A Conversation with John Slick

Talk about Petra albums, songs, and concerts.
User avatar
dihigo
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:11 pm
#1 Album: Back to the Rock
Pethead since: 1988
Location: Nashville, TN
Contact:

A Conversation with John Slick

Post by dihigo » Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:20 pm

I'd like to start a fresh thread where we can ask John Slick questions.

John, I have many questions that I hope you'll entertain. Before I ask away, I'd like to thank you for the time you invested in Petra. The three albums you contributed to shaped my defining years as a teenager and remain in regular rotation on my iPod to this very day 30+ years later.

I'm curious. Have you ever attended a Petra concert as a former member? Do you own any Petra albums released after your time in the band? If so, which one(s)?
What are ya lookin' for the Devil for when ya oughta be lookin' for the Lord?

jmslick
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:44 am
#1 Album: More Power To Ya
Pethead since: 1979

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by jmslick » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:19 pm

I have recently made several long boring posts on this other thread:
http://www.thepetrazone.net/viewtopic.p ... &start=135

But posting on this current thread will be easier to follow. So if you can't sleep, post here, and we can talk about ancient history... all good. :mrgreen:

jmslick
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:44 am
#1 Album: More Power To Ya
Pethead since: 1979

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by jmslick » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:41 pm

dihigo wrote:I'm curious. Have you ever attended a Petra concert as a former member? Do you own any Petra albums released after your time in the band?
Answers: No, and no. I never had any interest in following the band or the recordings because it was too sensitive a topic for me. Nothing negative against them. After being with the band, and after fooling around five years in the Nashville recording scene, I'd had enough of music for a while.

When did they play the Classic Petra concert at TBN in Hendersonville, TN? 2010 or so?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8V5NLS_Bk0

I live about 2 miles from that place. I drove past it one night, and was quite surprised to notice PETRA on the sign. I think that either the sign was still referring to the past show, and they had not changed it yet, or I forgot all about the show. But, I'd definitely have wanted to go, and I've no doubt that I'd have been invited to play a little too... not that the very capable John Lawry needed any help!

I was contacted a short while later by the Classic Petra promoter/manager, and asked whether I'd do an interview. During the conversation, we discussed the possibility of my doing a few shows with them. I'd have probably played only a couple of songs... not the whole show, of course.

The promoter got back to me and mentioned that Bob was very interested in the idea, but nothing ever came of it. Too bad for me. It would have worked out fine, and I even had a current stage keyboard rig which I'd been using to sub on keys for a local band in the infamous Starlight Club in Nashville, aka "The Bucket O' Blood", aka "Hillbilly Gun & Knife Club"... but that's another story. 8)

fcollazo
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 5:55 pm

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by fcollazo » Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:01 am

Have you talked to your former band mates since you left the band? According to your name here in the zone MPTY is your favorite album, right? Also, we're you a fan of Petra before you joined? And how did you join Petra?? How did the stars align for that to happen?
God's love hit's me where i live, in my perfect world, because i love the Lord.

fcollazo
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 5:55 pm

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by fcollazo » Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:20 am

Another question. Of the 3 albums you worked on, do you remember on which ones did Louie Weaver actually play drums on and which ones had only pre recorded drum sounds?
God's love hit's me where i live, in my perfect world, because i love the Lord.

jmslick
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:44 am
#1 Album: More Power To Ya
Pethead since: 1979

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by jmslick » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:05 am

fcollazo wrote:Another question. Of the 3 albums you worked on, do you remember on which ones did Louie Weaver actually play drums on and which ones had only pre recorded drum sounds?
None of the 3 albums I worked on had "pre recorded" drums, but NSD used Keith Edwards, due to JDBrown's production plan.
I guess they used sampled drums on BTSystem, but I've never even listened to it.

jmslick
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:44 am
#1 Album: More Power To Ya
Pethead since: 1979

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by jmslick » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:15 am

fcollazo wrote:Have you talked to your former band mates since you left the band?
After I took a leave of absence in Jan 1984, the only one who stayed in touch was Bob, but it was very brief... we went to some guy's house to look at a guitar. Of course, the band was busy touring, so I could not expect them to bother with me.

