This Christmas season marks twenty years of Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God. Wow. What can I say about an album so beloved by ... Read More
Okay, so the record label wanted a new bio. The bio gets an update every time a new record releases, because press people and websites and concert promoters use it for blurbs and such. Well, they wanted me to take a swing at writing my own, just to see what might happen. This isn’t the bio we’re using (Kierstin Casella, a very capable writer, did an excellent job on it), but I thought I’d share it here anyway, in light of the questions about Resurrection Letters, Vol. II.
ANDREW PETERSON INTERVIEWS ANDREW PETERSON
(Though he realizes how very strange that is.)
INTERVIEWER: First of all, Andrew, I’d like to thank you for sitting down with me. I’m a big fan.
SONGWRITER: Oh, you’re very welcome. I’m a big fan of yours, too.
SONGWRITER: Oh yeah. I like your hair.
SONGWRITER: It’s so poofy. And brown! There’s not much brown hair in the world, is there? I’m glad yours is brown.
INTERVIEWER: Well, for the record, I hate my hair. It’s always been so thick and unruly there’s nothing I can do with it. You know those kids in junior high with the surfer cuts?
SONGWRITER: The ones with the bangs hanging in their eyes?
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. And they hold their heads kinda sideways, and flip the hair out of their eyes. It’s so cool.
SONGWRITER: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. You can’t do that?
INTERVIEWER: Nope. I tried growing my hair long, but it just gets poofier and poofier—
SONGWRITER: But not a good poofy?
INTERVIEWER: No. Frizzy poofy. It doesn’t hang. If I tried the hair flippy thing my whole wig would just flop around and double in size. That’s why I usually wear a hat. Or I buzz my head.
SONGWRITER: What does your wife say?
INTERVIEWER: She says she likes my hair. The poofier the better.
SONGWRITER: Why not listen to her?
INTERVIEWER: I dunno. Can we talk about something else?
SONGWRITER: Sure. You’re supposed to be interviewing me.
INTERVIEWER: Right. Let’s get down to business. It says here that you’ve sold eighty million records. How does that make you feel?
SONGWRITER: It makes me feel good. Would you pass the caviar, please?
SONGWRITER: It makes me feel like—wait. Did you say eighty million records?
INTERVIEWER: That’s what it says.
SONGWRITER: That’s impossible. If I had sold that many records I’d be eating caviar, and at the very least my car would have A/C.
INTERVIEWER: But you just ate caviar. I just passed it to you.
SONGWRITER: Well, that was a joke. We both know I haven’t sold that many albums.
INTERVIEWER: So my information is wrong?
SONGWRITER: Yeah. Look again.
INTERVIEWER: Ah. Sorry. I was looking at a Def Leppard press release. My bad. So how many records have you sold?
SONGWRITER: I’m not sure. I used to worry about that stuff, but I’m trying to quit.
SONGWRITER: Well, it makes me remarkably cranky. If I called my manager and asked her how my record sales were doing, whatever the number was wouldn’t be high enough to make me happy. There would always be someone more famous, more popular, more successful (from a worldly standpoint), and that would take my mind off of what I’m supposed to be doing.
INTERVIEWER: Which is?
SONGWRITER: To eat caviar.
INTERVIEWER: No, really. What are you supposed to be doing?
SONGWRITER: Shedding light. Making music. Telling stories.
AUTHOR: Ho, there, lads!
INTERVIEWER: Who’s he?
SONGWRITER: (Whispering while AUTHOR eats a crumpet.) Oh, that’s Andrew. He’s an author now, and he’s taking it way too seriously.
INTERVIEWER: An author? Wow. What was the book?
SONGWRITER: It’s called On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, which I think is a ridiculous title. He thinks it’s really funny for some reason.
INTERVIEWER: So it’s a funny book?
SONGWRITER: Well, no, not exactly. It’s a fantasy/adventure story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Unlike Mr. “I Wish I Were British” here.
INTERVIEWER: (Clears throat.) Andrew, how’s it going?
AUTHOR: (Eating fish and chips.) Splendidly, thank you for asking! Do either of you chaps have a light for my pipe? I feel the need to stain my teeth and look intellectual.
INTERVIEWER: Um, sure. Here you go.
AUTHOR: Many thanks, my boy.
INTERVIEWER: So what’s up with the weird hat?
AUTHOR: This old thing? I wear it because my hair is unsightly in its poofiness. Did someone mention stories?
SONGWRITER: Yeah, I did. This is my interview, not yours.
AUTHOR: You’re upset. Is the smoke bothering you?
SONGWRITER: No, but you are.
AUTHOR: How rude!
SONGWRITER: Well, I thought the interviewer and I had a good thing going here. The conversation was picking up—I had said some Very Important Things. And then you show up with your pipe and your hat and your silly accent. What do you want, anyway?
AUTHOR: I just thought I’d stop by for a moment and say hello. I have another pipe if you’d—
SONGWRITER: I don’t want to smoke a silly pipe, C.S. Lewis.
AUTHOR: I’m not C.S. Lewis.
SONGWRITER: You can say that again.
AUTHOR: You don’t have to be so mean about it.
SONGWRITER: I’m just being honest.
INTERVIEWER: Are you two finished? I have some questions for both of you, actually.
INTERVIEWER: So this question is for the songwriter. What’s the latest project?
SONGWRITER: It’s called Resurrection Letters, Vol. II.
INTERVIEWER: Wait—I don’t have anything in my notes about a volume one. Has that been released yet?
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Is there…anything you’d like to add to that?
AUTHOR: Oh, bother! Would you stop being so enigmatic? Stop acting like it’s not a trifle confusing that you’re releasing volume two before volume one.
SONGWRITER: But I like being mysterious.
AUTHOR: No one likes a show off. Just tell the man what he wants to know.
SONGWRITER: If I do, will you stop bothering me?
SONGWRITER: The reason I’m releasing this album as Resurrection Letters, Vol. II is that when we were in the middle of the record—
SONGWRITER: Me and my musical compadres, the Captains Courageous.
AUTHOR: He’s being enigmatic again. Their names are Ben Shive and Andy Gullahorn.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you.
AUTHOR: Think nothing of it.
SONGWRITER: Anyway, when we were in the middle of the record, we realized that these songs dealt with the second half of the story. They seemed to find their unity in the idea that they touched on the effects of Christ’s resurrection on our own lives. These are songs about what happened in the wake of that day.
INTERVIEWER: And what happened in the wake of that day?
SONGWRITER: Are you serious?
INTERVIEWER: Indulge me.
SONGWRITER: Life happened. True, abundant life. Life touched by a freedom and grace that those in the Old Testament only dreamed of. See, the Resurrection—that moment when Jesus drew a breath in the dark of the tomb and his flesh and blood and bones reanimated—real flesh and bones, mind you—that moment changed the universe. It was the climax of the long crescendo that marked the change of the song from minor to major. Or from simple to complex. Or from darkness to a spray of refracted light.
AUTHOR: Now you’re talking.
SONGWRITER: Our lives are still difficult, of course. The world still needs fixing. But the Fall, the great brokenness of the world, began to work backwards after that moment on Easter Sunday. God gave us his Holy Spirit so that we could partake in the long work of pushing back the effects of the Fall. God said to Death, you may come this far and no further. And the flood waters began their recession. Am I making sense?
INTERVIEWER: I think so. You’re saying that this album isn’t so much a story album, but a collection of songs that are all touched by the idea that Christ’s resurrection is a part of our lives today.
AUTHOR: Well said, Chumblythorpe! Another way to put it: Resurrection is at the heart of the story God is telling.
INTERVIEWER: So are you planning on writing volume one?
SONGWRITER: Well, yes.
AUTHOR: That’s where I come in. May I?
