Michael Roe of the 77’s. A fun night.

My friend Jorin introduced me to the 77’s in 1991 when I had the (what to me was about the coolest privilege ever…because it was) opportunity to fill-in host at KADI’s Saturday night “The Rock Cries Out”. He stopped by with some cd’s (they were a new fangled thing then) and suggested I play “The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of Life” from their Sticks and Stones CD.
It’s now absolutely one of my favorite 5 cds of all time. Incredible stuff.
Since then, I’ve somehow (via ebay, used stores and more) purchased just about everything they’ve ever done.

I met Mike Roe (lead singer) at the GMA Conference in about ’96, but have never seen him or them live…until last week.

Thanks to my good friend Bret, he played a solo living room show here in Springfield. I had just had surgery 2 hours earlier on my leg, but knew that not many things (was in W. Africa last time he was here) could keep me from that concert. Was valiumed up…(but that had no effect on my enjoyment) I LOVED THE SHOW!
He’s incredible. They had been signed to Island Records in the early-mid 80s even though they were a Christian band. Island was going to push them big time because they were so good. Then…Island scored another band to their label and funneled most of their promo money that way. U2. Joshua Tree. Wow.
The 77s are in that category if you ask me.
One of my favorite parts of the show was watching it with my friend from church, Brian. He’s been a fan for a long time…and has played music for years himself. We loved the show. Here’s Mike with Brian.

Finally…here’s a video of a song I requested…that first 77’s song I heard, “The Lust,…”. I’ve heard Mike is cool with people posting his stuff, but I’ll glady delete this if anyone tells me he doesn’t like it. Just let me know.

Enjoy this tune…


Jason and Amy are married. Crazy.

So…I remember meeting Jason. In bed. Did I just put that on the internet? We were in junior high and our youth pastor roomed people who didn’t know each other together on the Six Flags trip. It was him, us and another guy who was much older…and we junior highers grabbed one of those two hotel beds. Talked much of the night.
Grew up together…it was fun. Dreamed together. Made life plans for ministry wherever God would take us. I visited him in Texarkana, TX (wouldn’t want to live there…sorry Jason) and we’ve had lots o’ good times.
Amy…I’ve known her pretty well for a long time too. In fact, I was her youth pastor. Fun days…great memories. She’s always been brilliant, always been a leader. I even baptized her when she was 8. She swam to the steps (she would’ve almost drowned if she had to walk).
When Jason called me 1 1/2 years ago to let me know they were dating, I wasn’t at all surprised. There’s a few years between them, but they’re perfect for each other.
And now they’re married. I got to be a groomsman.
I was there at the kiss when the pyros went off.

They’re in Mexico honeymooning, heading home soon. That Park Crest youth group that I love so much is in very good hands…and I’m thrilled for them and happy for all those kids.
My thoughts…

Larry Norman died today.

I just heard some sad (happy for him) news. Larry Norman is dead. He died this morning at 2:45 a.m. If you haven’t heard of Larry, you should know that he’s literally the guy who started Christian rock and roll.

The original Jesus Freak. He didn’t do the peace sign, but as a leader of the Jesus Movement, pointed the index finger toward Heaven, signifying “One Way.” He helped lead a movement.

A legend. With Jesus. The Jesus Freak met Jesus face to face this morning. Would’ve been fun to see.

Some memories…

  • In college I hosted a “Thief In the Night” party. We all sat in the Wilkie basement with Kevin on the guitar and sang, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” a song he helped make famous.
  • We saw DC Talk sing the song a few months later…and saw the video where they reverently met him.
  • I was sitting at a concert during GMA Week in Nashville in ’95 and a man behind me asks if I’d watch his jacket while he stepped out to take some medicine. It was Larry. I was in shock. We talked all through the show…Rebecca St. James debuted “God” that night.
  • That night he was asking a mutual friend about taking a cab to the Dove Awards. I asked if he needed a ride. He did. I took him. How cool? I woke him up with my 3 p.m. confirmatioin phone call.
  • We talked for the 30 minute drive to the Grand Ol’ Opry. Got McDonald’s. We got there and we went to the security desk to get back stage. I had press credentials…he didn’t. They weren’t going to let him through. I told the security guard, “This guy started this industry…you can ask anyone here.” She leaned in and asked if I was serious. They let him through.
  • Back stage he introduced me to the hordes that were walking up for hugs and hellos. “Have you met my good friend Matt?” he often asked. Seriously. It was amazing. Among the those that night, guys ranging from Toby Mac to Andre Crouch.
  • A few months later he played at my church. He played the Dave Weston piano. Incredible night.
  • He called a few times after the show. I had a message on my answering maching, “Hello, Matt, this is Larry Norman…”

Forgive my name dropping…but that was one cool guy and I was freaked out I got to know him if even for a bit.

He loved his fans…never sold out. Was a little quirky (understatement). Had some extreme opinions. Loved Jesus.

Rest in peace my righteous rocking friend.

I made sushi

I love sushi.

