Had a chance to talk to Eric Crawford I have a question:
Has anybody every heard of band by the name Ash Wednesday? They where a band back in the early 90`s? They put out a great Christian heavy metal that is done right. They put out one album called Thunder From Heaven 1994. This Album is refreshing to listen to in 2016. It will bring you back to the good old days when metal was done right! In you face metal with heavy riffing
You guys have been a round for awhile could you tell us what has been going on with band the last 25 years?
Lol. A lot! I can’t answer that because it would probably take about 3 hours. Craig (the drummer) & Dave (the bassist) have been through some incredibly trying times, and trials. Dave had a liver transplant back in 2004 and nearly died. Craig has been involved in teaching for the past 20 years both college, and high school. He had a very traumatic thing happen to him back in 1999 or 2000? I won’t go into that right now. A couple of years later he was involved in a car wreck that put him in the hospital. After the band broke up in 1995 Craig and I gradually saw less and less of each other due to his demanding schedule, and he and his wife moved to a new house quite a way from me. I only saw him once between 2001 and 2015. Most recently Craig’s 17year old son was hit by a drunk driver in March of 2015, and miraculously survived.
What brought you guys back together after a 20 year hiatus? There is a big buzz going around Facebook within the last 2 months.
Well to put it simply-God! I believe it was God’s doing (and so do Craig & Dave), because it was such a miraculous reuniting. I don’t think any of us dreamed we would ever be back together jamming again, working on new songs, and looking at doing more shows. I connected with Craig & Dave back in 2010 via Facebook and we were actually mulling over the idea of a reunion tour then, but I think Craig’s schedule was still too demanding for him to be able to pull it off. However, Dave and I stayed in touch and eventually we started playing in an already established Christian local band called Reignwater. That’s another story. Reignwater broke up about 6 months later after we joined them. We let the drummer go and never seemed to be able to regain our footing.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
A lot of things have changed through the years, (technology is an obstacle), but the biggest challenge for us, was never getting over “the hump” or getting to that next level of being able to tour and getting our name out there. Being a Christian band in Utah, (which is in the heart of Mormonism), you really are behind the 8 ball right from the get go.
Had we been in Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, etc etc we may have done better. Probably scheduling rehearsals is our biggest obstacle right now. Too many conflicting schedules. However, as believers, we know that EVERYTHING is in God’s timing. God is sovereign and over all things, and through Divine providence, I believe one reason God intervened (with me), after we broke up in 1995, was I was a very young believer, and had some unsound theology, and little knowledge of basic Bible doctrines.
I was believing and teaching some heretical things. A verse was set before me after we’d been together a couple of years. It was 1Timothy 3:6 “He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil.” Though the context of this passage is referring to someone desiring to be a pastor, elder, or overseer in the church, it also implies anyone who wants to be in a leadership role.
Only 6 months after I was ‘saved’ I was asked to play on my church’s worship team, and was even called on to lead the worship on a few Sundays. Looking back on it now, I see that it was a big no-no biblically speaking. And like the verse in 1Timothy read, I did become ‘conceited’ and puffed up. Soon after Ash Wednesday was formed by me and Craig, my pride began to swell as I was gaining more popularity among the Christian community.
I said all that to say, I believe God needed to humble me, and take me out of ministry for a few years, and set me straight about sound Biblical doctrines. If I am to represent Christ, He needs to be glorified with His truth, and the truth of what His word says.
Another personal obstacle for me the past few years is finding that delicate balance between a Christian rock music ministry, and entertainment/performance. Being on a stage with many eyes watching you tends to draw attention to yourself, and your talents. Obviously that’s exactly what the worldly rock stars want, but the Christian doesn’t want to be the focal point, he/she wants the gospel and Christ to be glorified. So do you classify yourselves as a rock band who happen to be Christians? Or as a Christian Rock band doing ministry? Its something I wrestle with all the time.
Have a lot of things changed in the Christian music scene over the last 25 years?
