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Resurrection Band/Rez Band/Rez


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I can still recall the surprise with which I greeted the first Resurrection Band album Awaiting Your Reply. It was 1978, and I was already losing my interest in CCM. I tried. Really I did. I had thrown away the Black Sabbath albums a couple years before, and had diligently done my best to incorporate the sounds of Evie, Honeytree, and Phil Keaggy into my life. Phil was a great guitarist, but he didn't exactly rock. Larry Norman more or less rocked, and was great, but he was still missing that special oomph that I had come to expect from my favorite secular bands. I thought that maybe the balls-to-the-wall gene was supernaturally removed upon Christian conversion. But then I listened to Awaiting Your Reply, which most emphatically rocked. It rocked like Led Zeppelin rocked. And I was amazed by what I heard. Here were Christians who wrestled with sin, and who took on thorny, complex social issues. And who, let me say it again, rocked.

I've been listening to the 4-CD Rez Band box set/career retrospective that will be released in another month or so. I'm familiar with some of this music, unfamiliar with a lot of it because the CCM era officially ended for me in about 1984, and I missed the band's last ten albums or so. And if it needs to be said that the band never really progressed beyond its original overamped assault, it should also be noted that there are few things in my life that provide more pleasure than an overamped assault based on blues licks and AC/DC power chord riffage. Glenn Kaiser handled the AC/DC end of things, and unleashed a blood-curdling banshee wail on almost every song. He's a strong contender for the Robert Plant Banshee Wail Hall of Fame. Stu Heiss handled the jaw-dropping solos and guitar pyrotechnics. And Wendi Kaiser simply sang like Grace Slick, no more so than on the cover of Jefferson Airplane's Summer of Love chestnut "Somebody to Love." These songs grapple with real life, in all its joy and ugliness. They lift up Jesus. And they rock. Wow, do they rock. That's a holy trinity I'm willing to celebrate any day of the week, Sabbaths included.

Edited by Andy Whitman
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Glenn Kaiser (& company) is the real deal. I still fondly recall seeing him both at a high school gymnasium on the eve of their "Innocent Blood" tour, and I hold "Silence Screams" to almost reach status as a desert island disc.

It should also be mentioned that bands like Rez really drove home the point that Christian lyrics and heavy guitar-thrashing need not be oil and water. They found subject matter (often birthed from their own inner-city commune) that spoke of alienation, pain, divorce, violence, struggle... and hope. That they branched beyond their inner-city confines and openly targeted apartheid (before it was cool to do so), along with other global issues, is especially noteworthy.

You oughta check out Kaiser/Mansfield's blues albums (which I super-highly regard), especially their cover of "Jesus Is Comin' Soon" (which Clapton had made more pop-sounding than bluesy). And I also like Kaiser's worship experiments ("All My Days"--his first--is still the best, but the others have their moments).

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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I didn't post from there, but I have been there!

Glenn's was the first real rock'n'roll voice that ever really caught my attention. I was 13, and had been cast in a community theatre production of Close Ties by Elizabeth Diggs. I was to play Thayer, a teenager who interrupts his family's tranquil mornings with blasts of loud rock music from his bedroom. Trouble was, I had never really listened to loud rock music. I grew up on Disney soundtracks, Continental Singers, Pete Seeger, Nazarene hymns and the Bill Gaither Trio, and had only recently upped the stakes to David Meece, the Imperials and Amy Grant. I might've had a Petra album by that point, but I knew Petra wasn't gonna cut it.

After midnight, Jeff Hamilton, the graveyard DJ at the local Christian station, would take requests, sometimes stepping out of the playlist boundaries for a song or two. I'd heard tell of this here Resurrection Band, and judging from the photos and artwork on the LP copy of DMZ down at the local Christian bookstore, I thought they might be what I was looking for (I sure as heck wasn't gonna hunt down no secular rock for my character research). So I called Jeff at 1:30 in the morning or so, and asked if there was anything by Resurrection Band he might be able to play. Jeff dutifully dove into the bins and came back with one of the few Rez songs "mellow" enough for Christian radio: "Paint a Picture" from Rainbow's End.

