Mp3 available here!
The story behind this video:
In the spring of 2012, I took a class at Holmes Institute called Metaphysical Bible. For our final project, our instructor, Rev. Robin Davidson asked us to come up with a presentation that reconciled the Old Testament, fire-and-brimstone God with the New Age, touchy-feely God. She encouraged us to be creative.
What to do?
As I was contemplating this heady assignment, I heard a voice.
Just like in the Old Testament!
Except this voice wasn’t telling me to lead a bunch of outcasts across the desert, or give away all my possessions and devote my life to the Lord.
This voice had something entirely different in mind.
Do a rap, it said.
Say whaaaaat? I said back.
I decided the voice was crazy and chose to ignore it.
But it wouldn’t leave me alone. Finally, I ran the idea by my wife Melissa, hoping to silence the voice once and for all.
No such luck.
She thought it was a great idea.
The chorus for Big Bang popped into my head soon after. For several weeks, that’s all I had – just the chorus. Then one morning I got up bright and early to play music at the Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa. I jumped in the shower and, lo and behold, the first verse came to me. In between services that morning, I wrote the rest of the verses.
I was beginning to realize the voice was onto something.
Before sharing my rap with the class, I asked Melissa to help me lay down a rhythm track so I could present myself like a proper rapper. As we were putting the tracks together, she heard a refrain in her head. She asked if I would mind if she added some vocals.
Go right ahead, I said.
As soon as she was done, we started to get excited. We felt like we were onto something powerful and fun.
Soon after, I had the vision that this would make a great video. But how? Neither Melissa nor I knows anything about video. And we didn’t have a reserve of funds for such a thing.
The morning before I presented the rap to class, I made a declaration to Melissa.
We’re going to find the perfect people to help us make a video for Big Bang, I said.
Melissa told me the class would love the rap and she was right. Right after I finished, a classmate of mine, Karen Fry came up to me.
I have a great video camera, she said. I want to help you make a video of this rap. And I know the perfect person to edit it.
Okay, I said.
Talk about answered prayer! I had said nothing to anyone about a video except Melissa.
A few months later, we spent a day shooting footage in Oakland and Berkeley. By then, we had another Holmes colleague on board, Rev. Sharon Dunn. Sharon, like Karen Fry, had a great camera. Sharon also had experience with video and proved to be a great asset to the project.
The best part of the day was going onto the UC Berkeley campus. My friend Lillian Howan suggested Berkeley as the perfect place to find people for our wacky little rap video. Lillian brought her daughter Vanina and her son Tien to be part of the chorus. We were also joined by our classmate Tara Steele and several other Reverends: Sunshine Daye, Linda Reppond and Elizabeth Rowley.
Along the way, we met a class of exchange students from Italy, a group of teenagers preparing for a flash mob, and a crew of folks fresh out of a poetry slam conference. All of them agreed to be in the video.
It was a magical day. As more and more people joined in, we kept dropping our jaws in amazement.
It’s a God thing, we said.
After our day in Berkeley, Melissa added some additional music to the rap, so we had to get more footage. We decided that the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, where the Centers for Spiritual Living holds their annual conference, would be the perfect place. Our footage at Asilomar included some great shots of Melissa at the beach, as well as a whole crew of people – kids, teens, and adults – who joined us for our biggest Big Bang chorus yet.
It’s a God thing, we continued to say.
When the video footage was finished, we were ready for editing.
The “perfect person” Karen Fry had recommended as an editor was Alex Einsenhart. Alex recently started his studies at University of California Santa Barbara as a Film and Media Studies major. Alex has lots of experience with video and happily agreed to edit our footage.
We sent him everything we had and he quickly put together a fabulous video. We were thrilled.
Then came the waiting. The guy we wanted to mix the final audio, Tom Size was on tour in Europe with Y&T. We used the time to finish the audio tracks with the help of Melissa’s brother Randy Phillippe on production and vocals, my brother Georg Egloff on keys, Scotty Urquhart on bass, and Murray Orrick on drum, guitar, and vocals.
On February 5, 2013, Melissa’s and my fourth year anniversary, we did the final mix with Tom. A week later, we sent the audio mix to Alex, and, at long last, we were ready to share our video with the world.
It’s a God thing.
(For more on my evolution as a rap star, go here).