Wednesday, June 09, 2010


"I often dream of nights I'd sit, and watch the rising sun..."

Maybe it's just me, but I doubt it.

There are songs that are utterly autobiographical. Sometimes this is true in the case of the songwriter, like, say, former slave trader John Newton's incredible hymn "Amazing Grace."

And then sometimes a song written by somebody else is autobiographical for a listener. Maybe because it connects during a particular season of life. For example, I first discovered the great song "Be Unto Your Name" that we sing at church in the summer of 2008 while I was eyeball deep in my cancer surgeries & IL-2 treatments. Thus, two years later, I've almost reached the point where I can sing the second verse without falling apart ("we are the broken, you are the healer..."). Almost, I say. *smile*

"And I spoke to you of life, and of the battles I had won..."

Recently, I was cleaning off a hard drive on our ancient, nearly-obsolete, seldom-used laptop. This particular hard drive contained data dumps from other totally-obsolete computers from a few years back. Earlier today, I was sorting through files found there and happened upon one of my all-time favorite songs in the form of an mp3 file. I had forgotten that I had recorded this years back. What a treasure!

"A warm wind blowing memories makes me long for home..."

This particular song is just over 30 years old now. Late 70s. Gainesville, FL. If you know my story, you might recall that this was not a particularly, um, successful season of life for me. Flunking out of college...Still VERY angry at God & at life because of my Dad's death just a few years earlier...Most uncertain about the ultimate things (like many 19-year-olds of course, but I took it to a whole new level)...No real life vision or direction...

"But a cold wind blows much harder, and makes me wanna roam; let me go from this lonely land before my dreams all vanish like water in the sand. Let me run from this lonely place before my dreams are shattered by love I can't erase..."

And yet, there in the midst of the darkest season of my life in so many ways, I made some great friends. A number of whom are still great friends today, all these long years later. Some of the guys were facing their own struggles, but by the common grace of God we endured. And eventually triumphed in various directions. I'm actually getting together w/ a couple of these guys over the 4th in FWB, and am very much looking forward to it.

"I search to find the meaning of the path that I am on, and I hope that my direction will not make me walk alone..."

A bunch of us used to go watch & listen to this smokin' hard rock band called "Axe." Five guys kicking out some great jams. We saw them many times. So many times that this afternoon I was picturing their exact stage setup; where they keyboards were, how Edgar's mike was always high up so that he had to raise his head & look up in order to sing; Bobby's tough-guy look & sneer as he sang & played guitar...

"I stumble for the answers to the questions that remain..."

Axe went on to some modest success. Recorded a few albums. Opened for some big-name bands in the early 80s. They recorded a superb very hard-rock version of the old Motown tune "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" that was just amazing live. One of the crowd favorites was "Rock & Roll Party in the Streets" which will be my motivational music tomorrow morning as I prepare to take the hill in my exercise program.

"Around the world, I've touched the sun; now I'm back again..."

But the words you've been reading are from their incredible anthem "Battles." If I had a dollar for every time I fired this up back in the late 70s & early 80s, I'd be a wealthy man. As cheesy & corny as it sounds to admit, this song & its lyrics pulled me through a bunch of dark times and gave me hope that there would be a future for me that was brighter. For that, I will always be thankful to the guys in Axe.

Plus, Bobby's guitar solo at the end of "Battles" is just awesome...*smile*

Thanks for the shows & the songs & the memories, guys. And thanks for hope.

Rock on,

p.s. - here's the song in its original version. The video is just one image, so don't focus on watching. Instead, just picture this kid with long hair and very few clues jamming out to this through some evenings...sometimes jamming with a tear or two in his eye. And enjoy!

(p.p.s. - There actually is a band touring now as "Axe." But based on video footage, they're not even close to the quality of the original lineup. Just so you know...)

No comments: