The Spear Ritual project dates back to the early 80’s and Spear’s involvement with the band Reggae Disciples.
The first Spear Ritual website popped up in the mid 1990s.
A more formal site featuring music tracks popped up in the late 1990s.
Reggae and African rhythms from Spear Ritual have been featured on several compilations and have been downloaded off this site.
Here’s a bit about this project.
[Note: This interview first appeared in a publication called CVEA. The site morphed into the site: www.KineticEye.com where a version of this interview still resides.]
What were your first experiences with reggae music?
SPEAR: I was in the junior high when the Studio One Band came to town backing Freddie McGregor, Michigan & Smiley and Peter Broggs. Getting to speak with Freddie McGregor after the show inspired me to start my first reggae band, The Reggae Disciples. By the time I finished college I had seen many of the reggae greats, including Jimmy Cliff, Buring Spear, Black Uhuru, Eek A Mouse, Israel Vibration, Pato Banton, Culture and many others.
Who influenced you the most in this realm?
SPEAR: Meeting Freddie McGregor. Meeting Black Uhuru. Meeting the guys in the Bad Brains – the punk Rastafarians. These were cool things to a college kid. Later in life meeting the guys in Christafari – and especially getting to spend some time with the band when I played promoter for one of their shows here in Cedar Falls was very inspirational. Mark Mohr has a powerful message that he presents and he has not sold out to Jesus in that way.
What is the main message presented through your music?
SPEAR: Salvation through Jesus Christ. We are in a time of Holy War. This is not a new war. This is not a physical war. This is a deeply spiritual war that has been waged through all ages. When I speak of Holy War I am not targeting this at Muslims. I target our society and our American culture in particularly. Satan’s influence is definitely strong in the US. Materialism, liberalism, pluralism, and the whole “accept everything” attitude creates callous creatures who stray further and further away from Christendom.
In your song, “One Way.” You profess that Jesus Christ is the only way. Do you believe this is true?
SPEAR: Yes. Resoundingly yes. When Christ said, “I am the way and the light and the truth. There is no way to the father except through me.” He meant it. So many people ascribe to the “many ways to the one” theory. In fact I just was reading an interview with Alpha Blondy – someone whose music I enjoy, but whose message I don’t always agree with – in which he said. “All beliefs are one in the same.” He reiterates this in the song “Jerusalem” with the lyric, “Christian, Jews, Muslims we can all be free. To live together and pray. Amen. Let’s give thanks and praises.” I don’t buy into this. Christ said there is only one way. So there is only one way. To believe otherwise is to claim that Christ was a liar and hypocrite.
So what about Muslims, Jews, Hindus? Are they all going to hell?
SPEAR: I pray for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists and others who do not accept Christ as their personal savior. I believe Christ would approach these folks in love. That said, I do not wish to rally against them. I can only hope they will have some eye opening experience. There is only one prophet who claims to be the son of God. Only one prophet who came and died, was buried and rose from the dead.
Are you being self righteous in making these statements?
SPEAR: I share what I believe. What I believe comes directly from scripture. I do not believe in modifying scripture to suit the needs of man. I accept scripture as the word of God. Inerrant and impecible in every way. And my hope is that others will dig into the word and attempt to understand the word before they choose to rail against the Christian faith. I believe the same holds true for Christians. If we wish to engage in an apologetical debates with Muslim or adherants to other world religions, we would serve ourselves well to get to know where they are coming from. Read the Qu’ran, read up on other world religions and know the similarities and differences with our own faith.
Back to the music. Why have you settle on reggae then? Why not CCM?
SPEAR: As a white guy from the middle of the United States [currently I reside in the Saint Louis region] you wouldn’t expect Reggae to be the music form of choice. But I feel that Reggae has traditional been a music of oppression. Christians today are facing an era of opression. Our religious freedoms are slowly being stripped away. The religious police come with orders veiled as tenants of freedom. We are told not to express our faith in public areas. We are told not to place religious icons on public property. We are told that our children cannot pray in their schools or share the Gospel message with classmates. This IS oppression. And this is happening in the USA.
You talk about ethnomusicology. African. Arabic musics as well.
SPEAR: I’m a music fan. I love Brazillian, Cuban, Reggae, African, Middle Eastern and other musics. The African rhythems and the reggae rhythems are the ones I love to play. I am also interested in finding other Christians who are using these musical forms for presenting the Gospel message.
How do you compose your music?
SPEAR: It varies. Lately the inspiration hits in the car or when I am out and if I’m lucky the tune remains in my head by the time I reach my studio. Sometimes I will write lyrics first, sometimes I am drawing lyrics out of scripture or extracting lines from traditional hymns and re-arranging them.
Which instruments do you play.
SPEAR: If you listen to any of the tracks on the Web site you are hearing me on everything. I hope to bring in other musicians as I evolve these songs for public release. But for now I typically lay down drums, percussion, bass, rhythem and lead guitar, backing vocals and lead vocals.
Where do you hope to go with the SpearRitual project?
SPEAR: I hope that the music will get to the level the it can support the message and that I can align with a label such as Lion of Zion or another label that supports the music and the message of Christ Jesus.