and through prayer it all came together.
RM: My wife and I were watching you guys on TV and we were actually in tears. It was so beautiful and so hopeful. Keibee: Thank you, man. When we were on America’s Top Dance Crew, Gary had just passed away two months earlier. At that time, we were spread apart. Doing the show brought us together and we were able to talk about Gary. There were a lot of things people didn’t see, not just the crying that I did when they interviewed me. Even behind the scenes. Honestly, prayer really got us through that whole time. That’s when we decided to pray before every rehearsal and show, just to get us through this time. Gary was a big part of all of our lives and we went through a lot. During the filming of that show, while we were on the show, we did a show called One For G, in the Bay Area. Everything kind of came together in our favor, from sticking together and praying together. RM: There’s a fine line between confidence and pride. Cristyle: I think if you put your pride down you can get far. We let our pride down and we can listen to each other. We’re seven guys and when you get seven dudes… Voice from crew: Ego! Cristyle: …We really take the time to listen and try other people’s suggestions. Like we said, we’re gonna ride on black. Keibee: I wanted to add that you have a gift, a God-given talent. When you have that, you can walk out in faith, knowing that you’re going to do it. If I am synchronized with my faith, I am going to go and learn from that person and, hopefully, they will learn something from me at the same time.
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Writer: Dean Nelson
ichie Furay is one of the reasons rock and roll today sounds the way it does. The bands he helped start in the 1960s, Buﬀalo Springfield and Poco, changed everything. Richie continues to make music in clubs across the country with The Richie Furay Band, as well as in the Calvary Chapel church he pastors in Boulder, Colo. The bulk of this interview was conducted before a show at a club in Solana Beach, Calif. while his band was warming up, but when it got so loud that even the excellent recording device could hear only the drums, he agreed to finish it on the phone.
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine in Csan diego, California. Risen Magazine: Pretty much everyone who knows rock history says that without the sound that Buﬀalo Springfield and Poco created, there would have been no Eagles, Loggins and Messina, or country rock. You started something. Is that how you see it, too? RF: I don’t want to sound presumptuous, but yes. Springfield was more eclectic, and Poco was more defined. Steven (Stills) and Neil (Young) had so many things they were experimenting with, and I was just trying to get songs recorded. Buﬀalo Springfield was more a cross between rock and folk music. With Poco, we were focused. I wanted to try to bridge a gap between country music in Nashville and our rock and roll in Los Angeles. Very few groups were doing what we were doing. But we were the pioneers, no doubt about it. RM: Does that make you feel proud when you look at your influence? RF: I don’t think it’s pride. I was doing what was coming natural to me. I wasn’t trying to prove a point, but I wanted to establish camaraderie between two styles of music. When you listen to what country music is today 30 and 40 years later, well it’s obvious that’s what we were trying to do way back when. RM: Who were your early musical influences? RF: My dad loved country music. Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran were major influences. Conway Twitty was rock and roll back then. Buck Owens in Bakersfield - he was unique unto himself and had an impact on me. RM: Everyone takes Buﬀalo Springfield seriously, but I don’t think many took those guys as seriously. RF: Someone had to lay the foundation. RM: Some of your band mates such as Steven Stills, Neil Young, Jim Messina, Randy Meisner, went on to incredible fame and fortune. Do you ever feel that you got taken advantage of in that you had all this influence, but never reaped as much in financial success? RF: Financially, probably, especially with Poco, because we never had the commercial hits while I was in the band. That’s what finally drove me out of the band. We www.risenmagazine.com
could draw the audience, we could excite the audience, had a good live following, but couldn’t get AM radio, which at the time was what it was all about. A hit back then would have helped a lot even today. Some people who had hits are still playing and can do so comfortably. It’s a little more diﬃcult for me. But that’s okay, it’s how the Lord laid it out for me. RM: I know you mean that, about the Lord, but a lot of people would look at this and say you got shafted.
but God gave me a second chance to restore our marriage. We were done. She was moving on, and it didn’t include me. That was a third chance, actually. Neither one of us knew there was a divine hand over us. She had written me a letter while I was at Al Perkins’ house, and they thought it was too strong and tore it up and wouldn’t let me read it. After they left the house for a while I went into their trash and put the paper together to see what I wasn’t supposed to see. And she was quite clear. We were done.
I probably should have died in the Ritz hotel in Paris, France because of the drugs I had taken. God was
gracious in allowing me to wake up the next morning. RF: (laughs) – From a worldly standpoint, I’m sure a lot of people would. In the long run, though, I would have lost my family if I had been a huge commercial success. I would have lost my wife, my kids. There came a time in my life where I had to make a decision. I chose my family. When crisis hit, I could have gone the success route, but I decided that nothing was more important than having a solid family. And here we are, married, 42 years later. For that I wouldn’t want it diﬀerently. God played a big role in my life. RM: When you hear the Buﬀalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth” played virtually everywhere in the world, and especially on movie soundtracks, do you still get a bit of a rush from hearing it? I know I do when I hear, “There’s somethin’ happenin’ here – what it is ain’t exactly clear.” RF: No. Not at all. I think I’m anesthetized by it. It’s not a surprise. RM: You and I were at dinner with some friends in a restaurant in the Dominican Republic when it came on over the sound system, and we all went nuts and brought the owner of the place over to meet you. But you were just ho-hum. RF: It’s nice to know I was part of that song and band, but it doesn’t send tingles up and down my spine. I don’t want to sound nonchalant about it. RM: Why is it still such a rallying cry? RF: It seems that every generation uses it as their protest anthem. Since there’s nothing new under the sun, they keep coming back to it. People think it was about the Vietnam War, but it had nothing to do with that. It was about the cops trying to shut down a club and kids were in a tizzy. RM: In your books Pickin’ Up the Pieces and For What It’s Worth, as well as in your music, you talk a lot about getting second chances. What do you mean by that? RF: I probably should have died in the Ritz hotel in Paris, France because of the drugs I had taken. God was gracious in allowing me to wake up the next morning. It was a matter of kids doing the foolish things kids do. We were indulging ourselves in drugs. I liked to think that I had good perspective on things, but that was one night where I let my boundaries down and went overboard. Stupidity. Thank God for the grace to let me see another day. He also gave me a second chance with my marriage. Nancy and I tried to divorce, 030 RISEN magazine
RM: Thinking about your going through the trash to retrieve this letter makes me wonder if that’s where the song Pickin’ Up the Pieces came from? RF: (laughs). No. That was already done and recorded. This was a few years later. But I like it as a story – I’m going to try to work that into the song! RM: You say God told you to go home and reconcile with your wife. Was it a
voice in your head? Heart? RF: It was one of those internal voices. All I know is that I was on a porch in Los Angeles on a hot day in September and a chill came over me. I had to go inside, and said I needed to go home. The voice was so definite and specific – it left no room for me to sit and think about it. It was time to move. Don’t’ wait. “This is Me telling you to move, so go.” I got the next flight out and went right home. I didn’t call Nancy and I didn’t know why. The obvious reason was that my wife had scheduled an abortion for the next day and hadn’t told me. RM: In your shows you always include songs that are overtly worship songs to God. Do you think all of your songs or all good music is a form of worship music? RF: I wouldn’t say that. I think worship songs have a specific purpose and focus -- to give thanks and to honor the Lord. The other songs are musically fine, but lyrically they’re not the same. But there’s not a song I’ve written that I’d be ashamed to sing today. Even Kind Woman sounds like there are some suggestive moments, but it’s still okay. RM: When you do worship songs at clubs and elsewhere that are not full of people who believe in God, you’re doing that intentionally. Do you ever run into resistance? Do you wonder if your audience wishes you’d just stick to Buﬀalo Springfield or Poco music? RF: Yup. I run into it quite a bit. Sometimes it’s before we get there and sometimes after we get there. I have a purpose in mind for doing it. I’m not going to proselytize. People pay to hear the songs, not to hear me preach. I don’t preach, but I try to talk about my life. I want there to be a song or songs where I can say, I want you to listen to this for this reason. I was working with Chris Hillman one night, and we got around to a song with our testimony, and four tables got up and walked out. A girl started yelling, “What are you going to do about the war?” Another time my business manager got a call from Nike. They wanted to know what our set content was going to be, because they had bought a bunch of tickets to one of our shows, but they didn’t want to come to a church service. Other Christian artists don’t get this kind of reaction, but I do.
RM: Mostly, though, are people generally open to your mixing some of your Christian songs into your shows? RF: Very much so. Most of the time, our audience comes back and back. Even the non-Christians in the audience tell us it’s not oﬀensive. RM: You say in your shows that all the songs you write are either to your wife or your Lord. That said a lot in a very brief moment. It said “This is who I am.” Did you ever have a dialogue with God that said – “Hey, all these guys I have worked with over the years have had huge hits, and they never talked about you or their wives. Why didn’t I get to that level?” RF: I had that kind of dialogue, but I didn’t know who I was talking to. It was before I became a Christian. I don’t know if I was crying out to God or what – I was just as talented as these guys. I was so driven to be that rock and roll star that the rest of them were. Nothing was going to stop me. Then I became a Christian and the carpet got pulled out from under me, and God showed me “Okay, now, let’s evaluate – what’s important here?” I had to make a decision, and I never looked back. The “why them and not me” question never came up after I was a believer. I knew who I was and what I had and what God had given me. RM: Don’t you at least get a little twinge today that says, That could have been me?
RF: The more I play, the more the enemy uses that issue to resurface in my life. Why isn’t one of MY songs in every movie, instead of “For What it’s Worth”? RM: Seems like a reasonable question. RF: I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I know what I’ve got and I know what I’ve done, and I know the talent I have surrounded myself with, and I’ve heard my other friends – they can do so much more than they’re doing today. My band right now has something so good. It’s frustrating, but we can only do so much. It has a lot to do with the fact that I never had a hit record. But I know that what I have can stand up to any of them any time. RM: What was it like being at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame event in 1997? RF: I have mixed emotions about it. The honor is very special. But two things bothered me about it. Neil Young didn’t show up. I think something was going on between him and Steven Stills. So the whole Buﬀalo Springfield band wasn’t there. The other thing is that the judging is so subjective. There are so many bands that deserve to be in there but aren’t. And others are in two or three times. Where are the Moody Blues, the Hollies, Poco? With Poco we influenced the biggest and the most popular rock and roll band in America – the Eagles. Two of their bass players were in my group. Glen www.risenmagazine.com
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Frye sat in my living room while we rehearsed. That leaves a little bitter taste in my mouth. So the statue is not the first thing people see in my house. RM: Back in the 60s when you were playing in clubs in Greenwich Village, did they really pass the hat around to pay you? RF: There were these little clubs all over, and tourists would come in. We did three or four sets a night, with Steven Stills and others, and pass the basket around. That was our pay for the evening. Sometimes you’d make some money and sometimes you didn’t.
It got noticed by the hard core music scene of the day. It’s still looked upon as a watermark for what a band could be like. People recognized how good the band was. It’s a testimony today that it’s still acknowledged and that people make mention of the band 40 years later. RM: I have a Buﬀalo Springfield t-shirt, and every time I wear it, some stranger will stop me and say what a great band it was. RF: It was great to be a part of it.
RM: Are the old days of rock still a good memory for you? RF: It was a great time to be making music. For the most part it was all about the music. Later on I got caught up in trying to be successful, but it was a great time for friends – the band was my family.
...and I see how shallow they were until I had that encounter with the Lord. It humbled me
RM: When you were with Poco, is it really true that your agent told you NOT to go play at Woodstock? RF: Our manager told us he had a better gig for us, which he didn’t.
and showed me I wasn’t running the show.
RM: I would have struggled with bitterness over that one. RF: I really believe that if we would have played at Woodstock it would have been a diﬀerent career for Poco. RM: That’s a big what-might-have-been. RF: You can’t live there, though. You have to move on. RM: What’s one of the strangest things that happened in one of your shows? RF: We were playing one of my songs, and it has a bit of a groove, and we were playing away, and then it was like a freight train coming to a dead stop – slower, slower, slower. I looked over and our drummer was laying across the drums, with a hand barely hitting the snare. The drugs he had taken before the show took eﬀect. We were grooving and then we heard this “wack, wack…. WACK… wack”…. And it got slower and slower. The band helped him oﬀ the stage. He was eventually able to come back and finish the set. Another time, when Buﬀalo Springfield was playing on a tiny stage, Steven and Neil and I were on one level and the drummer and bass were on a small platform above us. Bruce (Palmer), the bass, never played with his eyes open, and he kept hitting Steve and knocking his cowboy hat oﬀ. Steve got tired of it and told Bruce that if he did it again he’d punch him out. Sure enough, Bruce knocked it oﬀ and Steve punched him out right on the stage in front of the audience. At that same club, Dewey Martin brought in Otis Redding and had him sing with us. RM: During a show did you ever have the feeling, “this is the coolest thing ever?” RF: Sure. You look out at the audience and see they’re enjoying it and you’re making great music, that’s an incredible feeling.
RM: What’s your favorite song from those days? RF: I’ve recorded “Go and Say Goodbye” three times, and “Kind Woman” four times. RM: How is a band like a family? RF: When there is no pretense, a vulnerability, they know you, a comfort level, you’re accepted for who you are, if you’re crossing lines they can bring it up. Springfield wasn’t a family. RM: Egos got in the way. RF: That happened in both Buﬀalo Springfield and Poco. Being self consumed. When I left Poco that wasn’t the best decision I could have made personally or musically. But Poco was a family band. When a member left we grieved over it. RM: I saw you sign a poster from a concert that a fan had, where Poco was the headliner, and Elton John was the opening act. Is that really what happened – Elton John opened for you? RF: That was 1970 or 71, when he was coming out with his first record. (Laughs) And why not? RM: How do you define success? RF: Knowing the Lord. That’s success. Sometimes I ponder how things were in my life, and I see how shallow they were until I had that encounter with the Lord. It humbled me and showed me I wasn’t running the show. But I thought this was it – what could be better than your name in the lights at the Hollywood Bowl, or Carnegie Hall, or Madison Square Garden? And that’s not it at all. Success is knowing the Lord. You could give me all the hit records and I would trade them in right now. They wouldn’t mean a thing.
RM: Why does Buﬀalo Springfield keep coming up as a frame of reference for everyone? Rolling Stone magazine keeps publishing pictures of you all. Why do you think that is? RF: Buﬀalo Springfield left a mark. There was a lot of creativity and talent.
Writer: Kelli Gillespie Photos: Allister Ann
hile worship is at the core of Kutless, they are more than just a Christian Rock band. Not only have they performed for millions, but their music can be heard in film, on soundtracks such as “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” hit TV shows, and featured on video games. But this group has their priorities straight and Guitarist Nick DePartee talks about life on the road, challenges, and faith.
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine in Del Mar California at Spirit West Coast Risen Magazine: Being in the music industry, what is one of the biggest challenges you face being a Christian? Nick DePartee: Balance and keeping priorities straight. Remembering why we're out here, but at same time always having to deal with the business and industry-side of what we do just to stay alive and always be fresh and current. A lot of balancing that goes on but I think we're learning the more we focus on God and focus on the reason we're a band in the first place, the closer we can get to focusing on that…. everything really does just fall into place. I wish there wasn't just a Christian industry and mainstream. I think there shouldn't even be a divide personally, but I think that's always the balance. This is our ministry and number one we're called to do this, but this is also our livelihood. We need to be wise with money and financial side of everything, even the Bible talks about being good stewards of what we've been given but at the same time we're called to do this and that needs to be our primary goal. RM: You guys seem like a really cohesive unit and you're the newest member to Kutless. ND: Yeah. I joined about 3 1/2 years ago. RM: So what was that like coming in and working with guys that essentially started in college? ND: They started as a worship band and I got to know the guys through mutual friends probably 6 months to a year after they started the band, and I've been friends with them forever. The whole story of Kutless has been such a crazy journey. I started guitar teching for them back in 2006. They said, 'Hey we need a guitar tech' and I had just quit a job and it was crazy even just how that all formed, it was very much God orchestrating things, where in the midst of teching [I thought] 'God what are you doing? Why am I teching? I want to be doing this [playing in band]. You gave me a passion for music.' You know you question God, I think we all do this, but it's fun when you get to that next step God's taking you and look back and think 'Oh, that's why He did all those things.’ Hindsight is always 20-20 of course. The whole journey of all the member changes that happened in Kutless and to find ourselves all the way back to almost where we started - the band started as a worship band and it's always
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been at the core of who we are. We're definitely a rock band, but worship has always been a part of the band since day one. I think it's refreshing to be where we are today with a new record, just being reminded I think of all of that. At the bottom of what we're doing no matter what is going on around us, whatever bands are blowing up or not blowing up, we need to just remember that we are being called to worship. We need to be worshiping God more oﬀstage than on. I think that's the biggest lesson, what happens when you walk oﬀ the stage, that's what people look at. RM: What does happen? Because you're on the road a couple hundred days a year, as a band do you do devotionals, do you have accountability partners? How does that work? ND: That's definitely a huge part of the struggle. We're usually gone most weekends; we do about 200 shows a year, which means we're traveling closer to 275 days a year, because there are a couple travel days around every show. It's a massive struggle and we've definitely had to perfect the art of accountability with each other, and with our churches back home. Three of us live in Nashville now, and two of the guys still live in Portland, Oregon so even as a band it's not like we go oﬀ tour and we just hang out and chill and go to church together. We're in an odd spot and I think it’s the biggest struggle to keep our walks "normal." It's such an un-normal lifestyle that we live. Schedules are all over the map, you're traveling crazy hours and we don't even know where we are half the time. To have a solid walk in that, is almost impossible when you try to just look at it logistically. RM: Speaking of traveling all over the world, you guys have recorded your albums in very interesting places whether it be a farmhouse or Abbey Roads studio in London where the Beatles recorded! How much of an eﬀect does that have on your overall album based on the environment? ND: I think it has a huge eﬀect. Our last album To Know at You’re Alive, actually the one just before this recent album, we recorded half of it in Portland, Oregon. It was super gray and rainy the whole time. And then we went down to San Diego and recorded the back half of it up in Oceanside area and you can almost hear the diﬀerent vibes. For me personally, John and I do a lot of
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the writing and we're both aﬀected even just writing for records. I think we get in ruts just sitting at home, uninspired. I've driven out in my truck in Nashville in the middle of the night and just driven out in the hills and sat in the bed of my truck and just tried to write songs because I just needed some diﬀerent type of atmosphere. RM: When you go on tour and you're in diﬀerent venues in diﬀerent cities… do you ever get time to go out, do you make it a point to see one unique thing? ND: We try to. I think that's one of the most frustrating things. People are like, ‘Oh you get to travel all the time,’ and we're like, ‘This is a rad dressing room!’ We've even flown over to Norway to play a show. And it's like awesome, Norway, I've never been to Norway. Literally we were in the air more than we were on the ground. We basically got there [did a] sound check, took
a nap, played the show, went to bed, got up and flew out. I had dinner in Norway, breakfast in Amsterdam, then dinner back in Nashville in the same day. I don't want to complain about this because that was rad, who can say they did that, but I kinda wish I could see more. I think that's always going to be the frustration because we never get to see as much as we like. Anytime we can we always try to go out and see whatever, any cool museums or monuments, or anything awesome to see in the city we're in. If we can have any time, we try to get out and see as much as we can. RM: Do you pull from personal experience, or people you meet and you see a need? Where do the lyrics come from? ND: Yeah it’s a blend. It definitely all comes from our lives, everything we're experiencing, it’s personal. What we're going through, what God's taking us through at the time. We're writing a few new songs… me and our bass player just wrote one. We've had a few friends going through some major, major trials with marriage stuﬀ and lots of heavy things that I've never had to go through. I'm watching these marriages go through some tough stuﬀ and you know God is bigger even in those situations. We were talking about redemption and we ended up writing a song. We weren't even planning on writing that night and I happened to have my guitar, we just threw some chords together and this song came out of nowhere - in like an hour - and it's called Redemption Song. I have no idea maybe it will end up on the record. I don't know. I love when songs happen like that, so organic, it's life, it's on our hearts and it's cool that God is even able to redeem in the middle of such chaos and let us write a song about it and it just comes out. There was a quote I read the other day that said, 'If you write songs from your head, you're going to reach people’s heads. If you write from your heart, you'll reach their heart. If you write from your life, you'll reach people's lives.' Not that there is anything wrong with any of those, but just knowing however you write a song that's where you're going to touch people.
