The Resurrection Band – Revisited

When I came up with the idea of this feature of revisiting bands, I was clearly trying to think on what YOU the reader would be interested in, especially coming from a metal magazine and rather than just reading news articles, album reviews and the stock standard normality that we all digest ourselves with.

Even though both are still vitally important when it comes to promoting bands, artists from around the globe, we see this as an expansion somewhat as we try to further our creativity within the magazine and pushing the envelope which we solely want to achieve.

Our aim is to focus on the bands and artists that have inspired generations of listeners and artists alike, that have created the music that we hear today. Bands from long ago or even disbanding from two years ago, our mission is to speak to these founding, and/or the main members of these bands to let you the reader know, where they are now, and to celebrate the band in such a way that we can revisit and enjoy what the band have achieved and find out instances throughout their career that have never been shared to the public eye.

Our debut band is none other than Christian hard rock pioneers The Resurrection Band (also known as REZ), which had their humble beginnings with Glenn Kaiser (vocals/guitar), Wendi Kaiser (vocals), Stu Heiss (lead guitar), Jim Denton (bass) and John Herrin (drums), back in 1972 through Chicago, Illinois-based hippie ministry group Jesus People USA. With their blend of blues and hard rock, The Resurrection Band have inspired and driven a number of bands over the last few decades throughout their 28-year career, as the band disbanded in July 2000.

Over the years the band signed with Star Song, Word, R.E.X., Sparrow, Ocean and of course Glenn Kaiser’s long time label Grrr Records. The group was renowned for covering deep and controversial subjects, through their song writing. Such as the evils of the military-industrial complex to the corrupting influence of American materialism, racism, homelessness, AIDS, drug addiction, prostitution and many other issues.

The Resurrection Band Discography:

  • Music To Raise The Dead (Demo) – (1974)
  • All Your Life – (1974)
  • Awaiting Your Reply – (1978)
  • Rainbow’s End – (1979)
  • Colours – (1980)
  • Mommy Don’t Love Daddy Anymore – (1981)
  • D.M.Z. – (1982)
  • Live Bootleg – (1984)
  • Hostage – (1984)
  • Between Heaven ‘N Hell – (1985)
  • Silence Screams – (1988)
  • Innocent Blood – (1989)
  • Civil Rights – (1991)
  • Reach Of Love – (1993)
  • Lament – (1995)
  • Ampendectomy – (1997)

Glenn Kaiser was the consistent spearhead of the group with his wife Wendi, as he expanded and helped establish into other projects such as the famous Cornerstone Music Festival (1984-2012) and his own blues and rock oriented Glenn Kaiser Band, plus his own solo efforts.

Another bit of trivia for everyone is that The Resurrection Band was the first Christian rock band that I myself (Christian Sullivan) have owned on cassette and heard all those years ago, sharing that same story as fellow metal brother, musician and bassist Steve Rowe of the Mortification fame, as Steve discussed many years ago about his love for metal ministry after hearing a tape from the Rez band in the early ’80s.

So, we took some time with the man himself Glenn Kaiser and he gave us a little revisit of a band that created such awe in the music industry.

TMO – Thank you for joining us on The Metal Onslaught Glenn. When did The Resurrection Band begin?

GKWelcome 🙂 The band began to meet a need for a second band in the Jesus People of Milwaukee. There were so many requests for gigs from The Sheep a call was put out for the members of JPM to pray about starting another group to help meet that need. Nobody else responded.

TMO – When did God give you the vision to form the band?

GKOver a time of fasting and prayer and consulting with my small group and other leaders as per what I just shared. After a load of confirmation God’s grace moved us along!

TMO – Are all the members still close friends?

GKFriends yes – but all have family, grand kids and have been engaged in other pursuits for many years. My wife Wendi and I as well as Roy Montroy live in the intentional community, serve here in Chicago, so we see each other more. Roy and I (w. Ed Bialach) are in GKB together. The others live in other places.

TMO – Back in the ’70s, especially after the flower power movement, did you witness and see where rock music could be used as a tool for ministry purposes?

GKI walked into a store to buy a pair of jeans and noticed Black Sabbath was playing on the store radio system. A lot of what I heard (even really great acoustic musicians) in ministry settings was being ignored. You can’t ignore 130 db on a stage or parking lot! So it was obvious that style/sound/power could clearly state Good News just as easily as myths, sexual innuendo and bad news. From the first gig we played a number of people made commitments to follow Jesus, which was the norm at our shows.

TMO – What kind of influences did The Resurrection Band have musically?

GKBoth the blues and hard rock at core. Zeppelin, AC/DC.

TMO – Were you a band that followed the trends of the time each album was released or was it a authentic progression?

