I couldn’t tell you where I met these guys, but I’m glad I did. I first met Dean… actually, I haven’t met any of the other band members. But I met Dean and was immediately impressive. Not only is he a really nice guy, he also is the lead singer in a local Christian rock band. Yes… Christian rock band. I love Christian music, and these guys produce some impressive tracks. Each song has a message and they deliver it with a serious polished performance. These guys impressed me so much I asked them to appear on the March 2012 rickyleepotts.com presents six bands for six bucks. Did I mention how nice Dean is? Anyway, part of them being on a show is an interview. I would have interviewed them regardless… I like working with bands that are filled with talent. I can’t wait to see them rock this March and it is my pleasure to introduce you to Follower.
Follower… what are we following?
Jesus. We as a band are doing our best to follow Jesus Christ our Savior. It’s about going way beyond simple belief or being a “fan” of Him.
You guys are a Christian rock band. Wait a second… the words Christian and rock usually don’t go together. Please elaborate.
Those words DO go together! We love rock music. People listen to, and love rock music. What a great opportunity to introduce God in a special way – through Christian ROCK. The genre of music is irrelevant. God can speak through any genre as long as the words point to Him!
Who writes all of your lyrics? Where do you get inspiration for a new track?
Dean Rebhorn, our lead singer/rhythm guitarist wrote the songs for our debut album “Cold World Disturbance”. His inspiration for writing songs comes from scripture (Isaiah 49 on “Engraved” and biblical book of Psalms on “The Enemy Revealed” for example) and the personal struggles, challenges and mountain top experiences maturing Christians can relate to. A couple of the songs were inspired from a Kairos Prison Ministry friend he’s served with, Jim Denny, through daily emailed devotionals. “Get Outside the Building” is an example of this. That song introduces three different “types” of Christians and the fact that we as Christians often just keep the “church” inside it’s own walls. Jesus’ commission is so opposite of this, hence the encouragement to get OUTSIDE of the walls and plant seeds of faith to everyone until it HURTS!
You guys are “sponsored by Jesus”. What does that mean to you?
That is a statement that He alone leads us and we are staying literally behind Him, following. We as a band are not interested in the sponsorship of this world leading what we do. We’re not OF this world, just in it.
We start every performance with these words to remind us who we’re about to sing for and to be bold and claim His grace, love, and the difference He’s made in our lives. Eternally.
Where do you guys go to church?
We are all members at four different churches, three of which are in the Indianapolis area and one in Anderson, Indiana, believe it or not. And let us take an opportunity to say it here: it’s not the denomination that means anything to us. That’s part of religion and we have no desire to be a part of those man-made differences therein. We are simply important parts of the body of Christ at the churches where we are members.
Tell me a little bit more about REBORN H Entertainment
(Laughs.) It’s the same o’ story: that’s the business name for the business side of the band. The name is simply Rebhorn (Dean’s last name) minus the “H”. This came about because Dean likes to say, God took the “H”ell out of Him and now he’s reborn, in Christ!
Do you guys have jobs outside of music?
Oh yes. Three of the four of us do. Unless we want to eat rice and beans for the rest of our lives it’s kind of a “must” at the moment! Dean voluntarily left the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company after 20 years as he felt the strong pull to do something more closely aligned to Christ. Music was the only thing he thought he could do to use a spiritual gift of music/songwriting and that’s how Follower began. He praises God daily for the blessing that his wife has a stable job as he’s acting as band manager/promoter in addition to writing music.
Mark is an IT professional, Jeff is a concrete specialist, and John Mark is a full-time student along with working at a hardware store and running an additional side business. We’re busy people!
I recently discovered MIKESCHAIR. There are SO MANY good Christian rock bands out there. Who are some of your favorite bands?
There are definitely really good Christian rock bands out there. We tend to like artists who bring something different to the table. Among our favorites include Switchfoot, ThirdDay, Theocracy, Disciple, Big Daddy Weave, Kutless, Mercy Me, Pete Stewart/Tait, Newsboys, Delirous!, and Todd Agnew. Todd is a mix of Johnny Cash’s voice with the deep, deep lyrical giftedness of Rich Mullins. Awesome. Locally, just some of our favorites are Made Alive, The Protest, Outer Sanctum and the youngest of Christian rockers around: Silver From The Flames. There are SO many good Indiana Christian rock bands, these are just a few of our favorites!
You guys are all over Facebook and Twitter. Who runs all of those accounts? Do you ever run out of things to say?
Dean runs the accounts and, no. Never. (Laughs.)
Tell me a little bit more about Cold World Disturbance.
