Wednesday, June 09, 2010


     What will I remember most about Dana Key?  First of all, I will never forget the strong, evangelical Christian message, he and partner Eddie DeGarmo presented over the years through their songs.  They encouraged their listeners to own their faith in Christ, grow closer to Christ, and share Christ with others.  Songs like 'Casual Christian' and 'Rock Solid'  sought to build a vibrant, unshakeable faith.  With 'Boycott Hell', the urgency of saving souls was portrayed.  'Six Six Six', the first Christian video on MTV, warned of the Antichrist.  DeGarmo and Key also built the self-esteem of folks up, with tunes like 'I'm Accepted'.  Eddie and Dana also sang songs on topics such as teen suicide, premarital sex, and violence in schools.  They encouraged Christians to look out for one another if they were heading down a dangerous path or were discouraged.  As a teen and even into my thirties now, these songs have helped shape my faith, likely more than many sermons I have heard.
     When I remember Dana Key, I will also remember his incredible guitar work on songs like 'Hangin' by a Scarlet Thread' and 'Let's Get Upset'.  The man could really rock!  DeGarmo and Key's last studio album TO EXTREMES (1994) rocked harder than ever.  This was a band that had opportunity to go mainstream but did not want to compromise or water down their message.  Dana and Eddie, usually backed by Tommy Cathey on bass, and Greg Morrow on drums, knew how to put on an entertaining show and minister the Gospel.  There was always great anticipation for a D and K show!  Along with Petra, and Whitecross, these guys were heroes to me. 
     Dana defended Christian rock against critics in his 1989 book 'Don't Stop the Music'.  DeGarmo and Key helped upstart bands such as dctalk, Audio Adrenaline, and Big Tent Revival, by letting them open for them. 
     Dana released two solo albums.  The first, THE JOURNEY, traced the life of Christ in song.  The second, PART OF THE MYSTERY, included the songs 'Dear Mr. Clapton' about Eric's child's death, and 'Liar, Lunatic, or Lord', asking the listener to choose which of the three they thought Christ was. 
     Since they disbanded around 1995, D and K played a handful of reunion shows, including one at Cornerstone Festival's 25th year Anniversary in 2008.  Dana was currently pastor at The Love of Christ Church in Memphis, TN (  He leaves behind a wife, and three children. 
     Thank you Dana for helping shape who I am today and what I believe.  If you're not familiar with DeGarmo and Key's music, check them out on itunes or youtube. Pictured above: Dave Alward, Dana Key, Mark Alward (my bro), and Eddie DeGarmo at Kingdom Bound 1994.
     My favourite DeGarmo and Key albums are 1987's D and K, 1989's THE PLEDGE, 1992's DESTINED TO WIN: THE CLASSIC ROCK COLLECTION, and 1994's TO EXTREMES.
     I believe I saw D and K about four times between 1989-ish and 1994, and I saw Dana solo in Paris, Ontario circa 1994.  Memories I will cherish for sure!