|Published on september 4th, 2018 | by Scott Weldon|
Format: Hardcover (256 pages), Digital
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Salem Books
When I came to Christ in the early 80s, and first started listening to Christian music, there were a handful of bands that really made an impact on me. Petra, Whiteheart, Allies, Stryper to name a few. And then there was DeGarmo & Key. When I heard the “Communication” record I was blown away; and “Commander Sozo...” made me a fan for life. Little did I know when I first heard them that they had already been around for quite some time and hand a handful of other releases under their belt.
“Little did I know” could be a theme when it comes to DeGarmo and Key, their pioneering career, and their remarkable influence on other Christian artists, and Christian music in general. But thanks to Eddie DeGarmo’s recent book, “Rebel for God: Faith, Business, and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” I now know much more than a little. And what a remarkable story.
Eddie gives all the details of how he and Dana Key met in the first grade, becoming best friends for life. He tells of all their early forays into music, both the good and the not so good. From the moderate success in a couple local Memphis bands, to their conversion to Christ, and the early days of the Christian rock music scene, Eddie tells story after story to give us a solid look into the “behind the scenes” life of one of Christian music’s legendary bands.
While much of the book focuses on the 30 plus year career of DeGarmo & Key, detailing amazing background on each of the band’s recordings, we also are reminded of the lasting influence DeGarmo has had on Christian music in other ways. As a producer, record label co-owner, and music industry executive, Eddie has touched the lives and careers of dozens of major artists.
As the co-founder of Forefront Records, DeGarmo helped launch the careers of CCM artists like Rebecca St. James, Audio Adrenaline, Stacie Orrico, and a little band called DC Talk. To hear of that legendary trio starting out as roadies for D&K is mind blowing. DeGarmo also had a hand in getting a guy named John Cooper on the map with his little group called Skillet. Not to mention Eddie putting together an epic stage musical with his friend Bob Farrell that became the amazing “Hero: The Rock Opera.”
After retiring from touring and recording (both with D & K and as a solo artist), Eddie went into full time executive mode. The book gives a great deal of insight into the inner workings of the music industry, from recording, to producing, to marketing, all the way up to major corporate buyouts. DeGarmo ends up as the president of the largest Christian music publisher in the world. To be honest, the early chapters tend to jump around a bit, back and forth in time, which can be a little confusing at times. But trying to remember all those stories from three decades of recording, touring, etc., one can understand. And some of the stories about life on the road...well, you’ll have to read them for yourself.
All in all, this book is a great read. Whether you’re a fan of Christian music, or a musician who wants to learn a bit about the business, or even someone looking for insight into the music business itself; there’s something here for everyone. I highly recommend picking up a copy of “Rebel for God.” I’m so glad Eddie took the time to write this. It’s informational. It’s inspirational. And it’s a lot of fun.