The Lament...
Promotional CD for the Squint album
© 1993 Warner Bros. Records Inc.

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Yeah, the Lament is a song about a guy who has sort of spent all his time in various self-help movements trying to find his inner self, and then he finds out he's gonna die. And it's sorta like, "Wow, so I spent all this time trying to find myself and now I'm gonna die. I wonder if I made a big mistake here." And the chorus is like the voice of God coming back and reminding him, "Get ready, because this is it." Sort of a dialogue between a poor sap and God.

Ultimately a lot of these things just become replacements for God, and of course, they don't work. And so it's taking a little fun at those guys that beat on drums and take their shirts off in the woods. Sure, why not. I think they're idiots. [laughter]

Sock Heaven

When I retired from gospel music, it wasn't because I was angry or disenchanted or anything like that, it was just because, frankly, it felt like it was time to do something else. It felt like if I would have stayed in at that point--I had completed my contract, I had an offer to do another one--I think there was something inherent in the offer, it was sort of like, "We want you to keep selling a lot of a records, and you really need to become at least somewhat more mainstream in your approach to this." And so if I would have stayed in at that point, I probably would have been doing it for the wrong motives, because financial security would have been, probably, primary in my motive, but the thought of sort of becoming more mainstream was not very appealing.

It just felt like it was time to do something else and I really wasn't angry or disenchanted or anything, it just felt like, "Boy, this is great timing here. Let's go do something else." At that point, my wife and I went to England for a few months (it's easier to hear God when everybody speaks with a different accent or something, I don't know), but the decision to start the band came about sort of naturally with just other believers--"what if we try this?"

I think the band idea at it's root was a good idea. We approached our forming of the band and sort of the way we put it together with a lot of prayer and a lot of right intentions. The fact of the matter is, as I look back, I don't know why it didn't work like we hoped it would, and, in fact, the song Sock Heaven is pretty much asking that same question. I think that if there was one sort of key point when I made the decision "I want to do another solo album and I want to do it on a gospel label," it was in talking with my pastor who had been a fan of the bands and liked what we did. But he said to me that he felt like maybe we had done a better job defining what we weren't than defining what we were.

I think that really nailed it--to me, I just need a sense of vision and especially a sense of mission. So now, I mean, I got back in started writing songs; the songs came more urgently. I think part of it was just not having had a particular sense of mission for the last four years; I just had it very clearly and succinctly distinctly. I feel that to be able to sing about your faith in a pointed way is actually an honor.

Moshing Floor

The Moshing Floor; the germ of that idea came after a concert that Chagall Guevara did which was like absolute mayhem. Probably the key to the song is on the third verse--"Malls and religion / build the new forts / Jesus is a franchise / in the food courts"--it's like Jesus is nothing more than just something you pick off a menu and mix in with whatever else you want to have and call it a philosophy or whatever.

The Finish Line

The Finish Line is one of the only songs I've written that really effects me emotionally still even when I hear it. I just think, "I got it right on that song." It's just the story of someone who runs the race, and it's not like a steady uphill victory climb, it's not doing a victory march into Heaven or something like that, it's run with blood and sweat and perseverance. The title for the album "Squint" actually came from a line in The Finish Line--"Off in the distance bloodied but wise / as you squint with the light of the truth in your eyes"--we don't necessarily see the finish line real clearly in front of us; we have to sort of squint to see it--we're pretty sure it's there. It's not easy running this race.

Cash Cow

The idea behind Cash Cow was that nobody would get off the hook. All of us are just one step away from sucking on the udder of the cash cow. [laughter] It's just like this love of money is something that is the monkey on all of our backs and it never goes away, so that's why I tried to paint the picture of the cash cow's coming to get you.


The song Curses takes a verse from the Bible in Psalm 37 where the psalmist says, "I was young and now I'm old, but I've never seen the righteous forsaken nor their children begging bread." I think it contrasts men who essentially desert their wives and children, turning them into our society's version of widows and orphans. It takes one particular guy that just says, "Man, don't do it."


The song Curses takes a verse in the Bible from Psalm 37--"I am old but I once was young..." [pause] "...I am young but I was old..." [laughter] I'll never forget that verse in the Bible, Psalm 37! [laughter]


Smug started as a song when I was channel surfing and the images of a certain Mr. Limbaugh and a certain Madame Streisand came in rapid succession. I just started thinking, "Man, this is what it's going to be. It's going to be everybody in their corners, beating their chests and acting arrogant, and maybe it's just gonna turn into some big mud wrestling match."


Last year I was reading a newspaper article about these three guys that travel around the country, and actually, around the world, carrying these banners that say "John 3:16" and they hold them up at sporting events. Actually, I think they've gotten very sophisticated--they carry around walkie talkies and check to see where the cameras are and put up this banner. The fact of that matter is, I kinda dug the idea. It's like, you let the Bible speak for itself. You get people looking it up. Hopefully the Word doesn't return void. So, the song is like a tribute to these guys--no satire intended at all--I actually liked the idea. Somewhere along the line you can sort of get so sophisticated with your approach to the gospel you sort of lose the heart of it, and I just sort of liked the idea and the approach, and that's where the song came from.

The Future...

You know, I haven't necessarily figured it out long term as far as what I'm gonna be doing in 5 or 10 years. Maybe it would help to say this, that my earthly heroes, if you wanted to call them that, are people that, in my mind, have done two things with their lives: One, they really communicated Christianity effectively to their culture. Those are people like Billy Graham, Francis Schaeffer, and C.S. Lewis, and people like that. I also respect those same people for the fact that they managed to keep their personal house in order during the long haul. Those people are sort of the models that I would strive to follow after in the long term. I don't know in the 1990s how necessarily that works out. I'm happy with this record, and I'm happy with what it communicates. Sort of at the center of the whole thing, and the reason why I'm doing another record, is because I really do want to communicate Christianity to my culture in some way, and right now this seems like the best way to do it.