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T O P I C    R E V I E W
AXEMAN2415Posted - 31 Jan 2008 : 17:10:37

Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter - February 2008

The Band:
Bobby Shepherd: Drums
Steve Pettit: Lead Vocals
Jay Woody: Bass
Will Rauser: Guitars

The Crew:
Mark Bussell: Webmaster, Computer Tech
Tammy Woody: Video Production, Wardrobe
Juli Rauser: Booking
George Sparks: Roadie

Editor's Lead


Wow! Here it is February! It seems like just yesterday when I wrote and published January's newsletter. My, how time flies. At any rate, welcome! I trust that all of you have had a blessed month since our last meeting.

I would like to express a personal opinion. Actually, most of my "Editor's Leads" have been just that, opinion. However, I do believe that my opinions are based on the revelation of God's truths to me by Scripture, by prayer, by the Godly counsel of the great men of God I have surrounded myself, and by experience. So, even if my opinions come from left field, and some may not totally agree with me (which is fine), consider them as trying to look as objectively at the truth as possible.

In describing myself, with regard to the band, I have referred to myself as being in a "Christian Band". Since the name of the band is "Jesus Joshua 24:15", the phrase "Christian Band" is pretty accurate. I am pretty sure that most people, believer or non-believer, would get the idea that we are a band that promotes Jesus Christ, or at least about Christian subject matter. And, again, that is accurate.

However, it is my personal belief that there really isn't such a thing as "Christian Music". People are Christians. Music, as an entity, cannot be Christian. Yes, yes, I am aware that there are artists who promote an anti-Christ philosophy, and an counter-Christian message. But, music can no more be "Christian" than a scalpel can be. Music like the scalpel, is merely a tool. In the hands of a doctor, a scalpel can cure, even while actually cutting flesh. In the hands of a criminal, the scalpel becomes a weapon, a tool to cause harm.

I even think that a Christian can make a living playing in secular bands. Much like a Christian can make a living doing just about any profession. I know Christians in the military; I know Christians who work on hog farms; I know Christians who are in the medical fields; I know Christians in sports; I know of Christians in Hollywood (although, that can seem like an oxymoron).

Not only do I think that it is okay for Christians to make a living in "secular" fields, I also think that it is okay for Christian musicians to write songs that may or may not speak about God and Jesus (GASP!). We Christians could even write songs about love and romance. I mean, if there was ever a people who ought to have a better perspective on love and romance, it should be Christians, right? After all, we Christians know the source of true love, and there were many men of God who wrote of romance and even sex (Don't believe me? Read Song of Solomon, or even Genesis).

I have told some people of my views on this, and I usually get the same question: "If you believe this way, then how come you are in an obviously Christian band?"

Good question! I shall answer it with an example from my current favorite movie, "300".

Greece has come under the threat of invasion by the Persians, under the leadership of the evil king Xerxes (pronounced "zerk-seez"). The Spartan king, Leonidas, has gathered 300 of his finest and most loyal warriors to go and meet the vast Persian army at the "Hot Gates", a strategic position that will give the Spartans a serious tactical advantage. Along the way, the Spartans meet up with an army of "Free Greeks", men who come from other areas of Greece, who have volunteered their very lives to protect Greece.

The leader of the Free Greeks speaks to King Leonidas, openly declaring his surprise and disappointment over the small amount of Spartans going forth to do battle. The leader says, "Only 300 men? Obviously, we cannot count on Sparta's commitment to protect Greece."

King Leonidas looks at the larger Greek army with an eye for detail. Instead of being insulted or defensive, Leonidas begins to randomly point to some of the Free Greeks, and asks, "You! What is your profession?"

The first man, dressed in armor and holding a spear, replies, "I am a potter."

King Leonidas, nodding his head slightly, whispers matter-of-factly, "A potter."

Leonidas points to another and asks, "And you! What is your profession?"

The second man, also fitted in battle dress, responds, "I am a sculptor."

Leonidas, again nods, and in low tones replies, "A sculptor."

Leonidas points to a third man, and asks, "And you, what is your profession?"

And the third man replies, "I am a blacksmith."

And again, Leonidas nods and replies, "A blacksmith."

Then King Leonidas turns toward the loyal 300 Spartans standing behind him and shouts the question, "SPARTANS! WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION?!?" And, all 300 Spartans raise their spears, and in unison begin to shout an extremely loud war-cry. They used no words, but their answer was clear to any one in the valley.

Their profession was to be warriors, trained from birth to fight, to kill or be killed, and to fear nothing, even death.

