With management support and oversight from Meltdown Ministries, an invitation to play in Germany and a full-length album on the horizon it's little wonder that Devon's NO SECOND CHANCE feel anointed. Geoff Howlett talks to guitarist Ashley Taylor.
With the release of their second EP 'Anointed', Exeter-based No Second Chance show just how much they have matured both musically and spiritually since their debut. "We started playing heavy metal," Ashley explains, "but people were always saying how Miriam's vocals best fitted the occasional alternative type of songs." It was that sound which they eventually took to Walsall's Stairway Music Studio under the guidance of a proper producer Paul Hodson (whose credits include albums for Seventh Angel, Gethsemane Rose, Jonathan Day and Detritus). "We're really pleased with it," Ashley adds.
The second track of 'Anointed' is called "Show Your Love" and opens with the words "Why do I feel so cold/I've got so bound up in this mess." Ashley tells how he came to write it. "The band went through a bad time where we were feeling a bit down. That was really a song from my heart to the Lord saying, 'Show your love to me please. I know I'm a Christian and I know you're the Lord, but I need you to show your love afresh.' In fact, the whole band took a couple of months off to concentrate on prayer and guidance."
NSC were formed in 1992 and more-or-less their first gig was in the Battle Of The Bands section of the Meltdown weekend conference. They didn't win but they did come under the watchful eye of manager and Christian rock's Mr Fixit Dave Williams. Meltdown has continued to be a favourite for No Second Chance who last year were even asked to lead worship at the event. "I do worship in my church and so does Sharon but getting the whole band leading worship was something else. It was brilliant. We were nervous at first but then we let the Lord take over."
The band have a rather unclassifiable rock sound. With their line up of Miriam Pitts (lead vocals), Ashley Taylor (guitar), Paul Triggs' Tricker (guitar), Sharon Pitts (acoustic guitar, BVs), Rachel Pitts (bass, BVs) and Roger Pitts (drums) the band have evolved a brash, high-energy sound that is hard to pigeonhole. Says Ashley, "We would call our music edgy alternative rock but Miriam doing lead we've been compared several times recently with the Dakota Motor Co and they call their stuff retro-California surf or something! Let's just say No Second Chance play rock that's fun."
No Second Chance have a strong evangelistic thrust on stage and were the house band at King's Reach, the series of multi-media events at the Kings in Tavistock, Devon. The band welcome opportunities to talk about their faith. "Like the guy at Channings Wood Prison," Ashley recalls, "who came up to Sharon and said, 'What have I got to do then?' and gave his life to the Lord." This was at the end of a visit which they shared with another group and an ex-Mafia boss. "We really had to rely on the Lord as we were all frightened to death. Just going in and having the gates close behind you and all the prisoners standing, staring at you! Believe me, a lot of prayer went into that one."
Having brothers and sisters in the band keeps the group in a close-knit relationship. It's a relationship that will become even closer when Ashley marries Rachel in May. Has that closeness helped? "Because we are getting a bit well known," Ashley begins, "more people are constantly looking at us, leading our daily lives. We really have to be so careful about what we do and make sure that we actually live the lives that we are seen to portray on stage. We're never going to be perfect, but we've really had to learn to help each other."
Things are looking good for NSC and the future could be even rosier. "Yes," confirms Ashley, "We've been approached to go and play in Germany and plans are afoot to record an album later in the year. We just pray that God will guide us where he wants us."
Before that the band are returning to Paul Hodson's Stairway Music to record two songs for the special 'Mettdown' compilation tied in with the Meltdown event. One of the songs on that will be "You Stepped In". Comments Ashley, "Miriam wrote that song and it's very much her testimony, telling how when we cry out to God he'll step into the most 'impossible' situation we find ourselves in and help us."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.