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The Advocate

Disciple Interview

by Tracy Darlington

"Everybody wants a purpose for why they’re alive. Everybody wants to be happy. Nobody wants to be just a mistake or an accident."
--Kevin Young

BIO: Lead singer Kevin Young and drummer Tim Barrett formed Disciple when they were 13 years old. At the time, they were inexperienced and Young’s voice hadn’t yet changed, but they were determined to succeed, and when they weren’t in school they spent most of their spare time writing songs. In December 1992 They met guitarist Brad Noah, whose flashy playing complimented the band’s heavy vibe.

In 1995 they entered the studio to record their debut What Was I Thinking? Over the next eight years, they recorded and released four more albums. Their latest effort is Scars Remain has already garnered a No. 1 hit. “Game On” has also received massive placement in sports shows across the country.

Tracy: Tell us about the message of your song “After the World”.

Kevin Young: When we started writing for Scars Remain, I was personally kinda out of ideas. We knew that the label was wanting to put out another cd. I was just talking to the guys and was like, “I have nothing. I don’t know what to talk about. I feel like I’ve talked about everything.” I remember being in the back of the bus praying, and I remember saying this specific prayer: “God, if you have anything you want to say to this generation will you please put it on our hearts.” It wasn’t even a few days later that we were in an airport, of all places, and the inspiration and words to our song “After the World” just started happening. I even told Tim about it at the check-in counter. It’s a song that talks about how God loves us. We’re all on a search, each and every one of us. We’re all looking for something. You see a lot of people who get messed up in certain situations that we would think are bad situations they need to be rescued from, but in reality they’re looking for the same thing everybody’s looking for. Nobody wants to be hungry. Nobody wants to be lonely. Everybody wants a purpose for why they’re alive. Everybody wants to be happy. Nobody wants to just be a mistake or an accident. It’s basically a song where God’s saying, “Hey, that thing that you’re looking for, that purpose, that happiness . . it’s me. I’m it.”

You guys have been together a long time. Is it easy for you to maintain your friendships while you’re on the road and the studio?

It depends on how you look at it. We’re definitely all friends, but just like any friends, if you’re around them everybody, I mean there’s always going to be something. But I think one of the things that has been really special about Disciple is that we’ve never thought about giving up on each other. As mad as we’ve ever gotten with each other, it’s just been that, you know. It never went beyond that. We never fight about anything, really, except maybe somebody’s watching BET, and somebody doesn’t want to watch BET. Stupid stuff. I’m kidding!Kevin Young of Disciple

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get closer to God?

It’s the same way if you want to get close to anybody. If I wanted to learn a whole bunch of information about somebody, I wouldn’t necessarily talk to them. I would just look stuff up about them. But if I actually wanted to get to know somebody, I would try to talk to them. Begin to talk to God, and listen.

What influences and inspires you to choose the type of music that you’re putting out?

We’ve always wanted to be a rock band and wanted to minister to that genre of people who like that style of music. Ever since we were about thirteen or fourteen years old. So it’s something that God ingrained in us a long time ago. For me, those were the types of bands that were ministering to me as a kid. I was trying to find my way as a teenager, and there were a lot of Christian rock bands that really helped me in my walk with God as a teenager. To go see those bands play live and hear them talk about Jesus from the stage, it really made an impact on my life personally. And it impacted how we approached being a band. Those guys had a huge influence on our lives. But we’re not sold on just one type of person. I think the Gospel is definitely for everybody. We don’t just try to play music as heavy as it can be. We have always written slow songs, and different types of songs. But we still always go back to our roots--being a rock band.

What makes a Christian Band “Christian”?

There’s a part of me that really is proud of being a Christian band. Then there’s another part of me that wishes it doesn’t have to be that way because you’re the only style of music that gets put into a different genre because of what you’re talking about. It has nothing to do with what we sound like. I mean somebody could talk about sex or some other god—they could talk about anything and they would just be a rock band. But the moment you talk about Jesus you become a “Christian” rock band, and you get put in another section over here in the corner. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but at the same time I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I’m not ashamed of the name of Jesus, and I’m very open about talking about him. Scars Remain by DiscipleWhat makes a Christian band a Christian band is the message, what they’re talking about. Some bands are labeled a Christian band that aren’t. Like the band Evanescence who was labeled a Christian band for so long, and they were like, “Look, we’re not.” The message is definitely what makes somebody a Christian band, even though I kinda wish it wasn’t that way. I’m not ashamed of it though.

What would you say to teenagers who are disillusioned by the church and use para-church events as a substitute?

Events and church are like vitamins. Nobody could survive on just vitamins. If that’s all you put in your body all day long, you would die. You need a real meal to survive. That real meal is the Word of God and spending time with God on your own. That’s not something that can happen even at church. I don’t think when we get to heaven that Jesus is going to have a record of how many concerts or church events I went to. I think it’s all about a relationship with Christ. I wouldn’t want to condemn anybody who doesn’t go to church, who goes to these events instead of going to church. I wouldn’t want to condemn them. And I wouldn’t want to condemn somebody who just goes to church and doesn’t go to any events. I would simply say that I hope they have a relationship with Christ.

Tracy DarlingtonTracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.