Long-time readers of The Blah Blah will remember a post from a while ago about Josh Clubb (here). I found him randomly one day on the internet and I liked his music. It wasn’t my favorite worship music I had ever heard, but I liked it. Good, solid stuff.
Well, this is the story of one worship leader’s journey from “pretty good” to “favorite ever.” Josh Clubb is my all-time favorite worship leader now, and here is the story. I’ll try to keep it short, because later in the post I’ve got an interview with Josh and a Christmas give-away worthy of Santa Claus himself.
So how did Josh Clubb become my favorite worship leader? Because, at 6 AM one morning, he made me laugh out loud so hard I almost cried. After my original post about Josh, I got an e-mail with a subject line that read, “Old yiddish folk-tale sparks rabid controversy between editor of the blah blah and pierce brosnan.” I thought, Oh? This looks interesting, and I opened it up only to be greeted with the following:
Hi. My name is Josh Clubb. My brother told me you recently mentioned me in your blog. Very cool. Then I read it. Not cool. You made the comment that I had, “nothing all that new or amazing on the outside.” That comment was irresponsible… It is this kind of irresponsible and mean-spirited blogging that keeps new, “standard better than average worship leaders” like myself (your quote not mine) stuffed in the proverbial “crabs in a bucket” situation. SIDE-NOTE: While “standard better than average worship leaders” are near the top of the bucket; you should reach into the recesses of your soul for a scrap of pity to consider the lesser known category of, “sub-standard worse than most worship leaders.” Imagine what the bottom of the bucket is like. When you are done recovering from a coma induced by the smell of plastic, sand and crab-poop come talk to me (end of side-note).
Emphasis mine. There was a little more to the e-mail, but I’ll get to that later. I read the e-mail, re-read it, and went through the whole gamut of emotions – mad, hurt, rejected, angry, confused, defensive, apologetic – and then I started to compose my extremely diplomatic response, trying to explain that I really thought his stuff was great. Then, after an hour of deep soul-searching, prayer, and writing, I decided to glance over the e-mail one last time before sending it off, which is when I noticed this:
Also, this is a joke. Also, the subject line of this email has nothing to do with the email. Also I am a dork. Also, I have a box of CD’s I’d like to send to you for free distribution to whoever the heck you want (if you want them). Also, stay honest and fresh and real. Christ always was. Thanks for blogging.
Then I just lost it. After the emotional rollercoaster I had been on, I lost control and started laughing, out loud and alone, hysterically some might say, like a little kid who realizes he’s stuck in a candy store all by himself.
Anyway, that small act (of insanity? of hilarity? of generosity?) instantly brought Josh Clubb to my list of favorite worship leaders. Call me a masochist if you will, but I like it when people do something different, take chances, and make me laugh. [Editor’s Note: Just because Josh sent me a threatening e-mail and has therefore gained my utmost respect and dedication does not mean you or your band will have the same results, so please don’t feel it necessary to try.]
At the end of this e-mail I’ve got an opportunity for you to get one of Josh Clubb’s CDs for free, but for now, The Blah Blah’s first interview, of many more to come, conducted over e-mail:
The Blah Blah: How does it feel to be the first interview at The Blah Blah?
Josh Clubb: Honored. I can’t wait to start forgetting all the little people who never thought I’d make it anywhere.
TBB: Who are you, in as many words as you want to use?
JC (not Jesus Christ or Jimmy Carter): I’m a Son of God, a friend of Christ, a worshiper, a husband, a father, a friend, a cop, and a tax-payer (in that order).
TBB: Your bio at InAwe Music said that you lead worship at your church. Which church is that, and how do you like the whole worship team experience? What are the good and bad sides to it?
JC: Now-a-days, the times I lead worship are, in all honesty, very far and few between. I used to be a full-time worship leader and a youth pastor for a couple of years at Gateway Church International in Roswell, New Mexico.
That was a unique experience in many ways. When I arrived, the music team was coming from a very “rehearsed” and “performance-based” background (everyone asking what parts they wanted me to sing and how many times we were going to repeat the bridge). I was coming from a very “relaxed,” and “improvisational” background (have the songs committed to memory… but if the Holy Spirit wants to hang out in a particular song and let people linger in God’s presence…be prepared for that).
The begining of that relationship was pretty frustrating (me and them). We learned a lot from one another. By the time I left there was a real sense of teamness vs. professionalism… and we were worshiping vs. just singing songs. Overall, I loved my time there.
Ultimately, God called me out of full-time church work into law enforcement. If I lead worship now its at a small group or a conference for a friend.
TBB: I assume that, since you’re leading worship at a church, you consider yourself a Christian. Could you tell us how you came to know God?
