By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries and the ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERUQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – April 29, 2015) — For those familiar with rock music, the names Stephen Christian and Aaron Gillespie will be all too familiar. Both are architects of the modern form.
Stephen Christian is the lead vocalist of the mega-band, Anberlin. Having seven studio albums with hundreds of thousands of sales, Stephen Christian has seen his band tour the world and climb Billboard rock charts.
Aaron Gillespie is the former drummer and front man of the rock band, Underoath. With two Grammy nominations and several hit record on the Billboard charts, Gillespie spends his time producing, writing, and touring with the rock band, Paramore.
There’s a lot in common between the two musicians. Both are from Florida. Both have successful musical careers. And both love their family and God.
Now there’s one more thing they share in common: a collaboration on a new song, Army of Love, to help children caught in the crossfire of terror for the ministry Reload Love. The song will be released in late Spring of 2015.
Reload Love is a relief and awareness organization based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Its focus is to bring awareness and support to children caught in terror. Their motto is “We are the army of love. We dream of a day when children do not fear for their lives. By transforming spent bullets we help heal little ones around the world whose lives have been damaged by the ugliness of terrorism.”
It’s a timely organization; terrorism and its effects are felt everywhere around the world.
I reached out to Brian Nixon—one of the co-writers of the song, Army of Love—to give some input regarding terrorism, Reload Love, and the song.
Do you have any idea on the amount of deaths due to terrorism, I ask?
“I’ve read that terrorism has caused over 130,000 fatalities around the world between the years 2006-2013. And according to ABC News, 17,800 people were killed around the world in terrorist acts in 2013. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/04/state-17800-plus-people-killed-globally-in-terrorist-attacks-in-2013/
These are frightening numbers, increasing every day. And in the midst of these numbers are children, helpless and harmed. And here is where Reload Loves steps in, helping those children deal with the effects of terrorism.
I ask Brian about Reload Love.
“Reload Love was founded by Lenya Heitzig for the sole purpose of helping children caught in terror. She had the idea of turning bullets into jewelry charms to help babies. Her team—Jennifer Santiago, Murray Byrne, and Jarrett Petero—have traveled to Burma and the Middle East to scout out areas to assist, and have assessed the damage of terrorist acts on children. It’s an amazing ministry.”
I asked Brian Nixon how the song, Army of Love, began.
“It happened quite quickly. Nathan Heitzig—one of the Executive Pastors at Calvary Albuquerque—asked the worship team to write a song for Reload Love. I happened to be in the meetings where it was discussed. So right after the meeting, Stuart Laws, Ryan Wylie, Tamara Aragon, and myself went into a room and wrote the basic song structure. I came up with the verse melody, Stuart did the pre-chorus and chorus, and Tamara wrote the bridge melody. Then Ryan and Stuart took the song—worked out the lyrics, chords, and arrangement—and it was performed two weeks later for the Reload Love awareness campaign. People really seemed to like it.”
How did you get the two big names to sing on the song, I ask?
“Again, that was Nathan. Aaron had been working with our worship team on a new album project called the War is Over. Aaron is the producer of the album. So it was natural to have him sing back up and play most of the instruments. Stephen is a friend of the ministry who happened to be in town to lead worship. Nathan asked Stephen to sing the song. The rest was put together by our engineer, Kenny Riley.”
Who played most of the instruments on the song?
“Aaron did most of the instrument work on the recording. I believe Kenny played some guitar and I played the Moog Synthesizer.”
Is the song like the music of Anberlin or Underoath?
“Not really. Both Anberlin and Underoath are harder rock bands. Army of Love is more on the pop side. But both guys do an amazing job with the vocals, though. Talk about talent—these guys are the real deal; great musicians.”
How will the song help Reload Love?
“All proceeds of the sale of the song will go directly to Reload Love. Our prayer is that people will download the song from the website—reloadlove.com. 100% of the money will be directed towards the support and assistance of children caught in terror.”
Do you think there will be future partnerships between Aaron Gillespie and Stephen Christian?
“Hard to say. Both are friends of our church, Calvary Albuquerque. And both are frequent guests at our worship services. I’d love to see the two collaborate more. We can only hope. For the time being—let’s say that their partnership will be a blessing for many children around the world.”
For more information about Reload Love, click here: www.reloadlove.com
To follow Reload Love on Facebook, click here: https://www.facebook.com/ireloadlove?ref=br_rs
For updated YouTube videos, click here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ireloadlove
To read a story about an historic terror event, read my story about How Idi Amin changed my life while I was writing, with Ray Barnett, the book, Uganda Holocaust: http://patch.com/california/lakeforest-ca/bp–how-idi-amin-the-butcher-of-uganda-changed-my-life708577d29
Photo captions: 1) Aaron Gillespie of Underoath and Paramore. 2) Brian Nixon. 3) Reload Love necklace. 4) Uganda Holocaust cover.
Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 51 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is a novel about the life of Jesus through the eyes of his mother called “Mary: My Story from Bethlehem to Calvary”. For more information, please go to http://marythebook.com/, where you can find details of how to order the book.
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