On the third day of the third month of the third year of the millenium, we caught up with Brad Avery, guitar player for Third Day, for a few moments to talk about their upcoming release, Offerings II, and where Third Day has been and where Third Day is headed.
cMW: Offerings was released as a gift to the fans, and not just to join the Praise and Worship bandwagon. As a result of Offerings, you have an increased fan base. Who is Offerings II for?
Brad: I think it would be for those same people. We thought that the Offerings I thing would be just a one time thing. And in the process we realized that God wasn't done in the whole Offerings experience. In reality it's for our fans because we know there are people who enjoy what we do. And we kind of feel like it is also our role in this genre of music, Christian music, to always be pushing the limits and raising the bar. It's a very rock and roll spirited album, and it's pretty much original material. We like to sometimes cover other people's stuff but when we do a cover it's usually something that nobody has ever heard of. We do it to pull an unknown artist's song into the spotlight a little bit. That's the same concept with this album. It's half live, half studio. It's new music. It's not us covering the worship favorites, so to speak, that everybody does. It's us doing original stuff.
cMW: What is Third Day's hearts desire will happen as a result of the release of Offerings II?
Brad: Honestly, when we release an album, first of all, we are releasing something that we feel is the best that we could do. It's important for us that we put our best foot forward and we put it out there and hope that people will enjoy it. We really never know what is to be expected from our album. We just want to be obedient and do what we are supposed to do, and that's making music that God has given us and from there we let Him do whatever he wants to. He's grown our ministry from the get go. Whatever happens is up to Him as far as we're concerned.
cMW: Though you have been together for more than 10 years, it has been only recent years that you have become better known. Yet it seems from what I have seen is that you are all the same humble guys that went national with the Bus CD. What keeps you from letting it all go to your head?
Brad: We are brothers, I guess, so to speak. We know each other, we know our pitfalls. We are real guys. I would not say it's not hard to remain humble, but on the other hand we know who we are and who we are in Christ. Everything that has happened to us - we know why it has happened. And it hasn't been anything that we've done. It's just been what God has done through us. Honestly, He has been very kind to us from the beginning. He has really blessed us. We just know that's where our success comes from and that's what we think about.
cMW: I am sure you guys have done something for Him to bless you.
Brad: I guess we are just vessels and we are available so He has been very kind to us.
cMW: I have read a lot on the Third Day message boards that people think Third Day is good enough to go mainstream. What is your response to that?
Brad: There's no doubt about it that I think our music stacks up with anything the world is putting out. When we set out to make a record, we are trying to create the best music possible for us and for God. So, I think that's what we do. I mean if it wasn't the best that we could do, we wouldn't put it out. That's what we want to do. We are making the best art that we possibly can and putting our best foot forward. I think it's just as good as anything else out there and that's our goal anytime we are going in and making an album. As far as whether we have an opportunity to take this thing into the mainstream and have a wider audience, again that's out of our hands. We are creating music. If somebody from a label hears something that they think would work and gets behind it that is really what is going to sell a song.
cMW: If you could take away the categorization between Christian and general market/mainstream, what would you call it?
Brad: All music is categorized whether it is jazz or whatever. For some reason there is Christian jazz and Christian rock. There's just this subtitle on everything. We kind of call it the asterisk, if you will. Christian music has an asterisk. People say, "What kind of music is it?" and you say, "We are a Christian band." And all of a sudden they just have these assumptions about what they expect to hear. For me, music is music. I think everybody out there writes about what they are passionate about and if people are passionate about their faith, which we are, that's what we write about. I think music is music. So it should just be called music, as far as I am concerned.
cMW: How would you respond to someone who believes that Christian musicians are all simply trying to "sell out?" For example, I am a youth group leader and I have heard some students say that they don't listen to Christian music because people are trying to sell out.
Brad: That's just an excuse unless they really don't think the band is good. The important thing is, if it is good enough, they'll listen to it, I think regardless of what the message is. I don't think kids really worry about the message. Some do. But not many of them are thinking about it, they just want to listen to some good music. So, I don't believe that's really the reason for not listening. It's just kind of an excuse to me, they think it's substandard.
cMW: After the Spring Come Together and Worship tour, what's next for Third Day with touring?
Brad: The spring Come Together and Worship tour is on the west coast. We are just going to do a few cities out there. And then basically our summer and fall is just what we call "closed" shows where they are not tour shows. We are just trying to lay low for a little bit and make sure that when we release our next project, that there is some demand for Third Day when we come to somebody's town.
cMW: Is there a date set for the next studio release?
Brad: Besides the one coming out tomorrow, no. There's always thoughts. We are a band, so we are always creating music. Regardless of what is going on, the fact that we have an album releasing tomorrow does not mean we don't have 30 songs on the table right now for the next record. It's what we do, we always create music, always writing and looking ahead to do the next thing.
cMW: How has touring been different since you have become more widely known?
Brad: I don't know that it has changed as much. The one thing is that I don't think we have to do quite as many shows. So that allows us to be home a little bit more.
cMW: I guess that's why I haven't seen you guys as much as I used to!!
Brad: And the fact is that people don't want to see you as much. When you are a young band, they can't get enough of you, so you play 250 shows a year. As you get out there, just like I was saying, you create demand by playing some shows and then you stay away for a while so that people are either thirsty or hungry for what you have to offer. For us, we are laying low right now, but we will be out to do some work before long.
cMW: One last question before we finish here. What would you like to say to our readers about why they should pick up Offerings II?
Brad: I think people will be surprised. If they have Offerings I, Offerings II is head and shoulders above the first one, which I think is a fantastic album. But I think Offerings II is a that much better. Again, it's not your normal kind of worship. We are not going out and doing the worship songs that you hear in church unless you are all our Third Day songs in church. We are doing original material. So it's got new material, it's very rock and roll, lots of guitars. It's probably the best album we have ever done, the most rockin' record we have ever done as of recent time. And it's just something fresh. Plus the fact that it has live music on it. We have 6 songs that are live cuts from the east coast, where we recorded them. So there is just an energy there that's really contagious. It's a great record all the way around. And I think there will be at least two songs on that record that you will be singing in church pretty soon.
cMW: Sounds good! Thanks for your time!
Brad: Thanks for the interview.
- Kim Flanders
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