The VonBartheld Interview Pt. 3
Fri., Jan. 17. 2014 10:37am EST
In our last newsletter, we published part two in our multi-part interview with new ApologetiX keyboardist, Chris VonBartheld, who joined the band officially last June. Here's part three:
Who are your favorite secular groups and performers?
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra to me defines what music should aspire to be about. Well written, dramatic, a positive, uplifting story. I wear a star tattoo on my left arm from the first CD because it spoke so loudly to me. I like Dr.John down in New Orleans. I still enjoy the singer/songwriters: Elton, Michael McDonald, Howard Jones. There's an irony to me because I studied the works of John Lennon and Brian Wilson for all the accomplishments and innovation they brought into pop music, but for two of the top influences, I only like a handful of their songs as solo acts.
Who are your favorite Christian groups and performers?
My favorite Christian artist is Jason Upton. I know not many have heard of him. He's a talented piano player, singer, and songwriter. I believe him to be an anointed man of God. His music is actually what sealed the deal and brought me to the Cross. I was hesitant and although it sounds ridiculous now I didn't want to accept Christ, because I didn't like the music. That was my vanity showing and God knew what He had in store for me and soon a friend gave me his Faith CD and said, "This guy reminds me of Elton John." I was sold. I can still listen to that CD for hours. I had the honor of meeting him this year at a worship concert he gave and was able to spend some time talking with him and telling him that same story.
What are your favorite secular albums?
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (Elton John), Paradise Theater (Styx), Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), Dream Into Action (Howard Jones), Destroyer (Kiss), Million Mile Reflections (The Charlie Daniels Band), Misplaced Childhood (Marillion), and anything by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
What are your favorite Christian albums?
Faith (Jason Upton), Our God Saves (Paul Baloche), The Renegades 4 God's second CD.
Who are your biggest influences as a pianist/keyboardist?
Well, Elton John showed me how the piano/vocal can be the lead guy. Jon Lord taught me how to rock. Jason Upton showed me I can still be that guy as a Christian. But there's a guy named Chuck Leavell who's been the piano player for the Rolling Stones for 25 years or so. He played with the Allman Brothers for 10 years before that. There's always a part of me that wants to be up front, but I wanted to be the guy in the band.
Who are your favorite pianists/keyboardists?
Dennis DeYoung (ex-Styx), Howard Jones, Rick Wakeman, Chuck Leavell, Jon Lord, Dr. John, Paul Shaffer.
Can you tell us more about the secular bands you've been in?
There were so many -- the only one really worth mentioning was Kornerstone. And that was from 1985 until 2000, more or less. We did get together in 2006 for a benefit. It was the first time some of us had seen each other since the beginning. Funny thing is just recently I heard from two of the guys, asking me if I was interested in recording again. The one thing I learned is you never say never.
Can you tell us more about the Christian bands you've been in?
The only other Christian band I've been in was the Renegades 4 God. We got together in 2009 and have been playing together ever since. We still get together when everyone's schedule allows it. We put out two CD's, both self released. We played all through the Pittsburgh area. Well, I guess we ventured out further too -- we even ended up in Ohio a few times.
How did it come about that you tried out for ApologetiX?
A friend of mine (actually the manager for R4G) saw ApologetiX was auditioning for the keyboard spot. She called me and said, "You should do this." I knew who ApologetiX was, but I didn't have any idea of the extent of the band's ministry. So I sent J. an email, we spoke on the phone, two days later I was having dinner with J, Keith and their families, and by that weekend I was on the bus going to Maryland (to meet the guys and observe Todd in action).
How has your experience been playing for ApologetiX thus far?
The guys have been great to me so far. What a difference doing this now as opposed to before. We all have our differences, but we're a "team of rivals" in that sense. No one has any agenda except giving 100 percent to this ministry.