Definitely! Sadly, for the worse. The Christian music scene followed suit of the secular music scene in the 90’s (probably even sooner than that), and many good Christian rock bands left their ministries/music to crossover into mainstream music, and join the grunge, hip-hop, and rap movement.
I’ve also noticed more and more, over the years, that ‘Christian’ music, and ‘Christian’ artists, are singing less and less about Christ, and Bible doctrines like salvation, repentance, being born again, the cross, and singing more about philosophical good morals, and even humanistic good works. The emphasis of the lyrics is more on the virtues of Christ rather than Christ Himself. Like love, and compassion, and forgiving, patience.
There is nothing wrong with that if you balance it with God’s wrath, justice, judgment, hatred for sin etc etc. Other artists tend to sing more about their own personal ‘spiritual’ experiences with Jesus, rather than who Jesus is. But this has been the case for decades. Hymns have a lot of great lyrics, and I personally love hymns. However, there are also hymns that are popular that have unbiblical doctrine in them, and at very least, are misleading.
Can you tell us about the new album? Do you have a title picked out? Do you have the art work done for the cover?
We have kicked around a few ideas for the new CD title. “Ashes to ashes.” “Up from the Ashes.” “More Thunder From Heaven.” So depending on the title we’ll have to see what artwork or photography we want to go with. Musically, are goal is to stay true to ourselves and our earlier music. More of the same similar heavy hard rock, old school metal sound, only better.We have 8-9 tracks ready to go, but we have been hit with a plethora of setbacks this past year.
Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?
As a band, we were all heavily influenced by 60’s & 70’s hard rock. Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, UFO, Rush, and from there we each had our own personal influences. For me, my secular influences were Van Halen, Gamma, (Montrose), Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson, Michael Schenker, the Scorpions, Dream Theater, Cinderella, Queensryche to name a few. My Christian influences were Holy Soldier, Liaison, Sacred Warrior, Recon, Bride, Whiteheart, Whitecross, Veni Domine, Saint, just to name a few. It would be hard to nail down my favorite CD. There are so many good ones.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with a sample of your songs?
I hate the word fans coming from a Christian perspective. I like the word supporters. Right now supporters-to-be can listen to us on YouTube at ashwednesday91 channel. Or go to our current cheesy website www.ashwedneday.biz or send us an email and we’ll send you a free CD. We are hoping to upgrade our website and make it more accessible and detailed.
What role does God play in the band and in your life personally?
Everything! The band’s sole purpose is getting the gospel out to a lost nation. I am pretty sure none of us would be doing this unless Jesus Christ was the reason. Most bands have a message they want to get out to the world, whether it’s saving the planet, saving animals, political agendas, freedom, or promoting partying and rebellion, and the Devil, every band has an agenda. Our heart is for lost hell bound souls. For us to tour, or do a new CD for any other reason than the gospel of Jesus Christ would be pointless, and foolish. If we were just your average secular hard rock band, touring would not be worth it at our age. LOL.
Touring is hard work. It demands a lot of energy, lack of sleep. You don’t do it for fun, you do it (in this case), because you are called to. None of us are looking for fame or money, not that there is any money to be made in the Christian music realm anyway. But it would be contrary to what Jesus taught as well.
We live in scary times and all we hope to accomplish with the music is WARNING people to turn from their sins and follow Christ. We want souls to be saved not our pictures on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Any final comments before we head out?
Yeah I would just encourage all your listeners (that are not saved) to repent, and turn to Christ. This world is on the verge of total destruction and chaos, and once the fuse is lit, lookout! It would be a frightening thing to be standing in front of Jesus and have Him say to you “depart from Me I never knew you” Hell is forever, and Jesus preached more on Hell than He did Heaven. Once you die that’s it. No second chances. It’s too late. Don’t leave it to chance, or fate. Those are lies from the devil. Also a big thanks to Jesus for allowing you to give us the exposure we wanted for our music which h hopefully will lead to conversions!