It was somewhere in 1998 while I was in the Air Force, and living in the dorms in Montgomery, AL, when my trumpet-playing friend Ryan kept telling me we should start a Christian ska band. I always thought the idea was a bit far-fetched. We had a trumpet and a guitar, and I was not exactly a seasoned guitarist as they say.
Well he kept on suggesting it, and then my friend Andrew got in on it too. Andrew played alto sax, and could sing ska. If you don't know what ska is, it's one of those things that's easier to hear than read about. It is like rock, punk, and Carribean horns all put together. So now it was the three of us talking about making a ska band. I think we wanted one because we really liked the bands Five Iron Frenzy, The Supertones, and The Insyders, and because Ryan played the trumpet. So we wanted to start a band, but it really takes more than that. Weeks and months went by and we just kind of kept it on the back burner. Then one day, up in my dorm room, we decided that if we wanted to do this band, we just had to set a practice time, show up, and let God take it where he wanted it to go. I looked at it like the bread and fish that God would multiply.
We scheduled the date and when it came around, it was still just the three of us, but we were going to do it anyway. Andrew, I think it was, managed to reserve the base chapel for us to use, and I think he's the one who found Dex the trombone player. Dex was an excellent singer, but we needed him on trombone. That night before heading over to the chapel, we were thinking, "you know we really need a base player. Does anyone play base?"
"I think Jared plays base," someone said. So we went and bugged him in his room. He said he used to play base a little, but he didn't have a base or an amp. We told him he should come with us anyway, and maybe they would have one at the chapel he could use. He said he didn't think so, but as we were walking out of his room, Rob, a guy I worked with, yelled down from the second floor out of the blue, "Hey do you know anyone who wants to buy a base?" as he held up a base guitar. We were blown away, and said yeah. Jared came to practice that night.
We prayed and played, but we didn't have a drummer. We prayed for a drummer. The next week a drummer showed up. He was Christian and interested in starting the ska band with us. That's how No Longer Blind formed.
It was really kind of funny that we were all computer programmers in the Air Force. I'm not sure what that meant other than we all had the evenings and weekends off. It was just like a regular job, except you wore a uniform. We started out by playing for youth groups mostly. We always played for free, but every now and then people would give us a small sum of money which we would use to buy band stuff like uniforms, merch, and mics. A ska band needs uniforms.
Playing for one youth group led to another, and before we knew it we were driving to Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina several times a month. We got to open for some bigger names like The Normals and Skillet. I remember a fun band called Shaded Red. We played in a field on a trailer with them and The Normals.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I just posted the CD demo we made, but I also want you to know that God can take normal people with average talent, and make a great thing that blesses lots of people. Trust me, most of us had average talent, but God put it together for something bigger than the parts.
Here is our music from NLB v1.0: