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Exclusive Interview: A Band Called River
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Jamsterdam hit the road and was able to catch up with rockers A Band Called River (ABCR) at the Michigan International Speedway for the NASCAR Quicken Loans 400. ABCR put on a show for the massive camping crowd that some would say was the highlight of the weekend. The rainy weekend weather could not put a damper on these guys as they brightened up the souls of thousands during their Saturday night performance.

JR: Can you tell us about yourself and A Band Called River.

ABCR: My names Barry, some people call me the Preacher around Nascar. A Band Called River is an unpaid group that have been here to see this thing grow. We play classic rock, we are Jesus freaks, we are lovers of the Michigan Motor Speedway and all the people of it and lovers of music.

JR: How would you articulate the way Jesus comes into play when you are creating music?

ABCR: We play classic rock music and we do not compromise the music, we don't make it into something that its not, we don't try to twist it, we are at Nascar where everyone is a fanatic. We've got guys driving $70,000 trucks that have taken a sharpie and wrote the number 88 on it, I mean how much of a fanatic can you be, so we have learned that fanatics honour fanatics so we don't compromise the music but we also don't compromise our integrity. We are all family people and we all have jobs back home, I am a Pastor, and people ask why we come down here and do this, well we feel if Jesus was walking the earth then he would be at Michigan International Speedway hanging out with all the people.

JR: How long have you been collectively doing this and coming to Nascar to perform?

ABCR: It's been 15 years since the band itself has been doing it. We've had different guys and different people in the line-up and i've been here since the beginning of it. The reason why we're called A Band Called River is because its more than just the music for us. The music is a big part of it but it is more than the music, our guys that build this are in the back cooking for us. By the way you guys are invited to eat with us.

JR: Wonderful!

ABCR: We have wonderful food. We've got fried Tilapia and maybe some ham. But anyways its the people that come and help us set up and tear down. We don't stay for the race, we come in for the show and tomorrow morning we'll have church right here on tear down and then we'll blow out of here. We just leave a mark, just like a river.

JR: Being at a Nascar event where there is a lot of tomfoolery going on, how does it affect you guys being a Christian band coming here when there are sins going on around you?

ABCR: Basically, when we started coming to Nascar, it was the year after Dale Sr. had died. If you've been around Nascar then you would know that people really love their drivers with a personal connection. What we found is there were a lot of people hurt and when we came, without offending anyone, we were able to offer a message that reminds people that there is hope. Its not all bad stuff in this world right now, there are still good things and there is still good people and what we do is we try to make it our intention to point out the good stuff and to remind people. There are a lot of people here that are just partying and for them we are going to give them a great background set to party to. For the people out there that may be going through divorce, bankruptcy, hurting, dying of cancer, things that we can't control is to give them a reminder that there are better days ahead. Don't get hung up on this moment and what better environment for us to be in then right here in the middle of a party environment.

Have a listen to their track titled "Copperhead Road" and check out A Band Called River for more tracks, photos and video from their recent show at MIS.

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