A Few Thoughts from Dale Thompson of Bride

On Saturday, November 23, 1996, Edan Productions presented Galactic Cowboys, Bride, Fourth Estate, and Indiana-based D'Gruve to Chicagoland rockers. With the Galactic Cowboys as headliners, the show was interesting enough to attract the attention of the area's largest daily newspaper, the Chicago Tribune. A concert review by Dean Golemis asked, "How could a faith that seeks the destruction of evil embrace the rock genre most popularly associated with the darkness?" One singer did his best to scatter the forces of darkness far from Elgin's Wonderland Ballroom through his persuasive preaching and altar call. As the Tribune observed: ". . . it wasn't until Dale Thompson, lead singer of Bride, had his moment that the true spirit of this gathering prevailed." A week before the show, The Phantom Tollbooth interviewed Dale via the Internet. Here are his thoughts on a variety of topics.

On musical influences

"I can only speak for Troy (Dale's brother and guitarist for Bride) and myself. We grew up in a traditional southern gospel church with Kentucky style music as our background -- bluegrass and old country. Later in our lives, we started listening to more Christian music, like Larry Norman, Dallas Holm, and Rusty Goodman. From there, we went to 2nd Chapter of Acts, Servant, Resurrection Band, and Daniel Amos. Bride was formed after my experience with Kerry Livgren's Seeds of Change. We have never had any secular rock influences."

On the new album

"As a band. we aren't intimidated by new sounds or new music. We adapt to our surroundings. While we recorded The Jesus Experience within the boundaries of modern rock, we have not strayed from the "Bride Sound" to the point that we no longer sound like Bride. "

On some of the new songs

"The "End" is vintage Snakes in the Playground. It is simply about the end of time. "The Worm" is a new sound for us and it is taken from Psalm 22. "I Love You" is very modern and will be the first single sent to radio. It will most likely be the introductory track of the record. It speaks of the love that Christ has for us and encourages believers to love those around them. "Tell Me" is a super heavy track with an industrial mix. This is written to the church and is telling them to let Christ fight the battles."

On the change of record labels from Rugged to Organic

"Rugged was a godsend. However, we ran the course as far as we could with Rugged which was just one record. Michael Betts from Rugged and I are still working on different projects for the Rugged label. I recently produced a band called Nailed for Rugged and did some social commentary for an upcoming compilation release. Organic is where the Lord wants us. I am still trying to get used to the change because there are many differences but I feel that Organic was the right move. "

On choosing the Elefante brothers to produce the new album

"I pushed for John and Dino with the other guys in the band. They had their hearts set on Steve Albini [noted alternative producer for bands like Nirvana] but I felt John and Dino was the right choice. I liked their work on our Scarecrow record and knew that they would not have any trouble working with us to create a fresh sound for the band."

On doing solo projects

"I personally enjoy my solo projects more than any of the work I have done in Bride. The solo projects are me without the mask of rock music that has its own way of fashioning a personality. The solo record for Rugged, Dale Thompson , was blues done the way I hear blues. I am in the final mixes of my newest solo project that may be released on Organic, but I'm not sure. It is in the same vein as the last except I sang much harder on the new one. The working title is One Man's Opinion."

On the relationship between Bride and its audience

"The audience needs to realize that Bride is a show, that it is not me. I am performing as Bride. My solo records are all me. If they don't like the solo records, they probably won't like me as a person, either. They think they like me because of what they see in Bride, but what they see in Bride is a showman, not a real person. At the end of the night when I deliver the message, that is me.

We have a strong fan base. Many folks have been with us from the beginning and now they are in their late 20's or early 30's. We have teenagers who are discovering Bride for the first time. Although our male audience is larger, the female population seems to be listening to Bride more than in the past. I do not know why, though I am happy to see it. We do have some songs which I believe have attracted the female audience--"I Miss the Rain," "Goodbye" and "Sweet Louise." Many churches have stereotyped our crowd as destructive and thus won't allow a Bride show in their church, but our crowd is respectful of any venue."

On defending Bride and its ministry

"I don't have to do this as much anymore, but the attacks upon the band's integrity and character because of the style of music we play are still there. Bands such as Bride could get more accomplished if we could just preach the gospel and not have to defend our music. What our opponents do not realize is that they are the ones who put the emphasis on the music, not me. The music means very little to me in the overall scope of the Gospel."

On developing and producing new bands

"Nailed is the only band recently I have associated myself with. I won't put my name on just anything. I was introduced to Nailed awhile back and was given a demo tape from one of the members. It blew me away. That is not easy to do. I sent the tape on to Rugged where Michael Betts took an immediate interest. Soon I was in the studio as producer and they were rock'n. They are very heavy and very today.

The main problem with any new band is to break the news that once they sign a record deal they are still on their own. There is no instant media hype, no one can quit their jobs, etc. Recording a record for worldwide release is much different than recording a demo to play for friends. A producer can be a nightmare for a band, or he can work as a friend and advisor. Being a producer is like being a flight instructor. Sometimes you have to take the controls from the student. I let a band be themselves and only get involved when they are about to crash."

By Shari Lloyd and Linda Stonehocker

Copyright© 1997 The Phantom Tollbooth