Our favorite question! This album name came from a line within the song Man With a Bible. We as true Christians are in a battle (not a “war”, the “war” has been won!) in this cold-hearted, sin-full, loaded-with-darkness world we live in. The “disturbance” is all of us as saved Christian followers sharing Jesus Christ and His Light to this world, thus disturbing the secular status-quo’s, darkness, and lies that this world through Satan present.
It’s us doing our part, being Christ’s hand and feet while being obedient, faithful and BOLD for Him until His return. This “disturbance” will win, we’ve read the end of “the book”… only because of Christ’s blood so humbly shed on the cross.
Dean, my dad is from Terre Haute. He went to Terre Haute South. Where did you go to school?
NOT THAT SCHOOL!!! (Laughs.) As you well know then, there’s a huge rivalry between the two big schools in Terre Haute, Indiana. This is really hilarious in hindsight because if I remember correctly the schools were built to the same blueprints and specifications by the same architects and construction company! So there’s not much to “claim” as unique. or better.
I’m a proud Terre Haute North Patriot, who still has a problem with THS folks screaming “BRAVES” at the end of the national anthem! Oh, and Anthony Thompson, IU running back and THN grad, should have won the 1989 Heisman Trophy, just sayin’!
What would you be doing if you were not performing?
We’d be leading music at our respective churches which is far from performing. That’s one big reason we formed the band. We have all been involved in our church music ministries which are tailored to not “performing”, adjusting keys for all people to easily sing along and choosing from only “certain” praise and worship songs that are CCLI-approved.
We are Follower to… perform original ROCK for Christ.
What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played for? The smallest?
We were blessed to perform at an Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference in 2011 where about 300 men attended. The smallest crowd was a Sunday night at a bar where… we think the sound guy attended! (Laughs). Seriously that night probably 6 people, not including bands, showed up. But, that night was also a blessed one because Dean met someone with whom He got to share Christ and pray with that night. And as a friend on FB pointed out, that interaction probably wouldn’t have occurred had 100 people been there! That’s why we do what we do.
You guys will be appearing on the next rickyleepotts.com presents six bands for six bucks here in Indianapolis. You getting excited for the show?
We’ve been excited from day 1… several months ago after being asked to rock at six4six and we’re only getting more stoked! To be considered for this show while being obviously known as a Christian band just shows us that not only you are open to diversity in music but also the people at Birdy’s Bar & Grill! Honestly, we’ve also become quite enamored with the sound there. The PA is great and it’s such a great layout for a large show like six4six. The people in the balcony will not want to play pool, that’s for sure! We cannot wait to play there on a Saturday night. On March 3 Birdy’s will be absolutely ROCKING and we know God will bring the someone(s) who need to hear what we’re singing about and maybe want to seek some change in the priorities in their life.
I haven’t seen you live yet… what can I expect from a live performance?
Most importantly, you can expect God moving through the lyrics feeding your mind with something secular music just… can’t.
Secondly, expect the sound on our album! That may sound silly, but with so bands putting what seems like 50-60 layers of sound on their recordings along with massive use of auto-tune and having 5-6 figure recording studio budgets it’s not the norm anymore for a band to enable a “real” sound on-stage. We purposefully recorded our album in the manner of “if we can’t do it live then we aren’t recording it that way”.
We’ve seen so many bands play live lately that sound nothing like their recordings, unless they sing over pre-recorded tracks! We think we’ll surprise the crowd at six4six with our tone (what? tone?!?) and live sound through a fun, interactive experience.
Follower supports a ton of ministries and organizations. I noticed you support Outreach Inc. My girlfriend actually used to volunteer for them. That is a GREAT organization. With all of these ministries and organizations you support, where do you come in? Do you volunteer or are you just aware of their goals?
Praise God for your girlfriend’s action! She sounds like a “keeper” bro. She has surely placed a crown at the foot of His throne! There are SO many ways to get involved and show Christ’s love in Indy and elsewhere. Outreach, Inc. is an awesome example of Christians taking Christ to “the least of these” in the most humble of places.
We are personally and actively involved with the incredible Kairos Prison Ministry, Great Banquet (Lamplight Ministries, Walk Through Emmaus, etc.) weekend movement, Compassion International, among others listed on our “impact” webpage on www.followerband.com. We encourage and challenge Follower fans to get involved with helping others. There’s nothing that cures a self-pity party like getting out and helping someone else. It’s a very unique part of God’s design! And, yes of course… we’d LOVE to be actively working through the banners shown on our website showing the ministries of Shine-FM 88.3, Air1 90.5FM and K-LOVE 101.9FM if you know what we mean!!!
