Tim Gaines, former Stryper bassist gives us the lowdown on his past, present, and future!.
Tim, tell us what you've been up to.
Right after the Stryper reunion tour my wife and I relocated from Los Angeles to Nashville. We love it out here.
I built a home studio mainly for songwriting and demo work, and started doing a few outside sessions for friends. In 2004 I started working for Provident Music, which is a Christian record label. After about 6 months they started downsizing and my position was phased out. Back to doing demo work... In 2005 I was approached by Guitar Center to take over their internet sales for their Nashville location, and that is what I have been doing since then. So I guess you can say that I traded my bass for an office job. Not that I have given up playing music. I still do have a desire to play, but my main focus has been on worship music and playing with my wife Irene in our church. That has been a very satisfying thing for me musically. It is an honor to worship God with the talent He gave me.
As far as websites and email, I have pretty much let my website go. I have lost interest in maintaining it. I spend most of my internet time at work, so when I get home the last thing I want to do is look at a computer screen. But I do keep a Myspace account, and have a lot of fun with that. If people want to contact me my info is below.
Come check me out on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/timgainesmusic
Tim Gaines Music Productions
PO BOX 681171
Franklin, TN 37064
Okay, let us just get the rough question out of the way. We have read criticism of you in some places for what you said about hard rock/metal music. How do you really feel about the genre and would you still play in the right rock band if the gig came along?
I don't have anything against rock music. I love any good music; rock, jazz, country, classical, etc. My position as a bass player is that there are other styles of music which are more rewarding for my particular instrument than heavy metal. As you mature musically, you have a need to grow and play what is in your heart.
For me heavy metal was something I enjoyed playing when I was younger, but it was not satisfying for me the way we were doing it in Stryper anymore. For me Stryper was becoming like Spinal Tap. But at the same time I have played in other "metal"-type bands like Sin Dizzy for example, and have had complete satisfaction as a player because I wasn't limited to a formula. In Sin Dizzy I had freedom to experiment and play what was coming from my heart, and I think we made a great album because of that freedom. So yes, if the "right" gig came along I would play "metal" (for lack of a better term) as long as I was not held back from doing what I do best.
Tim, how did you get involved in Stryper? What was your real reason for leaving?
In August 1972 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. As a teenager I ended up doing my own thing and became involved with music and bands and Hollywood. I had gotten involved in a lot of garbage that could have killed me. I was just empty inside and I knew that God was calling me back to him. The people I hung out with were as miserable as I was. One of those friends was Michael Guido. He was the drummer in a band with me, and he accepted Christ in January 1983. I saw such a radical change in his life that I could not deny God any longer and I rededicated my life to Christ. I started attending Calvary Chapel in West Covina, Calif. which was a totally new experience for me because this church was different. The pastor wore blue jeans and people just came as they were; no suits or haircuts. Pastor Raul was teaching out of the book of Revelation and it was like a light went on. I was hearing the Word of God and it was taking root in my heart.
At this point I had quit playing in my band Stormer, and was just growing in the Lord. I played in the worship band every now and then, but musically I was not doing anything. I had been feeling God's calling to go into music ministry, and so I prayed one night for God to use me. It was now August 1983, and the very next day I got a phone call from Robert Sweet. He said they had been praying for a bass player. They had seen an advertisement of my former band Stormer, and noticed I was not in the lineup. Robert called my former singer who told him that I had quit the band and had become a "Jesus freak." He then gave Robert my phone number.
The next day I went to meet with the guys, and listened to their demo tape of "From Wrong To Right". After hearing that song, I knew that God was orchestrating something really cool. We prayed together and that became the beginning of what would become Stryper.
Fast forward 20 years. I had been through a lot with Stryper, both good and bad. I had wanted nothing more than to put the band back together and continue on with ministry. And that's what happened. But this time it was different. I can't really explain what it was, but something had changed. Every night of the reunion tour I kept feeling inside "your time here is over," "it's time to move on," "you're not being used here anymore." I would get on stage every night and I couldn't move around and "rock out." I didn't want people to focus on me in idol worship. I didn't want to take any glory away from what God was doing through the Spirit. And so all I could do every night was just pray while I was playing. Stryper had changed, and I had changed, and I knew God was calling me out.
After some private turn of events within the band, and after much prayer, I parted ways with the band in August 2004 — exactly 21 years to the day that I had joined.
Have you had a chance to listen to Stryper's "Reborn" CD and what do you think of it?
I have not heard the new Stryper album yet. From what people are saying, it must be pretty good.
You are married to an excellent singer named Irene Kelly. How is her career going and how did you guys meet?
Irene and I were introduced by a mutual friend and wonderful songwriter here in Nashville named Brian Emmel in 1996. Irene had been writing some songs and asked if I would play bass on her demo. I had been working on some fretless stuff and ended up playing fretless on her demo. She asked if I would like to play with her around LA doing some coffee houses and churches. So we started playing together. Her music gave me freedom to experiment and to play with much more feeling. It was a very positive change for me musically, and it helped me through a very trying time in my life. As time went on, we fell in love with each other. We eventually married in 2002.
We released a CD in 2000 that I produced and played on called "If You Were Here." Irene has done pretty well here in Nashville since our move. She has mainly focused on songwriting and has hooked up with some really great writers in town. She has done gigs as a backup vocalist. She has done a lot of stuff with Bryan Duncan: TV appearances, live performances, and she is on his "Live In Music City" DVD/CD. She has also joined a band here in town as a keyboardist and backup vocalist called the Apocalyptic Cowboys, and is currently in the studio working on an album with them. She also sings at our church on Sundays in the worship team.
We have heard you live close to White Cross's Scott Wenzel. Have you ever passed his house and yelled "get a haircut!"? If not, how often do you guys run into each other? Do you guys ever talk about … you know … Rex?
Scott is a great person and has a heart for God. We spent this last Thanksgiving in their home with their family. Irene and Lisa (Scott's wife) are good friends, too. We put a little cover band together for Lisa's birthday last year and set up a stage in front of their home and played Aerosmith, Zeppelin, and Rod Stewart songs. We had the whole neighborhood out for the party. It was fun.
Rex, Scott, and I got together last April to talk about doing a few shows with me playing bass for White Cross. For whatever reason the shows got cancelled, and I have moved on to other things.
In your opinion, what is the current state of Christian music?
If it ministers to people, or if the Holy Spirit is moving through it, I think it is great. There are many spiritually mature artists here ministering through the music that God has given them. That is what the Christian music scene is supposed to be about right? Ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In all honesty, I don't feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in most of the Christian music today. I don't see the Spirit inspiring albums that have the impact as did something like Keith Green's "No Compromise." Why? Because the Christian music industry is lukewarm.
Name the three highest points and the three lowest points of your musical career to date.
- Stryper's success. Being a part of something so huge that God used it to bring thousands of people to Him by his Holy Spirit.
- Playing music with my wife Irene and being able to musically minister to people.
- Playing in our church worship team and being a part of leading 1000 people in worship of our Father on Sunday mornings. That is an honor.
I would say the whole period from the end of "In God We Trust" tour through the mid 1990s were particularly low for me musically and spiritually.
You recently played on the new LNJ CD "Soundtrack of a Soul" on the song "Another Nail," which also features vocals by Sebastian Bach and guitars by Keri Kelli. How did you get involved in this project and what do you think of the song?
I was solicited to do the project via the internet. In fact the whole thing was done right over the internet. I received the song through an MP3 email attachment, recorded my bass tracks here in my home studio, and mailed the completed tracks back on a CD to be added into the project. It's funny because I was originally going to play on a different song that was not so heavy, but after hearing "Another Nail," I could just feel that song so much better. I am honored to have been a part of it.
Stryper toured with some really great bands. Who was your favorite to tour with and who would you have liked to see quit mid-tour?
We toured with so many different bands that I don't think that I can remember them all. Of all of the bands we toured with I would say some of my favorites were Hurricane, TNT, Loudness, and White Lion. I can't really think of any that I didn't like, although there were times when we would have some really bad local bands open the shows.
On the same subject, the Bible states we all fall short of the glory of God, meaning we all sin. With Stryper touring with secular bands did you guys ever get tempted or fall into temptation with all the "things" the road has to offer?
It was not much different than any other Christians life except that everything is magnified 100 times because you are in the spotlight. Satan wants you to fall, especially under those circumstances of being in the public eye. So it is a matter of choice, are you going to give in to temptation or are you going to follow the way out that God has provided?
How involved are you in your local church, and what do you believe?
My wife and I are very involved with our local church. We just love our church. We feel that God brought us all the way out here to Tennessee just so we could be a part of this body of believers. We both serve in the music ministry as well as in other areas too.
What do I believe? I believe in the Word of God. I believe the Bible is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to Salvation. I believe we are living in what the Bible says are the last days, and that Christ will return soon for his bride — the church.
Tell me your thoughts on your CD "Against The Law."
Musically, it was the best album that Stryper has done to date. It was written and recorded by all four members of Stryper, so therefore it is a true Stryper band album. It was written at a time when we were spiritually worn out. We had been pretty much on the road for 4 or 5 years by this time and we were tired. We had continually been ripped apart by the church during these years. With so many denominational issues, we could please no one. We were picketed every night by some church group, we were accused of every kind of sin you could imagine. "Against The Law" was a song that addressed those issues. We were saying that we are against those man-made laws … modern-day Pharisees. Those people who Christ said swallow a camel and strain on a gnat.
The last of Tim Gaines
last time you prayed
Before I started this interview
last time you played a Stryper CD
Can't remember that far back... probably before the reunion tour to brush up on some of the songs.
last movie you saw
War of the Worlds
last time you told Irene "I love you"
This morning when we woke up.
last time your cursed
last night in traffic
last time you asked forgiveness for cursing
last night in traffic
last time you wished you did not start this interview
Which do you prefer and why …
pop music or rock music?
I love any good music regardless of its style, but I guess it would be 60's and 70's pop music
live or studio gigs?
I love the studio … just in my blood.
"To Hell With The Devil" or "Soldiers Under Command"?
Soldiers Under Command.
Michael or Robert Sweet?
Are you trying to start a feud? Both the same.
What does 2006 hold for Tim Gaines?
God only knows the answer to that. I am just along for the ride.
And finally, a Liberty n' Justice 4-ALL word association. We will mention a name or thing, and you give us your thoughts:
Oz Fox (Stryper)
My best friend... hey Oz thanks for calling me when you were in town!!
Jamie Rowe (Guardian)
I think he and I share the same vision.. also one of the funniest men walking the planet.
Bryan Duncan (Singer)
Bryan doesn't know it but I have learned many spiritual lessons from him. My favorite - "There is a God, you're not him." It was an honor to play with him.
Tony Harnell (TNT)
Pete Loran (Trixter)
Sebastian Bach (Skid Row)
Rex Carroll (White Cross)
Dale Thompson (Bride)
Tracy Ferrie (Stryper)
Great bass player and wonderful Christian person. Glad to see someone like him in the band
Doug Van Pelt (HM Magazine)