The merging of the messianic message with loud, raucous, rowdy rock ‘n’ roll. To some, this sounds oxymoronic, the mismatched mixing of the sacred with the profane. But to the born-again mousse-abuse mavericks in Legacy–Matt Rice (guitars), John Rice (bass), John Jenkins (drums), Fred Blanchard (guitars), and Doug Meacham (vocals)–it sounded like a match made in, well, Heaven.
The band’s creation began on September 17, 1987, in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Eric Adams, a youth minister, felt called to build and manage a band that could not only rock your face off, but share the love of God while doing so. With John Rice, Matt Rice, and Matt Reedy already on board, Eric reached out to Fred Blanchard, the younger brother of a friend of his, wondering if he knew of any singers seeking work. As divine providence would have it, Fred’s band had just broken up that day, so he and Doug Meacham were both available to join.
Claiming Columbus, Ohio as their home and citing bands like Stryper, Dokken, and Scorpions as influences, Legacy launched themselves into the live circuit, playing their first show at Tree of Life Christian School where Fred was still a senior. But the band did not limit themselves to Christian audiences; instead, they took to heart Jesus’ command to take His message into the world and invaded secular venues on a regular basis. One of their biggest accomplishments was winning the Battle of the Bands at the renowned heavy metal club Alrosa Villa in the winter of ‘89, becoming the first white-metal band to ever take the crown in that head-banging competition.
Gaining momentum, Legacy opened for several Christian rock legends, including REZ, Shout, Sacred Warrior, Mylon Lefevre & Broken Heart, and Allies. In fact, one of the band’s favorite memories involves opening for Mylon Lefevre and REZ at the Ohio Center in downtown Columbus on New Year’s Eve ‘88.
As Legacy rocked out a 20-minute set, a mob rushed the stage and began pummeling their approval in an impromptu mosh pit. Legacy ripped through five songs like a pack of righteously rogue soldiers, feeding off the frenzy in front of them, and exited the stage totally fired up. Only later did they learn that Lefevre had been watching in the wings and told his road manager, “The crowd seems to really like these boys. Why don’t we let them do another song?” Too bad that Legacy, too stoked to sit still, had already left!