Early To The Vineyard: The alternative rockers who 'scared' Dizzee Rascal

Sunday 15th December 2013

Tony Cummings quizzed the band who once got written about in The Sun, EARLY TO THE VINEYARD

Early To The Vineyard
Early To The Vineyard

The ongoing revelations about the malpractices of the media means that there are precious few Cross Rhythms readers with much confidence in The Sun newspaper. In view of this, Nottingham-based fans of alternative rock band Early To The Vineyard would have been less than surprised by the absurd article which appeared in the 14th August 2010 edition of The Sun under the headline Christian Rockers Scare The Bejesus Out Of Dizzee Rascal. It began, "Rapper Dizzee Rascal was left petrified by a Christian rock band as he judged a new talent show. Dizzee even thought he was going to be thumped by the lead singer of Early To The Vineyard on Must Be The Music. The search to find Britain's best music act - any age, any song, any style - kicks off tomorrow night on Sky 1 HD. Poor Dizzee gets the fright of his life as the singer gets over-excited, stage dives and jumps on the panel's desk. The band of Christians - who practise in a church - work themselves into a frenzy on stage but later calm down and apologise as Dizzee tells them, 'I thought I was gonna get punched.'"

Early To The Vineyard's singer and guitarist Joshua Turney explained what really happened in the Must Be The Music TV talent search. "Nothing from the day went to plan and this carried on to the stage. We could probably come up with a number of excuses as to why but we just weren't ready for any of it. Personally, I don't think we were ever really right for any of it. I believe our motives were right but possibly misguided. The scaring of Dizzee Rascal was out of desperation; I saw him yawn, I wanted to do something to wake him up, wake our performance up. Given the chance I wouldn't do the same again, though God in his grace has used it all for a lot of good."

Josh spoke about the origins of the band. "Early To The Vineyard was a dream that I had been holding for many years and I was growing increasingly frustrated that I couldn't find the people to help me start the journey. My vicar advised me to find one like-minded person and pray with them, and to see how it grows from there." Michael Addis, who is now guitarist for the band, picked up the story. "Josh first contacted me in August /September 2009 while I was attending the same church (St Nics, Nottingham) as himself. We met up a couple of times to pray and share with each other our musical tastes and ambitions. Through this prayer it became obvious that another member of the church, Lucas Hollingsworth, was someone that we needed to have a chat to about our ideas, so we did, and thankfully Lucas (now bass player for the band) shared those dreams."

Lucas continued, "So as a three piece we began to write and rehearse songs, whilst all the time looking for a drummer. This was proving to be a difficult position to fill, but we could feel that God would provide us with the right person at the right time. So we prayed, more than anything, to trust in his timing." As it turned out it was in December 2009 that drummer Luke Webb joined and Early To The Vineyard were up and running.

Early To The Vineyard: The alternative rockers who 'scared' Dizzee Rascal

After their unexpectedly controversial appearance on Must Be The Music and The Sun exposure, the next step was to record something. One of the songs they cut "I Placed My Heart In A Sinking Ship" was the very number which so startled Dizzee Rascal and became the title track of their independently released EP. Said Michael Addis, "What sticks to me most about recording was how much fun it was, being able to finally hear our work back to ourselves properly, rather than through dodgy fold back mixes or ear-splittingly loud amps." Josh spoke about the song "I Placed My Heart In A Sinking Ship", "I suppose a lot of Christian music focuses on how good God is and how good our life is because of hm, and this is great and maybe we'll write songs like this one day. But at the moment I feel a slightly alternative focus. The idea that we've all placed hope in something only to be let down. When you write about this hopefully everyone will identify with it in their own way. This enables you the opportunity to introduce a hope that won't let you down."

Lucas spoke about what has been happening recently for Early To The Vineyard. "The band is still very much alive and well, but we haven't actively been seeking out gigs and have instead been concentrating on writing new songs with a view towards recording our first full length album, which is provisionally titled 'About This City'. That being said, we still love to play live and have more recently gotten back into the swing of things and have played a number of shows. We even played our first gig in Leicester, which was a brilliant experience for all of us. One of the many spiritual lessons that I've learnt through the years of being in E To The V is that no matter what happens, we have to put our faith in God first and foremost, because if we were to rely on our own strength and our own skills, we would fail. This has been evidenced to us on so many different occasions, that when things have seemed to be falling apart, God pulls us back together, reminds us why we are doing this, and continues to show us his love and grace by putting so many opportunities in front of us!" CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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