"I really feel that God put it on my heart to do more worship-oriented lyrics. But it's been very confusing for me because I've been waiting for so long to get a deal and I've been going back to God asking Him about His timing. Am I fooling myself? Should I get a real job or should I keep pursuing this thing?"



by Keith Giles for Crosswalk Music

I can only hope you had the pleasure of growing with the {{Prayer Chain}}'s musical legacy while they transformed Christian music as the first alternative band signed to a major label, Reunion Records -- home to {{Michael W. Smith}} and other classic pop artists. Live {{Prayer Chain}} shows have gone down in history among the best shows ever seen!

Join us now as vocalist Tim Taber chats with our own Keith Giles to discuss his solo album, new ventures, and {{Prayer Chain}} reunion shows. An EXCLUSIVE for the Music Channel at crosswalk.com!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! You can pick up the Prayer Chain's Limited Edition 2CD set ==So Close...Yet So Far== at the Music Store while they last!
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Crosswalk Music: You've started your own booking and management company called "Transparent," tell us about it.

Tim Taber: We started as a management company with {{The Insyderz}}, {{Fold Zandura}} and {{Bon Voyage}}, just me out of my house. Now I have an office and two people who work for me. We've branched out to doing concerts too. We had {{Delirious}} a couple months ago as our first show. I'm excited about it. I hope to start a record label someday.

Crosswalk Music: Any new insights that God has given you since you started out on your own?

Tim Taber: I'm just trying to get plugged into ministry more on a local and personal level. I feel like helping out these bands and doing these concerts is ministry, but I want to help out my church more. My wife and I are hoping to help out with the young adults at our church.

Crosswalk Music: What about the rumored Prayer Chain reunion shows? Any hopes for a new record from the band?

Tim Taber: Yes, The Prayer Chain played on Oct. 3 in Chicago. I guess we're on the "one show a year" plan. A lot of people wrote to us when we played in California last year and wanted us to do a more central show, so we did. We released a double CD at the show called ==So Close...Yet So Far==. It chronicles our career, pulling tracks from all our albums. The second CD has 17 rare, previously unreleased, or live tracks. Eight songs are new to the public, although some of them are 10 years old. Andy (Prickett) found old practice tapes, live tapes, and demos for records. We also put on tracks from "The Neverland Sessions" and our 7 song live CD. We're also making 100 copies of our "Live at CBGB's" tape from the "Mercury" tour. It's a board tape, but it sounds pretty good.

Crosswalk Music: So, what's the update on your solo album?

Tim Taber: I'm still thinking about it. I haven't really pursued it too much. It's still a maybe.

Crosswalk Music: You're doing more Worship-themed music right now?

Tim Taber: I do worship for the high school group at the Anaheim Vineyard. I have a band of some guys from the church. It's cool. We do some of my original stuff.

Crosswalk Music: Talk about your possible solo album. What made you decide on a worship-themed release? Why not a "trip-hop alterna-grunge album?"

Tim Taber: Well, it could be a trip-hop-grunge album, musically. But lyrically I wanted to do more songs about God and to God. I felt like during Prayer Chain, God really used us more often than not. Especially at the end, he used us to touch people. I mean we had great lyrics and people identified with us lyrically, but I wanted to do something [else] like When the Spirit came and kids had their eyes closed, hands raised TO GOD, I mean it wasn't about us you know? But it was really weird to see people in this "worship-mode" during some of our songs from ==Mercury== and knowing that the song was really about revenge or depression or something. Even before ==Mercury==, I wanted to record a more worshipful album. Eric Campuzano did too, but when we came together, the dynamic in the band produced something different.

==Mercury== opens with "Humb" which is kinda worshipful and ends with "Sunstoned" which is kind of spiritual, and I found that "Skyhigh" was very worshipful on tour. But I really feel that God put it on my heart to do more worship-oriented lyrics. But it's been very confusing for me because I've been waiting for so long to get a deal and I've been going back to God asking Him about His timing. Am I fooling myself? Should I get a real job or should I keep pursuing this thing?

God doesn't "speak to me" or anything. I mean, I don't think He can't do that or that I'm not open to that. I just know that for me, I just try to make decisions and look for God to open or close doors. He seems to have closed the door with Curb Records, but who knows there are other doors left. But I really feel like I'm supposed to, more than anything in my life, I'm supposed to do this album. I just don't know when.

God doesn't always point us the easy way though. Too often I think we look for the simplest path and assume that must be God's will because it's easy. I think God, more often than not, calls us to do things that are challenging and require us to trust Him. Some people at the labels I've talked to don't get it yet. They ask "what do you mean it's alternative--and it's worship?"

Crosswalk Music: One of the bands you manage, Fold Zandura, does some of the most powerful worship I've ever heard, not in the traditional sense certainly, but a lot of their music is just intensely worshipful, whether they realize it or not.

Tim Taber: Yeah. I know. There's a place and a time to be entertaining, and there's a time to communicate with God through your music. Somehow I'd like to do both, if I could.

Crosswalk Music: What inspired you to think about a "worship-alternative" solo recording?

Tim Taber: I remember seeing Larry Hampton (from ==Vineyard== Music Group) leading this totally different worship during the Eight O'clock Service (a young adult worship service at Vineyard in Anaheim) and being really inspired that this kind of music (alternative) could be used to worship God. That's what got me to want to do worship. I came from a Baptist background, to a Presbyterian, and then to Vineyard, and I've sung songs both about God and songs to God. Before Promise Keepers I was probably very "Vineyard-centric" in my thinking, but the Promise Keepers thing helped me to understand what others are doing too. I tend to not like worship that's too "out there," like Heavy Metal worship--or anything cheesy. I really struggle with making my own album because of that. I really think that you don't have to compete with the local Alternative radio station or anything to be hip or relevant because kids listen to Wallflowers and Sublime at the same time, it's too narrow to define what "alternative" really is.

Crosswalk Music: How did your involvement with Promise Keepers get started?

Tim Taber: I'd been talking to ==Maranatha== about various things and they started asking me if I'd like to lead some "youth" worship stuff for them with Chris Lizotte and Peter Shambrook. Eventually we ended up recording the "Dry Bones Dance" project on Maranatha from those events. It was really cool. I mean, it was an honor to stand before thousands of men and see them worshiping God at the Promise Keeper's rallies.

Crosswalk Music: Would you say this time off has been good for youor maybe a little frustrating?

Tim Taber: It's been a little of both. It's been good to explore the worship side of things lately and see what Vineyard and Maranatha do. On the other hand, getting my solo project picked up has been a challenge.

Crosswalk Music: In your opinion, what was the greatest achievement of the Prayer Chain?

Tim Taber: I guess I felt we had a big effect on [impacting] the ability of a small to mid-level band to tour, especially an alternative band. We kind of pioneered that whole thing. I would venture to say that nearly every alternative band that's out there touring today, honestly owes a lot to Frank Tate (owner of 5 Minute Walk/Sarabellum Records.) I mean, {{Violet Burning}} did it across the country, but it was all Vineyard Churches and stuff. {{Altar Boys}} kinda toured. {{Undercover}} did one small tour. But we were one of the first bands to play like 108 shows and kinda developed a route and how to do it. I mean other bands just wouldn't do it. They'd put out albums and play Cornerstone. I mean MATW ({{Mad At The World}}), {{Adam Again}}, all those guys. It was a huge thing at the time that we got a deal with Reunion. You had Brainstorm and Frontline Records and that was it. Nobody thought it was possible for an alternative band to get a big label deal and we did it and we didn't let them turn us into another "{{Petra}}" or anything. We got to do pretty much what we wanted and stretch the envelope. So I think the whole reason that bands like {{Plankeye}} (not to take anything away from those guys because they're a great band) and all the Tooth & Nail bands can tour now is because the Prayer Chain went out there and proved that it could be done. Plus, we made a living at it. Most bands would come home from tour with about $200.00 in their pocket and then go back to work at the Post Office. We got to come home and work on new music and go back out on the road.

Crosswalk Music: Why have you decided to focus more on the business side of the music industry at this point?

Tim Taber: You can only be an artist for so long. If I make an album that sells 200,000 units, then I can afford stuff, but if I sell 50,000 units then I can't keep doing it. I think ministry is important but I think family is more important. I need to do what's right for my family. So, yeah, unless I "make it big" and open for Carman or something... I'll probably have to give it up eventually and start a record company. I think it would be fun. I like all that stuff. I mean Brandon (Tooth & Nail) works like 80 hours a week and he lives that record company, but I know he's having the time of his life and he wouldn't change a thing. That's actually kind of appealing for me. I love music and I love doing the business side too.

Crosswalk Music: What are some of your fondest memories of Prayer Chain shows?

Tim Taber: I think near the end there, we started to touch a spiritual nerve. A lot of our shows were becoming very spiritual and people were really being touched. That felt really cool. I'll always remember a handful of great shows like Cornerstone of 92. The ==Shawl== album had just come out and we were slotted at a Thursday afternoon show, which was a bad slot. There were about 200 people at the stages that day and we were thinking no one was coming. I remember being backstage and someone told us that it was packed, completely packed. People were pumped up and I could hear the crowd. The stage guy was giving us instructions about stage diving and stuff and suddenly we can hear the crowd of over 2000 just chanting "eye-yi, yi, yi" (from the song "Crawl"). We were blown away because we'd never played that song before live and the CD had just come out 2 months ago. So we get up there and we're just pumped. Wayne clicks off [based]on their beat and we cut into the song along with crowd. The crowd erupts into mayhem. The stage was about 6 feet off the ground and it was hotter than snot. I had my shirt off and I ran as hard as I could, jumped, and land on the people's hands. I slid on their hands like a waterslide and then they'd push me back up on stage.

Flevo '95, our final year, we were one of the headliners and there were ten thousand people there. We debuted all our ==Mercury== stuff and they loved it. It was so dusty that I had to cut the show short. I thought I was going to die from an asthma attack or something. That night we played again and I was still thrashed. After we got off the crowd wouldn't shut up and they wouldn't let anyone else talk. After five full minutes I had to go back out and apologize to calm them down. The next day in the festival paper they said that the Prayer Chain was too arrogant to play a full set.

We also played this hockey rink in Finland with the {{77's}}. Wayne, Eric, and Andy were the band for 77's with Mike Roe. They'd play with Mike and then I'd walk up and we'd start playing our stuff. That was a dream come true for us because we all loved the 77's music.

I'll always wonder if we would've had made "Shawl Volume 2" instead of ==Mercury==, if we'd still be together right now and playing stadiums or something. I'm sure people heard a lot of ugly rumors about the {{Prayer Chain}} breaking upand most of them are true, but in rehearsing for this reunion show in Chicago, God has really healed our relationships within the band. I know that God is a healing God and that he can heal relationships.