Walking the Rock Star Tightrope

Third Day's Tai Anderson talks about his faith, the band's fans and detractors, and the prayer that keeps him going.

The past few years have been good to Christian rock group Third Day. Last summer they played for a national audience at the Republican National Convention and were the subject of a special on 60 Minutes. In February, they took home a "Best Rock Gospel" Grammy Award for the band's seventh studio album, "Wire." And, in April, they won two Dove awards from the Gospel Music Association, for "Best Rock/Contemporary" album and their contribution to "The Passion of the Christ: Songs"-bringing their total number of Dove awards to 23. Currently on tour, bass player Tai Anderson spoke with Beliefnet about the "country club" insularity of the Christian music industry, how music is like politics, and how he becomes a Christian every day.

You've been the Christian music industry for a while. How is it different now than it was ten years ago?

I feel like when we started-as we were on the outside looking in-we kind of thought, "Christian music really isn't very good. Hopefully we can help to make it better." Now that we've been in it for ten years, that's not something we have to worry about as much because everyone is making great music.


It's a little less cheesy?

Yeah. I really think it is.

Ten years ago it felt like there was a gap-that Christian music was always ten years behind in the trends. And now, maybe that gap has closed a little bit. Maybe we're just a couple years behind [laughs].

I think with Third Day's kind of music, we'll never be the hottest, trendy thing because we're more just rock 'n' roll. There's different [genres.] "Oh it's punk rock this year or ska this year or whatever." But I think when you just [play] rock you might never be the biggest thing, but it's pretty solid.

A lot of Christian bands, like Switchfoot, for example, have managed to cross over into the mainstream. People like them now and don't even realize they're considered a Christian band.

That's the cool thing. Now mainstream music is looking to Christian music for the hits.

We took [Switchfoot] on tour in 1997--their very first tour. We had heard their first album, before it came out, and we were like, "This is a great band--as good as anything else out there."

When I was listening to the latest album I was surprised to how diverse you are musically. On one level, you're this hard-rocking band and then you go into a worship song that still has a rock background. But it seems like both Christians and the spiritual-but-not-religious-crowd can relate to it.

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