Our third interview is with Scott Wenzel, the lead singer of White Cross. This interview contains the announcement White Cross fans have been waiting for! So, without further delay, here is Scott Wenzel!
LNJ: First Scott can you tell us what you've been up to and where can people go to find more about you (website etc)?
I am gearing back up to serve the Lord again through my voice! Hoping God still uses us to speak to the nations, as we are bold and stand true to our faith and calling.
What happened on January 15, 2005?
A very unique meeting of two men who have had a rocky past: Rex and myself. We are getting together to re-record early White Cross music that fans loved but as musicians we want to make better. At the time, the label gave us a small budget. There were so many things we wanted to do but time and money would not allow. Besides this, in December Rex sent me a CD of some unbelievable music that we are going to record as a new White Cross album! Pray for me as I am starting to write lyrics now. The style of music is in the vein of "Hammer And Nail" with a more modern, hard-edged sound.
You released your first album, "White Cross," in 1987 and your last, "Fly Trap," in 1996. In between, there was a lot of great music. Looking back, would you have done anything different?
I would have sought God harder for direction. "More a man draws close to God more a man has the abilities to be used to reach a lost world."
In 2000 you left the music biz to do missionary work in South America. What was the one biggest thing that happened in South America that enabled you to say, "Yes, this is where God wants me"?
God wanted me to be Paraguay. He revealed this to me in a dream and I knew then that it was time to set White Cross down. Once there, it was hard. I didn't speak the language at first. Once there, I did get involved with a band and I helped mentor them in ministering and traveled with them when they went out on tour. They learned four or five White Cross songs and at the end of the night I would go up and sing lead on these songs and preach on stage. I saw 800-1000 people come to the Lord during these shows (18 shows).
We have heard that Tim Gaines (former bassist of Stryper) is your neighbor. Both of you were in bands with Rex, so have you two ever gotten together and just talked ... well, you know, about Rex?
No not really, Tim is quiet and introverted like me even though we live a block away. I try to stay in touch as much as I can.
Name the 3 highest points and the 3 lowest points of your musical career to date.
High points: Teen Mania, when we did the video "In The Kingdom." I fell in love with that ministry, and would still do it today. I loved this experience more than words can explain. When Rex left band, I thought we could continue. When we did get the chance to record again, God showed once again that He is faithful and He is Jehovah Jireh. Every hand of a kid raised for prayer at the concert.
Low points: Losing members on a regular basis. We were so road weary, but I wanted to have 4 guys that were like family and I never got that. One thing that I missed out on was my family while I was touring, birthdays, universes, etc. Setting the band down for a season, I had God-sized dreams that never happened and I am still trusting in God to accomplish these.
As a Christian musician do you care more about the music or the ministry?
Of course its all ministry first, music second. Music, or Christian music, should never be second-rate like a bad demo or lack of effort. Rex stated if we are doing this for God, the music should be first class and not be second to our secular counterparts.
You recently did a song on the Liberty n Justice album, "Welcome to The Revolution." The song was called "Rise." After this song was released we were flooded with hate mail and all kinds of other ridicule. Once and for all, did you know there was rap on this song before you sang it? And "my goodness man, what where you thinking?"
I loved being part of this project. I thought it was cool and it wasn't my first rap on a song — remember "Holy War?"
Why did you agree to appear on the next Liberty n' Justice album?
This is full-on, hard-rock explosion and no rap. This is going to amaze people!
On the credits of "In The Kingdom" the songwriter of "In The Kingdom" is listed as Dez Dickerson, a former A&R guy at StarSong. When he played you this song, what was your initial reaction?
I loved it! I wondered if I could sing it as good as Dez. It took us in a new direction and I knew this song is a must and the title of the CD. Plus, it's our best-known song.
How involved are you in your local church, and what do you believe?
I am very involved. I have been going to the same church for the past 11 years. I go to a 4 square church called New Song Christian Fellowship. The pastor is Dale Everest.
I believe God is God and I am a man, fallen. I believe in the Holy Spirit who rejuvenates a man. I believe in the blood of Jesus that covers our transgressions. I believe Christ is my savior and the risen Messiah. I am looking for a door to open to teach and pastor. I treasure my calling and one day, when my singing is done, I would like to use this gift to preach. I'm just waiting for the door to open and someone to call.
What is the real reason Rex left the band after the "High Gear" album? The rumor was that he couldn't take doing another remake of "In The Kingdom" like you guys did with "In America."
That is so true. At the end of "High Gear," we were running out of ideas. After that album we knew one of us had to leave. We just ran out of fresh ideas. Rex went on to do a solo CD and form the band King James. And I continued White Cross.
A couple of years ago, you and Rex tried to do a reunion at Cornerstone. What happened there? I heard something about your voice giving out and another tiff between you and Rex?
It was really difficult. We had a few days to practice and I blew my pipes, but we got along pretty good at that show. A couple of other reunion shows you could tell our relationship wasn't that good. I had a great job in Nashville and Rex told me to do these shows and I would receive x-amount of dollars. You have to understand, I have a calling — but I have a duty to my family as well. The money did not show and I told Rex not to call me until he does what he agreed to do. Two years later, Rex called and said he had a check for me and would like to work our problems out.
What does 2005 and beyond hold for Scott Wenzel, the musician?
New music. God has a new page for me, and I believe a new page starting over with Rex.
And finally, a LNJ 4-ALL word association. We will mention a name or thing, and you give us your thoughts:
Rex Carroll (White Cross)
Doug Van Pelt (HM Magazine)
Dale Thompson (Bride)
Fellow warrior and a comrade, a great guy. Funny as well! He reminds me of John the Baptist, rough-edged and wild.
Josh Kramer (Saint)
Love his vocals. I still love the first two Saint records! Josh is an old friend.
David Bach (Guardian)
Gentle heart, but a rocker
Samme Palermo (The Living Rock Show)
A dad spiritually and a good friend. I need to get a hold him
Quentin Gibson (guitar player)
My favorite. If I I could work with any man for the rest of my life, this would be the man. We still talk. He is a good friend with a great demeanor and a great guitar player.
John Schlitt (Petra)
I love this man! He is my hero. John is a great encourager and loves his God and his family. He is not playing about his faith, he is the real thing.
Justin Murr (Liberty n' Justice)
Heart after God. He has a stored treasure in heaven. He really wants Gods will in his life.
Dez Dickerson (Absolute Records)
Hero. He played with Prince. I knew him as an A&R guy. He was the guy, he molded and took White Cross to the next level
Les Carlson (Bloodgood)
Another hero of mine. He has a voice of gold, the richest sounding voice I have heard.
Stephen Pearcey (Ratt)
To be honest, Rex was the first to say that I sounded like him, but I didn't know who he was. I was listening to Rez Band and Petra at the time and not listening to secular music. We fashioned some of our music after them, since the comparisons where there.
Well there you have it! Wow, start spreading news... White Cross is back!