Slingstone Apostle
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Slingstone Apostle

Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States | INDIE

Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Christian


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"The Sands of Time" Released in 2012



Kalamazoo, Michigan has never exactly been a musical hotspot. It can be hard stoking the fire of a love for music in the stifling and generally opportunity-depraved environment of western Michigan. So growing up, Brian Massey, Nathan Norton, and Jared Hoskins were lucky to have the unbridled support of their families and local churches.

All of the guys grew up within an hour's drive of one another; Brian and Jared in Portland, MI, and Nathan in Battle Creek. Each picked up an instrument early on, and each never would have made it far without their parents tolerating the abhorrent noise of the budding musician seeping out from under the bedroom door.

Eventually, the guys shook off enough of the terrible in their musicianship to join up with their local churches' worship teams. This early experience with worship music fostered what would become the core of the Slingstone Apostle’s music—what has always been a mission for the guys. But before they were what they are now, they weren’t what they were and instead were different.

It began in early 2008. Jeremy Brown first met Brian and Jared at the summer camp his father runs. The three played for the camp's worship team and eventually came to appreciate each other's style, musical proficiency, and mutual love for a good rack of ribs. This deep triumvirate bromance blossomed into the ultimate expression of bromancery: a band.

The group was called Uzziah, which in Hebrew means "strength in Yahweh." Jeremy, Brian and Jared created the band to be a worship group—a musical team charging themselves with the responsibility of edifying the church and pulling believers into a closer relationship with Christ. An honorable goal, to be sure.

Uzziah carried on for a year, writing a grand total of two songs over 365 days, one of which wasn't even a worship tune. For a band seeking to align themselves with names like Tomlin, Baloche, Gungor, and Hillsong, the production quotient wasn't exactly staggering. That other song—the non-worship one—was the first inkling of what the band’s eventual evolution. It was rock. Which is an entirely different kind of worship music. The kind that makes older folk scowl and shuffle out of church angrily at "that racket from them young heathens."

A year in, and Uzziah had no bassist. It was Jeremy singing and guitaring, Brian background singing and keyboarding, and Jared avoiding microphones altogether and drumming. Jeremy's dad filled in on bass while the group looked for another member. Enter Nathan Norton, or Tater as the band affectionately (and quite quickly) took to calling him. Tater and Jeremy went to the same church, and it was actually Jeremy's wife who thought Tater would be a good option as a guitarist for Uzziah. Jeremy checked him out and agreed.

A few months after assimilating Tater into their cause, the band started writing more rock tunes. With the advent of Tater on guitar, Jeremy moved to bass. And things started clicking. The band quickly developed a sound all their own: alternative, melodic rock with certain metal proclivities. The sound fits into a modern rock mold with delicious earthy flavors harkening to Christian groups like Skillet, Red, and Decypher Down, but with tantalizing tastes coming from the admittedly more influential side of music in bands like Disturbed, Dream Theater, Coheed and Cambria, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Melody. Syncopation. Attitude. Rock fist choruses. Add guitar solos where needed. Sprinkle keyboarded string arrangements over top. Bake at three hundred and fifty degrees. Enjoy awesomeness.

But, of course, the band never lost sight of the nucleus of their music: God. It was a far cry from the Hillsong United aim the band had at its creation, but it wasn't bad. Some might even go as far as to say it was "all right." Still the more daring among us could even call it "pretty good." The band was evolving.

A handful of shows later, and the band had found its identity. As a band, Jeremy, Tater, Brian, and Jared knew exactly who they were, what kind of music they wanted to play, and what sort of message they wanted to send. But it was this realization of the band's identity maturation that brought on the biggest change in the band's short life.

Seeing that the band had become an entity all its own, Jeremy made the decision to leave. Not because he didn't like the other guys, not because he didn't like the music, but because the calling on his life was a very specific one, and in a direction the band wasn't going. Jeremy had always felt called to work with and equip the local church, but the band's direction had become something of a warrior's stance. Brian, Tater, and Jared felt their own calling to reach the hurting and hopeless and use their brand of rock to smear a heavy application of
Christ butter to cover and overpower the taste of the world's charred toast. Or something similar to that.

And so Jeremy, beloved spiritual mentor, frontman, bassist,