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KEVIN MAX

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       For more than a decade I’ve been dreaming about this project. Since the year 2001, I’ve been consistently putting out solo albums, but this Revisiting This Planet project has continually been on my heart and mind.  So...  I decided to partner with GENEROSITY ROCKS to help me raise the funds to make this dream a reality.  But first, here’s the story...

 

       Larry Norman is affectionately known as “The Godfather of Contemporary Christian Music”.  To me he was my friend, mentor and the ultimate example of a spiritual artist. I first heard his groundbreaking album Only Visiting This Planet when I was growing up in Michigan as a teenager.  What struck me immediately was how the music sounded like everything else I  was listening to but the lyrics were decidedly bold in their acclamation of faith.  As a kid growing up in the church, struggling to reconcile my love for rock and roll and my belief in God, Larry was one of the few artists I could relate to. 

 

       It goes without saying that Larry’s timeless album Only Visiting This Planet opened up the doors for countless artists like me wanting to express their beliefs in an honest and bold way, without sacrificing the depth of creativity in the songwriting and production.  Larry was an artist that also related to those on the fringes of society.  The misfits.  Of which I still consider myself. 

 

       My original band dcTalk, decided to cover one of the songs from Only Visiting This Planet during the tour of our album Jesus Freak.  Larry’s song “I Wish We’d all Been Ready” was a staple in our set.  Each night as I sang the song it brought me back to the first time I encountered the music of Larry Norman.  To say that the songs and the reverberating heart of Larry touched peoples hearts all over the world would be an understatement. 

 

       I became friends with Larry after he guested on many shows during our tour, performing together at many venues and industry events. He would visit me in Nashville whenever he was passing through and we would go out to dinner and have mind bending conversations about his life and the music.  He would take me to my favorite music store Tower Records and buy me countless albums without letting me pay a dime.  He became someone that I not only looked up to musically but personally.  Without a doubt, Larry Norman was to me, a humble, intelligent, humorous and dedicated friend. He eventually sang background vocals on my first solo album “Stereotype Be’, not wanting to take credit and asking me to allow him to do it under the radar.  Larry will always represent the very heart of a true artist to me. 

 

       The corner of the music industry that calls itself ‘CCM’ or Christian Music, has little sense of its own history. I want to make this project Revisiting This Planet as a statement to listeners everywhere that this album was a cornerstone album to many generations.  It also stands its ground within the general market or secular rock territories as being among one of the very best storyteller records…. taking its place among the ranks of Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Johnny Cash. 

 

       Revisiting This Planet will be produced by my friend John Mark Painter of the group Fleming and John.  My friend John has been producing my own solo albums for the last 5 years. Before working on my projects, he’s worked closely with artists such as Ben Folds, Switchfoot, Steve Taylor as well as many TV and film soundtracks. 

 

        We aim to bring in the original players from Larry’s album Only Visiting This Planet as well as close family and friends of Larry’s to guest on the project. Mike Norman (Larry’s son) will be an important voice in helping us craft the arrangement of the songs as well as curating the different characters that will appear on the album. 

 

       I need YOU to help us make this record. I believe it will be a beautiful project and a statement to anyone that ever wondered about Larry and the foundational music of the early 1970’s.  We want to bring this album to a whole new group of listeners.  Only Visiting This Planet is just as relevant and authentic now as it was when it was first released.  

 

       Consider the lyrics to the song “The Great American Novel” off of that album as an example of why this album is so important to bring to life again: 

 

I was born and raised an orphan in a land that once was free

In a land that poured its love out on the moon;

And I grew up in the shadows of your silos filled with grain,

But you never helped to fill my empty spoon.

And when I was ten you murdered law with courtroom politics,

And you learned to make a lie sound just like truth;

But I know you better now and I don't fall for all your tricks,

And you've lost the one advantage of my youth.

You kill a black man at midnight just for talking to your daughter,

Then you make his wife your mistress 

and you leave her without water;

And the sheet you wear upon your face 

is the sheet your children sleep on,

At every meal you say a prayer; 

you don't believe but still you keep on.

And your money says in God we trust,

But it's against the law to pray in school;

You say we beat the Russians to the moon,

And I say you starved your children to do it.

You are far across the ocean but the war is not your own,

And while you're winning theirs, 

you're gonna lose the one at home;

Do you really think the only way to bring about the peace

Is to sacrifice your children and kill all your enemies?

The politicians all make speeches 

while the news men all take note,

And they exaggerate the issues 

as they shove them down our throats;

Is it really up to them whether this country sinks or floats?

Well I wonder who would lead us if none of us would vote.

Well my phone is tapped and my lips are chapped from whispering through the fence,

You know every move I make, or is that just coincidence?

Well you try to make my way of life a little less like jail,

If I promise to make tapes and slides 

and send them through the mail.

And your money says in God we trust,

But it's against the law to pray in school;

You say we beat the Russians to the moon,

And I say you starved your children to do it.

You say all men are equal, all men are brothers,

Then why are the rich more equal than others?

Don't ask me for the answer, I've only got one:

That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son.

 

       My friend and Larry’s long time close friend Allen Flemming (who is set to write Larry’s biography titled Rebel Poet), will add narration to the album.  He has this to say about this project:

 

 

“This project  is made up of people who actually knew Larry Norman personally, like his son Mike Norman.  It’s for people who want to experience the love of Christ beyond our scope of theology.  Especially those whose hearts are broken, everyday when they recall their mother being shot, or their father being lynched, or their daughter raped or their neighbors crucified because of the color of their skin.  Revisiting Larry’s timeless album Only Visiting this Planet is an outer limits project only a few artists have ever had the wings to reach.  Mahalia Jackson, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, U2, Nina Hagen, David Bowie, Radiohead, Frank Black, Larry Norman and a few others are a part of this echelon.  Kevin Max is one of these.  We are not just covering a song!  Kevin’s dream is to reveal Larry Norman’s

Jesus Folk/Rock album, Only Visiting This Planet, as the treasure that it is.  The purpose is to reveal Larry’s lyrics in such a way the broken-hearted orphans of Eden of this generation can feel God’s everlasting glamorous love.”

                                                                              - Allen Flemming

 

We see Larry’s lyrical influence again in a excerpt from his song The Great American Novel, but this time it hits home with a quote from Larry’s son.  

 

Don't ask me for the answers / I've only got one / That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son. 

 

“Larry spoke to all of us and he spoke a message that is timeless and has been echoing throughout the ages. Who is God and who is man? Larry didn't obtain the end-all/be-all answer, but he helped us to continue asking the question in the context of war, changes in government, social issues, poverty, suffering and the human experience. I think because this question needs to be in all of our minds, this album needs to be revisited by all of us too. At least I need to revisit it and I hope to go on this journey with all of you. 

                                                                                 - Mike Norman

 

 

       This project is important to me.  It’s also special to so many of us as musicians and fans who have been deeply impacted for good by Larry, his life and his songs.  

 

       Here’s how you can partner with us.  All gifts are tax-deductible and appreciated.  As donors you will receive detailed information via email once you sign for my email list at www.kevinmax.com

 

Thank you!

 

Kevin Max