tually aﬀecting these people's lives, through the words that are written,' or do you do it all and think we might have helped somebody that needed to hear exactly what we were singing about tonight? ND: Honestly I think that's another big struggle. It's so easy in the moment of writing songs to be very much involved and [thinking] this is going to impact people and when you go on stage that's one of the easiest times to be distracted, for me personally at least. I've been on shows and when tax season comes around and I have all these bills, [I’ve] literally [been] playing and refocusing during the middle of the song thinking, how was I just thinking about all of this other stuﬀ. And, I know there have been these times over the last year where I've hit these spots on the set where I just pause and I think this is big; this is so much bigger than anything we can do. Special little moments where
everything becomes surreal and you take yourself out of it completely. This is so much bigger than us. This is not us at all, it's almost refreshing, a weight oﬀ the shoulders, this is so clearly God and we're glad we get to be a part of it because He could choose anybody to do His will. RM: Especially with the world being the way it is now, the economy being bad, with housing bad, with natural disasters, people are searching for something, they just don't know what it is. When you look at something like faith, how do you describe it, how do you know that faith is real in your life? ND: For me, and I think this is what people need as well, it's just seeing it happen and it's real. I've watched people in my life, my own family, just survive situations and come through situations where it's impossible, that shouldn't have happened, you watch and it's just so clear. Whether you believe in God or not, to say that there's not something greater, at least something going on that is so clearly bigger than all this chaos going on in our lives… I personally believe that it's God. I would so much rather believe in God and trust in what He's doing, than go through life without that hope and without believing that there is someone out there that cares so much more than anyone in this world can ever care about you. I think just how real it is. I think that's our goal. It's easy to go up on stage and just be a Christian and be like 'Praise God' and when you walk oﬀ that stage I think that's when people eyes really start looking at what [we’re] going to do. How are they living their lives? That's convicting and it's hard but I think that's where we can be the most eﬀective; walking oﬀ the stage and just loving people. People don't need to hear words and scripture and be preached at, we need to just be real. We're called to love people first and foremost and I think if we're doing that and showing them God's love rather than just slapping the Bible across their face, that's where God really becomes alive to people.
RM: Because performing is such a rush and it's a thrill, and it's part of the show, when you're up there are you able to materialize and say 'Hey we're acwww.risenmagazine.com
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Doy le You ng in Vietnam
oyle Young walked through the lobby of the university auditorium where he was about to give a seminar on leadership, and he noticed the beautiful, colorful banners with inspiring quotes from the world’s intellectual and political leaders. He had seen many of them before in the dozens of seminars he has conducted Quote from Kant? Check. Hegel? Check. Ho Chi Minh? Right over there. Nietzsche? Of course. Descartes, Machiavelli? Yes and yes. There were dozens of them. They were thought provoking and somewhat typical for a business management seminar. Most students registering for the session hurried past the banners into the auditorium. Some stopped and looked. Young went back and forth in front of them, reading each, as if looking for something. Finally, he called a school administrator over. “You left out the most important person of all,” Young said. “Really?” The administrator seemed worried about the mistake. “Who did we forget?” “Jesus Christ,” Young said. “He was the only one who declared himself God. He said that he was the way, the truth and the life, and that no one could come to God except through him.” “Jesus Christ?” the man looked quizzical. “I have never heard of him.” Hello, Vietnam. Young was in the Southeast Asian country through a California college program to teach organizational leadership at Vietnam National University, a school established in the 14th Century, and at Ho Chi Minh University. He knew that he couldn’t teach leadership principles without talking about values. “And you can’t talk about values without talking about Jesus,” he said. For Young, just being in Vietnam was diﬃcult for him to get his head around. He had not fought in the war between the U.S. and Vietnam because his father had died and Young was the oldest of his siblings. The U.S. mili-
tary gave him a family hardship deferment. But many of his friends fought in the war, and several were killed. He has seen their names etched in war memorials, along with names of 55,000 other U.S. soldiers killed there. Instead of a soldier, Young became a business man, working with some of the world’s largest corporations in marketing, management, and organizational development. From 1985 to 1999 he had his own management consulting firm, where companies would hire him to start universities within their corporations for in-house training, curriculum and mentoring. He wrote a book on the corporate world’s best practices. Doyle Young knew business, leadership, management, and all points in between. He was sought by companies around the world to help them develop better practices. One company in particular where he thrived was a newspaper corporation. Developing good business practices is one thing. Developing your own character is another. “I was around all of this wealth and power for years, but my own life was a mess,” he said. And it all came crashing down around him. The wealth disappeared. So did the power. His wife of five years was about to leave him. After making and then losing a small fortune, he asked himself, “If you’re so smart, how did you end up like this?” For the first time in more than 20 years he prayed, starting with, “I don’t even know if you exist.” When he was nine years old he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, but Young walked away from that relationship when his father died. Now, more than two decades later, he re-introduced himself. Because of his financial meltdown, Young was also trying to sell his car. A person came to the house to buy it. There was a quality about the person that intrigued Young, and so he asked the buyer what he did for a living. The man said he was a pastor. Before that he had been a newspaper editor. www.risenmagazine.com
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I have never heard of Jesus before“, the student said. “Can I Google Him?”
