“Big House” —Mark Stuart: “I was in Haiti when I was in junior high school going back and forth with my parents on mission trips. I was inspired by these kids in Haiti singing a song that was the lyrical equivalent of ‘Come and go with me to my father’s house.’ Also, Bill Gaither had a song when I was real little we’d do at puppet shows called ‘Daddy I Heard You Had a Big House.’ I was like in the 1st grade. I wanted to write a rock song that was fun and talked about heaven that made it sound like a good place to go because when I was growing up, it was kind of ominous and scary. When we wrote that song, Barry had a great guitar hook. I think we were on our way to Florida. We were going to the beach to hang out and we wrote it really quick. We didn’t like it that much at the beginning, but my dad had heard it and said, ‘Man this is a hit. Don’t throw this away!’ “ I put it in my pocket and he said, ‘Trust me, it’s a big hit.’”
“We’re A Band” —Mark: “ ‘We’re A Band”’ was kind of an anthem for us. We didn’t think it would be a big hit. It was just fun for us to get on stage and sing about our camaraderie. We still play that live. It’s kind of our anthem on how we’re going to keep on doing it. We’re brothers up here rocking out and it’s fun. Get out of the way because we’re coming to your town!”
“Never Gonna Be as Big as Jesus” —Mark: “This song was off the ‘Bloom’ record. I heard about the John Lennon comment about the Beatles being bigger than Jesus or being more popular at the time. We thought we should write a song in answer to that comment. The song is about how small we are and how incredibly cool it is to know that there’s never going to be another person to ever be the comparative of bigness of Christ, not just his popularity, but his love and compassion. That song marked when we really started to connect with the fact that we’re a guitar rock band. That song had a great riff and a great melody to it. We produced it in Memphis with a guy named John Hampton who had done the Gin Blossoms.”
“GoodBye” —Tyler: “ ‘Goodbye’ is going to be about the fans and saying goodbye to them. But, at the same time, for me it’s about the love that we have for each other in the band. It’s really kind of a way of conveying my love and friendship to the guys in the band. At the same time too, it’s about happiness and moving on.”
“Chevette” — Mark: “This is a song about my dad being a pastor when I was growing up. In general, the song is about not having worldly riches, but about being rich in an eternal way. That kind of symbolizes our family’s poverty in one way, but also our unity that we have, that we can get in this little egg colored car and have the time of our lives. The fact that my dad was a rich poor man, that’s probably my favorite song from that record. It’s a song about growing up and learning about life’s lessons.”
“Some Kind of Zombie” —Mark: “ ‘Some Kind of Zombie’ was a weird song because it’s a parallel of how we are raised from the dead and then we have this supernatural strength and we can’t be beaten. So, it’s a parallel between our walk and being kind of like a zombie, like we’ve been raised. People look at us as if we are freaks and weird or something, but we’re in power. There’s a mystery to what happens with a Christian being born again, literally raised from the dead with Christ and that’s what that song is about.”
“Get Down” —Will: “We wrote this in a van on our way to a camp, kind of a retreat and intense writing weekend at Hume Lake in California. We were just being all silly in the van and me, Mark and our friend Mike were talking about the Beastie Boys and came up with this stupid rap. Then we’re like ‘That’s kind of catchy.’ So we lost all that stupid kind of Beastie Boys stuff and kept the chorus and kept singing it and that song came out pretty quick. We actually wrote ‘Mighty Good Leader’ and ‘Get Down’ up at the Hume Lake, which are songs we still play to this day.”
“Hands and Feet” —Mark: “I was watching TV and there was a mudslide in Guatemala or somewhere in Central America. The village had disappeared and I was stunned. I just started to think about how we could help and what we could do to become the hands and feet of Jesus one person at a time, loving on them, touching them and hugging them. ‘Hands and Feet’ came out of mission experiences. Tyler had the music for the song and I had the lyrical idea and we kind of pushed them together. Charlie Peacock co-wrote on that too. We had the tune and he picked up the tempo. It was more of a ballad at first and he kind of changed it a little bit and it became more of an anthem. So, a little nod to Charlie Peacock right there for sure.”
“Mighty Good Leader” —Mark: “My cousin Andrew said ‘Man, I have a song for you. Look at this, the lyrics from ‘Mighty Good Leader.’ It’s a black spiritual song.’ I thought it was cool and I thought it would be a great name for a rock song. We started goofing off with Tyler again and he came up with that hook, the guitar hook and I actually think Tyler wrote the melody to it. The song was about a great beat, a good guitar hook and a message that we got a mighty good leader that’s coming again. So it kind of is cool nod to that spiritual that we found in this book.”