When the war cry subsided, King Leonidas turned to the leader of the army of Free Greeks, and said, "It looks like I have brought a bigger army than you!"

Allow me to say that I do not wish to diminish the sacrifice and determination of the Free Greeks. They all left their individual professions and families to commit to protecting Greece. They were all brave, and they were all heroic. What the Free Greeks did was not only admirable, they were also heroic. They were courageous and they were determined.

But, the Free Greeks were not Spartans, who had been trained from birth to commit their very lives to protecting Sparta. War was not just their jobs, it was their very commission. It was their profession. A Spartan warrior was not just another soldier.

Folks, Jesus Joshua 24:15 is not just another metal band, or rock band. We have a commission, and it is to point to Jesus Christ. As musicians, we may be average. I am sure there are much more technically superior musicians than we are. I know there are more famous musicians and artists. I know that there are those who sell more product than we do. There are bands who have been able to make a living at music, both in Christian and secular music. All of that is fine by me. I applaud all of that.

But, when I am asked about the perceived paradox I hold regarding music, I simply say, "It is my profession." I have no problem with those who are Christians who may earn a living in a secular band. But, I cannot do that because my profession is being in a band that heralds Jesus Christ. That is what I have been called to, trained for, and hope to accomplish.

Of course, I realize that my profession may require me to receive less benefit from the fruits of my labor. I may never attain fame, fortune, or even financial security from performing in this band. I may even fall by the "sword" of the enemy. But, the enemy is going to know we were there.

Question for the band

Q:"How do you feel about the current music scene?"

Will: To be honest, not much. Now, of course we are speaking about both Christian and secular scenes. I mean, there are a few bands and artists who seem to have something worth listening to. But there's a lot of garbage out there.

For starters, there is little care for the stage show. It seems that either the bands just get up there on stage and stand, play a song, and then mumble something about the next song, go to the next song, etc., etc....There's no passion for the art. There's no eye candy. There's no excitement.

Then there's other bands that think that they have to thrash around all show long. I like movement, but heck, when you're playing in Drop D, tuned down to A, and all you need to play is one finger, and your vocalist is just screaming all of the time, all you have is to jump around. Like I said, I like excitement, but if you don't have any musicianship, there's no need for a show.

Then you have Christian bands who think that a concert has to be like a church service. Hey, I am all for promoting the Gospel. I am not afraid or ashamed to preach the Gospel. But, there needs to be perspective. If you are trying to reach the lost, going about your show like a traditional church service is not going to work. I cannot speak for some bands, because if God tells you to have an altar call, or start preaching, fine, you had better do it. But, I think some bands do that because that is all they know, and they don't know how to work the crowd. And I will tell you, that the lost ain't going to go to church. You do not have to compromise your lifestyle or message to put on a good show.

Of course, I think that you have to know your audience. I mean, I don't think Jesus Joshua 24:15 would go over too well with a Hip-Hop crowd. I doubt that Barbera Steisand would go over well with a Death Metal crowd. And I think that many bands simply don't know their audience. Hey, I will play in front of whoever will have us. But, if you don't know how to appeal to the crowd you're playing to, you are wasting your time, in my opinion.

Another thing that bothers me is the lack of quality writing. I like parts. I like a song to progress through an intro to a verse to maybe a pre-chorus, then maybe to a chorus and so on. It doesn't have to follow a formulaic pattern, but a song needs to have movement and breath. Many rock and metal players are given to a riff, repeating it over and over, screaming or growling over it, and calling it a song. There's no consideration to melody (even a growled melody). There's no consideration over the lyrics. There's no consideration of how the parts might work together. It's just noise. And it does nothing for me.

Guitar Points from Will

The Infamous b5 Tritone, Part 2

Last month, we examined the tritone interval, or the "b5". Often, as we exampled last month, the tritone is thought of in the context of one chord, like going from a "C5" to a "Cb5" and back. There, you can see the movement between the 5th of the C power chord, and the b5 of the C power chord. In that case, the movement is C-G to a C-Gb.

But in reality, we should examine the tritone (b5) as a measurement of distance.

Because even if you do not see the b5 listed inside the chord, it is still present in many chord types, by structure. I shall explain.

