Some time ago I had the idea of doing a special sidebar on guitarist Brad Noah the next time we did a feature on Disciple. I’ve known him for years and have appreciated his character and personality. We get along well and joke around a lot. Because the sidebar was so short, I thought I’d share the whole interview as it happened.
How are you?
Good. Sorry it took me more than five minutes. I had to take a crap.
Oh, I understand. Are you still in Pflugerville?
No, I’m in Taylor, Texas.
Taylor? How far is that from where you were?
From, uh, the old office space, probably about… half an hour.
Well, Cher is actually in Austin tonight on business – – – – –
Yeah. It’s funny. So, I’ll tell her… Told her I was talking to you for a little while… she was interested if ya’ll were down in Pflugerville. I said… I don’t know. I’ll ask him. She said, “Well, I’m like, thirty minutes from Pflugerville… towards Austin.”
Yep. We live in Hutto, Texas now. You’ve been to our house in Hutto, one of the last times you spent the night at our place.
Oh! Okay, I thought that was Pflugerville. Okay.
No. The office was in Pflugerville, but the office is in Hutto.
You’re in the same place then… that you were last time? So you haven’t moved a third time?
Awesome. So, are you pretty excited then… about the uh, McCain-Palin ticket?
Uh… well, I haven’t had much time to get into it and look into it. From what I hear I probably am.
Yeah they’re, uh… criticizing her now cause she’s Christian. So, they’re letting her have it. That’s gonna be the talk for the next week or so.
I think it’s rad, dude. I think…. you know. I never thought that… last time – I think I was 10 – when, uh, (Mandell? Jerald Dean? CRAPCRAPCRAPCRAP) ran for president.
I remember thinking how weird that was. I was like, what? A woman?
But, uh… and then of course Hilary, you know… it’s like, yeah, I just don’t know about that. But then Palin shows up and that woman could actually run this freakin’ country.
So, it’s pretty cool. Pretty cool. But… anyway, fire away boss.
Alright man, well why don’t you share with me, um, one – or some – of the major lessons you’ve learned from, uh, your time in Disciple. And we’ll get into your actual current role in the band later.
Okay. Uh… major lessons I learned?
Uh… God, how do I put this? Um. I learned that I was a jerk. Um… I remember when we first started and stuff… you know, I thought that everything was fine and stuff like that. Then, I think the… I dunno, the bigger we got or something, the worse it got for me… um, to just associate with people. I dunno, I was just in a… when I sent out my, uh… what do you call it? Dismissal (departure) from the band on the Disciple webpage, I just apologized to all the bands that, um, you know… basically just to let ya’ll know I just became a jerk out of it. I don’t know why I became a jerk out of it. A lot of it had to do with, you know… back hurtin’ all the time and just bein’ in pain. But there was really just no excuse for it in the end. I don’t know what made me that way. I think a lot of the, uh… Christian bands out there really need a band pastor. Because… I had this power trip… for… uh, what happened? Maybe you can enlighten me on some of that stuff but… I mean… shoot, I dunno. You just get to where you feel like you’re on top of everybody or something. Like, they’re bothering you. You know, the people that are paying your bills, and buying you merch, and stuff like that, actually are bothering you. By… trying to talk to you too much, trying to get to close to you. I think if you had a band pastor or something like that, that they’d be able to you out with that. I know Kutless did. I think Pillar did. And, uh… you know… but we had some people that we’d try to have prayer stuff before the show with, stuff like that. I’d hardly rarely ever attend to it, because I just, you know… I was bugged by people or something. So, I don’t like what that did to me. And my wife tells me as well… she tells me, uh… she never once said, “You need to leave Disciple.” She never said that. But, she did say that she didn’t like what being on the road did to me when I came home. Because I’d just like… talk down to people and stuff like that. So, right when I left Disciple, uh, the last show, as a matter of fact… this kid came up to all the guys in the band… me and Joey and Kevin and Tim, uh… he used to be the president of the youth, kind of… I dunno… I wouldn’t have done this, Doug. I mean. I wouldn’t have done it to Tony Palacios or Jamie Rowe, you know, when I saw Guardian back in the day, or any of the guys from Whitecross or anything like that. It’s like, “Hey man, can I have a hug? Can I have a pic? Can I have your bandana?” You know… I would have never done that. So I feel like when people would do that to me I would find it disrespectful. And Tim would tell me all the time, “You’re being rude to these people.” And I’d be like, “Well dude, here’s the thing. If they’re not smart enough to know that they’re being rude to me, then they’re not going to know that I’m being rude to them by just walking away.” That was my philosophy on everything. So, if I thought that somebody was disrespecting me like that then I would just leave, and just be a jerk. But, uh… I’d have never done that. To Tony or Jamie, like I said. But the last night that I was with Disciple this kid came up to all of us and he was like, “Hey can I have a hug?” And uh, you know, Kevin, Tim, Joey and everybody gave him a hug and whatever. And he looked at me and I said no. I mean, it might be the way my back was feeling. I didn’t know if the kid was going to slap me on the back or what, you know? But just the way I went about it was just really jerky. I was like, “No, get away from me.” And, uh, right… that was my last show and then I went on this quest in North Carolina – this men’s retreat – and man that was first thing God showed me. I mean, it was like he just showed me a video of it. He was like, “This is why I need you leave Disciple right now. I need you to see what you’ve become.” You know… and of course I just fell on my knees and I was like… wow. I used to make fun of those people. I won’t make fun of those people, but you know, bands that have been in your magazine a number of times. You know, and I’d be like, “I can’t understand why those guys are such jerks!” And when you ask that question God will show you. You know, why are those guys such jerks? He’ll show it to you personally. And you become that. But, never point the finger. Once I came out of the men’s retreat, just being home and stuff like that. I’ve gotten closer to God in a way that I would not have if I had stayed on the road. It was just him tearing me down and stuff. I needed to do that. I needed to get away. Obviously I needed to have back surgery as well, so… which is what I’m dealing with right now. Probably the worst thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life is the past three months. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to have any type of surgery, but it is not pleasing whatsoever.
