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.
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Yeah. That's the challenge that comes with being in a Christian band after a while. You want to talk about spiritual things, but not in a religious, confusing way.
I think [the Christian music industry] can start to feel kind of country-clubish. Especially for [lead singer] Mac [Powell], writing songs where he knows there's certain vocabulary that Christians understand and are going to respond to. But at the same time, it doesn't make any sense to someone isn't already part of the club. So that was our challenge: How can we talk about this spiritual reality in our lives without using religious jargon that's immediately alienating to people?
There are some songs on the album, like Rock Star, that seem like good old-fashioned pop-rock songs that don't have any religious undertones. That song is just about getting caught up in the glamour of your celebrity, right?
One little spiritual thing [about the song] is certainly not religious, but it comes in that bridge where we're saying: "To you I'm nothing, but to you I'm something, something so much more." That's saying, when you're trying to please people it never works but no matter what you are, to God you matter.
That song sounds very pretentious, but actually it's not so much about us. It's more the people that want to be us. Everyone wants to be a rock star. [But] as you're striving to impress people [you may] realize that's not where your identity is.
How do you stay grounded?
For me, it's something simple-when I go on stage I always wear a cowboy hat. And so when I put on the cowboy hat I'm like, "OK, I'm going into rock star mode." And then when I get off the stage, I take it off.
As a band, if anyone does anything sort of haughty we're all there to let each other know about it.
Certainly having kids and being married keeps you humble. And also, when you don't meet every one of your expectations, it's humbling. When we started "Wire," we were thinking, what's happening to Switchfoot was going to happen to us. And it doesn't always happen. You [can] go, "Were we dreaming too big? Did we think too much of the music we were making?" Or you just go, "We still get to make music for a living."
On your single "Wire" you talk about being in the limelight and the pressure of not falling off of your tightrope. What kinds of pressures are you talking about here? About being good role models, or good Christians, or something else?