|John Michael Talbot today|
A long time ago, when Linda and I were living in Joliet, Illinois, I fronted John Michael Talbot in concert in Chicago. John and his brother Terry had become famous for forming country-rock band “Mason Proffit.” John had become a Jesus-follower and, at the time of our concert, had done a couple of albums. I really liked John’s first album, and used to cover “He Is Risen.”
In today’s christianitytoday.com there’s an interview with John. He just released his 53rd album! I listened to some of the tunes today. It’s not my style. But John is an excellent, melodic songwriter. He’s also written some books. His new one is The Universal Monk: The Way of the New Monastics.
Shortly after I played with John he converted to Roman Catholicism. Keith Green got upset with John about that. John began to write songs in that tradition. He is a great guitar player, and was an excellent banjo player. I think John can play the blues almost as well as Stevie Ray Vaughn. I heard him do some stuff when we were warming up that was very cool. But now, for me, he uses too many flutes and recorders.
The night I played with John I did a 45-minute set to warm him up. We were in some brand new auditorium in Chicago. Several hundred people were there, including Linda, my guitar-genius friend Jeff Jaskowiak, Dug Pinnick (prior to his “King’s X” fame – Dug was part of our church), and a bunch of my Joliet groupies. John was very nice, very polite, and graciously allowed me 45 minutes. He did not seem to have some big ego-thing! I had the long hair and beard thing going, and some people thought I was John Michael Talbot. They gave me a curtain call. Backstage, John told me – “Go give them another one.” So I did.
John had brought his own, sweet Bose PA. We miked our guitars. We sat on a metal folding chair when we performed. What we did not know was that, on the ceiling of this brand new auditorium, globs of black tar were occasionally dripping on the floor of the stage. Before I sat down, I had not seen that a black tar-glob had globbed on the chair. I sat down to play, wearing blue jeans. After I was done Linda noticed the significant black spot on the botton of my jeans exactly where no one would want a black spot.
I looked past the stage curtain. John was already sitting down on that chair. He was wearing a beautiful white top and pants his wife had made for him. I thought, “This is the very last time he will wear those pants,” as the black tar kneaded its way into them…
Here’s a photo of John wearing the white outfit. This was, I believe, his first album.