A radical rock team from South Africa, EMINENT CHILD, are set to take this year's Cross Rhythms Festival by storm. Tony Cummings checked them out.
Keen festival goers will already know Eminent Child as the South African band who came to the UK in 1999, unknown and unheralded, and played truly storming sets at Soul Survivor and Cross Rhythms Roots & Branches. Keen radio listeners will know Eminent Child as their fine import single "2000" is currently getting much play on Cross Rhythms radio. And keen album collectors will know Eminent Child for their excellent album 'Still Learning', available by mail order, through Kingdom Developments. So news that this fine four-piece from Johannesburg are playing the Cross Rhythms 2000 festival will please all followers of the cutting edge of Christian rock music. The band, whose current line up is Darren Peens (guitars), Gino Fabbri (drums), Mike (bass) and Brad Peens (vocals) have been together four years.
I asked Brad what the Christian music scene was like in his homeland.
"The SA Christian music scene is doing really well, considering the financial restraints. All the bands get on really well and have a similar vision and a heart after God. I think a quality that is common amongst all of the bands is determination and perseverance; I know God has been building something special into us and I feel he is about ready to show the world what he has built. Since we started the band I feel that God has been in total control. The bands over here have been going for a couple of years, so I suppose they have gained quite a bit of experience and as I said earlier on I know God is doing something new and fresh. I also believe that God has started to release some of the bands, that's why we are seeing so many bands coming from SA. We are honoured to be part of this incredible thing God is doing in South Africa."
So what made the band take the plunge to come and play in the UK?
"We decided to go to the UK because we had been really involved in the SA Soul Survivor. I think it was just the next thing to do, to see where it all started. There has been a lot of input into SA from the UK, which I think has helped churches over here understand the role of the musicians and how important they are in this ever-changing world. We're coming back this year because we know that that's where God wants us to be, and we are trusting him to provide once again."
Eminent Child aren't a band to rest content in the insular Christian subculture. They clearly see their main ministry as musical evangelists. Emphasizes Brad, "We have a message for the world and our songs challenge their way of thinking. I think one of the core things that comes through in our music is asking people where they get their image from, what and who influences them in this modern world - there are also very clear warnings of the consequences of sin."
I asked Brad what inspired the band's turntable hit "2000". "The song '2000' comes straight from the mouth of God. God woke me (Brad) up three times out of a dead sleep and three times said to me very clearly, 'I AM COMING BACK SOON.' What else can I say -that's what that song's about!"
With such a radical vision of our current age it is hardly surprising that Eminent Child have little time for shallow, lip service Christians. "GOD has been showing us that there is a fine line, we compromise too often! God needs us to be pure so he can be as effective as possible. I remember coming from a most amazing worship time, walking into a dregs cafe to find young people dancing to the song 'I'm Horny Horny Horny'. I think we have all become too familiar with the ways of the world. This has really been on our heart as a band."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.