I want a Follower shirt. Where can I go to buy one of those?
That’s an ancient Chinese secret.
Seriously, these are available at our shows as of now. It’s incentive to let us get to meet you, share Christ through our MODERN classic rock music, and listen and pray with you should you so desire. If unable to ever come to a show, just send off $12 via PayPal to account email firstname.lastname@example.org and cite you’d like a tee along with size desired. All sizes are available in dark blue (with white logo) or ash gray (with dark blue logo) on front AND back. They’re limited edition (of 300) and will bring BIG VIP “benefits” when we see them on you in future shows when MercyMe … opens for us! Did we speak that into existence?
Your drummer is… he’s a lot younger than the rest of you. Not calling you guys old, just making an observation. Where did you guys meet him?
Oh puuulease! Remember, Abraham had children when he was about 120 years old. Who you (“not”) callin’ “old”! (Laughs.)
We are only old enough to remember what TONE and analog sound are and still forget what computerized music is! As for that younger guy, John Mark, he’s a talented drummer with a mature heart for Christ. We met him when his father Mark Olson, our bassist/keyboardist/vocalist introduced, his son, to us.
There are a LOT of stages here in the Circle City. What are your favorite stages to play?
We play some different stages than the typical Indy indie band plays. We also tend to lump the people running the show in with the stage we play on when thinking of stages we like as that is SO important to the whole experience of performing a show.
Birdy’s is definitely among our favorites, along with the 512 in Avon, the 2:10 up in Sharpsville and Tha Rawk in Shelbyville. The Underground in Cincinnati, Ohio is easily the most technically advanced venue we’ve rocked in and is well-known as maybe the best all-ages, dedicated Christian venue in the Midwest. That venue has a 360 degree rotation camera, many huge-screen TVs with live camera angles, 3 actual green rooms, and JBL speakers even on the ceiling all over the building for great sound everywhere. Oh, and they have the BEST homemade cookies at 3/$1.00.
When it comes down to it all though, every stage is a place where God can “perform” through us. THAT makes it good.
Do you ever get outside of Indianapolis? I bet you could get a TON of fans up in Chicago.
Cincinnati, Ohio is the furthest venue we’ve performed. We would love to get up to Chicago and bring modern classic Christian rock to the windiest of cities! Dean was born in Elmhurst, Illinois so it should be an innate thing to rock there!
No record label… are you looking for one?
If it means being able to still stay behind and follow God’s plan then bring it on. There are really only about 6 record labels in the Christian rock music sector that would be considered “major”. And here’s a challenge… ALL of Christian music sales (all genres) only account for 2% of total music sales in the USA according to a source of ours in the industry. A staggeringly low number in our view, especially since what, 70% of Americans call themselves Christians? Jesus might have challenged people with those numbers and that’s why we just said them here!
Dean. Jeff. Mark. John. All of your names are four letters. Is that a coincidence? Oh, and are Mark and John Mark related? (I bet they are!!!)
First, there’s no such thing as coincidence!
The 4-letter names are just in-line with the 4 gospels being four-letter named: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Oops! Doh! Almost. Seriously, that not something we’ve pondered yet is very insightful on your part.
Where do you guys practice?
Oh my, sensitive subject! We’re very precise about that practice word meaning something that happens alone at home. Rehearsal is something that occurs when the practice we’ve put in comes together.
OK, now that’s settled, we rehearse at the “Lofts of Westfield”. It has a cathedral ceiling with two skylights and is a very top-secret place where only Dean’s family, cat, the band, and his neighbors know about. And trust us, the neighbors down the road hear our new songs before anyone else!
I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?
GREAT question Ricky! Now we’re hungry too, you buyin’? There’s not much better in this world than fellowship over food, it’s totally biblical. Let’s see… Chinese? Mark Pi’s in Castleton. Italian? Bravo Italian Kitchen in College Park, Mama Corolla’s in Broad Ripple, or Iaria’s downtown. Pizza? Any Pizza King… sweet BBQ sauce/sausage/onion, oh yes!… a low-sodium diet nightmare! Or, Amore’ in Zionsville; fold that pizza UP and throw it down y’all!
You in a hurry Ricky? Well lets see… fast food? There’s only one. Chick-Fil-A. A Christian owned and operated company with incredibly good chicken sandwich. Extra pickles, don’t forget! There WILL be Chick-Fil-A in Heaven!
You have a ton of apps on your Facebook page. What is FundRazr all about?