JC: It’s funny you say that. I was on worship teams at certain (unnamed) churches where certain members of the worship teams were incredible musicians and total pagans. I do consider myself a Christian.
When I was five years old I was eating a PBJ sandwhich in the kitchen. I asked my Mom if she would help me pray to have Jesus in my heart. This story may sound completely full of cheese but I believe it was a genuine salvation experience. I’ve fallen away from and kneeled in front of the cross ever since. [Editor’s Note: I think that’s awesome. I hope my kids both come to Jesus that early in their lives.]
TBB: What influenced you to lead worship? Any advice to up-and-coming worship leaders out there?
JC: I’ve always felt closest to God through worship in song. Music is so powerful. I started playing guitar because our youth group didn’t have a worship leader/team. I sucked very much. I found out that when you suck but no one else can do what you do (despite level of suckiness) you still have a job. Eventually I got better.
Up-and-coming worship leaders: Be a worshiper who happens to play an instrument. This way what you do will have meaning and power. There are plenty of churches with ripping bands where God simply won’t show up… because there is no worship happening.
TBB: How does being a Christian factor into the fact that you’re a police officer? Does it make it harder or easier? Or no difference?
JC: Being a cop is a lot like being a pastor. You work in a specific community and deal with hurting people all day long. You have to prioritize people’s complaints and problems. Some people trust and revere you based on your profession. Some people mistrust and hate you based on your profession. You’re held to very stringent moral, social and legal standards. If you make one boo-boo you are toast. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure cops drink, cuss and have unmarried sex alot more than pastors. I guess it depends on which denomination you belong to (joke). I honestly don’t know how cops see some of the things we see without some acknowledgement of God in their lives.
TBB: For some kind of fun questions, what’s your favorite song on your album?
JC: “So I Come.” It seems like a lot of people in my generation connect with God in that song. There have been times of worship where that song has opened up hours of ministry time (praying, confession, elongated worship). Its worshipful, confessional and kind of an anthem as well.
TBB: What artists or groups are you currently listening to?
JC: My car CD player has the last KOOKS album in it. I’ve been listening alot to JASON UPTON. CD player at the house has UNDISCOVERED by JAMES MORRISON in it.
TBB: What’s your favorite movie and why? If that’s too hard, list a few of your top movies.
JC: Braveheart – What guy doesn’t want to be William Wallace? Fearless. Completely committed to his principles. Funny. Looking great in a dress.
TBB: What books are you reading?
JC: I read a lot of case law (for work). I have to say I am currently reading a book called, “EVERY MAN’S BATTLE.” And it totally is.
TBB: Is it Josh Clubb or Joshua Clubb?
JC: Friends call me “Josh.” [And criminals call him “Mr. Clubb.”]
TBB: To switch gears, I’ll close with some deeper questions. What’s your opinion of the whole MP3 downloading revolution? Good or bad for artists?
JC: Good for unknown artists. Bad for signed, commercially successful artists.
TBB: I’ve been doing a series of articles titled “Defining Christian Music” (here), where I’m working through the whole question of what is “Christian Music” and what isn’t. What do you think “Christian Music” means?
JC: Music is music. God created it. God gifted some people with the ability to create it. Some people choose to use the gift to glorify Him. Some don’t. So… bottom line there is music that glorifies God and there is music that glorifies other things or people.
TBB: Is it really impossible to do a worship set without playing at least one Matt Redman song (see here)?
JC: Not impossible. But that darn Brit is kind of like the John Lennon of the worship industry. He’s so money. But he hates being so money. Know what I mean?
TBB: Why do you send threatening e-mails to MP3 bloggers about buckets of crabs and Old Navy shirts?
JC: Sometimes, you gotta stand up for your rights.
There you have it, folks: Josh Clubb!
So, like Josh promised, he sent me a box of his CDs to give away*, and the music is really great, so if you’d like one, just do one of these simple tasks:
1) E-mail 10 friends, telling them to check out this post, and cc The Blah Blah (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don’t worry about us keeping your friends’ e-mail addresses. We’re much too disorganized for that.
2) If you have a blog, do a post on your blog directing people to check out this post. Either leave a comment with the link to your post or e-mail it to us.
3) My favorite option: send a photograph of yourself with a bucket on your head to email@example.com in honor of all the worship leaders struggling to get out of the bucket of crabs.
Yes, folks, it really is that easy.
Josh wanted to keep his songs free and accessible for everyone, so here are two I wanted to post for you. For the rest, get the CD:
The Blah Blah – serving up the best in Christian music MP3s.
* Please Note: there are no more CDs left, but don’t worry, I’ll keep posting about Josh Clubb, if you missed your chance at a CD.