I love Father, Son and The Holy Spirit more than anything. Living by The Spirit, the great Teacher. I've been drumming for roughly 16 years and like being a solo artist (I know exactly the kind of sound I like)! John Lamattina was my drum teacher back in 4th/5th grade and got me learning the basics. After taking private lessons from him, I would naturally just know when I could add in fills and just went from there! I've always had that natural rhythm in me, which is 100% put there by The Lord (as is with every gift in everyone). Still have the same Ludwig Rocker set as I did back then, just added on over the years (double bass, added two more tom toms etc). One thing you might not know about me is that I play guitar with my thumb. I pick like normal, but I hit the notes down with my thumb. Been playing that way ever since I started in early High school (just automatically found it really comfortable)! Still can't play the "normal" way (looks like I'm a beginner when I've tried lol), find it very unnatural feeling! But I like how I play and sounds the same as normal so I'll keep on keeping on! Bass I play the same and in general plays an important role. God is a deep and powerful God. In 2012 I bought one of my favorite instruments, hammered dulcimer! I figured since it's wrist related like drumming I'd pick it up pretty fast and I did praise God :-) I'm so glad I bought it, just love that Celtic sound :-)
My favorite band is Blind Guardian. They're an 80's Power metal band from Germany. I was a huge fan of old Metallica from Middle school through most of High school. I remember looking up random music and came across Guardian. First song I heard was "Time stands still." I loved it! I checked more out of them and clicked immediately! They're the ones who introduced me to Medieval/Celtic. Speaking of which, I also really like Ritchie Blackmore's band he started in the 90's- Blackmore's Night. But I will say the gypsy sounding stuff Ritchie has written (or anyone), I don't like. My favorite guitarist is actually a guy named Greg Joy (Celtic/Baroque type acoustic fingerpicker). It's a tough one between the two, both are very technical and write my favorite kind of music :-) I love that Ritchie also plays Flamenco and hops on the electric soloing it up, but since fingerpicking is my favorite I'm giving it to Greg. His melodies are more technical in nature. For Classic rock: my favorite band's definitely Kansas (pretty much everytime they come I'm there)! Boston, Journey, Reo Speedwagon, Molly Hatchet (picky), Richard Marx (older), Bryan Adams (older) etc. I'm a big fan of 80's metal (Dokken etc)/Power ballads (my drumming style and guitar solos come from) and movie music (which I've been told my music could be used for). Some Flamenco, older country (80's/90's), Southern rock, Blues, Bluegrass I dig too. My favorite and only Christian artist I like is Rich Mullins (R.I.P, glad you're HOME). All the bands I like play from their hearts and take music seriously. Musically speaking my songs are definitely different than other Christian music out there and I can honestly say I don't like the sound of mainstream Christian bands at all (of course on the same page with them giving God all the glory). One thing I've noticed is that there's people out there that hear the mainstream Christian songs and think that's the only music God likes to hear, which is definitely not the case. He created and loves most every genre out there when it's straight from peoples hearts (especially if it's for Him willingly).
Testimony- During the school days (Middle and High) and a year or so after I graduated, I was drifting further from God (not thinking about it or meaning to). The people I was hanging out with were doing drugs and gettin' drunk. I myself was wrapped up way too much with metal, (actions were putting that before The Lord). I never could stand drinking and drugs, so that they knew I didn't like. But they were my friends and I didn't really think about anything in the future Spiritually (was so wrapped up in the earthly). After High school I was in a metal band (with some of the same friends from a previous metal band we were in) and we had rented out a house and lived together. We took it seriously, were good on our instruments and were going somewhere we thought. Near the end when I was with them, we were talking about a contract with signing with a friends record label (who was the one to introduce us to the singer). I remember a couple practices we had I had a feeling like something just doesn't seem right, like that band wasn't what I was meant to do in life. I remember I started to realize that the stuff I was doing was wrong and I prayed to The Lord to help me (in general). But I kept getting pulled back into the sin and was a pattern. Here's where my testimony begins (2008).
On one specific night near midnight (maybe later), one of the things I was always scared of at that time, happened. I was the only one awake (along with the singers dog), there was just pure silence, I went to use the bathroom and out of no where, clear as day, I heard coming up through the vent from downstairs, sounded exactly like someone with a shovel continuing to dig in gravel and throwing the gravel (like digging a grave). Keep in mind, my room was the only one down there, everyone else slept on the main floor where I was. I knew immediately what it was (ghost, which didn't know then they're demons) and was scared. Fear started kicking in (which isn't of God, demons are fear). I tried to keep my mind off it, but I couldn't. I picked up the guitar to try to get my mind off it, but it was impossible at that point. I remember putting my pick down on the counter, turned around for a couple seconds and turned back around and it was gone. So you could get the picture, I was scared.
I could feel something NOT good in the room (demons) and I looked at the dog and he saw something walking down the hallway towards us (hair standing up on his back). I kept getting more scared, I had troubles breathing and continued to get harder to breathe. Then at one point I felt like I couldn't make it anymore and literally at that point I thought I was about to die, The Holy Spirit's presence came upon me (didn't know it was Him at the time, but could clearly feel a different and powerful presence). I could then breathe and He said these words- "Leave the house and go talk to your dad." He said it twice. My dad's a minister, so it made sense looking back. I knew I heard the voice (from within) and could feel that powerful presence. I didn't know what to do, I was serious about the band, but at the same time, didn't want to be around the weird stuff happening in the house (later on God showed me sin allows demons to come in, cause all sin is from satan). So I listened to the holy voice and left the house to my dad's.
I remember he said The Lord put me in his dream before I came (keep in mind he had NO clue I was coming). God used my dad to help me realize that the band was not what He called me to do and to start putting Him first/clean up my act. As a confirmation from God, I remember The Holy Spirit coming to me naming the stuff I was doing wrong and saying STOP IT. So I listened and knew in my spirit it wasn't a joke (Heaven or hell). I remember coming to The Lord (either that night or the night after) and TRULY repented of my sins, laid them ALL in His holy hands, began to put Him first, asked Him to use me to manifest in me and gave Him EVERYTHING. Immediately after I prayed that, He honored it :-) I could feel His powerful presence (as I felt when He told me to leave the house) and I was forgiven/washed clean/didn't want anything to do with sinful stuff anymore. Also changed my music taste (no more heavy rhythm distortion) and put in me more styles He knew I'd love, which is what I currently love and write (which prior was JUST metal). To Him ALL the glory!
After all that I knew it was the right thing to leave the house/quit the band and write music for The Lord God :-) I dropped by one day to get my stuff, so the guitarist and I went down stairs to the band room and when we turned the corner he first had noticed on the cardboard up on the wall (we used the cardboard for a little sound proofing), it said "God's Promices" with the "c" instead of an "s." Not only was God's Promices spelled out (which I cut out for proof), there were ROWS up and down of the Star of David and a mystery symbol (had cut out for proof). Each symbol was done in PERFECT circles, which couldn't have been done by a person (plus no one was down there when it happened). The guitarist said why did you do that? I told him the honest to God truth, I didn't do any of that and couldn't have if I wanted to (plus I wasn't even there). I just looked at him and pointed up to God. The last time I saw them was to get the rest of my stuff with my family and unfortunately wasn't too pleasant (cussing from a member for taking back some stuff my dad lent us). But I did appreciate the one guitarist who helped take stuff to my car. The singer and I keep in touch. For the others, I genuinely wished and still wish them all the best.
Many years later (2012) a friend of mine had a strong feeling that The Lord said to her to tell me what that symbol means, entrapment. Which would make sense, the devil wanted to keep me trapped making bad decisions not of God (anything sin related). The Star of David symbols and the entrapment symbols were separated from each other, which is important to know. My dad and I felt strongly that it represented good leaving the bad behind like the Jewish people getting away from the sin in Egypt back in the Bible days (the symbol looks Egyptian, so makes perfect sense). My dad said years prior before I saw the writings on the wall etc, he prayed that my family and I get close to God, and at that time The Lord said to him, "He promises He will." That's proof that God doesn't lie, He literally can't comprehend it (He's without sin and is perfect). The Holy Spirit told me later on that He had one of His holy angels write "God's Promices" and put the symbols there, directed specifically toward me. God heard my prayer during that time of my life and used the demons to scare me back on track! He meets us where we are, that's what it had to take (going through hell). The Lord has blessed me for the commitments I did for Him and has allowed me to hear His voice more often :-) He will do the same for anyone who truly wants to get close to Him and wants to live a life He wants us to live. "So I say live by The Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."- Galatians 5:16. Over the years as I've gotten closer to The Lord, He's given me such great faith in Him :-) Many people (including Christians out there) just don't realize how real The Lord is. He's The Son of The living God and still works through His true followers, as He said He would be (John 14:12). Like healings/miracles, speaking in tongues and prophecy for His glory (1 Corinthians 14:1-25, Acts 2:17 etc). Jesus said, as you see me you see The Father- John 14:7/John 14:9. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever"- Hebrews 13:8. Truth is, He proves Himself true in sooo many ways everyday in His name (His presence alone you can feel is proof enough)! Everything with The Lord is for the better :-)