Interview de Crag Jensen and Marc Jackson
Crag Jensen and Marc Jackson
Hello guys, and thank you for being kind enough to accept answering our questions. To start with, could you please briefly introduce yourself and (the late) band Rhema to our readers? What have been your respective career path in music?
Crag Jensen (formerly Craig Quiter) : Rhema started out as a Christian, Latin, soft-rock band in the 1970s in Phoenix, Arizona. Shortly after I joined (in late 1979), the band turned secular and dropped the Latin stuff as well as took on a harder edge. We also became a secular band, dropping much of any interest in evangelising in the early eighties. Also in the early eighties we became a studio session band in the Phoenix area. This eventually led to our connection to Curb MCA records through Dennis Alexander, our producer at that time as well as the owner of the now defunct Pantheon Studios. It was out affiliation with Dennis and Pantheon that led to the landing of our songs and ourselves in the movie - Voyage of the Rock Aliens.
As far as introducing myself, that is a rather difficult question to answer I think, so I will keep the introduction as simple and straight forward as possible. I am a composer, singer, keyboardist, guitarist, producer and author who lives near Jamestown New York. I produce music in my home studio and do some touring as a pianist and vocalist - mostly in the duelling piano venue. My live shows are, by the way, a whole lot different than the music I create in my studio. I only play live to make money these days - otherwise, I have little interest in it. My heart is in the studio it would seem.
Marc Jackson : I played AEIOU in the movie Voyage of the Rock Aliens. I was a mute alien and was the token nerd of the group. I won't bore you with any redundancy, as Crag has filled you in on my history with Rhema. Except to say that Rhema precedes Crag's involvement by a good two years. In fact I co-founded the band when in high-school in the late '70s with a bass player friend of mine Huron Claus. We did all Christian music and were based out of a Christian high school located in Phoenix, Arizona. We played "coffee houses" and performed in front of youth groups at churches for a couple of years. Greg Bond had joined the band at that point singing back ups. Neither Greg or myself sang lead then though we had solos.
Reading the short biography about Rhema Crag has written, to say you are hard on your former band is to make quite a fiery use of euphemism... Rhema is notably described as "an 80's pop schlock techno cheese band that quite graciously although somewhat inadvertently blessed the whole wide world by never quite making it" ! Objectively, do you really consider you were that bad... or was it just some kind of a cynical way to prevent potential mockery and get rid of the frustration of never having rose to fame?
Crag Jensen : I got the term - 80's pop schlock techno cheese band - from Frank Zappa one night at a recording session. As far as blessing the world by not making it - while the statement may be somewhat tongue in cheek, there is a grain of truth to it. The music was not where it should have been. Some things, however, were quite good. If the various band members had been internally liberated so that they could have been truly creative, so that they could have more easily tapped into their deepest and most artistic Selves - I think things would have been dramatically different.
Marc Jackson : The four songs in the movie don't represent what Rhema was at all. That was the sound of our producer. Or at least 80 percent of it was. I think we all had resolved that we would ride this film release out and then go play the music we wanted. The sound we had live was quite different than anything we recorded. We let the producer dictate way too much of what the sound was but he did after all get us the deal with the record company, so we allowed it. As far as ridicule for having done the film goes... I have to admit, I am hoping that the band and the film are mocked by as many people as possible. I don't relate really to that entity anymore. I would love it if Voyage of the Rock Aliens became a cult favourite. There is no "bad" publicity as far as I'm concerned. Please just spell my name right, which I see you have and I thank you.