I’m a storyteller, and that’s about all this blog is. Thus, if you’re not really into that, I’ll catch you on the next one. Also, for those who have been with me a while, you might have heard this story, but several of my followers are new, so it’s worth sharing, in an attempt to try and encourage someone today.
I’m 52 years old now, and wanted to be a rock star ever since I was a little kid.
I remember one time when we were on vacation in Colorado, the motel bathroom had a red light. I have no clue WHY, but it did. When my mom said we were going out for supper, I told her I wasn’t hungry, but asked if her, my dad and my little sister could bring me back something.
I did this for ONE reason: so I could turn the shower on as hot as it could go—in order to cause the bathroom to steam up—and turn that dang red light on, so I could have my own private concert. The steam looked like fog, and under those lights, surrounded by rolling steam/fog, I conducted my first rock concert. My dad’s hair brush was my microphone, and I went through every song I knew, from Elvis to the Monkees to KISS.
Yeah, I killed it that night! The crowd went wild.
I think I was maybe 10 years old; 10 or 12, somewhere around there.
So when I became a man and had the chance to try out as lead singer for a heavy metal band, I took it. I had no clue if I could actually sing, but THOUGHT I could, so I gave it a shot. To my surprise, the band voted me in and we went straight to work.
We went through all kinds of ideas for a band name. One guitarist said he wanted “Angel” in there somewhere, so I offered a bunch of suggestions:
White Angel? Iron Angel? Painted Angel?
We took these names to the lead guitarist, who shot every one of them down in about two seconds. I then suggested “Hellbelly,” since we were just 30 minutes from Branson, Missouri, HILLBILLY country. “That name glorifies HELL” the drummer suggested. I didn’t agree, but ok, whatever. I found out a few years later, another band finally took the name.
Then I suggested the name, “Rest in Peace.”
“Ya know, in God we can have peace, we can REST in Him,” I reasoned, although, to be honest, I just thought it sounded cool. Everyone agreed. We had a name!
Then we broke up a week later. That’s rock’n’roll, baby.
Another decade or so passed and I got another chance at my rock’n’roll dream. A co-worker played me a cassette of a couple of awesome, instrumental songs, and when I asked him who the band was, he said, “They’re called ‘ME.'”
“ME?” I asked. “Huh….interesting.”
“No,” Mark replied, “I mean it’s ME. I did the music.”
I thought it was a God-moment for sure, and before you know it, we had locked ourselves in his tiny, extra room, recording our first song. I sang lead and background vocals, wrote lyrics and played bass on a couple songs. Mark did everything else.
We spent about a year writing, creating and recording a total of six hard rock/heavy metal songs, and then his dad passed away and he felt the need to make a break with everything except work and family.
So I was OUT, just as simple and heartbreaking as that.
All I had for all our dreams and hard work was my demo, which I called “Hallow Road.” The word “Hallow” means, “to make holy; sanctify; consecrate,” according to Webster’s. Over the years, bitterness was a constant battle when I thought about Hallow Road, because I didn’t understand why the Lord opened that door, only to shut it right in my face.
“It makes no sense!” I would cry out to God. “We were GOOD. I mean REALLY good! We could’ve actually went somewhere! We could’ve made it!”
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, my son, Trey, who just turned 20, grew up listening to Hallow Road. He LOVED it, and would play it for his friends, a big smile on his face while he told ’em…
“That’s my DAD, man. That’s him singing. He wrote all the lyrics and even played bass on some of the songs.”
He was so proud of our silly, little demo. The thing is, a seedling thought was planted in his mind: “I want to follow in my dad’s footsteps. If HE can do it, maybe I can, too.”
Additionally, in 2012, Trey and I released a book of poetry, I Bleed Dark — Poems about Pain, Life, Heavy Metal and Jesus Christ. You can download it for free here: https://robweddle1.journoportfolio.com/
Being a published author at 12 is quite an ego boost for a timid kid who stutters. Trey’s poetry steadily improved, and eventually, those poems turned into SONGS.
At this point I should state I’m not trying to brag at all. Like, NOT AT ALL, seriously. I’m making a point. Perhaps a SLOW point, but we’ll get it there in a minute.
Trey found out I filled in a bit on the drums at church when I was younger, and he decided: “THAT’S what I wanna do.” We bought him the cheapest, rattiest drum set money could buy, KNOWING this “phase” wouldn’t last more than six months.
That was nearly 10 years ago, and he’s on his third drum set. His talent is worlds, universes, LIGHT YEARS ahead of anything I’ve ever done, and I almost get teary-eyed when I watch him play. He’s amazing.
With not an ounce of jealousy in me, I get to watch MY dreams come to reality through my son. He has his own band, Sacred Throne, and they’re playing their first gig this summer, at a Christian heavy metal festival called the “Chains Unchained Music Festival.” Here’s a link to the band’s Facebook page:
One difficult concept I’ve come to grips with the past couple years is this: God’s bottom line is to build His kingdom. Nearly everything which happens to us is in relation to that. Maybe you know a pastor or Christian leader who has a bit of an attitude problem sometimes, but has a thriving church? They’re obviously God’s person for the job, and the Lord is more concerned about growing His kingdom than our petty, personality conflicts.
Regarding MY calling, after all the chronic pain I’ve suffered, my suicide attempt and surviving depression for so long, God has at last revealed His plans for my life. No, it’s not singing on stage, under red lights, surrounded by fog (steam?). I wrote a book, We Whom The Darkness Could Not Overcome (available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon), I write this blog, I have a website and a ministry page on Facebook (Demonkill Ministries, http://www.demonkill.com), and I speak to groups, small and large, about overcoming adversity.
My message of enduring great PAIN and never giving up resonates with people. I told my former pastor, Sherry Welch, “I’m not a theologian. I feel like I’m just a cheerleader.” Her response?
“People are depressed these days, Rob. They’re struggling, and they NEED encouragement. They NEED a cheerleader!”
Over 35 years ago, God gave me a dream of being a minister. I thought I had it figured out when I was younger, but I was wrong. Well, half-wrong. God’s vision wasn’t for ME to be on the stage, it was for Trey.
If Trey hadn’t grown up listening to his old man sing “Wicked Nightmare,” “After Babylon,” “Me’n the Devil” and the other songs on my demo, would he have ever started Sacred Throne? Hard to tell, but I’m proud I did my part in my son’s success. The band is a marvel to behold, and I pray metal-heads the world over soon get exposed to their music. I’m their number one fan, man.
So I implore you, keep dreaming, keep scheming, keep working, keep praying, keep sweating, and never, ever, EVER give up! God may have given you ideas, dreams, visions, WHATEVER, and you’ve waited months, years, or like me, DECADES, and it seems nothing has happened.
But believe me, I know from experience, SOMETHING IS HAPPENING. God is preparing you for your calling, and He’s preparing the world. It doesn’t make much sense now, but trust in the One who has the past, present and future in His very capable hands.
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” (Ephesians 3:17)
Never let your dreams die.