Wednesday, September 3, 1997
Moody Bookstore
Chicago, Illinois
Interviewed by Shari Lloyd

Shari Lloyd skipped lunch to hunt down and meet with the band eager. They were scheduled to do a show for Moody Bible Institue students at their  downtown Chicago campus.  When she finally found them in the ground floor bookstore, band members Patrick Andrew, Greg Pope, Mark Kloos, and Paul Eckberg sat down and explained what this retro pop/rock alternative band that emerged from the breakup of PFR is all about.

Shari-How did this band get together?

Patrick - When PFR decided to break up, I knew that I wanted to continue to do music. Before that, I'd heard an independent CD that Greg had made, and I admired the songwriting. "Decide for You" really stuck out on that CD, so I called him up and asked him if he wanted to move to Minnesota. He picked up his newly-wed wife and brought her to Minnesota. As soon as he moved to Minnesota, he began playing guitar on the road with PFR because we were looking for another guitar player. In the meanwhile, we started looking for a drummer. We found Paul and the three of us moved to Nashville and made a demo. Greg had been playing with his old band, Green Apples, which included a bass player, Mark, so he started playing guitar for us, and it was just like chemistry. That's how we found each other. 

Shari - And how did you come up with the name eager?

Patrick - Greg and I were on one of the PFR trips to Europe. We had a day off in Amsterdam, a layover, and we were walking down the street and saw this storefront that looked liked a TV or movie set. Eager Design Company was in the window. It just kind of stuck. 

Shari - How would you describe your sound?

Patrick - I don't know. I think its just pop music, personally. It's edgy, but I think they're just good pop songs. We're a songwriting band. 

Shari - To me, it seems like there's a lot of progressive rock in your music. The strings give it a more progressive sound.

Greg - There are definitely some influences there, but I kind of agree with Patrick, that in the end, it is pop rock. 

Patrick - Progressive rock is just pop, though, really. The Police were progressive rock, but what was progressive rock, seems to become pop. 

Shari - You seem to have a fondness for groups from the sixties. What is there about this music that draws you? 

Patrick - Greg and I may be the only sixties fans, me more so. These other guys--I put on a Beatles CD, and I think I'm the only one who's really listening. I o.d.'ed on British Invasion stuff when I was in high school. My brother and I had a sixties British band and all we learned were Hollys, Zombies, Beatles, Stones. Those are my influences, especially in songwriting. But these guys' influences are totally different than mine. 

Greg - I was a little more in touch with the pop thing because my dad played in a pop cover band when I was in grade school. They would play BeeGees and Donna Summers and all those hits from the seventies, and I had all those singles sitting around the house, plus whatever else I was listening to. Music is just such a melting point. It's almost to the point where there's nothing distinct. They're trying to make all these categories, and it's like, well... 

Shari - Everything I've read about you compares you to the PFR sound. How do you feel about constantly being compared to them?

Greg - It was in our contract. (laughs)

Patrick - I'm very proud of everything I did with PFR, so that's a compliment for me, and I bring the same thing to these people that I did with PFR.

Shari - I read that PFR broke up because God was telling you at the time to
do something else.

Patrick - We all felt that God was just leading us in different directions. Joel wanted to be home with his wife, and I wanted my wife on the road, Mark was newlywed, so we all wanted different things. I don't think Joel wanted to play live any more. He wanted to continue writing. He's a great writer, he's good at whatever he does, but he just didn't want to play live anymore. 

We always knew that God would let us know when it was time, and it had never been discussed before. We had never, ever discussed when this was going to end. But one day, we all had the same thought. I brought it up to the other guys, "You know? Let's talk about just where we're going. What do you guys want? Do we want the same things anymore?" I was really questioning my own motives. I was after money, and I just wasn't really pursuing ministry anymore. And suddenly, in bringing that up, we're all talking about the end. "Whoa, let's just go pray about this, and we'll talk again tomorrow." So we did that. It was peaceful. It was overwhelming peace. There's a lot of prayer and thought that went into our decision.

Shari - Do you have any advice for others?

Patrick - I would say don't pursue fame; pursue God and ministry. He'll open the doors if this is what you're supposed to be doing. If you're good enough to do this for a living, people will listen. 

Greg - Yeah, stay in prayer, stay in God's word. I think sometimes we tend to think of God's will as this one-lane road and if we miss the exit, "Oh my gosh, we're off the Path!" Maybe it's more like a four-lane highway. God's in control. We aren't! We can't know all the answers or the future.

Shari - Are there any signs bands should look for?

Patrick - I'd say look at how they're honoring God by paying their bills. Can they afford to do it? They don't need to be rich or anything, but to honor God with everything. 

Greg - If you're like ten grand into debt, and wondering if God wants you to quit. . . . I think we sometimes try to make God's will for our lives, rather than being open. It has to do with motivation of your heart, and no one can know what that is except you and God. So no one can tell you, "Well I think
God is talking me out of this."

Shari - Is there such a thing as Christian music, or are there only Christians making music? Is music Christian?

Paul - For one thing, music is created to glorify God. Everything that we have, everything that we make on this earth, came from Him. So music is His and belongs to Him. If we take music and use it for selfish means, we're going outside of what it was intended for. 

In the end, I think it is Christians making music. I could write a song, a romantic song about my wife, and I don't know if that would necessarily be what someone would call a Christian song, but I would be a Christian writing a song about that.

Greg - It's a category that we created. You can't say it doesn't exist. We created the category of Christian music, so obviously there will always be people calling it Christian music. Music is music. It's like ice cream -- vanilla, chocolate, lots of flavors, all different kinds.

Patrick - I love that analogy.

Paul - I think that lyrically, maybe it's just because there's more of an agenda that we have, we're spreading the word of God. Secular music definitely has some things they can get away with. They're not so pressured to write religious songs. They can write a little bubbly song about nothing, although there are some bands coming out now that seem to be writing a lot of Christian songs about everyday life, making the lyrics more interesting because they speak about reality. 

Shari - Do you think that this division still needs to exist? Can Christian music hold its own? 

Patrick-There's some great stuff out there. Just to name one album, I love All Star United's album. Great songwriting, good songs!

Greg-I like the stuff Michael Roe does, too. Sixpence.

Shari-What didn't I ask? 

Greg-We have a scripture passage that we like to tell people that's kind of our "band passage"-Titus 2:11-14. So if you want to put that reference in, that'd be great. 

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good" - Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)

Copyright© 1997 The Phantom Tollbooth