I have always had the highest respect for Bob... as a musician, writer, teacher, and Christian example.
fcollazo wrote:And how did you join Petra?? How did the stars align for that to happen?
It's a rather long story. I have written it up and saved it as a text file, which I can post some time.

Thief
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 271
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:08 pm
Pethead since: 1990
Location: Puerto Rico
Contact:

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by Thief » Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:38 am

Welcome to Petra Zone, John! :)

What would you consider to be the most important or relevant moment for you from your time with the band?

How about your favorite song to play? or your favorite song overall?

User avatar
p-freak
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 1425
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2003 10:01 am
#1 Album: Unseen Power
Pethead since: 1992
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by p-freak » Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:41 am

In the other thread you mentioned working on The Road To Zion. I always wondered how that song ended up in the Petra catalogue. I have an album by Mike Hudson (who actually wrote the song) released in 1982 and it has his version of the song. The album is even titled Road To Zion. Were you familiar with his recorded version before you recorded the MPTY version? Was it much of a reference for you? And did Mike send the song to Petra himself, or did you hear it somewhere?

fcollazo
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 5:55 pm

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by fcollazo » Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:45 am

John, do you realize how important your contribution to PETRA was, and how many lives were touched by your music and brought to Christ?? Before you joined Petra was clueless and ready to breakup with no direction, no steady membership, no record company. Then you show up and we have a real band that we can feel proud of and not be ashamed of because the secular bands sounded better or things like that.

Have you seen your live performances with Petra in You Tube? They are pretty cool. There's one of WHWCDN from 1982 NSD tour with Servant, very early, all the way to several from the NOTW tour.
God's love hit's me where i live, in my perfect world, because i love the Lord.

jmslick
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:44 am
#1 Album: More Power To Ya
Pethead since: 1979

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by jmslick » Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:47 pm

fcollazo wrote:John, do you realize how important your contribution to PETRA was, and how many lives were touched by your music and brought to Christ?? Before you joined Petra was clueless and ready to breakup with no direction, no steady membership, no record company. Then you show up and we have a real band that we can feel proud of and not be ashamed of because the secular bands sounded better or things like that.

Have you seen your live performances with Petra in You Tube? They are pretty cool. There's one of WHWCDN from 1982 NSD tour with Servant, very early, all the way to several from the NOTW tour.
Thanks for your kind words. :)

There was nothing to give clues or direction to because the former Petra had broken up long before my involvement.
I didn't really "join" Petra, because in 1979, there was nothing to join.

Bob and Mark both held day jobs. Greg lived over 400 miles away. I was a broke college student. There was no regular drummer. It was just three guys having a weekly fellowship.

My showing up was not necessary to reform the band; Bob could have found some other keyboard player. The record company interest was due only to Bob's gift in songwriting. Yeah, I played electric piano on a four-track cassette tape demo but that was not a key factor.

I vaguely recall that Bob said something like the record company told him that if he could put together a band, then the company would help to promote an album... something like that. Please don't quote me on that, because it's just a vague recollection.

In sum, it was serendipitous or maybe even "God's plan" that we all happened along at the same time. I say "maybe" with reverent reservation because, other than what the scriptures say, I've never presumed to know the mind of God. To me, thinking that God has a personalized plan for me in anything is simply arrogance.

I do not discount any positive effect that our songs, shows, lives and example had on anyone. If it did, it's only because- as an old song somewhere says- "Without him we can do nothing."

jmslick
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Founding or Official Member of Petra
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:44 am
#1 Album: More Power To Ya
Pethead since: 1979

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by jmslick » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:12 pm

p-freak wrote:In the other thread you mentioned working on The Road To Zion. I always wondered how that song ended up in the Petra catalogue. I have an album by Mike Hudson (who actually wrote the song) released in 1982 and it has his version of the song. The album is even titled Road To Zion. Were you familiar with his recorded version before you recorded the MPTY version? Was it much of a reference for you? And did Mike send the song to Petra himself, or did you hear it somewhere?
I don't recall how RTZ came to us, other than that Greg knew of it. It was of no reference to me, in any musical sense other than the basic chord changes. It's one of my most favorite songs. Even 32 years later, it still evokes major "dust in my eyes". I often quote some line to people, especially:

"Sometimes a shadow, dark and cold, lays like a mist across the road; But be encouraged by the site; where there's a shadow, there's a light;"

That song has a lot of subtle keyboard components. If you're curious, listen to how the sounds change from verse to verse. Other than the "flute" motif at the intro, there is no keyboard until verse 2. The song has a pseudo-accordian, a sparkly "glassy" thing, handbells, whistly "flute", a pseudo-harpsichord and a two-part contrary motion melodic modulation in the bridge. This was all played on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-V which I had to borrow.

The song is all minor chords, in the aeolian (natural minor) mode. The surprise major IV chord in the last chorus was my idea. :idea: It suggests a positive new dimension symbolic of the bright future we hope to find at the end of the road to Zion; it then resolves to the minor tonic, symbolic of the Christian journey on the road to Zion.

Would anyone be interested in reading a few details about various musical elements- not just keyboards- used in various songs? For example, who ever knew that there's a pipe organ playing the complete Doxology over the bridge of More Power To Ya?

Or, that on "All Over Me", Mark kept playing the dominant (5-chord) over what was supposed to be a 2-half diminished?
But then musical tension sounds better anyway!

fcollazo
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 5:55 pm

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by fcollazo » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:52 pm

I am extremely interested in any musical details, yes sir. Also any key moments on the road and in the studio with my favorite band, like the bat in the studio story or the one about the portable keyboard that u made that blew up the chip. All cool stuff. I was able to meet Greg and Mark on the Classic Petra tour multiple times, and all the other guys several times since the early 90s, but this is a great treat because I think most people here never had a chance to meet u, or even talk to you, even though you were such an integral part of the band. So yes, this is like talking to you at the meet and greet tables after a Petra concert. I would talk with Bob, John L, John Schlitt and Greg X for hours after a concert, but mostly and longer with Bob.
God's love hit's me where i live, in my perfect world, because i love the Lord.

User avatar
dihigo
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:11 pm
#1 Album: Back to the Rock
Pethead since: 1988
Location: Nashville, TN
Contact:

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by dihigo » Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:03 pm

So today I was listening to Not of This World, and I wanted to ask you about the interesting bass solo/instrumental break on "Blinded Eyes." That's something very unique and not heard on any other Petra album before or after. In fact, on Captured in Time & Space in 1986, everyone is given a solo except for Mark. I guess I'm asking if there's a story there.

Also, I always loved that song's use of a talk box. (Bob used one again 10 years later on "Underneath the Blood.") But again, that's very unique, and I'm wondering if you can shed some light on this song and unpack any stories for us. Thanks!
What are ya lookin' for the Devil for when ya oughta be lookin' for the Lord?

User avatar
fiendik
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 130
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 11:48 am
#1 Album: Beat The System
Pethead since: 2010

Re: A Conversation with John Slick

Post by fiendik » Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:13 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING HERE, JOHN! It is so great and interesting to read everything you've said!

Listening to More Power To Ya, I can't help but feel it is one of Petra's finest works. Your part is certainly not inferior to any of the others! Your time spent in the music industry was not wasted!

Unlike most here, I did not grow up with Petra; rather, I was won over later after hearing the Petraphonics compilation and also Beat the System. I quickly realized that Petra was the best Christian music available, and now know and love all of the albums. Your work of 30+ years ago is still alive, and is a great encouragement to me.

Hearing you talk of your experience really brings home to me how God really used this group in those few years. It was that period that made Petra from no-one (literally) to the Christian rock band, and your contribution was necessary for that (I, for one, would not listen to it otherwise).

I know that a while back I said that Lawry's music was better, but in review I find this is not true; These two *great* keyboardists are at least equal.

P.S. The long posts are great! Keep it up!
"Fiends are a gift from above, fiends are devoted and true..."

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests