Resurrection Band released their first official album, AWAITING YOUR REPLY, back in 1978, the year my younger brother was born. Their first live album, LIVE BOOTLEG, came out in 1983 on Sparrow Records. Their second live album was TWENTY YEARS, a double disc project released in 1992 on Grrr Records. It was recorded in March of that year at Copernicus Center Theatre in Chicago. The band’s roster was: Glenn Kaiser (vocals, guitar), Wendi Kaiser (vocals), Stu Heiss (guitar, keyboards), Roy Montroy (bass, keyboards), and John Herrin (drums). In the liner notes, the band writes: “The Jesus Movement and the origin of Resurrection Band shared much in common. It was the work of a holy and loving God invading a subculture. Tribes of the young, if you will.../From the very first, the band that was to eventually be known as REZ was founded on biblical teachings and lifestyles of accountability, a path of ministry, freedom from drugs and sexual misconduct. Light and darkness could not mix”.
The first song on TWENTY YEARS, ‘Waves’, is a Glenn Kaiser composition which was also track one on the band’s debut album. It is a hard rocking song of spiritual invitation, with Tom Cameron playing harmonica: “Jesus wants to touch you, enfold you with His love/Look into your life and tell me, what do you see?/Don’t you realize what He offers is for free?.../If you wanna join us, you can come along/With His blood He bought you and to Him you’ll belong...come along”. ‘Military Man’ is a blistering heavy metal track about conversion: “Saw the light from the Man above/His heart pierced by a sword of love.../Defenses crushed beneath the Risen Rock, oh yeah, the Risen Rock/No more doing time, he tasted the new wine/No more reason to fight for the military man/No more military man”. Hilde Bialach of The Crossing plays keyboards on ‘Afrikaans’. It boldly condemns racism: “Forget the black man, neglect his baby, ignore his hell/We need apartheid to keep the animal in his cell.../God makes the color, but the color doesn’t make you God, and in the judgment, He will remember the ones you robbed/Without the Lord’s love, this injustice will prevail/Until Jesus is the only Master, we’ll never break the bars of this jail”.
Wendi Kaiser, Glenn’s wife, sings lead on ‘Attention’. It reflects on God’s power: “A trillion stars and planets were born at His command/The keys to life and judgment are held within His hand/The demons cringe and tremble, they fear to hear His Name/The rise and fall of kingdoms is left within His wake/Attention-stand on your feet!/Attention-listen to me!” ‘Colours’ was the title track of the band’s third full-length album in 1980. It is a rock song of worship: “As the planets dance around the sun/I rejoice in the Risen One/You are the Lord, the love of my life/I wait for You in the morning light/Yes I do, I love You”.
‘Players’ is a bluesy rock song written by Jon Trott, Roy Montroy, and REZ. It deals with male-female relationships: “I remember kissin’, fingers wrapped in her hair/In that rush of emotion, did I ever really care?/And as I saw her silhouette fadin’ down the hall/I begged for love’s mercy, talkin’ to the wall.../Passion takes its prisoners, got to break before I burn/Can’t be playin’, playin’ lovin’ games”. ‘The Struggle’ is a confessional prayer with Glenn on lead vocals: “Although You’ve changed me, there’s still a lot of old wineskin, and to open up would destroy the me I’m afraid to show/But one part of me doesn’t want to grow/But I’m tired of this lingering winter, tired of ground so hard and cold/Plow Your way through, I’m asking You to, oh Jesus/Lord, You’re my only hope/Without You, I can’t face myself”.
‘Fiend or Foul’ is a slow, brooding anti-abortion number: “I kill the children before they’re born/As their little feet begin to form/Don’t buy them shoes, they won’t be worn/I kill the children/I am not scorned”. ‘Alienated’ is a hard rocker of devotion to Christ: “With love in Your eyes You confront the lies, the double-standard and the party ties/My one affiliation is with Your Name, to share Your kingdom an’ to share Your shame.../I have chosen the narrow road/Lord, You gave me such an easy load/I look at Your cross and I see Your love”.
‘Paint a Picture’ is a terrific rock ballad about how Christ will redeem us if we only let Him in: “I reached the bottom/I hope you don’t have to find out the way I did/Trip after trip and try after try after try/Paint a picture of a broken heart/Paint that picture and you can start to understand the love of the Savior, and oh, how He understands you/Paint a picture of a blood-covered cross/See that picture and you’ll know what it cost/The price God paid to prove His love for you”. At this point in the live show Wendi gives a short personal testimony of how her Dad struggled with alcoholism and how she was molested as a little girl by her grandfather who was a pastor. This led to her being promiscuous as a teen, but around the age of 18, she came to know Christ at a Christian coffeehouse and accepted His love for her.
‘Right on Time’ is a pop/rock gem penned by Jace Seavers and Roy Montroy. It is a song of testimony and one of my favourite Rez songs: “Somethin’ tells me I’m not alone travelin’ down this lonesome road/I feel sometimes that I could cry, not knowin’ the reason why/Then You told me I was losin’ all control, then You told me I could lose my very soul/I knew I could not make it on my own/Then You came along and made me whole/Your love was right on time (2X)”. ‘Love Comes Down’ is a peppy rock song penned by Glenn Kaiser and Jon Trott. It describes God’s pursuit of us: “You can’t beat the heat, He’s red hot on your trail/He’s the love enforcer and He has paid your bail/It’s much more than emotion, it’s not just in your head/You gotta die to get life, oh, and you’d be better off dead/Cuz when you lose, you win/That’s the way it is/That’s when the love comes down”. ‘White Noise’ offers these words of social commentary: “Defective youth, the writing’s on the wall/Decline of the West, I see the fallout fall/Violence, banner of the tough/Politicians playing blind man’s bluff/Now what, whose deal?/What’s truth, what’s real?/Turn it down, turn it off/It’s all white noise to me/America’s missiles, a superpower blessed/A hungry child is crying, pretend it’s just a test/Russia’s got the gulag/Pretoria the bomb/Making sure the weak keep silent, move along”. The band takes an intermission at this point in the show.
