BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Kutless: God's Rock Ambassadors
By Hannah Goodwyn
Every band records differently. Some wait till the last second to write songs and end up having to hammer them out in the studio (Hawk Nelson!). Others pour their hearts into so many songs that they have to pick and choose which ones should have a place on a new record. That was the case for Kutless.
They took about 60 songs into the studio and knocked it down to 12 tracks on their new release, To Know That You’re Alive. It wasn’t the typical taping with drums first, then the guitars, and later the vocals. Jon Micah, Jeff, Dave, James, and Nick were all creating and jamming together.
Favorite Off the New Record
When asked for favorites, guitarist James Mead and lead singer Jon Micah (who was affectionately called "lyric boy") both say, “The Rescue.”
“It’s about how God will reach in and grab us out of our war zone, so to speak, in our life when everything is crashing down and just blowing up around us and is just out of control, when we’re feeling beat up and just in a dark place, and how there’s always that hope that’s out there,” Jon Micah says. “He’s always watching out for us and really comes in and rescues us, and carries us through those difficult times.”
When Jon Micah was working on the lyrics, he tried to capture the desperation someone must feel in a hopeless situation like a dangerous battlefield.
“I was picturing a helicopter flying into a war zone and extracting a soldier that’s doomed, so to speak, and rescuing him out and carrying him away to safety,” he says. “In that same way, it seems like the Lord just always reaches out His hand and yanks us out of the most dire situations.”
The imagery fits perfectly especially with some of its best lines…
My life is a mass destruction
You’re pulling me from the mess I’m in
You take me away
There’s glass in the air I’m breathing
Somehow my heart keeps beating till
You take me away
Will you send an angel?
A ray of sunlight shining through the darkness of my world
That’s falling down on me
You are my salvation
The only one to rescue me from the torment that I’m in
On the Autobahn, Again!
“Lyric boy” says the song comes from experiences when life seemed to be crumbling around him. The scene emerged again when the band visited Croatia last year. While in Europe, the guys stopped off to play at a concert hosted at a 1,400-year-old monastery near the Serbian border.
“It left an impact on a lot of us, just the destruction of war in that place,” he says. “It was a real natural imagery after seeing that place to realize life can feel that way, the way those cities and those towns felt that were just completely destroyed in mayhem.”
Looking back on that trip, the band mates reminisced about how it impacted them personally.
“One of the monks in particular had been praying about some sort of outreach service he could offer to the community,” James says. “He felt like the Lord was telling him to do a Christian rock ‘n roll concert. Of course, all of the other monks thought he was crazy because they don’t listen to that. But, they did it. They were faithful. We got to be a part of it and it was a big blessing to us.”
It wasn’t a Christian crowd by any means. The guys even recall the fans being a little crazy and chasing after their car as they drove away. At the end of the day though, the night was a success.
“The people started to realize that it wasn’t necessarily freedom of a nation that we were preaching. It was freedom for an individual’s soul and their relationship with Christ Jesus,” James says.
Talk on the Title Track
The title track, “To Know That You’re Alive,” isn’t about God’s existence as some newcomers the CD might assume. It’s all about how life hurts and that we need help from outside of ourselves.
“The song talks about sometimes we need to bleed a little bit and need hurt a little bit, just to feel and to know that you’re alive… to realize that you’re vulnerable and that you need God in your life, that you need help, that you can’t just cruise through every situation, you can’t just bulldoze through everything,” Jon Micah says.
“I’ve found that it’s caused me to really realize not only my need for my Creator and a daily relationship with Him, but also my need to be able to feel and to be sensitive,” he says.
Often when pain enters the picture, so does a realization of our powerlessness to change difficult circumstances. In that moment, we can feel our mortality and know that God see all things and has the power to rescue us from the darkest hole.
Kutless understands this, and shares God’s message of forgiveness and love despite life's pitfalls. They’re unashamed to be followers of Christ and will continue to sing it “Loud” (another great track on this latest release).
Hannah Goodwyn serves as a producer for LivingTheLife.com and CBN.com. She also writes regularly for these sites.
For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.
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