Interview: David Crowder's Last Words
That the David Crowder Band is calling it quits is no surprise; they announced it on their website last May, saying that a fall tour, and an album to follow shortly thereafter, would be their last.
It's been 16 years Crowder, then a student at Baylor University, and his friend Chris Seay formed University Baptist Church in Waco—where Crowder was the worship leader and where DCB was eventually born. The band recorded a two indie CDs in the late '90s, and as their notoriety spread, they were signed by sixstepsrecords. They went on to make six more studio albums, culminating with the double-disc, 34-track finale, Give Us Rest (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]), which releases today.
Along the way, they have made some of the more creative modern worship music in a genre that often lacks inventiveness, while playing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans and worshipers. They have encountered joy and tragedy, piled up a lot of road stories and memories, and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Now each of them looks ahead to whatever comes next—and some told us that they really don't yet know.
We had a nice long conversation with Crowder recently, and we started at the beginning by asking him how the band came together in the first place. Crowder, 42, laughed as he recounted the story of quasi-auditions centered around, shall we say, "shaker tunes."
How did the band come together?
It seems like the door that everybody walked through was the shaker. Everybody started at some point on stage at the church playing a shaker, because it felt like it was a good way for me to find out if they had any rhythm at all. So it was like, "Hey, man, are you around this Sunday?" And they'd be like, "Yeah." "Can you play some percussion stuff?" Then we'd just give them a shaker and see what happened. Back then, the shakers were all about the size of an egg.
And once you graduated to the cantaloupe-sized shaker, you were in the band!
Yeah, a done deal! It was very tedious and strenuous. (Laughs)
When you announced last May that you were disbanding, it was apparent that this was a decision you all had been contemplating for some time—like you always knew you had a certain number of albums to do, and then stop.
Yeah, there was always the cycle. We didn't want to be too presumptuous, but when we signed with the label, we just did a three-record deal, and an option to come back with another three-record deal. Once we got into the first three records and saw this might have some longevity to it, we started looking past those three records and realized we had a scope that involved six records. We had a lot of stuff on paper and in conversations about how they all related to each other and what we wanted each of them, but we could never see past the sixth record.
Was that from the very beginning?
After our first record, once we started getting asked to do a lot of stuff outside of Waco and we realized, my goodness, this band thing might have something to it. But most of us really weren't thinking that far ahead—some were still in school, a couple were pre-med, some had other jobs. I thought I was going to head back to Texarkana and take over my dad's insurance agency. It sort of snuck up on us. We just didn't feel like this was something that you could do [for a career]. We never realized what it would become.
But once we said, yes, let's do this, we really felt compelled to go for it, like this is what we're supposed to be doing. And there was this arc to it that we felt that we had a handle on. We'd make plans and they'd shift and change, but overall the original map is still very much intact as we intended it toward the front end of things. We couldn't ever see past record six. At the end of the first contract, everybody was still ready to keep going. Absolutely. But as we started nearing record number six, we started trying to conjure up ideas beyond that, and we couldn't see past it. It was really apparent that this is the end, and then we're off to other stuff.