Andrew Long spoke to Del Currie, frontman of Milton Keynes-based grunge-influence rock band SEVEN.
Del has been in Christian music in one form or another for quite some time. He was originally the stalagmite-headed bass player in Split Level and after leaving them in 1989 had a short stint playing with grunge demons, er..., Phil And John, and then played for quite a while with Dan Donovan in Tribe Of Dan. Following that Del played in a band called Forty Shades and then formed his own band, Squarehouse, before going on to pull Seven together in the tail end of 1995.
I remembered seeing Del play drums once or twice and asked him what had led him to swap seats again, as he is now lead guitarist and vocalist with Seven. "Yeah, I did a couple of gigs for Dan playing drums, in fact that was how I got introduced to him originally, because he needed a drummer," explained Del. "But I've always played guitar. Split Level was the first time I'd picked up a bass guitar really. Prior to that guitar was what I was mainly into. As soon as I started talking about putting a band together it was much easier to find bass players and drummers than to find someone that you agreed with their feel of play on the guitar."
So how did Del come to meet and play with Seven's bass player, Ian Crawford? "When I was playing with Squarehouse we played a gig for Ian's local church in Burgess Hill. Ian was actually playing bass with the band who were opening for us, a band called Mercy Street, and we slowly became quite good friends. We had very similar tastes in music. After a while the bass player that had been with Squarehouse called it a day so I gave Ian a call and asked him if he wanted to join. He did a couple of gigs with us and after about a month or so he actually moved up to Milton Keynes from Burgess Hill and we've been together since then. About three years now."
But like many bands, Squarehouse eventually threw in the towel. As each member began to get closer to God and more involved with their churches, they felt that the band had become an indulgence. At this point Del put his music aside for a while.
"I love music so much and it came to a point with me where my way of showing my sacrifice and dedication to God was for me to give up my music," Del explained. "As I started getting closer and closer to God I said, 'Okay Lord, to show you how much I love you I'm not going to play any more.' I think I had to come to that point where I laid myself and my own interests down and put it away."
It was about a year later that Del started to feel once again that he should be using his musical talents for God and various pointers were clicking into place to confirm this. Del picked up the story and told me of the final affirmation. "In October the Australian prophet musician Stephen Bennett had come to our church for a conference and I was sound engineer. He didn't know me from Adam or anything about me and he called me down from the sound room and said he wanted to pray with me. He prophesied over me and it was more like going to a fortuneteller than somebody giving you a word. It was very specific. He went down to details. I'd recently moved house and he was talking about how my family life was settling down. I'd just had a pay rise that week from work and he started talking about how God was crossing my palms with gold for the kingdom. He didn't even know I was a musician and he went on to say that God had new songs for me and a new sound for me and he was going to start putting these songs in me soon and that God wanted me to record. That was the stamp of approval that I had been looking for to confirm that all the things that had been clicking into place for the past month or so were actually what God wanted me to do. So then I felt that God really wanted me to do this and really had plans for me - it was a fantastic feeling. God had been speaking to Ian along the same lines so we got together and started praying about it and that's where Seven spawned from.
"Our drummer Andy is from our church. He's only 17 and I've known him since he was 11. You look everywhere for drummers and Andy was underneath our noses the whole time. But because you've known him since he was a little kid you kind of assume that he's still 11 and all of a sudden here was this 17 year old lad with three grand's worth of drum kit who can play very well."
The band quickly built a tight and competent set and soon felt ready
to record. Taking a step of faith they financed the recording of an
album themselves, recording it in a 24-track farmhouse studio in
Bedfordshire called Lost Boys.
The album has just been released on their own label, Blinding Music, and is called 'High And Wired'. As far as distribution is concerned, nothing definite has been pinned down as I write, but Del has been talking to several of the Christian companies who have expressed an interest.
'High And Wired' reveals a band with a very contemporary heavy alternative sound, a hint of grunge here, a hint of punk there. I asked Del what bands influenced Seven. "The whole band have got identical tastes, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Sugar, everything in that vein. The alternative hard rock arena is where we come from really."
So now that Seven are beginning to establish themselves I wondered what would be their plan of attack. "Seven's motivation is that we want to be a resource to churches, youth groups, any organisations in that whole line who wants to put events on. Mainly for the un-churched so that they've got a good quality band there for the kids to come along and have a mosh to and try to find a whole new element of what God's about, taking people's minds off the square image of black suits and collars and show them something a bit real so that the youth groups and churches can make new contacts, meet new kids, follow on through and get other things happening with them. As a start to that we need to create as big a profile for the band as possible and do it as quickly as possible. We've managed to creep in to most of the festivals this year. We've got a spot at Cross Rhythms, we're doing Summer Madness over in Ireland and hopefully Greenbelt and Flevo."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.