Hmm… well what, uh, is your… how would you define your role in the band now? And what do you see it being in the future?
Uh… of course I don’t know the future. But right now I’m just writing for them and playing of the albums, which I enjoy very much. We had a great time in the studio last time. And uh, I love the stuff that the three of us wrote together. Um, it’s just fun to see Kevin and Tim just progressing in our music style. Whether it’s what people will actually like or not… the three of us enjoy it very much. But, just writing for the band. And, you know, here in the house I have a studio upstairs now and… that I’ve… you know, recording different bands. It’s not a big time studio or nothing like that, but just recording band demos and stuff like that… and, like, one day a week I just work on Disciple stuff. You know, writing for the “next” next album. Not Southern Hospitality, but the one after that. So, just doing that. And, of course… actually, I’ve gotten a lot better on guitar being here at home because when you’re in that studio, you have to play all these different styles of… well, you don’t have to… you end up playing all this different type of music. Just experimenting with stuff, and, uh… you know I actually learned Eruption, by Eddie Van Halen. I actually sat down, and was like, “Man, I’m gonna learn this freakin song.” You know… I feel like if I can play “Eruption” I can do anything. So I actually learned “Eruption.” It’s not great. But I actually got it to where I’m happy with it. So, that’s all I’m going to continue doing right now. Just doing studio stuff and uh… I’m a writer for Brentwood Benson. A staff writer, you know. Write twelve songs a year for them. I don’t know if you know how staff writer things work, but some people like… different bands like… Mandisa or, I dunno, one of the other American Idol winners or runners-up – Chris Black – people like that. They don’t write their own stuff most of the time, so they lurk at Brentwood Benson and they give them a call when something is good… So that’s what I’m doing right now. Well, not right now. I’m still recovering from surgery. I haven’t been able to play guitar in a while, so… I can move around upstairs and stuff, but if I do it for too long it starts hurting my back and stuff, so I kind of lay off. So… but yeah, that’s that.
Wow. Well, I’d like to try to, uh… see if I can analyze you a little bit and find out, uh, how you got, uh, to be the man you’ve become. So, uh, let me ask you a few questions about your dad or the man who raised you and let you talk a little bit about that.
Okay. I’m still, uh… I’m still looking for that man. But, uh, the person who raised me was my grandfather. Grandfather and grandmother. And, my Pappa. Or, that’s what called him… Granny and Pappa. I know it’s different in every state. You know, Nanna, or Grandfather, or whatever, they have different names for them. But here in the south, in Tennessee, it’s Granny and Pappa, where I come from. But uh, so they took custody of me when I was seven. And uh, my Pappa was an automechanic for like, fifty years. And any, you know… anybody in the neighborhood… they’d pull their car into the driveway thinking their car was dead for the rest of their lives – he’d stick his hand in there for about five minutes and it’d be fixed. And… he was just one of those guys. You know, the best story I have of him is, uh… we were fishing on the lake one day. And the boat… the wind picked up and was pushing the boat. We were in a cove. It was pushing the boat over into the, uh… the side of the shore. And, there was a bunch of trees over there and there was a huge hornets nest. And, uh… I mean, you know, I’m thinking we’re just about to be killed here. And uh, he just says, “Put your life jacket on, jump in the water, start swimming over there towards the channel.” And I mean, you know – of course, I’m like, “What?” And he’s like, “Do like I said!” So I put my lifejacket on, I jump in the water, start swimming over. He takes the hornet’s nest down – this thing is huge – he takes this thing down with his bare hands. And they’re stinging him all over the place. And he just throws them in the water and drowns them. And of course there are still a bunch of them, you know, swimming around and stuff – you know – stinging him and everything. But he don’t care. He just… they’re stinging him, he jumps out the boat, comes over and picks me up. They’re still stinging him. And I was just like… you know, he was a man’s man. And they don’t make ‘em like that anymore. You know, I’m sure your father or grandfather is probably the same way. That World War II era… those guys were just men. And uh, we can only hope to be a little bit of what they are. Anyway, he died when I was a junior in high school. And uh… but, uh, he taught me how to box. I boxed in clubs. That taught me how to uh… I guess, just respect people. And, uh, you know, just… I dunno. Just be kind to elders and… they taught me that. But what they didn’t teach me… because, being raised by your grandparents… what you don’t learn is discipline. Because your grandparents, you know, they came to spoil you. And even if they are raising you. If they’re raising you they’re raising you for a reason – because your parents weren’t able to do it. So, because of that reason, and my situation… my parents were really… oh, nice word? I’m trying to think of a nice word… they were not good parents, at all. Obviously, there’s that. And so they had a, uh… they kind of felt sorry for me. My grandparents felt sorry for me for what I had to go through for seven years, so they eased off on certain things, and kind of let me run the household. And that would be the… of course, my grandfather, the whole time, was dying of, uh, sclerosis of the liver, so there wasn’t much punishment. Just because he wasn’t physically able to do it. And, uh… but, uh… so that’s one thing I missed out on growing up being a son, or a good son, was discipline. So… and, uh, you know, I guess that’s one thing I’m still missing. Because that affects your relationship with God as well. Because you don’t tend to be as obedient as you want to, and you tend to fall into habitual sin more than you want to when you miss out on discipline. So, uh, other than that they did great and just taught me, you know… they taught me the value of work more than anything. I mean, I… my first motorcycle when I was nine years old… my older brother – they started to give him things – when he turned sixteen he got a teal green Nova, which was just the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. And within like, three months, he went out and got in trouble and pawned the car, and just… all this stuff so… when he did that, they were like, okay we’re not going to mess up with Brad. So, when I told them I wanted a little, like, mini-bike, slash… it was a Honda 350… they uh, said, “Well, you’re going to go out and work for it.” So I mowed yards all summer. Mowed over two yellow-jacket nests, got stung pretty bad and stuff. And uh, but uh… but I raised, you know… like 250-300 dollars, something like that. Then my grandfather came to me and said, “Well, the bike’s five hundred, so we’ll spot you the other 150.” So they took me to get my bike. But they always taught me to work like that. And they… I actually started my first job before I was legal to work… uh, at a restaurant where if you were close enough to sixteen they’d let you work. Now, you had Chick Fillet who lets you work younger than that, but back then, uh… it was kind of breaking the rules. But because they taught me the value of work, and stuff like that… they uh… I went right to this – it was called Western Steer – it was a steakhouse. I went there as a bus boy and um… so. And my grandmother just passed away the week before we won our first Dove Award. And, uh… you know… we’d been nominated for like, six Dove Awards or something – with By God and another album, I guess… I can’t remember – I think it’s like five or six. And she would always tell her friends at church and say, “He’s up for the Dove Award!” And I just told her, you know, “Stop telling your friends, because we’re never going to win. They don’t like us here in Nashville.” VMA’s, you know. And then she passed away one week before we, you know… And I, I didn’t want to go. I did go… to the Dove Awards. Kevin was like, “man, I got your ticket man, you’ve got to come. Man, Joey’s gonna be there, it’s gonna be awesome.” I was like… alright. I basically went for Kevin. And uh, I’m sitting there. I’m texting, like, different people in the audience… and I hear him say, uh, “The winner is Disciple.” And it was so weird. I looked over at Kevin and Tim; I was like, “Oh…” No actually Tim wasn’t there. I looked over at Kevin and Joey and I was like, “Dude, did we just win?” And uh, Tim was actually… uh, the bus tire blew out, and so he didn’t actually get to make it. Which really sucks because he didn’t get to come up on stage. Anyways, so, while I was up there I said something… when I was up there, just being funny… uh, I want to thank David Crowder and Michael W. Smith for not putting out a rock album. Which is original at all, because Lars Ulrich said that about Jethro Tull back then. I just… was trying to be funny. But the whole thing I kept thinking about while I was up there was like, “Is my grandmother actually seeing this?”
I finally won. You know, something she… she was really wanting me to win. So, it was pretty cool. but, that’s about it about my grandparents – who raised me. I mean, everything was great. They’d do anything in the world for me. I know a lot of people that have been raised by their grandparents – unfortunately. It’s actually a blessing but it’s unfortunate because, you know, parents aren’t responsible enough to actually raise their own kids.
