The ABCs of GMA

I got back from Nashville on Wednesday. Why was I there? Well, I flew out last Sunday to attend Gospel Music Week (GMA) for work. GMA Week is when radio people, print journalists, music business folk and artists all descend on poor unsuspecting Nashville for networking, self-congratulations, schmoozing, and lots of barbeque and grits (and GRITS). The week is full of concerts, seminars and ends with the GMA Awards.

Because the magazine I work for is a teen publication, we do a lot with Christian bands. GMA is a chance for me to get all of my interviews done for the year. So here's the ABCs of my trip:

A - Acoustic sets by Third Day, Warren Barfield, Bebo Norman and Cindy Morgan in the big glass pyramid-thingy above highlighted my Sunday night.

B - Backstreet Boy! That's right, I can check off #476 on the Todd "Things to do Before Death" list because I met a Backstreet Boy. Brian Littrell was one of my interviews for the magazine.

C - Crowder--as in David Crowder (pictured on right)--rocked the annual Sunday Night Worship service alongside fellow worship leaders Charlie Hall and Chris Tomlin. His hair rocks everyday.

D - Dang, 26 letters is a lot to go through.

E- Elevator games. The highlight of GMA week is spotting Christian "celebrities". Because of this, my favorite part of the week is getting onto the very busy elevators and playing "Who Is In This Elevator?" This week, the best elevator ride was with the entire band Hawk Nelson and Chris Tomlin. At one point, Jason, the singer of Hawk, turned to Tomlin and sincerly said, "I'm sorry, who are you?" When Tomlin answered, Jason turned bright red and began bowing in honor.

F - Family Force 5. Saw them live again on Monday night. Look out for these guys. They are incredible. I first saw them last year at GMA. They blew away an unsuspecting crowd. This year, the line was around the block for them. And then the club emptied when they were done. They are my faves.

G - Good food. The good part of GMA? Lots of yummy food. The best part? It is free. I only paid for one meal I ate between Sunday and Wednesday. I also got to sample yummy things like froo-froo deserts and bagels and cream cheese with salmon on them. Of course, none of these treats quite live up to The Holy Chocolate Fountain of last year...

H - Hugging Hawk Nelson. If only I'd hugged a Backstreet Boy. That would have been #518 on the list.

I - Insulting Charlie Hall. It was an accident, but it probbaly sounded like I slandered poor Charlie Hall. I didn't realize I was interviewing him and when I saw it written down on a publicist's schedule sheet--and knowing I wasn't prepared--I let out a very loud groan that probably sounded like I didn't want to talk to him. The interview was great tho.

J - Jars of Clay played an acoustic show at a very small club with Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer fame. It was too short but cool. Leigh's new solo stuff is very cool--and Jars is currently in the studio recording a rock album. Yes, rock. Oh, and they served free wine.

K - Krystal Meyers-less dinner. So Tuesday night at GMA is always a special treat. The Provident label group hosts a Media Appreciation dinner where all of us media sit at table with the various artists signed onto Provident. I sat at a table with reservation cards for Jars of Clay singer Dan Hasseltine and new Avril-like artist Krystal Meyers. Due to sound checks, Krystal never showed. So I drank her tea.

L- Leaving Early. I left on a very early flight Wednesday (and missing the GMA Awards) for a darn good reason--to get to the White Sox homegame and get my own World Series Trophy replica. We did lose, but you still can't take my trophy away.

M - Mandolin, Mandolin, Mandolin! Thanks to new recording artist Josh Bates, I saw my first ever concert of live Mandolin. That # 333 on the ole' list...

N - Nice way to start the day. On Monday morning, I ate breakfast with Rebecca St. James and Vicki Beeching. More free eggs.

O- Organ Donation. While interviewing The Afters, I got this exclusive glimpse into their relationship:

Marc: Matt got really sick and I volunteered to donate my kidney to him. So now he is walking around with one of my kidneys. And Josh now is actually having surgery tomorrow to give a quarter of his liver to him.

Brad: I transferred half of my stomach to Matt because he needed a stomach half.

Marc: This is actually a glass eye. Matt couldn't afford contacts anymore, so I gave him my eye.

p - Pushy managers. For the second year in a row, I had a band's manager dictate an interview. Publicists (who set up the interviews for me) hate this. This year, a manager told me, "You better keep this short. We don't have much time." I said, "Well, how long do I have?" He looked at me and said, "I'll tell you when you are done." Now, I am supposed to have 30 minutes with this artist and have questions to fill that time, so I say, "Could you tell me now so I have an idea?" And he did and we were OK from there.

Q - Quantity. I did about 20 interviews.

R - Robots, ninjas and pirates. These are things all boys love and the things that I discussed with Family Force 5 in my interview with them. That and the old PUSA "Peaches" video. If we would have talked about monkeys, then I could die peacefully.

S - Stormy nights. I have always liked storms. So sitting in the Glassy Pyramid (above) on stormy Sunday night watching the acoustic show was neat--you could see the rain splattering on the glass and the lightning filling the sky all around you. The only trouble was...

T- Tornados in the area. This is when being in a 3-story glass pryamid is no longer such a hot idea.

U- Univision. I have been noticing a lot of people with eyepatches lately. I guess it is not something easy to miss, but I spotted two different people wearing eyepatches at GMA. What's the odds of that? The thing is they weren't like white-medical-gauze-eyepatches. They were black-pirate-eyepatches. Weird. I am kind of afraid they are following me.

V- Very good 2006 albums already: Hawk Nelson, Warren Barfield, The Lonely Hearts, Pettidee, The Listening and Family Force 5.

W - Wow, I am finally almost done.

X- Xylophones. An actual topic on conversation with Dan Hasseltine of Jars of Clay. I can't remember why...

Y- Year's Best? New bands to look for this year: Family Force 5, DecembeRadio, Decypher Down, and Leeland. Good stuff.

Z- ZOEgirl. Not seen this year.


DoubleM said...

Nicely done. Cut a couple corners there, but a great post nonetheless.

I'm glad you included the picture of the mandolin. It's not like the R.E.M. video "Losing My Religion" was over played when I was in high school or anything.

I'd really like to see this entire list. I'm a little shocked that anything related to the Backstreet Boys made it. Twice, even! Now if it had been New Kids On The Block (come on - Donnie Wahlberg!)...

And not only did you talk about pirates with FF5, you actually saw a couple of them...sweet. And the gist of this post that I sensed was...FF5 is good. Got it.

Shaun Groves said...

Good times.