LOVEWAR return after 25 year hiatus! Lovewar burst on to the Christian music scene in 1990 when they released a demo that caught the eyes and ears of famed producers John and Dino Elefante. That would lead the band to their first record deal on Pakaderm Records and the 1993 release of "Soak Your Brain". The album was pretty much the last of the great Pakaderm and CCMetal releases before the music industry changed. It had that King's X, Extreme, Galactic Cowboys, kind of sound and received plenty of praise by fans and Heaven's Metal Magazine. Fast forward to 2019 and the band got right back at it featuring all 3 original members, Tim Bushong (lead vocals, guitar), bassist Rick Armstrong (ex-White Cross), drummer Greg Purlee, and they picked up literally right where they left off. The new album drops April 13 at www.roxxproductions.com and feature 11 songs written back then. Find out more about the new album and Lovewar. Here's... TIM BUSHONG
How do you feel about a new Lovewar album in the year of 2019. It's now been 26 years...
Hi Wally —thanks so much in your interest in this new Lovewar release! It's really gratifying that after 25 years there are still some folks out there who remember the band and the music. Well, let's call it 25—has such a nice quarter-century feel to it. I don't really feel anything other than a satisfaction that the songs we wrote as a follow-up to Soak Your Brain finally got recorded well and released.
How do you connect the word "Love" with "War" anyhow? Any weird story behind the monicker and band name?
The origin for the band name has to do with the great cosmic struggle between the “seed of the woman” and the “seed of the serpent,” between light and darkness. It's the battle to the death between God's sovereign rule and the devil's rebellion. It is a war, and is motivated by God's love for His cosmos; from our perspective it's between our primary allegiances: either to something created and ourselves, or to God and His truth. Besides—evangelicals in general have a fairly squishy definition of “love,” so the band name helps rattle those cages.
The new album features 11 songs written back then in 1994. Kindly tell us something about the writing process and what you tried to capture.
Sure—almost every aspect of this album had already been written and recorded in demo form back in the mid-90's. With the exception of the 11th track, “You,” all of these lyrics reflect what we were thinking back then, and maybe surprisingly reflect what we still think today. Except for “Stand Under It,” the arrangements are fairly identical to the original arrangements. For the song “Stand Under It,” we basically took a cut-time tempo and went to a straight 4/4, and utilized what was originally the bridge section as the main hook/riff of the song. The lyrics are pretty close, too.
Kindly inform us about your new single "Candle". What inspired you to write the song?
“Candle” comes from the worldview observations I had as a younger man, with so many nonsequiturs and illogical assumptions held as being enlightened and progressive. And 25 years later, it's even worse! But “light the candle,” man—do something serious and joyful in the midst of the insanity. Follow Christ, raise godly offspring, rejoice in the wife of your youth, and fight honorably. BTW, a previous version was on The Channelsurfers Tunnel Vision album (the band that sprang out of Lovewar), but this is actually the original version.
What kind of input did your record company/business folks have back then? More grunge/grungy songs?
Honestly—they liked our new stuff a lot—but by that time our label (Pakaderm) had ceased to be a label per se (they were a production company), and was it was just very difficult to get other labels interested commercially in what we knew was pretty much non-commercial music.
It's supposed to sound exactly like were you left off with Soak Your Brain?
Not really — Soak has a real tight, slick production (which we love), and our live sound wasn't all that far removed from the sound of the album. No, this new album is supposed to reflect the natural progression of the band towards a more organic, bruising, and funky sound.
What was it like to head out to LA to record with producers John and Dino Elefante at Pakaderm Studios? They were like, unstoppable, back in the days?
Absolutely right. It was a blast, and more than that, it was eye-opening—they were the first real producers I had ever worked with. We chose to work with them because basically, Greg (Purlee) and I felt that they could capture and hone the sound that we already had, and turn it into something much better and heavier. They were so hospitable, too—had some great hangs with those guys and their families, and even the engineers (guys like J.R. McNeely and his wife Lori) went the extra mile in making sure we were taken care of.
Did you pick up any tricks of the trade at Pakaderm?
You bet — I was all ears and eyes out there! A real “SpongeTim ShortPants,” soaking it all up. Most of the stuff I picked up in those 5 and ½ weeks was related to song arrangement and approach: how to edit yourself; how to edit the arrangements, and ending up with a song that is much more focused and accessible.
You're a producer at your own studio. What's the secret behind a good production?
Oh yeah — I'm an engineer/producer/musician/chief bottle washer, and I also make a good cup of coffee. Know your listening environment, know the music, know how musicians think (rarely and scattered—ha!), and try to know what the goal of the band is. Then help them realize it. Offer constructive input, encourage/admonish and work quickly—don't waste valuable time. Do unto others. And as David Bach encouraged me very early on, charge what you're worth. No secret— just help them make good music, no matter what genre.
What kind of equipment are you using in the studio? Are you in up-to-date or old school?
I'm pretty up-to-date with my interfaces, my mics and mic preamps, and my DAW (Reaper). I fully embrace the wonderful world of plug-ins, and will edit/copy/paste whatever helps get to where we want to go. I still use an old digital console (Spirit/Soundcraft 328), but more and more it's functioning as a glorified “stems receiver.” That said, there is absolutely nothing compared to recording and mixing a great band. I've recorded and mixed so much material over the years, and worked with so many great artists. Give me a quartet of middle-aged dudes who have played rock and blues for a lifetime, and it's just so satisfying in the end.
You're also Pastor at Syracuse Baptist Church. What do folks think about your heavy metal outbursts? :)
Yes — this is my main vocation. I helped plant a Church back in 2005, and in 2017, when the opportunity to work in my own community arose, I transferred to a little Southern Baptist Church not a mile from my house. It's a culturally-diverse (for northern Indiana anyway) congregation of about 40, and metal doesn't really come into it. We still sing out of a hymnbook... but they're all aware of my, um, er, rocking proclivities...
Would you say it's easier or more difficult to do all this in 2019 than 1993?
Technically-speaking, these days the world is your oyster if you're willing to work hard and tour —you don't really need a record label for promotion if you're internet-savvy. Inexpensive quality recording technology plus social media for promotion, and then it's up to you. For me, at this phase in life, there's really no “rock star” pressure, or any novel success paradigm that I'm attempting to reach. My wife and I still like each other a lot (35 years and counting!), we've raised our own family, and are now fully enjoying being grandparents, so other than seeing our local Church continue to grow, I really don't have any big aspirations.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do.
Each one of us in the band have gone through major life tsunamis. Greg's first wife died after a long battle with cancer in 2009, Rick is currently a single dad raising his family, and as a pastor I've been involved with scenarios that I would have never dreamed of back in the summer of 1993. If a person doesn't learn and grow and mature in 25 years, then pity that fool. Our friendship is still deep, and although we're geographically distant, when we do get together, we pick up where we left off, and that's just a great blessing. - Tim Bushong.
Interview by: Urban Wally Wallstrom