In 2009, Christian hard rockers Jonah33 disbanded, each going their separate ways. Now, five years later, former J33 frontman Vince Lichlyter, is back in the music business. He's released two EPs this year, Helium Revisited (a solo project) followed by Dead Man Walking (a new Jonah 33 release).
Dead Man Walking is a solid rocker with shades of the old J33 sound, just more mature. Vince has lived life since the breakup of the band, and living life means making mistakes and learning from them. He took those lessons learned and put them to music, baring his soul and sharing his wisdom.
In this exclusive with MusicTimes, Vince talked about the stories behind the songs.
Kim Jones - "Blood is Thicker" - You've been very up front about your story before forming the original Jonah33. Since then, what has Jesus done in your life to show you that blood is thicker than anything else?
Vince Lichlyter - I was just talking to my brother about this yesterday. One thing that I have really noticed since the band split and I went through a divorce is grace. We THINK we have an idea as to what grace is, just like we THINK we know what someone is going through or how they are feeling. You don’t. The only way to make that claim is to walk in that person’s shoes. Which you can’t. But He did. And He came out on the other side of it faultless. So how do you explain or understand that? When the infinite God of Universes and molecules looks at you after your life has a head-on collision with itself, and says, “I’ve been there. And I beat it. You? Well, you didn’t fare so well. But it’s cool. My blood covers it.” What? How can we as human beings say we understand grace? Head knowledge doesn’t count. Theology books, seminary, sermon after sermon, worship tunes? All great stuff, and it helps for sure…, sometimes… Ha! But when you have the authority to create, sustain and end life as you see fit, have the ability to create infinity and become human, get tried and killed for something you didn’t do by the very people you created, and then come back to life and tell the world you forgive them? When you can do that? Then you can come talk to me about what grace is. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to be amazed by grace, because it’s a direct reflection of God’s character. And what I mean by that is, every time I screw up, His grace is there, telling me His blood covered it. Mind Bending…..
Kim Jones - "Everybody Knows" - You're right - we all do know (the truth), so why is it that we chase all of the wrong things? Why do we work harder on justifying our excuses than doing right?
Vince Lichlyter - What do most people do when they see a dog run out into a busy street? Most people clap, or whistle, or make the ridiculous kissing noises with their mouths. Like the dog is going to respond to making out with a human? Anyways, why? Why do we have that response? Why do we cry when we see children breaking down at the sight of their parents coming home on leave? Why do we get mad when we hear stories of babies being found in dumpsters or kids being sold as sex slaves? Because in every single one of us is the created image of God, which is good. It’s….true truth, without the need to be debated or thought relative. We all have it inside of us and I think when you take the step from being just a creation of God to a CHILD of God, that good, that truth is ignited. From that point, it’s our responsibility to react and to act when the Counselor nudges. How big do you want that spark? How high do you want the flames? It’s totally up to us. We chase the wrong things because we allow ourselves to become consumed by us, when the reality is, we are to be consumed with the drive for meeting needs for others, and consumed with the faith that says He’s consumed with meeting ours. Of course, that’s really difficult to live out in the daily grind.
Kim Jones - "Bullet from a Gun" - Let's talk about damage - what was the damage behind this song?
Vince Lichlyter - I think this song speaks for itself, really. Letting God down, or anyone for that matter, but especially God, just sucks. Period.
Kim Jones - "He Said" - What are some of the most important things that He (Jesus), has said to you as a man, a husband, a dad and a leader?
Vince Lichlyter - One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 22:40. It says “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” That’s both amazing and hilarious at the same time. We have a collection of scriptures, passed down through thousands of generations, a God who took the terrible journey of leaving heaven for us and an indwelling of His actual Spirit JUST to try to get us to understand this concept: Love God. Love others. Seriously? How thick-headed are we, really? That being said, that’s the most important thing He has shown me. If Jesus said that all the Law and the Prophets hang on those two commands, then it’s without question that is how I’m to conduct myself as a “man of God” in every relationship I have. Yet AGAIN… the challenge of walking that out daily is, well, a challenge.
Kim Jones - "Dead Man Walking" - Dark song ... where was your head-space when you wrote this one?
Vince Lichlyter - This is a glimpse into my “in-head diary” of sorts. Dead man walking is kind of about the last few thoughts that were going through my head as I took the step from creation to Child. It’s dark because I was in just a really, really dark spot when that transition happened. It was really a monumental decision for me, not just in a spiritual sense, but in every day life. I had flown from Seattle to Arkansas to take a much needed break from my, shall we say, chemically enhanced lifestyle. My long time friends and Spiritual parents, Rob and Rhonda Thorson started talking to me about the Lord over a period of a couple weeks, and my need for relief from the pressure and anxiety that came from living the kind of lifestyle I was living in Seattle became clearer and clearer. And in a sense, I was pretty stoked that I had the possibility of an escape from the darkness. But I knew it meant significant change. I’m not talking, “read your bible and pray now every day and be in church when the doors open” kind of change, I’m talking “Leave the life you just spent the better part of 20 years building and move 2800 miles away into the woods, and never go back” kind of change. For me, moving from creation to child was a shift on every level. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. It was absolutely terrifying. Which I think is the response you SHOULD have when you encounter the God who IS. He just…IS. But I loved it. And I embraced the change. However, realizing that I had driven my life into the ground and needed help righting the ship. That was a hard pill to swallow. So. Yeah. Dead man walking.