author: ethan butterfield | a&c writer
The Christian rock group thrives in the chaos of modern life.
This week brings another edition of Banding with Butterfield where I had the chance to talk to a band that, to be honest, I’m still giddy about even now. For those who don’t know, Pillar is a Christian rock group from Tulsa, Oklahoma that has been rocking the airwaves for almost 20 years now. Layered with hard rock tones and powerful vocals, Pillar is one of those groups that’s hard not to get into. So, without further ado, below you can find my interview with lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Rob Beckley.
I’m interested to know. Why did the band decide to use the name Pillar?
We wanted something simple and strong. In 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul tells Timothy that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. Someone in our bible study mentioned it to us when we were looking for names and we immediately knew that is what we should use.
Why does Pillar perform the style of music that they do?
We all love the energy that it brings, as well as the intensity. Personally, my relationship with God is the same way: intense!
When writing music, how does the band find inspiration?
More often than not, it has started with something Noah came up with on guitar. Typically, lyrics were added once we found a composition of riffs and choruses that we liked. As for the inspiration, I can speak that most of the lyrics are just from life. For example, my wife and I always say “embrace the chaos,” hence the title of my favorite track, because we have six kids. It’s always chaotic!
What is it like for the band to perform live? What is the energy like?
The energy is unmatched. It’s hard to describe, but when there is a room or arena full of people cheering for you to come out onto the stage, it is special. We always wanted to steward that moment to make it the best it could be.
When performing live, does the group play any covers (like “Shine” from Confessions) or do you stick to original material?
We have always added in a hint of covers. Sometimes we would use a current recognizable song as a transition piece. I remember playing “Umbrella” by Rihanna to set up a song called “Everything.” It had a similar tempo and feel. [Covers] capture the attention of those who weren’t fans and didn’t know our music. It helps us build new fans and show our appreciation for music in general.
Your album, One Love Revolution, was officially released Aug. 18, 2015. What was the creation process like for that album?
It was the most different from all the records in the creation process. We basically got together one time to lay all the drums and then everyone just recorded their own parts individually from there. That was the only way to fit it into our schedules.
As a fan question, I loved the song “Frontline” from Where Do We Go from Here. I’m curious, what is the meaning behind that song? Any stories during development you could possibly share?
“Frontline” was all about that soldier mentality. I was in the army for a number of years and a lot of the lines in that song are just an extension of the way I think. That’s really how I saw us: being soldiers for Christ on the frontlines of the fight.
Speaking of stories, what have been some of the highlights throughout the band’s career?
My favorite was playing at Cornerstone Festival years ago. We were on the main stage and there was an 80-foot catwalk that went out into the crowd. While I was standing out on it I sang the line from our U2 cover, “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” that said “to claim the victory that Jesus won.” As soon as I sang it the rain began to pour down. Huge fat rain. I just stopped singing and held my arms out and let it rain on my face. Cool moment!
Last question. What does the future hold for Pillar?
As of right now, I have no idea. We are all very busy doing individual things right now. I am content with [One Love Revolution] being our going-out record. I also know that crazy things happen and I am always going to follow God. If He has another album for us, then you will be hearing about it!
So there you have it! Hopefully, we’ll be seeing some new material from Rob and the crew in the very near future. Until next time!