I suppose it was my friend Danny Goodin who turned me on to sushi.  We’d eat at that cheap all-you-can-eat sushi place in Pompano.  He’d throw it down.  I was impressed.  Lots of great times with Joe and Mishael, Jason and many other friends at that spot during those years. 

Here’s a plate full I enjoyed in those days…

2006 03

During that time, my friends Ryan and Jen bought me a sushi preparation book/kit.  I put it on a shelf for display…it looked neat.  Then I moved.  Last week I was cleaning the garage (fun vacation day) and found it.  It got me thinking…

I read the book, went to that asian store in Springfield, asked a lot of questions, bought the right stuff and came home to give preparing sushi a try.

Not ready for raw stuff…they say the hardest part is the rice.  I can see why. I figured I’d make that my first focus, and not waste good fish stuff on it yet. Worked on it both last night and tonight.  Last night’s was better.  It’s trickier than I thought and at the same time the process was much more approachable in terms of a non-cook like me accomplishing anything.

Making sushi may come second hand to some of you, but to me, it seemed like something that can only be purchased in nice expensive restaurants or from food bars where it’s been sitting out for what appears to be days.  I guess there’s those guys behind the counter that put it together, but…a guy like me couldn’t do it.

I made my first California rolls tonight…figured that was a good place to start.


It tasted good.  Almost like what you get at that sushi joint.  Another angle of the treat…


Not pretty…gotta work on presentation, I know.

Next…we’ll add some actual fish, smoked eel (it’s in the freezer just waiting), masago (the little orange fish eggs) and who knows what else.  I’ll try hand rolls, the (harder to make) rolls with rice on the outside, then maybe even the normal fish on a ball of rice stuff.

Not sure I’ll be the guy to use much raw stuff though.  We shall see.

It was fun.  Thought I’d share. 


PS:  The team is on a plane heading to mainland Asia now.  They amaze me.  That’s much more important than my sushi story…

We tried balut…

I haven’t blogged in a long time, but when you eat balut, you just want to share the experience.

I just returned from Manila where I worked with our Convoy of Hope Intern team.  We had fun.  Among the fun times…eating balut.

If you don’t know, balut is a partially formed duck fetus, still in the egg and boiled for your enjoyment.  It comes in various levels of development, but ours had the beak, feet, eyes, feathers and more.  Not all ate it, and we could understand why.

Here’s what they egg looks like…


Shannon went first…you can see the video below.


Others followed.  Here’s what the duck looks like out of the egg…


Unbelievable.  We ate that.  With great pride, Nate, Liz and Erin stayed away.  Kevin too…we respect that.  Here’s what they thought of the situation…


That’s the story of eating balut.  When with future teams, I’ll be able to say, “I’ve had that…thanks though.”  Here’s video of Shannon’s tasting:

Johnny Cash’s other house–in Dyess, Arkansas

I’m sure he’s had a few.  Did you hear his home in Hendersonville, TN (well, it was Barry Gibb’s since he bought Johnny old home) burned down?  Sadness.  http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070410/COUNTY08/304100005

On my way home from New Orleans, I went and saw another of his old homes.  It was one of those random journeys.  I saw on the map that it was only 5 miles off of the highway on my way home…and I was by myself (i.e. no one to annoy with my jaunt).  I called the mayor.  Here’s his honor…



He invited me for a tour of the town.  Great guy.


We saw Johnny’s senior picture on display with many others at City Hall…


We saw an old gas station which served as the mill where his big brother Jack was killed as they filmed the “Walk the Line” movie.  Here’s the outside…


…and the inside…with the sign from the “Walk the Line” movie.   Notice the sawdust…it’s the acutal movie sawdust, and yes I have some.



They’re hoping to build a Johnny Cash museum in this town of 500 where he grew up, and lived before entering the military.  It would be in the large home behind the mayor in the top shot.  You can see a photo of his house in the “Hurt” video as he looks in the back window.  The video is here. 


There’s a fund raising concert on May 19 if you’re in the area (about 1 hour from Memphis) and then again the first weekend of July. 

Here’s the house. 



The same man has lived in it for about 30 years…he was never in the Bee Gee’s.  He’ll sell it to you for $500,000 or you can just put $5 in the mailbox (I did) for a photo >(Outside)< of the house.  It’ll go to help the sagging roof.

May Johnny rest in peace.  Have you seen the new “Help Me” video?  Wow.



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By Johnny Cash
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Judah Clay Wells 03.19.07, 7 lbs. 15 oz. , 21 inches, healthy

  • There are so many stories to tell from the Dominican Republic and New Orleans, but the best story tonight is that…

    …at about 10:30 p.m. tonight my sister had her third child, my nephew, Judah Clay.  He’s a healthy, beautiful little guy.  Aunt Apie (April…my wife…) was there for the delivery.  April and Debbie were frustrated at his lateness as Deb was due last Sunday, and April flies home tomorrow after her 5 days in Hammond.  But…they now like the timing of things. 

    Can’t wait to meet him.  I’ll post pictures when I get them.

    More about the DR and N.O. some other time.