“Ocean Floor” —Tyler: “Mark and I wrote the song together, but for me, I wrote the song from the idea of my own sins. I was writing it to myself, and finding comfort in the song. So often we kind of forget that we’re forgiven. We forget to accept the gift of forgiveness and we carry this burden around that we don’t need to carry. Christians need to hear that God isn’t a spiteful God that pushes your sins back in your face. He’s the opposite. He swallows your sins to the depths of the ocean. That’s a powerful thing for a lot of people and I think that’s why that song has touched so many lives.”
“Beautiful” —Will: “We were jamming at a rehearsal, getting ready for a show at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, and came up with a beat, rhythm and guitar parts. Then Mark came in and liked it and he started thinking of things. The great thing about this song is when we play it live on stage every night we always call up about five or six people on stage to just kind of go crazy with that song. That’s really fun for us because we never know what to expect. Sometimes there’s a really timid 15-year-old girl that is shy and doesn’t want to go up and sing, and then she gets up there and belts it perfectly like Kelly Clarkson. Every once in a while there’s a kid that will take the mic from Mark and run around like he’s Mick Jagger. So that’s a fun song that’s taken off as a little highlight from an Audio Adrenaline show.”
“Blaze of Glory” —Will: “ ‘Blaze Of Glory’ is a song by the Alarm and it’s so funny because when Mark first walked into my room after my mom had said, ‘Hey, my son plays bass, you should go get him to be in your band,’ he saw posters all over my walls of my favorite bands. The Alarm was one of the posters that was up and it was from a record called ‘Declaration.’ I listened to that record like nonstop forever. I was just blown away by the power and passion and the honesty of the lyrics. We actually thought about recording the song for ‘Worldwide,’ but it just didn’t seem to fit what we were doing with that record, so we put it on the back burner. Then, when we were getting ready to write again two new songs for this Greatest Hits, I was like, ‘why don’t we look at ‘Blaze of Glory’ again?’ It just blew me away. The energy of it lined up perfectly on how we would want to go out as a band–almost like it’s better to burn out than to fade away kind of thing. So we thought it was very appropriate for us.”
“Leaving 99” —Mark: “Tyler and I wrote it in a hotel room somewhere, probably in Iowa. We had the idea for years because that was going to be on the Underdog record. It was going to be called ‘Leaving 99’ because it was 1999 and I had the idea of calling the record Leaving 99. It was going to be our Y2K song, coming out in the summer of ’99. It would be a great record title, but we never finished it. Then Tyler and I finished it a couple of years later and it made it on Worldwide record. Tyler nailed it. It is a great song about how mysterious God’s love is. It’s not even logical on how much he loves us.”
“Pierced” —Tyler: “Mark and I wrote this song together. It talks about being overwhelmed with the fact that God would die on the cross for us. The song is about getting lost in how huge that is; about not being able to fathom that. We recorded this song with Charlie Peacock producing it at his house. I think it surprised people because, like ‘Ocean Floor,’ it was a mellow song for Audio Adrenaline, but its message connected with people.”
“Miracle” —Mark: “ ‘Miracle’ is a worship song about being broken. I had some lyrical idea of about how when you think God has ruined your life, it actually ends up being a miracle. If a tragedy happens, a blessing can come out of a tragedy or disaster. God turns it into the best thing that ever happens.”
“King” — Mark: “Wanting to write a worship song, I had this chorus while Tyler was working on another song in the studio. When I put my chorus on the song, it worked perfectly, so we ended up really putting together these two songs to create ‘King.’ We close our concerts with ‘King’ every night and it’s an incredible way to close the show and refocus on the Creator. Tyler: “ ‘King’ is one of those songs that relate to filling the void in your heart with the beauty of God and His love for all of us.”
“Starting Over” —Tyler: “One day I was driving down the road and caught my eyes in the rearview mirror. I was looking back and looked at my own eyes and I thought ‘Man, you’re looking older!’ I could see little ways I had been pulled away from my childhood innocence. My wife and I were getting ready to have a second child, so I was really grappling with the idea of innocence. I thought of Jesus saying we should have a childlike faith, and that is so much deeper than it looks. I think we start out like that and then the rest of our lives we are chasing it and trying to capture that again. So I was writing from that perspective. I know a lot of people who have seen a lot of stuff and lived a long time, but they’ve chosen to water that flower of innocence in their own life and have made decisions to protect it. So this song is really about how God gives us an opportunity to start over and reclaim that innocence we had as kids.”
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