We talked with Newsboys frontman, Peter Furler, about music and marriage.
You have done so much stuff: worship, pop, rock, a variety of things. How do you keep it fresh and new after all these years?
I think whatever we’re writing has to impact us first. I don’t usually sit down and go, Boy, I need to write another ‘He Reigns’ or a ‘Shine’ or something from our past. Songs like that come at a time when you aren’t looking for them. You might be looking for a song, but you weren’t looking for something like that.
For me, personally, it’s staying in the Word, hearing good teaching, reading good books, traveling the earth- the things that make up my life. Everyone says their life is a song. I try to hear what my song is and record it.
Tell me about the new album.
I wouldn’t be making a record unless I felt that I was recording and writing our best music ever. I don’t have a title at the moment, but we have about 25-30 songs. Obviously some will be kind of American Idol’d out — they’ll get voted off and then we’ll be down to about 11 or 12. There have been records where we had a concept, but this one we just started writing and this type of music came. It happens to be a fairly up-tempo rock record.
Do you have a tentative date?
No, we don’t. I want it to be great — more than I want it to be on time.
How do you stay connected spiritually when you’re away from church and the family?
It’s a tough one. What we don’t consider is that you can work 9 to 5 and live within 25 miles of your house and not be connected spiritually. You could go to church every Sunday and not be connected spiritually. And then you can be someone like me who can head out on to the road and do 300,000 miles a year, all over the world — and be connected.
It’s an effort. For me it’s being part of a local church in Nashville. It’s finding a few men I can look up to. You can’t tell everybody everything but it’s nice to have one person you can tell everything to.
Tell me about your family.
My wife is Summer. We’ve been married for going on 18 years now and we don’t have any children. We would love to but that hasn’t happened yet.
It’s been like any marriage. We’ve had our ups and downs and there have been times where we were on the road a lot together and there have been times when we were apart a lot. We’ve seen the good and bad of both.
It’s hard sometimes because when a woman stays home and you’re out on the road you can start to become islands to yourself. She builds her life at home and you build your life on the road, and when you come back there is a tension. It’s those little tensions that break marriages, isn’t it? It usually isn’t a big thing. It can be lots of little things.
You two are on the road together, aren’t you?
About two years ago I decided to buy a bus and since then we’ve traveled together. We see it a lot with football players in their late 30’s and 40’s where their career is over and all of a sudden their marriages fall apart because the connection was lost. I don’t want that to happen.
It’s great for Summer because she feels a part of what I do. That’s important. She really feels connected to what I’m doing and she understands what it’s like out here.
How do you and Summer stay connected spiritually?
We don’t feel that we’re that much different than anybody else. We don’t feel like we’re any holier or any more disciplined. What we’re doing is very basic.
Every morning we sit down and read the Word together. I’m usually the one doing the reading. At the moment, we’re reading Proverbs. So today is the 20th, and we did Proverbs 20. We’ll read about a chapter a day — that’s all, not much. It’s not like a huge Bible Study.
There are some times when we’ve got to get up for that extra early morning flight and we might miss it — we’re not perfect. But I would say nine times out of ten we’re in the Word. We both enjoy it. We both look forward to it and I think it really means a lot to her. That blesses me.
The Word is powerful. The Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. Something happens when the Word of God is read aloud in your house-something happens-and it happens when people are in a room together.
From the stage, one of the most effective things I can do is quote from the Word of God. It’s got power to it. It touches hearts. The Enemy, of course, doesn’t want us to be in the Word; that’s why it’s so easy to sit and watch TV for six hours. And it’s very hard to sit down and read the Bible for 15 minutes with your family.
I’ll put it this way. It’s not going to hurt a couple to do that but it might hurt if they don’t.
How would you define Newsboys’ mission or vision?
We see ourselves as musicians-that’s the gift that God has given us. But it’s really about sharing what we believe, that’s really our mission. Wherever that takes us, whether it’s to universities in China or Morocco or a New Age festival on the Sea of Galilee where we risk arrest or prison. It seems like a rock-and-roll band can get into places and let the Word speak for itself. That’s sort of how we see ourselves.
If we were to take a look in your vehicle back home, what kind of music would we find?[Laughs] For me, none. You’d find none. You’d find some Newsboys demos, some song writing demos. For those that don’t know, a demo is just a work in progress, like a piece of canvas that a painter started to splash a color on to see if something ignites in their imagination or their creative mind. So, yeah, sorry to say there’s not much in my life.
Kind of boring.
Yeah, pretty boring I’d say, yeah.
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