Well, cool. I, uh, I’ve uh, you know, long respected you and appreciate your work ethic and your, uh… kind of salt of the earth outlook on the world and personality. I was kind of wondering where it came from, and figured it probably had a lot to do with who raised you. I think my hunch was right and you kind of nailed it right there, so… that’s cool.
Yeah, that’s grandparents for you right there brother. They just, um… they took me to church all the time. Um, you know – I mean, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night – I mean, I’d be out with my girlfriend riding my motorcycle. My friends are out playing football or something, and I’ve got to come in and get ready to go to church, in the middle of the summer, still plenty of daylight outside. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me! Please let me play with my friends!” You know, go to church, it’s boring. Go to a Baptist church, you know… it’s brimstone and hellfire the entire message. But, they did that so much that one day we had a revival at the church, and sitting on the back pew with all the disabled teens – you know, mean guys that are not paying attention and tying each other’s shoes together and all that stuff – I actually heard what the guest pastor said. You know, it’s like… Something just clicked and no matter what the guys to the left of me were doing… you know, chewing gum and whatever else you do that’s, you know, being mischievous. I didn’t notice any of that. And I noticed everything that the pastor said. And that’s just… you know… that was my grandmother’s philosophy. And, you know how it is – it’s like, “You better get right and get to church!” And you try to tell them, you know, it’s not just about that. You know, it’s about having a relationship with Jesus. But what they see is the bigger picture. You know, get in church first, and then you will see, then you’ll see Jesus and accept him and all this stuff. And that’s exactly what happened. It was just the weirdest… you know. I mean they didn’t do like, you know, Scott Stapp’s parents, or nothing like that. I didn’t have to write, you know, “Thou shalt not steal” five thousand times in a notebook or anything like that, but, they just kept me in church. So yeah, it was uh… you know, obviously tuff to lose them both. But, you know, I think… I got my ten-year anniversary coming up this week… this Friday. And I think I’m a, you know, really good husband and… well, decent husband anyway. And I try everything in my power to treat Cher like a queen because of, uh, because of what values they put in me. And that has a lot to do with what my mom and dad screwed up. You know, it’s what they put in me for the state I was in. So, uh… and of course now… I’m sure, same for you and Charlotta – you know, I still feel like we’re dating. You know it’s been ten years and it’s just, like, flown by. You know, I never thought… my parents didn’t make it for, like, six! You know? I think they hated each other for like, five of that. You know, so it’s like – me and Cher have been together ten and it’s still like nothing’s changed. And by the way Doug, we still talk about the, uh… “getting’ naked…”
Ha ha! Yeah!
We never… I’m telling you – to this day, you know – we talk about that. Like it just happened and that’s been like five years ago I think, or six or something. So, she’s… how old is she now?
Haha, have you told her about that?
I did. But she was probably so young she doesn’t remember.
Man, you’ve got to tell her again.
I’m gonna have to tell her again, yeah.
She’s like, “Let me… let me show you this coloring book I made!” I said, “Hey, listen sweetie, we’re going to get in the shower, we’ve got to get ready to go.” And it was like, “Oh! Gettin’ naked!” I swear we laughed about that for two hours straight. That was hilarious… Alright I guess I’m… is that it, or…?
That’s it man! That’s uh, that’s kind of what I wanted to capture.
Cool. Cool… yeah. I mean, yeah. It’s been… it’s just been awesome at home, dude. I mean I, you know… I’m sure you’ve done a ton of interviews or whatever, and I’m sure people have said the things I’ve said. Maybe they haven’t but I would imagine they have about… When you get out on the road and you get out there and you’re touring, you know… 300 days a year and, you know, it just gets the best of you. I think it got the best of Joey man, you know. Cause I’ve hung out with Joey since he left the band too and he’s just, I mean… he’s a different person. He is not the same. On the road he was always frustrated and negative and… I’m sure you’ve talked to him a couple times. But uh, now man, he’s just… family-man-husband-Joey, you know. So… it’ll get you.
I can imagine just being away for so long can just kind of…
I reckon, I reckon that’s what it is dude. I don’t know. I mean, uh… I think… I guess you just need time off every now and then. I don’t know what it is. You just need to get a break and… you know, um… that’s got to be what it is. People just tour too much. I know… I’ve heard through the grapevine here at the house that Pillar is about done with it, and I guarantee it’s because they’ve got wives and kids and stuff like that.
They’re probably ready to go home. I know I’ve talked to Lester a little bit… did I tell you about the uh, Saint Chaos thing we were working on?
I don’t know… I don’t know what’s going to come out of that. It’s just, um, we’re just all talking in cycles right now. I don’t know… probably nothing will come out of it, cause you got to get a label to push it. You know how the market’s doing right now, dude, it’s been awful. So, I don’t know if anything will come out of it or not, but I’ve had fun hanging out with those guys and stuff, but… so, anyway. Yeah. That’s all I’ve got.