David Crowder on Breaking Up the Band
By Clay Morgan
David Crowder is an interesting man.
That's the thought that runs through most people's minds over and over after meeting him. His humorous deadpan delivery is only betrayed by a wry smile nestled in that trademark beard. But he can get deep and thoughtful in a hurry.
Crowder isn't a flashy artist. A great part of his appeal is the fact that he's just a regular guy, albeit one with a unique musical gift. His laid back manner connects with us, and you won't notice any difference in the man whether he's standing in front of 70,000 people or sitting across the table from you swatting gnats away on a hot summer day. The latter was the setting earlier this summer when CBN Music contributor Clay Morgan chatted with David about breaking up the band, leaving Texas, the meaning of Passion and what happens next.
CM: We are at CreationFest [music festival] with David Crowder. What's up?
DC: Nothin', just hangin'. [Waves hand through air] We got gnats. There are gnats here. They follow me around.
CM: I know, I know. Do I smell?
DC: [Laughing] No, it's me not you. They're just like a cloud that follows me.
CM: Like that guy from Peanuts. Pigpen.
DC: Yeah. I like Pigpen. He was one of my favorites.
CM: I was going to call you a Texan, but you're not really a Texan anymore.
DC: Well, I've headed east a little bit. I'm kind of hopping between Atlanta and Nashville. Sort of in that area.
CM: OK, everybody's there.
DC: Well, that's why I went that direction yeah.
CM: So it wasn't just a big professional change stepping away from the Crowder Band.
DC: I wanted to be around the Giglios and that Tomlin dude. Have you ever head of that guy?
DC: They got this church started that they're doing in Atlanta called Passion City Church.
CM: I know it well man. I was one of like two hundred thousand people that watched Passion Conference [in January 2012 during which Crowder played his final show with his old band].
CM: It's the greatest conference out there, and this year's was one of the greatest I've ever witnessed even though I wasn't in the building when you were a part of it again with Chris and Louie. And those are friends of yours too…
DC: Love those guys.
CM: So talk about that experience with forty-some thousand people in the building, you're winding down the Crowder experience…
CM: …and just everything that happened that week. Was that as powerful for you performers as it was for me as a spectator?
DC: Every time that thing goes down there's something special about it, and they all have a different personality/feeling year to year or there's just a different thing that's in the air or something, and this year was really special. I mean the amount of money that the student's gave to causes…
CM: Yeah, millions.
DC: …It was nuts. To end slavery, to help end slavery, and to us it was really special because as you said it was our last time to play together as a band, and it was perfect because there we were with forty thousand college students crammed in the Dome there, and our music was coming from a collegiate setting. We were part of a church back home in Waco, Texas that was all Baylor students, and for us to be able to end our time with a bunch of college kids, and plus happy to be with these guys who have helped carry this whole thing since the beginning… It was special, it was just really special. And I did fine man, I did totally fine, you know didn't break apart while we were in the middle of the set or anything, and we got through it and I felt great. And then I'm going to leave to get off the stage and I see all the band wives right at the side stage. So I come down, and I just wanted to go over and say, "Thank you. It's been amazing." And I just, all of a sudden…
CM: And that was it.
DC: Weeping like a small child.
CM: Yeah, I could imagine.
DC: So that was all it took.
CM: And then one last about Passion was when you came back the next morning and Lecrae jumped out with you I think? That was so fun.
DC: Man, that boy got the flow!
DC: I love that guy. He's a good dude.
CM: So let me ask you this one question before we wrap up. How do you envision, now you've often talked about community. You're a part of the Passion City Church. How do you view the role of music and art and creative arts in building that faith community.
DC: Well I think when it works best I feel like it's a natural, authentic reflection of what the life experience is with the people you're living life with. If you're there with people that have common interests in the type of music, and then you put that type of music among us, there's this natural thing that music pulls from us, and then we intentionally use that to voice things to God. There's something really deep and significant in humans that we're able to respond to God the way that not a lot of stuff on the planet allows for. And I love it when it's, as I said, an authentic expression of commonality and music bonds us in ways that a lot doesn't as well. So it's a reflection of that bond.
CM: Awesome. I love what you do man. Keep doing it, and thank you for all the hard work you put in.
DC: You're welcome.
Clay Morgan is a writer, professor and music hound from Pittsburgh, PA. His book, Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn—a combination of pop culture, spirituality, and humor, releases this fall (Abingdon, 2012). You can reach him through his website: ClayWrites.com.
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