Delirious? are one of the most famous and well respected bands in Christian music. Having been together for 15 years they surprised the world with their recent decision to bring the band to an end. The band's bass player, Jon Thatcher, discusses the ending, the highlights and the future in this intimate interview for LouderThanTheMusic.com
Delirious? recently announced that the band would be taking a break. Is this the end of Delirious? Reunion tours are popular at the moment!
There's plans for a farewell tour at the end of this year. So once we've done our farewell tour we can talk about our reunion tour! As far as I can see at the minute it looks to be more than just taking a break, and I don't know what the future holds but for right now I think it's a full stop rather than a question mark, unfortunately.
I personally thought the band would just morph. I thought the touring schedule would have changed. I think life on the road is hard, but I personally didn't think we'd ever put a full stop on it. I thought it would merge and evolve and have a few transformations. I thought we would probably always keep recording, so that was a surprise.
I think Martin asking to leave was basically the end. We did think about replacing him or other solutions or other routes but it didn't feel right. I still believe in Delirious?, I still believe there is further for us to go, but now I have to reframe it. I still believe in the music, but I think the Delirious? brand is done, but the Delirious? vision will live on.
Do you think it will 'live on' with the five of you or with other people?
Both. As far as I'm concerned, I'm now 32 and I want to continue playing music. There's more for me, but I don't know how that looks yet. I know Stu G is continuing in music, we're also working on a few projects together, and obviously Martin will continue in the industry and his CompassionArt project is going really well.
Do you know yet when the final Delirious? concert will be?
I couldn't tell you for sure, but there is talk obviously of London towards the end of this year, with a tour of Europe and the UK preceding that.
What are the plans for the future?
We're all in different places. Tim is full steam ahead with this festival [The Big Church Day Out, West Sussex, May 2009] and that seems to be very successful and he's putting loads of energy into that. Martin obviously is moving forward with CompassionArt and that's gaining momentum. Stu G has just built himself a studio so he's in studio world and he's also back and forth to Nashville a lot so he's oiling those wheels at the minute. Evans is thinking of going back to college and studying and he's doing some more music production.
Me? I've become a Mother! I'm not quite wearing dresses yet, but I'm not far off it, I do wear a piny around the house. Only when I'm baking though! I am enjoying having time at home but also aware that I have more empty space to discover. Right now it's a time of dreaming, reprioritising and refocusing. I am also working on a visual project called arkyard. I would like to have a better answer than that but for right now, it's where I am at.
Looking back over your career, what highlights stand out for you?
One of the great things about the Delirious? career is that it's been so varied and so there are so many different colours in the spectrum. India has been a highlight, with how much impact that has had, playing to fields beyond the eye, that's just like a dream. But then we still talk about the small club gigs, The Underworld [in London], The Roxy in LA. Then the UK tours have all been memorable. One of the highlights was the fact we've all been a team, the camaraderie, the kind of 'Band Of Brothers', that was amazing, that we shared a dream, shared a vision. That's probably one of the biggest things that I'm mourning. Now it kind of feels, wow, what's next? I can still play music but will I ever experience anything like that again? The Bon Jovi tour, Bryan Adams, the first single, when you think that because you're in the Top 20 that you're not going to be able to walk out of the front door of your house. All of those great thoughts. It has been such an amazing journey.
Do you think that if some of those early singles had really taken off and become huge in the charts, things would have been different for Delirious?
Definitely. I think obviously it would have changed us, I don't know if it would have changed us for good or bad, but the thing I would say is you see a lot of bands that come to fame quickly, fade away quickly. I think we've had the favour of being able to just carry on at a pretty constant level for 15 years or however many years it is. But I think if it went too big too quickly we would have burnt out pretty quickly. A lot of the bands we toured with in '97 didn't make it much further, but to have a career that goes over a decade is quite astounding. And it was more than a career.
Is there anything else you wish you could have achieved or done differently as a band?
I think I would have loved to have had more respect and more presence in the mainstream. I think that was always part of our core vision and I think as years went on we lost faith in it a little bit. I think finance can dictate things and steer you. We were constantly trying to find the right balance.
Which do you think is the best Delirious? album?
I think we would all answer this differently, but Jon Thatcher would answer, Mezzamorphis. For me that encapsulates where we were at, at that time. There was a lot of hope, there was a lot of dreaming, a lot of energy, a lot of creativity, a lot of spirituality. The world was at our feet at that stage and we didn't know which way it was going to go. That was an exciting time. But that said, when you start reminiscing you think, what about that record, and yeah I love that one.
A lot of people connected with the Cutting Edge stuff, and then King of Fools was still accessible but I think for a lot of people the Mezzamorphis record was the over the line record. At the time we were on Virgin Records in America, and doors were opening there. I think that was the make or break time.
One album that received a lot of criticism was Audio Lessonover?, how do you feel about that album?
I think it's a good album. I'm glad we made that record. I think after Mezzamorphis it was probably another step further that people weren't expecting but I think that's what good bands do. They give something to people that they didn't know they wanted. There's a lot of bands, one that's just brought a record out this week, and it sounds like you think it's going to sound. There's something great about that, but for me there's something quite sad artistically. Obviously bands get their sounds and they know how to write songs and they know what works and what their audiences want. But after a while it does become stale.
You have a new live CD/DVD that you're about to release, what can you tell us about that?
'My Soul Sings' was recorded live in Bogota Colombia last year in front of 12,000 South Americans. We love South America, there is such an energy and we have a great connection with pastor Cesar Castellanos of the g12 church where it was recorded.
It is the only Delirious? product featuring the amazing talent that is Mr Paul Evans, I wear a white coat, Kingdom of Comfort gets let off the leash and you get to go to Colombia without a visa or a nasty yellow fever jab.
Ok, that's all. Thank you very much.
Is that it? I can do better than that!
Delirious? release their live CD/DVD, 'My Soul Sings, Live from Bogota Colombia' on 16th March 2009.
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Jon Thatcher was talking to Dave Wood for LouderThanTheMusic.com on 4th March 2009.