Friday, March 31, 2006

Interview with GHF (God Has Forgiven)

On March 22nd I spoke with John Degroff and Bill Glover of the band GHF from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

How did you get started in music?

John: I got started in music way back in high school, maybe even junior high. About a year or so after the Beatles hit in the mid-sixties is when I first became aware of music. It wasn't until high school that I first starting playing in rock bands.

Bill: I got my first gig playing in a high school rock band called "Tax" (Named after the Beatles song "Tax Man"). I was rehearsing on my drums playing to a hit song of the early 70's called "Inagodadaveda". A guy was walking by the house (My girlfriend's parent's home), he just happen to be a musician. He heard me and he asked me if I wanted to play in a band. This was my first real performance. It was a battle of the bands at a local teen club. I was anxious but I had a blast!

How long have you guys been performing professionally?

John: I joined the band in 2004 and they'd already been around for a year or so before that. Bill and Greg have worked together a lot since Petra.

Bill: I started playing professionally at the age of 18. I was kicked out of school in my senior year of high school. My uncle was the lead guitarist of the Roemans (Of Tommy Roe fame). He got me my first professional audition. I passed the audition and started my career as the drummer for the Roemans in 1971. It is now 2006 and I'm 53.

What is your motivation for playing professionally?

John: To make a profession/living out of doing something I love. A bad gig is better than a good day in an office or factory-believe me, I've worked in both. Besides, playing music in of the few things I can do marginally well. No one wants to pay me for eating or sleeping.

Bill: I was very ambitious as a teenager. I still have that burning desire to play the drums. But as a teenager I wanted to be the best Christian drummer in the world. I took every opportunity that came my way to persue my dream. Can you describe the music style of GHF for us?I guess you could call GHF sort of blues/rock. The Christian music tag will always be there, but we all grew up listening to secular bands, so you'll hear a lot of "old school" style playing in what we do. Some might call us a "jam band" because of the extended instrumental work we do, but that's okay with us.

What are some of GHF's musical influences?

John: We're all Eric Clapton fans, and consequently all like blues. Greg listens to a lot of jazz and is interested in great guitar work as well. I've always gravitated towards eclectic things. I'm a big fan of Yes and most of the English progressive bands. I also listen to a lot of jazz, and some classical. What I listen to is mostly instrumental, non-vocal material. In short, if you CAN'T dance to it, I'll probably like it.

Bill: Beatles, Kinks, Stones, Who, Cream, Allman Bros. Band, BB King, Glass Harp.

What inspires you when you write music and lyrics?

John: I really don't know how to answer this. I don't know if you can really describe "inspiration" out side of a dictionary definition of the word. Inspiration to write music or lyrics will be different for everyone. It's never the same each time I write, either. Basically, I don't know how it happens, I'm just thankful it does.

Bill: I write from inspiration. I am inspired to write most of my tunes during emotionally painfull periods of my life. The lyrics normally come from a passage of Scripture that God has made real to me. The Truth of God's Word inspires me to new highs. I just make up a melody and rewrite the lyrics from a portion of Scripture, the guys write their own musical parts.

What can people expect from a live performance?

John: Our music is more "old school' than what's currently considered hot. As a three piece band, we're not afraid to show that we actually have some chops. We have the material we can do extended jams on, material that's short and to the point, worship type material, and we even play several of the old Petra tunes we originally played back in the 1970s. It's not all one style either. All three of us write, so the styles vary as well.

Bill: I hope that people are encouraged & entertained. I also hope that people will find a grain of truth that might lead them into a relationship with Jesus.

What will someone walk away with after hearing a GHF concert?

John: Besides a ringing in your ears, hopefully a person will walk away feeling they've experienced more than just another concert. Personally, I want people to really enjoy the music, but I also pray people will get something spiritually from the music as well. I hope that either something we say or something in the lyrics will cause a person to take a deeper, closer look at themselves and their relationship with the Lord. I also hope people will leave the gig feeling it was worth their time to begin with, and would want to see us again.

What can you tell us about your current project?

John: Currently, we're all writing and working on new material for the band. We don't have that many bookings yet this year, so we're using the time to write.What is your opinion of the current state of the music industry?John: The current state of the music industry in general? One word: abysmal. For both Christian and secular music. It seems like most newer bands consist of a singer/songwriter with a backing rhythm section. Creativity just isn't what it used to be, and there seems to be an attitude that chops and musicianship no longer matters. If you really want to hear decent players, you have to go to jazz or blues, even classical. There's a boring sameness that's everywhere. I hope to see this change and I really expect it to. I really think I'm proved right by the fact that so many bands who are having "30 year reunions" are as popular as when they first came out.

If someone is interested in booking GHF for a performance, what do they need to do?
Contact either John DeGroff at 419-924-2024,, or Bill Glover at 260-348-2381,

Do you have a web presence where people can check out your work?

Thank you for your time guys


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