Caleb Quaye: Louder Than Rock'n'Roll
By Shannon Woodland and Scott Ross
The 700 Club
Scott Ross [reporting]: Caleb Quaye entered the British music scene in the late 1960s.
Ross: One of the people who was a contemporary, an intimate close friend, Reg Dwight...
Caleb Quaye: [laughs]
Ross: Now, everyone is glazing over when I say that, but then he changed his name.
Quaye: To Elton John.
Ross [reporting]: It was 1970 when Caleb joined The Elton John Band as lead guitarist, and there was no looking back. The first album titled Elton John soared to the top of the American charts. For ten years, Caleb toured with Elton John going all over the world. He was also a well known studio musician who worked with rock legends Mick Jagger, Peter Townsend, Paul McCartney and Hall and Oates.
Ross: The concerts in front of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people… in that kind of heady atmosphere, how did you handle all that?
Quaye: Not very well. We were young. We were in our early twenties when it all exploded, lots of energy and stuff but lots of drugs as well.
Ross: Did you feel that you had arrived? This was it. There was no more?
Quaye: That’s a great question. People use to say to me back then, “Oh Caleb, you really made it. You’ve really made it now.” Back then we were doing four-hour shows to hundreds of thousands of people. We were the first band to sell-out Madison Square Garden for seven days in a row. It’s so far removed from reality. I’d hear these words in my ears, "You’ve really made it now." Sometimes we’d come off stage; I’d be in the hotel and I’d look at myself in the mirror. Still in my stage clothes, I’d say, “There’s got to be something else, because I felt empty.”
Ross [reporting]: By 1978, Caleb was still playing night after night in sold-out venues, but that nagging feeling of emptiness continued. That year he turned 30. After celebrating his birthday with his fellow band members, Caleb sat in a chair stoned out of his mind.
Quaye: All of a sudden, I heard a voice. Now that sounds crazy, but out of nowhere a voice speaks to me. This voice was so loud to me. I thought someone had actually walked into my room, and the voice said, “Caleb, from this point on, your life is going to be completely different. Nothing was going to be the same for you ever again.”
Quaye: All of a sudden, I find myself no longer high on the drugs.
Ross: You were high on the drugs?
Quaye: Oh, yeah, we’d been on the road for six months. So I just sat there in that electric moment, and I made a promise to myself. I said, “One day, I’m going to find out who that voice belongs to.”
Ross [reporting]: Caleb’s drug use continued, and eventually he was dealing drugs to supply his own habit.
Quaye: From that point on for the next two and a half three years, everything in my life that could basically go wrong went wrong. Marriage, finances, studio, like the phones not going anymore, everything got stripped away.
Ross: Crash and burn.
Quaye: Yeah, it was like I was no longer in control of my life. During this time, I met a guy. We became great friends. His name is Chester Thompson.
Ross [reporting]: Chester Thompson was and is a world-class drummer who performed with Phil Collins, Weather Report and Genesis. He asked Caleb what he believed about life. Caleb was desperate to find answers to his questions, so he agreed to go to church with Chester.
Quaye: They kept singing this one song. In the Lord be glorified, be glorified today. Kept repeating it over and over again. This song started to do something. It’s strange, because I didn’t hear all of the lyrics to it. I only heard one word, like everything was in a fog and I heard “today”. In the middle of this, the same voice I heard in the hotel room two and a half years or so previously speaks to me right there in the church, and He says, “Caleb, it’s time for you to come home with Me today, because I have a new life for you.”
Ross: You heard it that clear?
Quaye: That clear. That clear. Twenty-seven years ago today as I’m telling you now, it was that clear. The light went on, and all of a sudden, I know who that voice is. That’s Jesus. The next thing I know I’m up out of my chair my hands up. I said, “Lord, if You can do something with me, You can take me now.”
Quaye: And that’s when I said yes, the greatest yes I’ve ever said in my life.
Ross [reporting]: Caleb accepted Christ as his Savior, and he heard Jesus telling him to be baptized.
Quaye: I went in the water an 18-year drug addict, a mess, and I came up with a brand new mind.
Ross [reporting]: That day Caleb was freed from drug addiction. Today, he’s still making music and spending time with his family. He says it’s good to reflect on all that has happened in his life.
Quaye: So I know Jesus not only as my Savior but as my Deliverer and my Healer. I came up there with a brand new understanding, which has never left me to this day. God knew me, accepted me and claimed me as one of His own.
Ross [reporting]: Caleb’s music of the past and present is the topic of much conversation today, and so is his book, A Voice Louder than Rock and Roll.
Ross: In Isaiah 42:10 from the original Hebrew, it says this: [God speaking] “I’m going to bring forth a new song that has never been heard in the heathen world.”
Quaye: Yeah, a new song that has the power to heal and the power to renew.
Ross: It’s more than rock and roll. It’s a voice louder than rock and roll.
Quaye: It’s a voice louder than rock and roll on every level. It really is. Yeah.
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