GK – Both. I would like to think more authentic progression but for myself, at least as the key writer in the early years, I always thought one could get in a deep slot (say, an AC/DC) and stay put record after record or branch out more (ala Rolling Stones) while keeping a seminal sound alive right through. I’ve always though the Stones took the more inventive approach. IF an artist/band can do so with musical integrity, I’d say that fresh and open avenue keeps a creative flow happening as opposed to same-old-same-old.

TMO – Throughout your career, what is the biggest change you have seen within the music industry?

GK – I suppose everything from recording and music, videos and shows transmission via digitization and the internet.

TMO – What are your fondest memories on tour?

GKAfter show chats with people. Always the people in each place. Returning to see the same faces and hearing about Jesus’ grace in their lives.

TMO – What was it like working with Ty Tabor?

GKTy was wise, kind and humble, a pleasure to work with. We learned several important things doing the Lament project with him.

TMO – Would you guys ever put together a reunion show or a possible album?

GKNo, we’ve been invited/asked that a great deal but there isn’t a sense of calling nor really interest from any of us re. family and other work all are engaged in.

TMO – Things have changed to a more digital age compared to all of us growing up, do you think it has made the gospel harder to share through music?

GKI think it has made it easier but of course exponentially there is a boatload more available via the Web and therefore some of the “big fish in a small bowl” that many early bands enjoyed is no longer available to most musicians. I’m talking about a “scene” with large shows and such. Much more niche these days as well. But if we had hundreds of bands back then we have several millions of ’em now. Talent and integrity will always move the needle, at least some, but yes, plenty of changes indeed.

TMO – Over the years you have pastored, ran and organised groups, began Cornerstone to use as a tool for outreach, what do you believe is your biggest achievement?

GKI’d guess two big graces- encouraging people to get serious about relationship to Jesus and equally in that, individual/shared biblical (as in John chapter 15) discipleship. In the practical I’d say perhaps realizing we have been catalysts for disparate people and groups to come together and at least be open to people unlike them, the learning and sharing with one another aspect.

TMO – What are you currently working on at the moment?

GKThis interview HA!! So many things… another record (blues-worship), jail and prison chaplaincy/shows, tons of social media and Zoom work, videos, a pretty broad footprint in relationships with peeps all over the world. Always and always my and Wendi’s marriage, family, and in good weather often sitting out front of our building on Wilson Ave. with a little battery powered amp, guitar, slide, harp and chatting with folks – busking. LOVE that!! Building found-object and cigar box guitars. Tons of writing.

TMO – What was the most important thing you wanted to achieve with the band?

GK – Encouragement for people via what I just said in my last answer. Faith, hope, love, salvation in the risen Jesus Christ, growing discipleship resulting from all I’ve just mentioned.

TMO – Your solo project is more blues orientated, is that your favourite genre of music?

GKAbsolutely so. Always was.

TMO – Who were your favourite bands that The Resurrection Band played with over the years?

GKJerusalem, Steve Taylor, Daniel Band, Phil Keaggy, DeGarmo and Key right off the top of my head.

TMO – What advice would you give for upcoming musicians in the Christian music scene?

GKThe sonic landscape is only a part of your life and fulfillment there is a moving target far less important then love God and your neighbor as yourself or it’s all a wash. Focus on Jesus and others, not self because, whatever “kingdom” you have is going to go… all but the kingdom of the eternal King. Prayer like breathing, and study of the Bible (God’s Word) more than your instrument, vocals or music and advancement of it because all those things have a far shorter shelf-life. Relationships 101, not industry or the praise of people.

TMO – Do you think many Christian artists or bands have lost their way with the ongoing changes in the industry?

GKOf course some have. Not having a solid foundation and/or not choosing to focus on what I’ve mentioned in this interview and of course as Jesus said in the Parable of the Sower – “but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” – Mark 4.19 If/when your personal advancement is largely about industry/fan acceptance and mass appeal, that’s a recipe for gaining the world and losing your soul. Burn out. “It’s all about me” is a train wreck whether you get the love and numbers you seek or not because personal spiritual integrity ends up in the rear-view mirror.

TMO – Do you believe that Jesus has been taken out of current music scene as a whole?

GKIn terms of mainstream music culture it’s interesting how often spirituality and even Jesus Himself, His words and ethics actually surface as opposed to not being there. Well, even Sab’s “After Forever” back in the day, ‘eh? Ha!

TMO – In your own words, what would you do differently now?

GKBack then had I known what I believe I know all these years later I should have worked harder at being more kind and more gracious. Now, today – I’m working harder on those, being more of a servant and passing on what (little?) bit of wisdom I can for others to benefit from.

Reflecting over the band’s long and illustrious career, the days are now closed for The Resurrection Band, with judging by what Glenn has shared, however their music will continue to inspire and influence those who choose to hear it, but the music and message is NEVER closed for the gospel or for Glenn Kaiser.

Authorized To Crank It UP!!

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