Straight out of America’s heartland of Kansas, comes a band so uncompromising in their music and message that you simply have to stop and listen.
From their self-proclaimed influence of Metallica, to the recent appearance at a Church of Christian Scientology, sisterpete of Wichita, Kansas is a band that "gets flack like you wouldn't believe."
Seventeen-year-old lead singer and songwriter Brandon Fleming just laughs. "Get over it. We use lots of tools that aren't "Christian". We don't care. We do whatever it takes to reach the lost."
"We have a major passion for souls,” agrees Jimmy Fleming, guitarist for the band and Brandon's dad. "We are willing to do whatever it takes to reach the lost."
Whatever it takes includes lyrics of songs such as Fallen Star which starts with the decidedly unchurchy line of "Rape me, when I don't know a thing...” a song Brandon wrote that expresses the pain of a soul seduced by Satan.
It's a pain Jimmy knows well. Though raised in a storefront church in South Central LA, "stuck between a beer joint and a liquor store” by adolescence he had turned his back on God.
"God loved me through it. Train a child up in the way he is to go. Every night, wherever I ended up, on a park bench, sleeping under a bridge, the word of God kept tormenting (laughs) okay, convicting me."
`Hey, man, you’ve offended me! Why don't you give people a chance to meet this Jesus you're singing about? How offended do you think these people are going to be if they wake up in hell some day?'"
Jimmy has been involved with music most of his life, not only as a member of other bands, but also touring four years as production manager for Rich Mullins. He believes man has been put on earth for one reason: to have a relationship with God. That's what he wants to share; it’s why he plays with sisterpete today. "If it was about simply entertaining - forget it! I'll stay home with my wife and kids!'
Phil Herman, the band's drummer, shares the vision. He cut his teeth on the church pews, (ate most of 'em probably, Jimmy laughs). Phil's father was a pastor, and Phil played the prodigal son for a while but, like Jimmy, God was faithful until Phil "got his act together."
When asked about his dreams of musical grandeur, the response is typical of Phil. "I want to be the most unknown famous person in the world. The guy in the band that nobody knows."
sisterpete has been recording since late March, and their first album should be available at their shows by early summer. The tour is called “Intentions” and the dates are lining up: Midwest dates in June and early July, then southwestern US and Mexico and on to Canada in early fall.
They'll be playing at a lot of secular venues along the way. Salvation is the main focus, and altar calls?
"Yeah!" Jimmy says. "I asked a guy from a heavy touring band not long ago, `Why don't you guys do altar calls?' He said, `Well, you know, we do a lot of secular venues. We don't want to offend anyone.' I said, `Hey, man, you’ve offended me! Why don't you give people a chance to meet this Jesus you're singing about? How offended do you think these people are going to be if they wake up in hell some day?'"
sisterpete gives altar calls and ministers at every opportunity. Recently Brandon noticed the Church of Christian Scientology in Wichita, KS was having an event. "I thought about it awhile,” he says, "then called 'em up and asked if they'd like us to play. The lady was kinda quiet for awhile, and then she said, `Uh, do you know what we believe?' I said, `Yeah! Do you know what we believe?' She laughed and said, `Yeah, I do! Come play for us!' So we did! They loved us and bought lots of our stuff! We infiltrate the enemy's camp, every chance we get!"
The band plays music best described, according to Brandon, as mainstream rock. Influences of sisterpete include Rush, Matchbox 20,and Nirvana, among others. The lyrics are not always pretty, in an evangelical sense, but they're not designed to be pretty. They're designed to evoke a response, a response to turn to Jesus.
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