After Edmund on The Kitchen Sink
Watch After Edmund's incredible performance exclusively for the web!
by Jenny Bennett
To tell the story of After Edmund, musically speaking, is a complicated matter.
The sheer amount of equipment that came with them for their performance on The Kitchen Sink was a sight to see, but when you watch what they do with all that stuff, you realize it's totally worth it.
Their "acrobatics" while performing (which drummer Adam Stanley recalls once resulted in an amp toppling over and falling completely off the stage), their use of technology to enhance instrumentation, their musical knowledge (several have degrees in music and all have formal training), their faithfulness as Christians, and their passion for the music – not to mention their raw talent for it – the list goes on of reasons why I'm a fan of the band, and why you should think about becoming one too.
Just to watch them perform is entertaining, not to mention the awesome sound. Just when you think it might be another group of five guys playing some fairly regular-sounding Christian rock, you watch lead singer and guitarist Mitch Parks run to the keyboard and continue singing into the other mic (the one that their keyboardist Yates was singing background vocals into a moment ago) as he tickles the ivories. Meanwhile Adam's setting up a second drum set and will play in tandem with bassist Matt McFadden who has now become the band's other drummer, and Yates has morphed into a guitar player. Each member sings background vocals. Singing together in unison Like a dream coming true, I believe in You, their voices soar and I wonder, "where has After Edmund been all my life?"
The complexity of their technique is somewhat tamed by the clear message found in their lyrics, (give your troubles to Jesus). Many of us find ourselves grappling with "control issues." The idea of letting go is a theme found in several of After Edmund's songs. Mitch says that for him, a lot of the lyrics came as aresult of his family situation. "My mom is a brain tumor patient. About nine years ago she was given about six months to live." Through immediate and aggressive cancer treatment – and a lot of prayer – Mitch's mom survived. "For me, it's about foregoing your own intentions and plans and replacing them with Jesus'."
Adam echos that faithful perspective. "It's about believing that the word of God is the most powerful thing."
The band members are certainly alike in Christian spirit, but they say that at times there are opposing forces at work during their creative process. I picked out some lyrics to ask them to explain what they meant,and theyhappened to besome that werehotly debated amongst them. Yet there seemed to be harmony about the way the song eventually turned out. I've paraphrased their translation below:
From the songEveryone:
When life's a Broadway show (When someone asks, "How are you?" and we answer "I'm fine" even though we're not. We're not being honest about what's going on behind closed doors in our lives. Because of the craziness of life, our defense mechanism is to put on a show.)
With your best friends on the front row (The irony that even your best friends who know you well are the ones who are the recipients of this "show".)
Do you realize we've all read the lines (We all do that. We've all been there.)
Stretched thin out in the cold (Life is hectic)
But love can melt your paper soul (Jesus is love, even in our frailty.)
"Our songwriting process is incredibly collaborative," Matt says. "Sometimes it takes us several months or even a year to write one song."
"And it's very important that we all have a say," adds Mitch. "That's why we're writing material for our second album now, even before our first album is released."
With Hello hitting the streets February 26 and plans for Spirit West Coast and summer festivals in the works, the band's 2008 is off to a great start. After they finish up their tour with Seventh Day Slumber, they'll tour on their own for a time to promote the album. So they'll no doubt haveadditional amusing live performance bloopers to share.
"Once during a show in Indiana, Yates tripped as he was jumping over his Rhodes, which is an electronic piano, during the last song and the piano toppled over and ended up knocking an amp completely off the stage," says Adam. "Nothing was broken and since it was the end of the show, everything was okay."
"Speaking of tripping," says guitarist Ben Hosey, "once I tripped on my mic cord during a show and the mic stand ended up falling into the crowd."
"You're just reminding me of so many stories! Once at the end of a song I tossed up my drumsticks and they went sailing into the crowd," says Adam. "Unfortunately the crowd was not that large so the 'front row' was a good distance from us. There were two girls standing there and one was text messaging and not paying attention. At the last second her friend yelled 'hey, watch out' and the drumsticks hit her right in the forehead. Oops."
Their ability to have fun on stage is a nice compliment to how seriously they take their craft. And their musical knowledge and ability definitely shines through, both on the album and in live performances. Both of these aspects of After Edmund make them one of Christian music's premiere up-and-coming bands.
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