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.
BY: Interview by Dena Ross
Part of Christian culture is really good at standing on the sidelines and criticizing what's happening in the culture at large. We came to believe that we need to be the ones shaping the culture instead of sitting on the sidelines complaining about it. We don't need to be going, "Hollywood is so horrible. Look at the horrible movies that come out." Why aren't we making movies? And that's kind of what we try to do with music.
Christians love to go, "Oh, the media is so liberal and doesn't represent [us]." Well, why don't we send our kids to journalism school? Instead of sitting on the sidelines or the safety net-it's kind of walking out on that wire.
It felt like as we were stepping out, trying to take our music beyond Christian music, and that half the people were going, "go for it" and the other half were going, "we want to keep you to ourselves." They're almost excited that we're going to fall or fail.
You played at the Republican National Convention last year. What was that like?
It was an interesting gig. A little older demographic then our normal fan base. I guess it felt like the spin was more of a political statement than we wanted it to be. With this album, we want to take our music to anyone that we can. If we had been asked to play at the DNC, we would have played at the DNC. But we weren't asked, because they didn't want to associate themselves with Christians or Christian music.
If you weren't the bass player for a popular band, what would you be doing?
Everyone says I'd be a politician.
Would you be a Republican or Democrat?
I have always thought I'd start my own party, sort of the Common Sense party, but they never seem to take off the ground. I actually got excited about the "compassionate conservatism" idea. Because I guess I'm more left-leaning socially and as relates to poverty and things like that. But probably more conservative in values.
Politics are like music. Everyone hates the labels.
It seems that talking about faith has become really popular lately. Why do you think that is?
I don't know. That's what we noticed. When we watched the Grammys and the Oscars, everyone's religious when they win their Grammy! We just try to live it out the other 364 days of the year.
I think that's just who America is. Our faith is a large part of who we are. For a long time, the media ignored that. Most people get up and go to church on Sunday morning. But how often do you see that on a TV show? I think for a while, it was almost like the elephant in the room as it relates to media-no one wants to talk about it and it's not politically correct, but everyone's doing it. I think after this last election, everyone's going, "this is a big part of who we are." Even after "The Passion of the Christ" and everything that stirred up, it was like, this is who we are, so let's all at least talk about it. Let's not pretend that we're all sterile [and] politically correct.
Do you have a favorite prayer?
That's my favorite too.
I don't have a sort of go-to mantra or anything. Especially in Christian music, [people] ask, "So when were you born again?" or "When did you become a Christian?" And people will point out, "Oh, twelve years ago, I said this prayer."
[When] people ask me, "When did you become a Christian?" I'll say, "this morning." Because for me, it's more of just trying to start each day--a lot of times when I'm on that jog--and go, "God, I invite you to be part of my life today. I want to get to know you better and I recognize that I blow it and I need forgiveness and I give you my life."