I say "mellow," and it is one of their slower songs, but in reality "Paint a Picture" might be the scorchin'est gin-soaked gospel blues ballad ever put on tape. Glenn's raspy voice hit my insomniac ears like a truckload of railroad spikes:

Oh, the hours of agony

In that darkened room...

When you've listened to Julie Andrews all your life, that voice and those lyrics might as well be from another planet. Now it wasn't the first time I'd heard a real rock'n'roll singer -- the stoners in the back of the school bus had seen to that with their Iron Maiden and Ozzy tapes -- but it was the first time I had actually listened. It was a life-changing moment. I went out and bought DMZ on cassette, and "Military Man" became Thayer's theme song in that production of Close Ties. I went on to acquire the entire Rez catalog, and they remained near the top of my list for the next 10 years. I got a job at that same Christian radio station, and hosted the Saturday evening rock show, where I always tried to make some room for Rez. I thrilled to their crunchy rhythms and monster guitar riffs and lyrics that paired compassion with confrontation. The moment of greatest impact, though, remains hearing "Paint a Picture" for the first time at 1:30 in the morning, lo, these 25 years hence.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I've been a Rez fan for years, ever since one of my youth group leaders played me "Alienated" and "Military Man" when I was in high school. Those are still two of my favorite rock songs of all time.

From interviews and from hearing him speak at Cornerstone, I can appreciate that Glenn Kaiser truly has a heart for ministry. So much great music over the years, and Glenn's had some terrific late-night shows with his blues band at Cornerstone.

I would rank my top 5 + 1 Rez albums

1. Innocent Blood

2. Mommy Don't Love Daddy Anymore

3. Awaiting Your Reply

4. Silence Screams

5. DMZ

6. Colors

And Resurrection Band is performing a reunion show at Cornerstone this year! ::w00t::

Edited by Crow
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I graduated from a high school I never attended under the name of Glenn Kaiser. (Only one person present recognized that name and realized that there was no such student... get the rest of the story here.)

Rez Band was a huge thing for me, back in the day. I first discovered DMZ but soon went back and got all their older stuff.

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I used to wear my "Godarchy... Not Anarchy" T-shirt all the time. Though I have to say the one thing I remember from Glenn Kaiser's sermon during/after the concert is the bit where he spoke against drinking alcoholic beverages and said "I don't care if Jesus did it in Cana, would he do it TODAY?" Uh, yeah, I think he just might.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 1 month later...
the one thing I remember from Glenn Kaiser's sermon during/after the concert is the bit where he spoke against drinking alcoholic beverages and said "I don't care if Jesus did it in Cana, would he do it TODAY?"

I'm guessing (a Rez fan could perhaps confirm) that he or someone close to him struggled with addiction & doesn't realize that some people don't -- the whole Romans 14 thing. If Jesus were in a restaurant with an alcoholic, I'm guessing he would not imbibe.

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If Jesus were in a restaurant with an alcoholic, I'm guessing he would not imbibe.

That might depend on the alcoholic. Not all recovering addicts stumble at the liberty of others.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I graduated from a high school I never attended under the name of Glenn Kaiser. (Only one person present recognized that name and realized that there was no such student... get the rest of the story here.)

Rez Band was a huge thing for me, back in the day. I first discovered DMZ but soon went back and got all their older stuff.

This is such a great story, and worth presenting in full right here:

The week after I graduated from high school, I went through a second high-school graduation at a neighboring high school, using a fictitious name. For no particular reason

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Andy Whitman wrote:

: [1] "I'm a King's Kid, and I want a new car."

I believe that's: "I'm a King's Kid, I deserve the best, I want a ... a NEW CAR!" :)

Great stories, both.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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