I was 17 years old and I went to visit Florida Christian College on a recruitment weekend. During that weekend Rich Mullins performed a concert as part of the festivities. I remember vividly thinking this was going to be so lame because my youth minister, Allen Gonzalez, like his music. And of course whatever your youth minister likes is lame.
So we gathered at the venue and Rich Mullins came out to play. He was wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and was barefoot. I liked that. Then for the rest of the night I was captivated by music I have never heard, stories told in a way I have never heard a story told before. He was funny, deep, serioushttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif, entertaining and inspiring. From that moment on I was intrigued by Rich Mullins. His story is almost mythic in its Christ-likeness. Of course his fans don't know everything. We don't know how grumpy he was late at night or how bossy perhaps he was in rehearsals and sound checks. However we have a wonderful collection of songs and the testimony of his friends and family so I think in my mind I will keep him on his little pedestal, he looks nice there.
2 years later I was a sophomore at FCC and wasn't feeling well and stayed an extra day on campus before driving to Tallahassee for Christmas break. That night I was bored and my friend Nate Bush (side note- Nate helped me blossom into the coffee drinker I am today) let me borrow his new Rich Mullins CD called The Jesus Record. It's a 2 CD set where one side is a bunch a demos that Rich recorded before he died and the other CD was a nice recording made by his band, the Ragamuffin Band.
I never listened to the Ragamuffin Band disc, but played the Demo disc over and over. That night a couple of things happened.
1.I fell in love with this guys music. I laid on the floor and wept at the lyrics that were being sung on this disc. Its a whole album about Jesus and its beautiful.
2.I fell in love with the acoustic guitar. The way he played was so nice and different than the punk rock or ska I was listening to the time. I loved it. I still say it was that night that inspired me to become a better guitar player.
Well, RIch died September of 1997, my freshman year at FCC. And his music has shaped me in a way that few things ever have. If you have never listened to his music I highly suggest you find some. Some of the 80's stuff is funny for me, but the lyrics will touch your heart. if you can get your hands on the Jesus Record and play through the demo disc a few times I know you will see what I am talking about. I wish I could thank him for inspiring me so much. Cheers.