That’s just an app that enables donations for projects, etc. For us, it’s a prayer/invite for Follower fans and followers of Christ to help the band raise unfortunately necessary funds toward recording our second album with a GRAMMY-winning producer in Nashville who’s interested in producing us. It’s simply a chance to help light be HEARD as we like to say… in the best, radio-quality way. If it happens it happens, and we’ll know the reason.
There are a lot of Christian music festivals every year. I got some press passes to Ichthus Music Festival this year. There are SO many good bands on that bill. Do you ever travel to festivals? Ichthus is THE classic, best-known Christian festival in the Midwest and has been spreading God through music for many, many years. Yes, the BIG, labeled good bands will definitely be on that bill. The guys in the band have attended these festivals and they’re typically VERY good shows with great fellowship opportunities. And yes, of course, we are sending Follower music to connections at the big festival and will see what happens. Prayers accepted!
What’s next for Follower? What does 2012 look like for you guys?
Life is a mystery, for sure! We couldn’t handle it if it wasn’t even though we think we want to know – God’s design for us to trust Him. From a more terrestrial view: we have a full album of songs ready to further develop! God is truly sending songs through Dean like he’d never have imagined. Maybe we should make a double- album “Elton John Yellow Brick Road” style? These new songs seem to be leaning toward putting more “modern” in the modern classic rock with a little more pop and technical instrumentation qualities than our straight-forward, wall-of-rock sound and harmony-focused sound on our debut album. We’ll be working those new songs up along with sending our just-released debut album “Cold World Disturbance” to labels, radio, etc. You know, the marketing thang!
We are hoping that a song like I Know I’m Alive, Engraved, or The Enemy Revealed might get airplay so it reaches people just like all bands hope. After all, if a song doesn’t reach a listener it is akin to a tree falling “silently” in a forest, right? We just feel like there’s much more at stake with our music than a typical secular band. You never know, a Follower song may inspire someone towards a life with Christ, eternally.
When it’s all said and done, and you are no longer making music what do you want to be remembered for? That question couldn’t be more simple to answer.
We hope we’re remembered for bringing people to Christ through modern classic rock… with lyrics the way God intended.
I see a QR code there on Facebook. Where does that take people? What if I don’t have a smartphone?
Ah, QR codes. What a world! That QR code box will take people straight to either rickyleepotts.com six4six, our band homepage we just mentioned, or our FB page at www.facebook.com/followerband depending on which one you’re speaking of!
QR codes everywhere! If you don’t have a smartphone… I guess it’s time to eBay the 8-track player and get one. You can’t be asking for yourself there. How can someone who owns a Smart car not own a… smartphone?
Do you have a favorite verse? Maybe a favorite prayer?
(Dean) My favorite bible verse is easily Romans 8:39 and thanks for asking! “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
That message from God through Paul gives me the strength and security to continue on as a sinner who’s fallen yet still getting up to serve Him. As for a favorite prayer? The Lord’s prayer. It’s exactly what Jesus told us to pray. ‘Nuff said.
How do you guys know The Protest?
Oh man. We are so blessed to know these awesome rockers for Christ! We first met them at a show at The Gear in Franklin, Indiana in 2011. It was an Outer Sanctum band CD release party show and an awesome one at that! We were blessed to meet their super-nice media/marketing guru Lisa Williams-Hillman and she introduced us to them that night. Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with them and thus get to know them before and after the show. Get this: they showed up at a show where we opened for Smalltown Poets and Echoing Angels in New Castle really late at night. They came to hear us, paying a full-price just for the last hour of music of a 3-hour show. They stayed and helped us get all our gear off the stage and loaded into our cars. Then Josh (Bramlett) and Dean prayed together about something that was unsettling on their hearts that they needed discernment on. Tell us THAT happens in secular shows! Anyway, they are SO talented yet on top of that their hearts and focus for Christ is even more phenomenal. Like us, they are totally sold-out for Christ and that’s the only “sold-out” that really matters, arena and stadiums included.
Guys, thank you SO much for doing this. I can’t thank you enough. I am really glad I have gotten the chance to work with you all. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Ricky, Follower thanks YOU so much for working with us, this interview and the opportunity of a level playing field to rock at Indy’s March 3 six4six! You are one-of-a-kind and have mirrored Christ to us in many ways. God bless you (and you’re now-known-to-be-awesome-girlfriend!) and your family through your kind efforts.
It’s a tough hurdle for a Christian rock band to be asked to play in a bar on a Saturday night, the main night of a week where the venue will be packed and not many bibles will be open wide! But we are called to be an open bible, maybe the only “bible” someone may ever see. Last words are from THE Word: Matthew 28: 18-20. (CEV) – 18 I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! 19Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.