Thursday, November 27, 2008

MWE3 | 10 Years

Please pardon me while I reminisce...

It was Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and there were nearly a hundred people crammed into the lobby of a community center in Belvidere, IL. The year was 1998, and the unmistakeable sound of ska was in the air. Appendages flailed about in attempt to master the fine art of "skanking," the shrill cries of a threefold horn section pierced the hearts of many, and a revolution had begun. MWE3 played their first show, and Quality Swedish Forest City Fruit Loop Ska was born.

For those of you who don't know, (which is probably most of you) I was the primary vocalist and lyricist for a ska band called MWE3 from Black Friday of 1998 until our last show on May 24, 2000.

It is nearly unfathomable to think that it all started 10 years ago. I was 16, a Jr. at Jefferson High School in Rockford, IL. I had recently discontinued my basketball career, and the possibility of forming a band grew out of a small group I was part of at the time. There had been a long, distinguished list of horn players with a penchant for ska music to come out of First Covenant Church, so the air was abuzz, but the initiative of a few of us dedicated folks led us to finally pursue the dream. I'm infinitely glad that we did.

With much effort, we were eventually able to wrestle together a complete band, and thanks to the artistic vision of Carson Fry and Chris Willey, we were able to come up with a really cool logo, and then a band name with which to turn our cool logo into an acronym (Men Walking Eternally with the Trinity).

MWE3 was and will forever be:

David Blomgren_Sax/Circus Peanuts
Jacob Eisele_Guitar/Bass/Rebellion
David Frisk_Trumpet/Access
Andrew Gates_Vox/Height
Ryan Johnson_Trombone/Da Bears
Justen Kirkland_Drums/Aquatic Sounds
Matt Moore_Guitar/Bass/Rawk
Also featuring:
Justin Johnson, Justin Dickerman and Joshua Havens_Faithful Fill-ins/Tiny Dancers

And I say all this not just to indulge myself in nostalgia, but to remember that this was the context in which I first felt like God was using me for the purposes of his kingdom. This was the place where my call to ministry first took shape, and my first attempt to really do ministry in my community. We didn't take ourselves seriously, and sometimes we didn't take the music seriously enough, but we had fun. We played like mad whether it was for four people or four-hundred (an accurate spread, actually). We prayed for the people who listened to us, we prayed for each other, and we prayed in song.

The memories make me grieve how serious I've become. There was a very pure freedom about those days in my life, and I'm unsure if I'm capable of that sort of freedom anymore. I've learned a lot in the last ten years. I've grown up a lot, becoming a husband and father; and in two weeks a seminary grad. I've grown a lot, but as I remember MWE3, I can't help but grieve the loss of a great deal of innocence and naivete in my life. Many days I miss it, though I thank God for who I've become and who He's placed in my life. Perhaps these lyrics capture the tension best:

I wish I could be Peter Pan
I'd fly away to Never-Neverland
Tinker would sprinkle me with dust
And my bones wouldn't grow old and rust
I wish I could be Peter Pan
And wouldn't deal with growing older
And life would be much simpler
But Peter Pan's not who I am

MWE3_Peter Pan

I'm not sure if bones can actually rust, but give me a break; I was sixteen.

Gentlemen, if you're reading this, I love you and I miss you...

And don't die in my Dunkin' Donuts.

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At 10:22 PM EST , Blogger Adam Levi Gustine said...

its got a good beat, its a hit!

At 1:32 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw you three times at HisCup. People who were involved in ska in high school make the best dads. Thanks for the good memories.

At 12:58 AM EDT , Blogger djustin4 said...

Wow!hey buddy! this is Justin Dickerman.wonderful blog entry. I think about those days once in awhile good times...great oldies ;)

At 11:02 AM EDT , Blogger Andrew Gates said...

Ha! Thanks, Justin. I never envisioned getting traffic on this post nearly seven years later. So awesome. I hope you're well, man! They were great times, and may there be better times ahead!


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