Disc Two of the concert begins with Rev. W. H. Brewster’s ‘My Jesus is All’. On it, Rez is joined by Willie Kemp from Cauzin’ Efekt, and Grace and Glory. It is a gospel music infused rock song of testimony: “Well, when I went out, went out to seek the Lord/You know I went out on His Holy Word/And the reason I know He’s deep in my soul/Because He dug down deep, so deep/An’ He made me whole”. ‘Lovespeak’ was track one from CIVIL RITES, Rez’s 10th album, released in 1991. Dave Canfield is a co-writer on this awesome Christian rock tune about a very biblical subject: “I can preach at you till I’m blue in the face/Judge you to death and put you in your place/I can feed your body, yeah, share the wealth and still lose my soul to the fires of hell/Lovespeak.../Spoken by the living, spoken by the dead/Got to speak it with your heart, as well as your head/Lovespeak”. Next, Wendi shares a bit of how Resurrection Band came to be.
‘In Your Arms’ is a nice love song: “Man, I was lonely, I felt so unsure/I used to think there wasn’t any cure for the everyday problems in the everyday world/But everyday ends in your arms, my, my/What a gift He gave to me, what an angel of love/In the crazy mistakes I always seem to make/You take me so high above/I’ll be in your arms/Safe within your arms tonight”. ‘Bargain’ is a mainstream rock classic penned by Pete Townshend and first released by The Who on 1971’s WHO’S NEXT. Rez covered it on 1989’s INNOCENT BLOOD. Here are some of the words: “I sit around, look at my face in the mirror/I know I’m worth nothin’ without You.../I’d do anything just to win You/I’ll wait all my life, yes I will/To find You I’d stand naked, stoned, and stabbed/I’ll call that a bargain/The best I ever had (2X)”.
‘Shadows’ is from 1985’s BETWEEN HEAVEN ‘N HELL. It deals with suicide: “’Goodbye Kathy and goodbye Mom/There’s voices in my head/Angel dust and tortured dreams say I’d be better dead’/You, you chased the shadows/Because your hopes and dreams have been lost to the night.../Johnny’s dead and buried now out on the edge of town/Drove by his grave the other day, that’s when the fear came down/I hate the night that took his life, but now it’s haunting me/I may be young, may be confused, but I gotta be free/God, are You there, can You hear me now?/Show me how to hope/Lost in the dark on a dead end road/Please save me from myself”. Next up, is another mainstream rock classic. ‘Somebody to Love’ was penned by Darby Slick. It was track two on Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 album SURREALISTIC PILLOW and hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is a song of longing: “Tears are runnin’ all around and down your dress/And your friends, baby, they treat you like a guest/Don’t you want somebody to love?/Don’t you need somebody to love?/Wouldn’t you love somebody to love?/You gotta find somebody to love”. At the end of the song, Wendi Kaiser makes it clear that Jesus, who died for her, is her Somebody to love.
‘Every Time it Rains’ is a co-write by Glenn Kaiser and Jim Denton. This ballad speaks of God’s faithfulness and features the talents of Steve Eisen on sax: “Why do You love me when I treat You so wrong?/I give You heartache an’ You give me a song/I give You silence, cold and empty stares/But still I know You care/Lord, wherever I run, You’re there”. ‘Where Roses Grow’ is a lengthy blues song dedicated to a Christian friend who died of Aids: “Hear the thunder rolling/Can you hear the horn?/I’m climbing Jacob’s ladder, up, up, up, through the storm/Stand with me at the Mercy Seat with mounds, mounds of ashes spread about my feet/You know who I am, all I think I know/You see it in the marrow, buried deep in the bone/How is there no anger in the words I hear?/Only love and mercy/Erasing every fear”. The song is a real treat!
‘Light/Light’ begins with these thought-provoking words: “They surround Me like a ring of fire/They crown Me with bitter desire/And I pay for the sake of souls/My grave just a visit below”. After this song, Glenn Kaiser delivers a bit of a message to the crowd. He affirms that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He speaks out against materialism, saying we should take care of widows and orphans. We should give of our time, money, and food, as we can. We should see people as God sees them. Glenn then leads in a short Sinner’s Prayer. The concert closes with Reverend Gary Davis’ ‘I Will Do My Last Singing in This Land, Somewhere’, which includes these words: “I will do my last singing in this land, child somewhere (2X)/I don’t know when or where it will be/As long as my good Lord still be leadin’ me/I will do my last singin’ in this land, child somewhere”.
TWENTY YEARS is a remarkable two disc Christian hard rock/heavy metal concert retrospective from Rez, with some blues and gospel music included as well. Glenn and Wendi Kaiser’s vocals are gritty and passionate. The Gospel message is presented clearly and wholly. We all need to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour and that should lead us to love others in ways Christ would love them. Resurrection Band would release their last album of all original material, LAMENT, in 1995. Glenn Kaiser still has an active solo career. I’m rating TWENTY YEARS, from this pioneering Christian band, a perfect 100%. For more info visit: www.resurrectionband.com and www.glennkaiser.com.