In my head I could see various characters singing these songs that seemingly came out of nowhere, but how to connect them together with a story that made sense?
Some of the best stuff in life comes when you least expect it. For some people, going to a silent place is the best way to hear God’s “still, small voice” speaking to them. Not me. When alone and quiet, my mind races. Utter distraction works best for me to get outside of myself and allow His voice to be heard.
Up on our hilltop, the “back forty” was getting overgrown and needed bushwhacking, so one hot summer day I grabbed my loppers and chainsaw and commenced with unbridled destruction of vegetation. As the sweat rolled off, I heard Him say, “write what you know about” and then a vision of a bus stop bench came into my head. What did I know about? Science. Unbelief. Rebellion. Taking my own path, no matter how self-destructive. I had my lead character and his back story was a bit like mine...
The ideas came swiftly thereafter. New songs jumped into my head along with images of the quirkly characters singing them, including the message each song/character had to bring to the table. I never went anywhere without my pocket-sized digital recorder to capture the ideas until I got back to my studio.
Scribbled lyrics and notations are now stacked in a folder, replaced by formalized tunes in a notebook. Each piece 50% inspiration and 50% perspiration. There are a few dozen other song ideas not yet developed awaiting the next project – I’m not dead yet, am I?
What if I create this party and no one comes? What then? I decided to record the entire project just in case the play never came to life on a stage. I had to at least record the ideas for “posterity”. With many years of business in the recording world, I knew lots of great singers who could bring these songs to life in the studio. Soon after digging into the process, I rented the DVD of the Jesus Christ Superstar movie and when watching the special features afterward, I learned that the play sat on a shelf for a year, because nobody would touch a play about Jesus! Rice and Lloyd-Weber were then advised to make a record album first and see what happens…the rest is proverbial history, eh?
My idea was vindicated. Now I needed just the right people to join on the recording...