A transcript from Servants Heart Interview
Can you tell me a little bit about where you were born and your childhood.Mitch: Ok, I was born in Iowa.. small town 500 people southwest corner of Iowa and I lived there 'till I was seven and we moved to Kansas, that's where I grew up.. Topeka.. Then I went to college in Wichita, Kansas and ..actually I went to college to play basketball.. and ended up having to pick a major so I studied religion and philosophy .. got my degree in that.. and when I graduated THAT'S when I got involved in music.. before I really wasn't really involved in it at all.. Growing up I was just you know real into sports.. My mom was an elementary music teacher so she would make me sing in church and stuff.. and my parents got me started on guitar lessons which I'm thankful for.. I would have never started playing guitar with out that.. They also tried piano that didn't last (laugh).. I wish it would have.. but most of my growing up years were spent playing basketball.. that's what took me to college.. that's from my being at that particular college is how I meet Rich which is how I got into music.. so you know everything kinda of works together I guess..
Can you tell me a little bit about meeting Rich?.
Mitch: It was at Friends University in Wichita Kansas, I meet Rich actually at a campus fellowship meeting and then a couple of months later we were in a class.. and we were in a small group together.. and that's how we became friends.. we started hanging out for the heck of it.. and he didn't know that I was a musician or nothing.. and I think he liked the fact we were just hanging out as friends and he didn't have to be Rich Mullins the music artist person.. so we meet in class, and just had fun.. and all of a sudden that turned into something that I'm doing now down through the grapevine..
So you started writing songs together and..
Mitch: Yeah, actually I started writing back when I was ten or twelve years old.. none of them were no good or nothing, but I just did that.. and we started writing songs .. we graduated on the same day and I didn't have anything to do so he asked me if I wanted to come with him, work with him, he was moving out to New Mexico.. so in a matter of days I went from college student to doing concerts with Rich and writing songs with him and that's how I really started writing songs.
That developed into the Canticle of the Plains.. and a lot of other projects?
Mitch: Those were the first songs we ever worked on were for Canticle.. the summer of 95 we started writing those songs.. actually we got the songs done.. we had this little general plot going on in our head and a few months later we really sat down and worked up the whole musical around it. It was something Rich had always wanted to do.. was to write a musical based on the life of Francis.. he was very attracted to Francis.. because he was such a radical follower of Jesus and he wasn't concerned with much else.. so we wrote those songs.. and then we wrote a few more a couple ended up on my album, a few more for his Jesus record.. and then a couple more than nothing really happened to it..(laugh)
What's your fondest memory of Rich?
Mitch: oh gosh.. One of my fondest memories is the LAST memories I have of Rich.. It was on the car trip that ended up being the trip the wreck happened on.. and we stopped to get gas at a place that I'm told was about an hour and a half from where the accident happened.. I have no memory for three weeks prior to the wreck or three weeks after it except for this.. and we stopped to get gas.. we each went in and got coffee and it's one of those coffee machines where you put your cup under it and push the button and when it gets up to the top it's done.. so I got mine walked off everything was fine and then he gets his it fills it up to the top and he walks off, except the coffee machine keeps running.. and it's running all over the place.. and there is a hugh mess on the floor and I'm just laughing and laughing.. and then he goes up to pay for it and the cashier recognizes him.. wow are you Rich Mullins.. wow that's quite a mess you made on the floor..(laugh)
I have another memory.. of when we were building.. they are called hogans they are eight sided log cabins, there kinda traditional Navajo dwellings.. we were building those out in New Mexico.. neither of us knew what we were doing.. but we decided to do it from scratch and it had its very humorous moments... one time I didn't know what Rich was doing but he had a power saw because he had to cord through it.. doing that he stepped on a nail.. and he just flipped out.. he got so mad.. so I just have this picture of him taking this power cord and whipping the hogan..(laugh).. he was just uncontrollably mad (laugh).. and so he was in pain.. but I thought it was funny..(laugh)
Would you a talk a little bit about the Legacy Music and Arts Festival this summer and how that came about?Mitch: I can tell you what I know about it.. which is not very much.. I didn't get to go to it.. I know that the foundation had developed from Rich's estate from the money that was there.. from the foundation.. it's headed up by his brother David Mullins and a friend of his friend Alyssa Loukota.. they are trying to get involved with camps basically on reservations, trying to further some of the ministry Rich was wanting to do.. I know Canticle of the Plains was performed there.. that was one of the few times in the last few years it has happened.. and it's the last time it did happen.. and really good people in Wichita did it... and I'm glad they did it, I felt comfortable with that..
What was it like being in front of an audience again on the Ragamuffins tour?
Mitch: Well, I was very appreciative to get to do that.. and to get to be in front of an audience again because I didn't know if I would be able to .. a while, you know 18 months ago I didn't know if I was going to be able to be in front of an audience again so each time I went out there I was caught up in the fact that I was getting to do something that I love to do.. To hear Rich's songs was special.. it was a drag to not hear Rich doing them.. but my healing is coming along gradually, being that was a year ago.. I know that I wasn't as with it as I am now.. so I wasn't appreciating things like I would now.. but I was just trying to be engaged in thinks as best as I could.. I really liked doing it.. I really liked being with the Ragamuffins.. you know the same old think.. I feel very fortunate to somehow stumble into this.. and to get to do music.. and wow what a testament to how I stumbled into it.. a concert that would not be happening except for the fact of Rich and legacy of US.. and there I was.. because, actually he is the reason why I've been able to do this.. he made it happen.. he pushed me towards that.. took a chance on me when it was stupid to.. I was a kid, bad musician.. and he was fairly up there in the Christian music world.. and he didn't really care.. he brought me along.. and when I would mess up on guitar he would act like it was him (laugh).. he would.. I look back at that and like WoW.. so it was great..
Would you tell us about your first solo album?
Mitch: That album was songs I had just written over the past four years.. it wasn't really an album I sat down and ok, I'm doing this album.. it was just songs I would play for whoever.. In college or at home in New Mexico or when Rich was gracious enough to let me play some songs in his concerts.. it was a fun time when I look back on it.. because Rich produced it.. and just thinking about how it was recorded .. we were all there.. Rich and Mark Robertson a Ragamuffin co-produced it.. and Eric Hauck and Michael Aukofer played on it.. we were all there having fun..and we ended up with an album when we were done.. and I look back on that and go.. wow.. I'm so fortunate to have that album happen when it did.. I don't know what I'd be doing.. I'd probably be working in Target or something if Rich hadn't again taking a chance on me.. and had me do this album..because not only did he produce it but he made it financially a possibility and scheduled it and everything.. and so I look back on it.. and I'm very pleased with how it sounds..and I'm very pleased with what it says...
Would you describe you song writing process..
Mitch: I don't have a process.. and I'm glad for that.. I use to be very caught up in this formula.. where I would just get the music down..chord progressions.. the melodies.. and then you know maybe a week later maybe a year later fit words into it.. now it seems to be happening more the other way.. I get these words going on and then I fit them musically into something.. every now and then you get an idea for a song.. and you go like ok, lets try and do something with that.. and the cool thing about writing a song is sometimes it will take you places you never thought it was going to.. you have ideas of a song going this way.. but it's going another way.. your hanging on..
What projects are you currently involved in now..
Mitch: Right now, I'm getting ready to record my next album.. that will take some time.. I don't know when it will come out.. but I have some time this winter and I'm going to work on recording the songs.. and that's where a lot of my focus is going.. so basically the projects I'm working on are that album and doing concerts.. basically that's my #1 thing as far as I can see is to do concerts.. and to actually get out and rub shoulders with people.. talk to them communicate with them.. point them to Jesus.. through music and wow.. I love what I get to do.. so for as long as I can and it's feasible I will continue to do concerts.. more so than trying to do albums.. I don't want to get the cart before the horse... and say ok, I'm doing this album and oh yeah and I'm doing concerts too.. I go out and I play for people and then I document the music later in an album..
Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement with Compassion..
