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Seven Day Jesus - A 24/7 Kind of Thing

  • 1999 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
Seven Day Jesus - A 24/7 Kind of Thing
"[The name] Seven Day Jesus is about our realization later on that if you really want a relationship with Jesus, it's gotta be seven days a week. Not just on Sunday."


by Mike Nappa

Weird things can happen in a garage.

Consider this: One day a ninth-grade guy invites three school buddies over to his garage to play some loud guitars and sing a few songs. The neighbors weren't too happy about this, but the guys kept practicing anyway. Before long, they figured they should have a name, so called themselves "Masquerade."

By eleventh grade Masquerade was ready for the big time: the Huntington High School Talent Show. They rockand they win (of course). By graduation, the guys have changed their name to {{Seven Day Jesus}}, and they're ready to tour the world. They play anywhere, and release an independent CD.

Next thing you know this little garage band is being called one of the "top new artists of 1996" by Christian music writers and is touring with heavyweight groups like {{Third Day }}and {{Plankeye}}.

Christian music companies take notice, and SDJ signs a deal with ForeFront Records (home of artists like {{dc Talk}} and {{Audio Adrenaline}}). Two guys drop out of the band and have to be replaced. Then 1998 rolls around, and on the strength of their ForeFront debut, the group is poised to become a heavyweight band themselves.

And it all started in a garage. Weird, huh?

Ready to Rock

"We kind of all grew up together," shrugs Brian McSweeney, who is SDJ's front lead vocalist and primary lyricist, "We went to high school together and played in school talent shows and stuff like that. We all got together in our old bass player's garage and just started jamming like the first week of school in the ninth grade."

Those years of practice are evident on Seven Day's latest self-titled album. SDJ's guitarist, Chris Beaty, describes the band's album as, "Fun, noisy, and happy!"

Music critics are much more descriptive-and complimentary-of SDJ's offerings. "Today's rock meets top 40 from the 60s...fun listening. Lots of energy," says one reviewer. "Pop-rock, Brit pop, alternative, Beatle-esque and hard rock shards [in] a 10-song album that shines," says another.

The band's favorite critics, however, are the thousands of teenagers who cram into their concerts and listen to their songs at home. After all, it was only four or five years ago that these guys were teenagers with a passion for music themselves.

24/7

Still, a passion for music wasn't enough for SDJ when they were in high school, and by their senior year they knew there was more. "We all grew up in church, but we weren't Christians yet," continues Brian. "[The name] Seven Day Jesus is about our realization later on that if you really want a relationship with Jesus, it's gotta be seven days a week. Not just on Sunday."

Chris adds, "Seven Day Jesus is all about being real..." Then bass player Russ Fox breaks in, "All about rockin' out and being real!" Drummer Kevin Adkins finishes the thought, "We sing and play about real-life situations that each of us face as Christians."

Sometimes that can cause a little controversy, because life isn't always a neat little Christian song.

A few years ago, one of Brian's friends was raped. "It tore me apart inside," says Brian, "and I wanted to get revenge so bad." Yet a desire to pursue God in every situation of life-seven days a week-kept him from taking revenge, and instead drove Brian to his knees in prayer.

Brian reports, "God showed me we've got to forgive our brothers and sisters-no matter what the sin is." He wrote a song that expressed in painfully honest ways his feelings about the situation.

The song, "Forgive You," was included on the band's independent release. According to Brian, "Lots of promoters got freaked out by that. Lots of youth pastors wouldn't have us play. Liberty University didn't want us to play at that particular spot on the tour [because of the song]."

But Seven Day Jesus makes no apology. "I was there, and I lived that, and it was hard," explains Brian. "'Forgive You' was honest and real, and that's a real issue Christians need to deal with. We can't have joy if we don't forgive."

Interestingly enough, "Forgive You" is the song that most often gets a positive response at concerts. Brian says in the last two years, over a hundred teenagers have stopped to tell him they too had a friend who had been raped-or something similar-and that the song helped them trust God through that difficult time.

On a Mission

Making that kind of difference in the lives of others is why Seven Day Jesus continues to work so hard at touring. During a recent two-day stretch, the band performed in Denver, loaded up their equipment, then drove all night to California where they played another show. Then they had to catch a cross-country flight early the next morning to get back to West Virginia.

They also have to face their own fears and failures on the road. Believe it or not, even big-time musicians get nervous. Thinking back on the first outdoor festival he played as a member of SDJ, Kevin laughs "I remember looking out at thousands of people and thinking 'Oh my gosh! What am I doing here?'"

And, of course, there's the time Brian was a road musician for {{Audio Adrenaline}}, borrowed Mark Stuart's pants for a show, then slipped on the hem of said pants and crashed between a speaker and the stage during his big guitar solo...but that's another story.

Still, all that hard work is worth it just to be able to minister to others. "For some people, maybe our music will make them think about Christ for the first time," says Kevin. "For others, it's about having a great time rockin' with us. Either way it makes an impression."

And to think, for {{Seven Day Jesus}} it all began in a ninth-grader's garage. So, what's going on in your garage this week?