MercyMe’s First USO Tour Oct 5th, 2011
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH CHRISTIAN MUSICIANS MERCYME
Friday, September 30, 2011
Christian rockers James Bryson, Nathan Cochran, Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Michael Scheuchzer and Robby Shaffer of MercyMe departed on their first USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour on Sept. 20 for an eight-day tour to Southwest Asia. Since their debut in 2001, the Grammy-nominated group have sold over six million CDs and DVDs thanks to the success of 23 No. 1 multi-format Christian radio singles and four consecutive mainstream radio hits including “I Can Only Imagine,” “Here With Me,” “Homesick” and “So Long Self.”
The award-winning Christian musical group MercyMe took some time following their USO trip to Southwest Asia to answer some questions about their experience.
First off, what are your thoughts following your first USO tour? What were your expectations going in and where they met?
–My thought following this tour is that I hope there are many more to come.
Going in, I was a little apprehensive due to the media’s take on the Middle East. Was it going to be safe etc. When we finally got there and spent time with the troops, all my fears went away. The whole trip was better than I could have ever dreamed.
What lingering memories are you still going over as you get re-adjust to life back home?
I continue to think about the sacrifices our troops are making. It was nice to visit, but to be away from my family for six months to a year, would be very hard for me. I cannot say “thank you” to them enough.
What kind of interactions with the troops did you enjoy?
Getting the chance to have them explain what they do was pretty special. They really appreciate anyone from home and they take great pride in their responsibilities.
You routinely leave tickets to your shows for military members and their families. How did that practice begin and do members of the band have close ties via family or friends to the military?
We’ve always appreciated our armed forces and anytime we can give them an escape at one of our shows, we’ll do it. Several guys in the band had fathers and other loved ones serve in the military, so yes all of this hit pretty close to home.
You’re coming off a hugely successful decade where Billboard named you guys the top artist of the decade in Christian music with the No. 1 song (“Word of God Speak”). How can you top your accomplishments in the years ahead and what are you guys shooting for as a group and as performers?
We top our accomplishments, in my opinion, by giving back more. We don’t want our legacy to be about album sales or trophies won. But about the lives we’ve invested in and how we’ve tried to show people the love of God.