Mitch: Yeah, I love being involved with Compassion. That again all stems down from Rich he worked with Compassion USA.. so that's how I was first exposed to it.. He would talk about it in concerts and so it was just a natural progression when I started doing this again.. when I was able to.. Compassion talked to me about doing it... and I love doing it.. it makes me feel like there is something more that's coming from my concerts than just what you see there that night.. actually I feel kind of empty when I don't get to present Compassion... because I go wow.. we just missed a chance to get a bunch of people help and I go .. this is a chance for me to be a Christian.. and I may not be a Christian the rest of this day except that I'm going to reach out to these people in this way..and this is an opportunity at a place of performing and I'm going to do it because.. if we are known by our love.. it's one way for me to try and do that.. I will be associated with Compassion for as long as they will have me.. just because I feel it gives me some substance to what I'm doing..
How is your faith reflected in your music..
don't Know.. I think it's just .. a lot of times I write songs about where
I'm at at that particular time.. and I lot of times I don't know that's
where I'm at until I end up with a song.. and I'll go like ..wow I didn't
know that was going on with me.. or that I was thinking about that.. so
I'd like to think that my faith is expressed in my music simply because
that's who I am.. and I don't want to try and concoct something.. but I
would like it to be an outpouring of me.. and I would like to think there
is a little bit of faith mixed in with this life of mine.. it shows itself
in music in various ways.. and it's always funny how people will
come up to me after I do a concert and say .. wow, you'll never know what
that song has done for me.. how much that song speaks to me.. and I'll
go .. wow, I had no idea that song would do that for you.. that's not what
I had in mind when.. I was just writing a song.. and I go.. that makes
me think that something else is at work here for that to happen.. through
a little old song.. so I go.. that must be the Spirit working..
and maybe that's why I was at that place at that particular time, even
though I didn't know it.. and maybe that's how the song came about.. and
I think it's me, but it's probably not.. so good question.. I don't know
really how my faith is reflected in my music other than I hope it
points people to Jesus.. and I hope it points me to Jesus..
Would you describe the mission of your ministry
The mission of my ministry would be to point people to Jesus.. and to expose them to the Kingdom of God through word and song and through the life we live as we interact. I think we're foolish to think that we're an entertainer.. and I go no.. people don't come to Christian concerts to be merely entertained .. they come totally to take something else away with them.. so it's a ministry whether you realize it or not. I feel very blessed to be in this position.. and I feel.. there is a sense of pressure that comes with it but to whom much is given much is expected.. and I'm comfortable with that.. and I want to take very seriously pointing people to Jesus and exposing them to the Kingdom of God.. and come what may.. my job is to present the Gospel.. and God will save souls.. and I'm glad to be on His team..
Your story and your experiences are very inspirational and I think In a way God has kind of made your life inspirational to people..
Mitch: Yeah, apart from anything I've done.. just the way its happened.. that is amazing that it's inspiring to people.. mercy is when you don't give somebody something they deserve.. grace is when you give something to people they don't deserve.. I deserve bad.. I don't deserve this.. and it just kind of blows my mind.. wow.. somehow this life of mine has come together in situations that may be inspiring to people.. and I just go .. you know I was just a dumb jock in high school trying to figure out where I was going to play basketball.. and now look at me.. people are actually getting something out of my life .. more then I am.. (laugh) you know.. so it's a completely gracious thing and I go.. ain't it just like God to do something that crazy..(laugh)
Is there anything else you would like to share with people..
Mitch: I would like to say to anyone out there who has prayed for me over the last few years.. to tell them thank you.. that it has made a big difference.. and I will continue to need prayer.. and thank you for your prayer and support.. and thank you all for doing this..
transcribed by suzan.. notes after this project .. I would not like to go into court reporting.. but I knew that besides listening to the interview.. there is some insight into reading it.. Don't know how under the pressure of the taped interview, Mitch expressed such insightful things.. guess we have to credit the Holy Spirit for gettin' the message across GOD intended.. hope you all follow the link to the sound interview....
Another strange thing happened on this project.. as I was listening to a tape of it again and editing it from my bed early one morning.. I had it held up on a book to write.. and the sunlight was shining in and well wow.. we have grills on the windows and a bold cross shadow formed across this page.. wow.. I can not describe it.. but the chills of just knowing God is always there is so comforting...
email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
obtained from mitch for sound/picture files used