Let's take a C7 chord. It is spelled C-E-G-Bb. In the key of C Major, C=Root (1), E=Major 3 (3), G- Perfect 5 (5), and the Bb is the Dominant 7 (b7).

|1|-2-|3|-4-|5|-6-7-1 |C|-D-|E|-F-|G|-A-B-C

|1|--2--|3|--4--|5|--6--|b7|--1 |C|--D--|E|--F--|G|--A--|Bb|--C

Now, here we see the Perfect 5th interval, C-G. But, there IS a tritone interval within the C7 chord. It is the distance between the Major 3rd (E) and the Dominant 7(Bb). The distance between the 3 and b7 is also known as a tritone. if we started in the E note, in the key of E, we would see the distance to the Bb is a b5th interval.

|1|--2--|3|--4--|5|-6--7--1 |E|-F#-|G#|--A--|B|-C#-D#-E

|------b5-------| |1|--2--3---4--|b5|-6--7--1 |E|-F#--G#--A--|Bb|-C#-D#-E

Why is this important? Well, first the Tritone is the most important part of the harmony, even more than the Root and the 5th. As a matter of fact, you can drop the root and 5th (1&5) of a Dominant 7th chord, and still retain the essence of that chord. Say the Bass guitar is playing a C root, pumping an eighth not rhythm, the rhythm guitar can play an E and Bb (a tritone riff) and imply a C7 Chord.

Bass C root G|----------------------------|| D|----------------------------|| A|-3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--|| E|----------------------------||

E|-------6(Bb)----------------|| B|-------5(E)-----------11(Bb)|| G|-3(Bb)----------9(E)--9(E)--|| D|-2(E)-----------8(Bb)-------|| A|----------------------------|| E|----------------------------||

You can view this two ways: You can call it an Eb5/C, or a C7 no 5th.

The second point of importance is that you can use the tritone shapes that are created and simply move the roots around to form a different Dominant chord. For example, let's take the C7 (C-E-G-Bb), and make a F#7 (F#-A#-c#-E). Now you might be saying, "I only see one note that is the same in both chords." But there's actually two notes that are shared; the E and the Bb (or A#). In the C7 chord, you have the E as the 3rd, and the Bb as the Dominant 7(b7). In the F#7 chord, you have the E as the Dominant 7(b7) and the Bb as the 3rd (A# and Bb are the same note, just named different to help clarify chord spelling. This is known as the enharmonic equivalent.)

C7(no 5) F#7(no5) F#7(no 5) C7(no 5) E|-----------------|------------------|| B|-----------------|------------------|| G|-9(E)------9(E)--|--3(A#)-----3(Bb)-|| D|-8(Bb)-----8(A#)-|--2(E)------2(E)--|| A|-x---------9(F#)-|--x---------3(C)--|| E|-8(C)------------|--2(F#)-----------||

So, you can see that you can change an entire chord by moving just one note. Try fretting a tritone (like the one's above) and moving a single note around that tritone. You might be surprised at the amount of mileage you can get out of just one simple combination.

Lead Techniques from Will

This month, let's look at another relatively simple, but elusive phrasing technique, Slides.

Sliding is exactly what the name implies. You pick a note, and with the finger on the note you picked, you continue pressure on that string as you slide up or down in pitch. Sliding is usually done with any single finger of the fretting hand.

Sliding is a form of legato or smooth and fluid playing. Slides can be used to help change finger position, but it is used for more musical intents.

Sometimes slides can make a line sound very horn-like. They can also be used to help punctuate a musical phrase. Let's look at some possibilities.

Use your fret-hand index finger to slide up to the 5th fret. You may start anywhere before the 5th fret. The starting point doesn't matter right now.

E|-/5---------|| B|------------|| G|------------|| D|------------|| A|------------|| E|------------||

Pick the note at the 3rd fret first, then slide up to the 5th fret. Do not pick the second note.

v E|-3/5--------|| B|------------|| G|------------|| D|------------|| A|------------|| E|------------||

Pick the note at the 3rd fret, slide up to the 5th fret, then slide back down to the 3rd fret, all with a single pick.

v E|-3/5\3------|| B|------------|| G|------------|| D|------------|| A|------------|| E|------------||

Pick the note at the 3rd fret, hammer the note at the 5th fret, then slide up to the 8th fret.

v h E|-3-5/8------|| B|------------|| G|------------|| D|------------|| A|------------|| E|------------||

These are just some of the examples. Slides can be combined with any other technique. Here are some exercise to help build a good finger sliding technique.

Use a metronome, set for 4 beats per bar, at a very slow tempo. Gradually increase tempo by one notch per week. On this exercise, we pick every note, but we use the slide to change finger positions. You can do this exercise by just picking the first note, slide up, hammer and pull the rest, and slide back down (read the TAB). Both are beneficial.

v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v or v--------------| E|-------------------|| B|-------------------|| G|-------------------|| D|-4/5-6-7-8-7-6-5\4-|| A|-------------------|| E|-------------------||

Here is the same exercise, but the middle finger is the sliding finger.

v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v or v--------------| E|-------------------|| B|-------------------|| G|-------------------|| D|-4-5/6-7-8-7-6\5-4-|| A|-------------------|| E|-------------------||

Here, the third finger is the sliding finger.

v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v or v--------------| E|-------------------|| B|-------------------|| G|-------------------|| D|-4-5-6/7-8-7\6-5-4-|| A|-------------------|| E|-------------------||

Here, the pinky does the slides.

v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v or v--------------| E|-------------------|| B|-------------------|| G|-------------------|| D|-4-5-6-7/8\7-6-5-4-|| A|-------------------|| E|-------------------||

These exercise help to develop an even sliding technique between all of your fret-hand fingers. You can increase the width of your slides. You can practice any scale patterns using slides. George Lynch and Warren DiMartini are fine examples of players who utilize the slide for great fluid effect. Try practicing these examples for a month and see if your fluidity on the fretboard is greatly increased. I know it will be.

News and Events

  • Jesus Joshua 24:15 will be sharing the stage with fellow Soul Joy recording artists Wisdom's Call, in support of their CD release party. The date is April 26,2008. The locale is the SORG Opera House in Middletown Ohio. Another special guest will be our friends and fellow Soul Joy artists, Eden's Way. Show begins at 7PM.

  • If you have any questions for the band, or any single member of the band, send an email to Axeman2415 via the JJ24:15 website. Any questions are welcome, but the band reserves the right not to answer any of deeply personal or vulgar nature.

  • Check out Jesus Joshua 24:15's Myspace site:

  • You can also check out Will's Myspace:

  • For those of you who may not know, Jim Bishop, our good friend, has formed his own record label (Force7 Records) and is no longer working directly with Jesus Joshua 24:15. However, Jim is still a part of our family and he has had some serious personal illness issues and he has requested prayer for his dad. At this time, his father seems to be improving from a potentially fatal illness, but as we all know, nothing is guaranteed. So keep Jim and his dad in your prayers.

  • Do not forget that February 14th is Valentine's Day. Gentlemen, lest you suffer physical harm from you significant other, do not forget this day!

A Final Thought

Even though this last month went by rather quickly, it was quite eventful for me. And not all of it was pleasant. There was a time of testing, and I feel as though I really didn't deal with it particularly well. In a word: I failed. As a Christian, I would love to tell you of how I victoriously overcame the onslaught. I would love to tell you how my faith in God got me through. I would love to express how I saw only the positive in this experience. Well, if I did tell you those things, I would be a liar.

I whined, moaned, got angry (though, not with God), appealed, got anxious, and even felt victimized. There were areas where I rose up and came through victoriously. And my faith in God never wavered. But, by and large, I simply got battered and bruised.

It was no real big deal. For the most part, the test was a small thing. It dealt with large issues, but the situation, looking back on it, really added up to nothing. I kind of felt like the disciples in the boat during a vicious storm, and Jesus is down in the hold, sleeping. He didn't seem to be too worried by the storm, so you would think the disciples wouldn't have felt uncomfortable. But, of course, they panicked (and I would have, too) and went to wake Jesus up. They cried "Save us, Jesus! We are going to drown!" And then Jesus went up, commanded the wind and waves to be quiet, and the storm ceased. And, of course, the disciples were left in amazement. They asked "Who is this that even the winds and the waves obey Him?"

I am like that. I have seen what God can and has done in my life. I have seen the miracles. Yet, even when I know He is near, I panic when the waves begin to slosh the boat around. Sometimes what I know does not reconcile with my faith. And I fail. Perhaps it is easy for us to point to the disciples and say, "How could you panic? Jesus was right there!" Well, I know exactly what they were feeling. Jesus was in my boat all along, and yet I cried out in panic.

But, you know what? Jesus calmed my storm! Yes, I failed. Yes, I was frightened.

Yes, I may have been of "little faith". Yet Jesus still calmed my storm. The question is, am I going to dwell on my failure, or am I going to dwell on the calmed seas? I think I will take the latter.
3   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Captain BlastoPosted - 07 Feb 2008 : 03:41:39
? ?.....Loaned ?
AXEMAN2415Posted - 02 Feb 2008 : 23:03:58're right, Capt. Of course, I couldn't actually refer to the exact dialogue, since I, well, loaned my movie

You're is a great flick...

Captain BlastoPosted - 02 Feb 2008 : 09:42:21
Ummm... not to be (as they say) retentive or petty (mildly misspelled pun intended) but uhhh.... Leonidas actually said...
"It looks like I have brought more soldiers than you!"

... BTW... Thanks for the movie

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