AUTHOR: I’m working on a book (also called Resurrection Letters) with a Bible scholar friend of mine. It’ll be a companion to the albums, one part meditational, one part commentary on the events surrounding Easter Sunday. The album got its title from a series of meditations I wrote last year during Holy Week. Someone on the website forum called them “resurrection letters”, and a light went on in my head. I knew that I wanted this album to bear that title. But when it came down to it, the songs, as he said, didn’t deal specifically with Christ’s resurrection.
INTERVIEWER: But they did deal with the theme of resurrection. A general resurrection as opposed to the specific Resurrection, right?
AUTHOR: In the process of arranging and writing the book, we’re laying the groundwork for volume one. It may take a long time. In fact, another album may release before volume one is written and recorded. We’ll have to see how things pan out. But the prospect of using these floppy, guitar and piano-playing fingers to make music that tells the story of Christ’s passion is perhaps the highest calling a musician can aspire to.
INTERVIEWER: So there’s going to be a book, and the writing of the songs will come from that. Is that what you’re saying?
AUTHOR: Yes. We think. Who knows, really? We’re making this up as we go.
INTERVIEWER: And in the meantime you’re releasing volume two as an album unto itself.
CLOWN: Dingle dongle dippity doo!
INTERVIEWER: Who is that?
SONGWRITER: Oh, that’s Andrew. Ignore him, or you’ll encourage more strangeness.
CLOWN: (Somersaulting across the floor.) Jangly fangly frimp dee dooooo!
INTERVIEWER: What’s he doing?
AUTHOR: He’s working on another song for kids. He does that sometimes. Don’t look at him! Just keep talking.
CLOWN: Borp? Pribb! Zeeebert! (Skips away in parakeet costume.)
INTERVIEWER: That was odd.
SONGWRITER: You have no idea.
INTERVIEWER: So he writes songs for kids.
SONGWRITER: Yeah. He and his friend Randall Goodgame released a children’s record a little while back called Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies. It did really well, and opened the door to a fun partnership between them and the folks at Big Idea, Inc.
AUTHOR: They’re the ones who do the VeggieTales videos. So far, the Goodgame/Peterson team has written three of the Silly Songs with Larry.
INTERVIEWER: That sounds like a lot of fun.
SONGWRITER: Oh, it is. He loves it. Shh! Here he comes again.
CLOWN: (Playing an orange ukelele.) Gleep! Zazzamarandabo!
INTERVIEWER: There seems to be a lot going on these days. You have three kids, right?
SONGWRITER: Yeah. Three amazing kids. Jamie and I have been married for 13 years now.
INTERVIEWER: Congratulations. Speaking of Jamie, she used to sing with you, right?
SONGWRITER: For the first five years of my career. She really liked to sing with me, but she never really aspired to be a Singer. She was a schoolteacher for a few years while I finished college, and now she homeschools our kids. She loves it.
INTERVIEWER: What else is on your plate?
SONGWRITER: Other than the caviar?
INTERVIEWER: The imaginary caviar. Right.
SONGWRITER: Well, now that Resurrection Letters, Vol. II is wrapped and ready to release, I’m taking some time off.
AUTHOR: And I’m finishing my next book, by jove.
INTERVIEWER: So the two of you don’t work at the same time?
SONGWRITER: No, there’s not enough room in this town (points at head) for both of us. It’s hard to think about music when you’re working out the internal conflict of the main character in chapter 49.
AUTHOR: And I can’t get a thing done with all that guitar racket banging around. Would you pass the hot tea?
SONGWRITER: For crying out loud, knock it off with all the anglophile business.
AUTHOR: I can’t help it. It’s the hat.
SONGWRITER: Then take it off.
AUTHOR: I can’t. My hair’s too poofy.
INTERVIEWER: You guys are pathetic. We’re done here.
CLOWN: (Dismounts unicyle. Hugs INTERVIEWER.)
INTERVIEWER: (Runs away.)
AUTHOR: (Moves to Oxford.)
As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.