“I asked him what a pastor did, and he said I’d have to come to his church to find out,” Young said. The next Sunday, Young told his wife he was going jogging, but went to church instead. As soon as the music began, he broke down in tears. “I realized almost immediately that I loved God more than I knew,” he said. Young went to the church secretly for three months before his wife confronted him. “What’s going on with you?” she said. “What do you mean?” Young replied. “Most of your life you’ve been a bastard. But lately you’ve been a nice guy. What is happening to you?” “I’ve been going to church.” His wife pondered this for a few moments. “Well, if God can do this to you, I want to meet him,” she said. So she went to church and got saved. For the past 20-plus years, their relationship has grown, and Young’s heart turned toward serving others. He remembers praying at a Prison Fellowship meeting for God to use him. That desire became a reality, with Young leading Bible studies in local prisons and correctional centers, and becoming a chaplain in a sheriﬀ ’s department. And now a professor in a Communist country. About 35 years after the war ended, Young is training Vietnam’s next generation of business leaders, in a country that was once considered the enemy, where several of his friends died, where more than 3 million Vietnamese were killed, leaving a country of mostly young people. “When I walked into the auditorium for the opening reception, there was the Communist flag on the stage right next to the American flag,” he said. “I was the poster child for cognitive dissonance. I was near tears for my buddies that whole evening.” What Young found during his time in Vietnam was a culture of business professionals who want to help bring their country out of an agriculturalbased economy to a more aggressive industrial economy. “To them, the past is the past,” he said. “They are looking at China and seeing that they need to get on the worldwide economic bandwagon.” Despite Vietnam’s oﬃcial Communist government and Buddhist reli-
gion, Young felt free to teach the leadership lessons he learned from following Jesus, focusing on humility, kindness, gentleness, patience, self-control – traits that the apostle Paul called the fruits of being influenced by the Holy Spirit. Young also drew heavily from Christian writers such as Dallas Willard, Ken Blanchard and Henry Blackaby. The overall message of Young’s teaching was that true leadership comes from serving others. He had a platform to proclaim that servant leadership was more than a concept, but a viable practice in business, politics and all other aspects of society. “They have such reverence for university professors, so they took my lessons very seriously – you could tell the way they leaned forward to listen,” he said. “While I was talking about this I had the sense I was on holy ground.” He felt that the lessons of Jesus fit well into their culture, but said the students didn’t have a context for those lessons. “It seemed like they hadn’t heard these things before. The students had a seriousness and a focus that was wonderful, but with a slight sense of concern for how they will live out these principles of leadership.” He didn’t speak of Jesus overtly in the classroom, but when he talked informally with students one-on-one, he was plain in how Jesus Christ had changed his life. “Jesus made it clear that if we were not ashamed of Him, he would not be ashamed of us,” Young said. “So in private settings I felt free to talk about my faith.” He felt that these lessons were received with great enthusiasm – enough so that Young is now exploring the possibility of starting a Christian university in Vietnam. That need crystallized for him at the end of conversation with a student where Young had talked about both Jesus and the Bible. The students seemed both interested and confused, just as the college administrator had been when discussing the banners in the lobby. “I have never heard of Jesus before”,the student said. “Can I Google Him?”
Dean Nelson is the director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. His recent book is God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World. www.risenmagazine.com
Ben Herrera Writer: Krislyn Smith
If you’re into comic books and video games, chances are you’ve seen Ben Herrera’s work. Video games such as Anachronox, Red Dead Revolver, Magic the Gathering: Battlegrounds, and Street Sk8er 2 all reflect Herrera’s skills. This concept, 3D, and comic book artist has found his way to stardom through drive and determination in a grueling industry where results are far from instant. A video game can take anywhere from one to five years before completed. But Herrera says it’s worth it, “It’s a really cool thing to finally see all the work you put in and for the game to get out there on the shelves and get played and hear reviews. You put a lot of time into it.”
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine Risen Magazine: When did you develop your passion for art? Ben Herrera: When I was a kid, I started collecting comic books. I did it a little bit here and there. I remember as a kid I’d read comic books in the library and spend hours looking at them. I found out later on, I was just more interested in the art. I was always fascinated with the art. Then I started collecting comic books, just for the art, and started focusing on who my favorite artist was. That really inspired me. Then I started getting more and more into drawing. I even drew comic books for myself. I’d make my own superheroes up, my own characters, and staple the pages together. I didn’t really consider it a career until after I graduated. RM: Who was your favorite super hero? BH: I liked a lot of the Marvel characters, like Captain America, Spiderman, and e Avengers. RM: Who are some artists you looked up to? BH: Back in the day there was an artist named John Byrne who was my favorite at the time. He really influenced me as a kid. I also appreciated Neal Adams who was a little before my time. Currently, I appreciate Olivier Coipel and Claire Wendling’s art work (both French artists). I’m starting to get into European artists. There are a lot of good artists in France that I didn’t see too much of when I was a kid, but I’m starting to appreciate a lot of their work now. Especially since growing up you see a lot of the artists here that only do 042 RISEN magazine
one or two things, a pencil or ink and colors. With European artists, they do it all. RM: Everyone who is living their dream has a defining moment where they make a decision to follow that dream, what was yours? BH: I was a delivery worker when I was 18 and out of high school. At work I would always talk about being an artist. And there was this one lady, I’ll never forget her, she said, ‘ You know what, you’re going to shut up right now, we’re going to sit down and we’re going to open up the yellow pages and ﬁnd something to do with art work.’ And I was like, ‘Okay.’ I knew I had to do something I loved, I just wasn’t happy at my job. RM: Tell me about your first comic book series. BH: My first series was called Freex. I went from going to Comic Con being the amateur guy running around showing my stuﬀ trying to get critiqued, to all of sudden being the featured guest there and signing autographs. I’m like, ‘ You want my autograph, no way!’ It was a huge blessing and confirmation. All the years of hard work now to finally be like, ‘Wow its happening!’ Then comics become the catalyst to me getting into games. RM: Was it easy making it as an artist? BH: I did want to quit a lot of times, because I’d think it would take forever to get where I wanted to get. I was just thankful to God because I look back and I asked him to help me keep going. Looking back it was a huge blessing to see how he kept the inspiration there. It was discouraging to see others succeed before me. I was thankful that the Lord showed me to keep going by putting diﬀerent people in my life and by having the responsibility that I had. RM: Where do you find your creativity? 044 RISEN magazine
BH: One of the biggest things is that I still collect comics. I love story telling still… which involves comics and movies. I get a lot of inspiration from people, how they interact, how they sit, and the looks they get on their faces. I’m a total people watcher! It’s inspiring because I want to translate all that stuﬀ into my work. The way buildings are and architecture. I get inspired a lot by architecture and fashion because all those things, for me, play into how I’m going to design someone. What kind of feeling I can evoke for people looking at my work. I also get a lot of my inspiration from the Bible. I never really did Christian illustrations before. I didn’t know if I could get it right and I have always been critical and self conscious of my own work. Just approaching certain subjects were daunting to me. But lately, I started opening up a little more, and suddenly, I wanted to get more inspiration to draw imageries and scenes from the Bible. I did an illustration recently on Barabbas (the famous criminal awaiting execution and the crowd chose Jesus to be executed in his place). That was the first illustration in my life that had to do with the Bible. I definitely want to do more.
Lou Mora Writer: Krislyn Smith
Lou Mora has turned passion into profession. Even after graduating college, most kids struggle with the decision of what to do in life… the daunting task of figuring it all out. However, as fate would have it, Mora would soon meet his destiny in an abandoned dark room. While in college, Mora had a close friend who was living in Sweden. When she invited him to come and visit, Mora jumped at the opportunity. He recounts, “I pretty much sold everything I owned, bought a camera, packed my bags and left.” It was there that Mora discovered his true calling and career. In the basement of the Swedish house there was a dark room that hadn’t been used for several years. Mora researched the steps and tools needed to make this dark room functional once again. During that process, he figured out what chemicals to use and taught himself how to process film. “When it came to being in the dark room and actually printing the pictures and seeing that whole process… that’s when something inside of me just clicked.” After six months and a newfound passion, Mora left Sweden saying, “By that time, I definitely knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine Risen Magazine: How do you define your style? Lou Mora: People have always described my photography as subtle. Whenever I shoot people on my own, the things I look for are light and a nice background. With the person, I don’t like to give too much direction. Suddenly their head is titled this way, and their hand is that way, and it looks super awkward… and that’s not what I’m about. I tend to like to have people doing whatever it is they enjoy. RM: What do you get out of your profession? LM: It’s all about shooting people. Real people and real moments - that’s what I love. All my life I have played around with photography. My dad was kind of into it and I would always take his camera at family events and go and shoot. I always remember people telling me, ‘Oh this is actually a really good picture Lou.’
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RM: When it comes to your career, do you tend to be a goal-setter? LM: Ever since I started shooting, I’ve always had these little goals for myself. It’s also little silly things that I want to accomplish that make me feel successful, like to drive down the 405 and see one of my images either on the side of a building or on a billboard. RM: What drives you in such a competitive industry? LM: Photography is definitely one of the most competitive industries out there, especially now that there’s digital photography. Every Joe can go buy a camera that isn’t that expensive and go shoot pictures and then start a flicker site. The market is oversaturated with photography and photographers. You just have to have the drive to keep going and going. It’s tough. You’re going to get rejected constantly. You have to be motivated in order to make it in this industry. Last year with the economy, it was really a rough year. There were points where I didn’t know what was going to happen, but it goes back to having the drive. Are you going to give up now or are you going to go for this. To me, there is no other thing that I want to do in life. This is my passion. It’s the love of photography. I see how people react to my photography and how it makes them feel. That’s all really wonderful to hear because when I’m shooting, that’s what I want to capture.
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The Twilight Saga
Writer: Kelli Gillespie
America has a newfound fascination with vampires. Back in the day there was Dracula, but even he wouldn’t have been able forecast this current obsession with the blood suckers. Now it’s all about HBO’s True Blood, CW’s Vampire Diaries and of course The Twilight Saga. First there were the books by Stephenie Meyer, then, there was Twilight the movie, followed by New Moon, and this year Eclipse hit theatres. The final book Breaking Dawn will be broken into two feature films as the success of this franchise seems to only be gaining. With a spotlight on their every move the cast of The Twilight Saga talk about working together, premieres, choices and family.
“The cast is so wonderful and so welcoming and so much fun to be around… everyone is so lovely and it’s a nice group of people to work with. Kristen [Stewart] is one of my best friends, we’re very close, so I love getting to work with one of my good friends and then all the down time as well
“I was reminded when we were making this movie [Eclipse] of one time this girl was mean to me in the first grade and my mother went in and – ‘tsktsk-tsk’ – the girl was calling me ‘Betsy-Wetsy’ and traumatizing me. And so it reminded me a mother can be fierce.”
“Usually I find that it’s best to go with your instincts, when you start thinking about - that’s what Bella does she gets lost in all of this, and she’s thinking about this choice and this choice – that’s kinda when you make the wrong choice in real life.
On Working With Her Friends
On Her Protective Mom
How He Handles Decisions
“It seems like my crowd of family and parent’s friends so gets bigger and bigger every year so I kind of have to do my entire family reunion as well as do a premiere every single time, which is incredibly stressful.”
“I always knew that I wanted to be making movies somehow, but I never I thought I would necessarily even be an actor. Now I’m going way back, I started acting when I was like 10. You can’t really prepare yourself for this, this is not something that happens, really ever, with any movies. It’s pretty unique. I’m a planner. I like to know what’s going on before I go through with something. I guess like everyone, it’s fear of the unknown. But I’m kind of a control freak, to be honest. But I like to push myself to be more impulsive and stuﬀ.
On His Panic At Premieres
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On Not Being Normal & Making Choices
Lovely Previn An Extension of my Heart Writer: Chris Ahrens
The violin is really emotional to me and when I saw Alicia Previn play, it moved me. But I had no idea of her back-story—that her father was Andre Previn, and that he had furnished her with the finest tutors since the age of seven. That she played with the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus while still in high school, that she went on to play with the Young Dubliners and Flogging Molly, and that she is a trained chef and an accomplished actress, a writer of children’s books and a devoted worshiper of the Most High. A sweet sound in His ear seeps out to the rest of us..
Risen Magazine: How do you manage so many tasks? Alicia Previn: I’ve always had mountains of energy—which means I sleep well when I finally hit the pillow—raised in a musician’s home, went to creative make-your-own-everything schools, outdoorsy nutty kid, began playing violin at seven, and later lived in Europe continuing recording, touring, writing while cooking to stay alive in-between. I’m going to college now for a degree and teaching violin lessons, so yes, it’s taxing. I need a massage! My creativity is begging to be the priority in my life so, God willing, that door is opening wider.
RM: Where do you think creativity comes from? AP: The Creator makes us unique, peculiar vessels imbued with ideas, senses, feelings, inklings, but we need to believe it’s okay to go there . . . to express or to appreciate creativity whether it’s a painting or the design of a tractor gearshift. That’s what makes life amazing! Being creative keeps us alive and vibrant in everything it touches from the sublime to the ridiculous. Creativity comes from being made in God’s image . . . RM: Do the Scriptures speak to you of creativity? AP: I love to re-read the account in Exodus, of the men being given the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and craftsmanship to create the items for the tabernacle. It’s written there to give us encouragement. Especially as I’m on our church worship team, continually praying to be used to lead the congregation to participate, to open up to the Spirit and truth of what God has for us and what we give toward Him. I long for opportunities to use music, writing, singing, painting, instruments, gifts, and inspirations, all for the glory of God.
do you think your music takes people toward Godliness? AP: My violin has become an extension of my heart—and I hope
to my mind doesn’t get in the way of the sounds God wants to make. Making the violin sound like a horn or lead guitar allows me to convey a diﬀerent side of the instrument, use wah-wahs, etc., and I love to improvise! Funny because I’m left-handed but learned right, so I feel connected closely to my fingering hand . . . dear people have told me when I play it “talks.” I’m humbled by the many things that have been said. Psalm 27:13–14 says, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living; Wait for the LORD, be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” This and many of the Psalms inspire me, heal me from past hurts, give me lyrics to hold up a song like golden scaﬀolding, and I get deeply into them through worship. I became a follower of Christ and immediately wanted to take hymns into a hardcore band so kids would listen to them . . . still waiting to do that one! If all Scripture were a song we’d know them all by heart and be transformed.
what other ways are you exercising your creativity? AP: Recently I recorded a song I wrote in 1993 about the mighty,
lowly earthworm. I took the words and wrote a children’s early science book, illustrated it, made an audio version, which is going to be printed this month. I’ll be presenting The Earthworm Book at various locations while looking for a publisher. More books on the way. To learn more about Alicia Previn visit LOVELY PREVIN music at www.myspace.com/lovelyprevin. www.risenmagazine.com
Published on Dec 16, 2010