Thrive Another Day (CCM Magazine)
Last modified: 01 Mar 2003

Source: CCM Magazine
Author: Christa Farris
Date: Mar 2003

When you live in a city that's known for its music (like Nashville or New York), the last place you'd expect to find a band's record label is in a large warehouse located in the middle of a field in the English countryside. But spend a short amount of time with Delirious, and you'll quickly discover that convention just isn't part of the band's repertoire. From the way they run business to the varied venues they play in, the members of Delirious are a close-knit familt that's content doing things its own way.

As I make my way through the door of the stylish Furious Records offices in Arundel, a quaint town that's an hour-and-a-half train ride south of London, frontman Martin Smith, guitarist Stu Garrard, bassist Jon Thatcher and keyboardist Tim Jupp greet me with polite handshakes and friendly smiles. Inquiring about my flight the day before, we heard upstairs to a room filled with comfortable furniture and a monster sound system and make small talk before we dive into the more pressing issues. But behind their smiles, there's a somber emotion that fills the room. And it's not too long before I find out why.

Just a couple of days before our interview, the guys received news that an elder at their church, John Thatcher, who also happened to be bassist Jon Thatcher's uncle, unexpectedly died at age 44. Needless to say, his sudden death came as a shock and served as a huge blow to a group of men whose lives are centered around their church family at Arun Community Church, where they often lead worship.

"I think God has been teaching me that I really don't know anything, and that the only thing I need to do is trust Him," Garrard says. "I think I've also been going through a time of prioritising life 'cause it's so easy just to get caught up in life, and I'm learning lessons about how fragile life is."

Although stunned by its recent loss, the band is still optimistic in the midst of tension. And as Christians who've grown accustomed to wrestling with creating art while occasionally being dubbed not "Christian" enough for the Christian music industry and "too Christian" for the mainstream industry, the grace with which they handle difficult situations is no surprise. Being "called to both worlds" is a responsibility Delirious doesn't take lightly and has even just recently come to terms with.

Like so many bands before, Delirious has a career that spans two continents. In the United States, it's the band with humble beginnings that has enjoyed Christian radio success and helped pioneer the moden worship movement, with songs from Cutting Edge revolutionizing the soundtrack of worldwide worship services. But on the other hand in Britain, where Christian radio is almost nonexistent, the band is often reviewed in mainstream press like Q Magazine and is played in rotation right along with Brit pop radio favorites Robbie Williams and Aussie Kylie Minogue. With such varied duties, where the group may play Promise Keepers conventions one night and be among thousands of beer-drinking Brits in a crowded arena the next, Martin Smith can't help admitting the band's performances are "a strange mix."

"If you cut us in half, you [would] probably find the word 'worship' written inside like a piece of rock," Smith adds with a shy laugh and bashful demeanor that's attypical for a lead singer. "[Yet] at the same time, that means so many different things for us. [I think] the root of everything we do is based on worshiping God and living a life that's hopefully pleasing to Him. But we realize the more you know God [and] the more you explore creation and Scriptures, to define that form of expression into one style of music or one form is alien to us. I think we just want to keep pushing the boundaries and making great records that inspire this generation."

Part of the way Delirious likes to do business is all about the adage of going the extra mile. Whether it's the creative CD packaging you've seen with releases like Live and in the Can (Furious) or the band's most recent effort, Touch (Furious), which features heat-sensitive cover art, the band enjoys the freedom of doing things a little left of center. "We haven't had to put our CDs in a jewel case," Jon asserts. "We are the record company, so we can put our CDs in a can and annoy all the retailers because it doesn't fit on their shelves... Basically, we all enjoy being creative with the music and packaging and having a lot of fun with that."

Fueling the fire of creativity is a self-imposed competition against downloading technology. "There's part of us the really embraces technology because we just want our music to be heard by as many people as possible," Thatcher says. "But we need to make a living, so we want to give our fans something worth buying... something they'll want to show to their mates that they'll be proud of."

Hoping to extend that philosophy with its live performances, the band promises that this spring's highly anticipated U.S. tour with All Star United will also offer fans an experience to remember. While they don't want to let too many surprises out, the show will feature songs from the band's entire discography, video presentations and a Furious staffer in the background says "a few things will be set on fire."

"I think another thing that's distinctive about this tour is that we want to bring our families with us," Tim adds. And with 48 people including children traveling on four tour buses, this is certainly no small feat. But it's an endeavor the rockers are committed to. "Because we all have families, we want to make sure we're not apart from them for long periods of time. And so, that's why we make it work... we want [our families] to see what we do for themselves so they know what we're up to when we're away."

Delirious on Delirious
Making the familt vibe increasingly apparent, I give the band the task of candidly describing each other quirks, strengths and most intriguing attributes.

Jon Thatcher on Martin Smith: "Martin is a very spiritual man and also very humble. And he's extremely generous- a lovely man. His idiosyncrasy is that he's often not present. He can be in a room, but his brains can be somewhere else (Write's Note: He assures me he's giving me a 100 percent during our interview). Sometimes you can meet Martin, and you think "What's up with Martin? Where was he? Didn't he like me?" But he's just that kind of guy that if you hit him on a good day, he'll give you 100 percent. But you meet him on a bad day, and he'll give you about 2 percent, and you'll think he's a total idiot."

Martin Smith on Stu Garrard: "When I met Stu, he was and probably still is the best musician in the band- especially when we were starting out. I would say he's a brilliant guitar player and a brilliant writer, and I think we haven't even seen the best yet. He's got his vibe going on, and he can be very caring and sensitive."

Stu Garrard on Tim Jupp: "Tim is a solid and faithful person. He's very quick to discern and has got a good head which is unusual for a bloke. I believe he's got the ability to think about more than one thing at a time. As for quirks, there aren't many. I think there's a side of Tim that we all love to see, which comes out at special times of the year- Christmas time and at party times. Tim really knows how to let his hair down and have a good time."

Tim Jupp on Jon Thatcher: "Jon is quirky and has oddities beyond belief. He's very loving and sensitive. He's also very conscientious and engaging. I'd also say he's very patient and has the most fantastic sense of humor. If I ever need a chuckle, Jon is the one who provides the chuckles. He's just an all around fantastic bloke- a top geezer for our American friends.

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