Sandi: Well, I think our listeners are well aquatinted with you. Not only you've come to town a lot of times, but we've done a lot of interviews. So it's probably just like a breath of fresh air for them to hear from you again. We're getting ready for the Dove Awards, and a lot of big music. I must say, I missed your listening party of your brand new album.
Rich: Oh, Wow! It was a really, it was fun. That was a fine moment for me.
Sandi: Tell me about...I heard some good things. Beaker was tellin' me about it, and he's just pumped about it. You know, when I first heard your The World As Best As I Remember It, Volume 1, I couldn't imagine there even being a Volume 2, or it getting any better. So how is it different, and how is it the same?
Rich: Well, I think it's the same in that it's... well, it's kind of like Volume 1. By itself, there are several different musical styles that we kind of go into. And so, Volume 1 is different and the same, and Volume 2 is the same in that it's different and it's the same. (You can tell Rich is smiling. Sandy laughs. Then Rich begins laughing.)
Am I making sense? This is like this, (Sandi is laughing hysterically, Rich is just snickering,) I keep answering this question, and I keep going, "No, that's not really true."
Sandi: That confusing moment brought to you by Rich Mullins. Thank you very much.
Rich: Yeah, really... (Sandi laughing.)
Sandi (to Rich): Probably, I guess what you're saying is that it's unique, it's different musical styles that are represented, but lyrically maybe it's the same?
Sandi (to radio audience): I'm trying to figure him out. That's a scary thing. That's...
Rich: Yeah. (Sandi laughs.) I would just say, if you liked Volume 1, you will probably like Volume 2. And if you didn't like Volume 1, you may like Volume 2, so go ahead and buy it anyway. (Rich laughs.)
Sandi: So, you can't lose with Volume 2. That's the moral...
Rich: (Saying cheerleader style) "You can't lose, with Volume Twos."
Sandi: Ah, Beaker was saying, maybe, I don't, I don't want to get too personal here, but Beaker was saying you've gotten off a long tour. It was a long haul, and really kind of draining on you, things like that. Is that the toughest part about doing what you do? Being on the road for so long, and day in and day out, singing the same songs over and over? I don't know... you tell me.
Rich: Kind of, yeah. And it's weird things about, like because, I really enjoy the performing. But it's weird things like, when you get to the place where you're gonna play, and they're supposed to provide electricity and they didn't. And so you can't plug your amps in.
And it's things like, you have an hour and a half, and you go, "Oh great, I've gotta do my laundry," because I'm down to where I've already been buying additional packages of underwear and stuff. (Sandi laughs.) So, you go, "Man, I can do my laundry." And you jump in the truck, and you take off to find a laundromat; and fifty minutes later you come across one and you no longer have time to do it. But then you can't find your way back to the hall where you're playing. So you have to find a pay phone, and you don't have a quarter. It's just those kinds of things.
But I kinda go, you know what? I think everybodys' lives have a lot of aggravations in 'em. And I'm sure that when I'm not touring anymore I will find something else to complain about. That it's a matter of learning to look for what to be thankful for. I'm sure a housewife has a very draining kind of life. I'm sure that secretaries, I'm sure that factory workers, I'm sure that mechanics... We all have those things in our lives.
And so, I think, sometimes people think that people who get to travel and perform and stuff never get tired, and never feel drained, and never get grumpy. And yes, we do, just like everybody else. That should be clear. But it should also be clear that those of us who like to complain about it as if we had a unique situation, that's wrong also. You know?
Sandi: If that's the most frustrating part of what you do, what's the most gratifying?
Rich: Things like when I meet someone and they say, "You know what? I brought my husband to your concert, and he has accepted the Lord since then and... really turned him around." Things like, when this lady came running up to me and asked me if we made rain at my concert, and I thought she was gonna be mad, she was gonna associate it with the New Age thing or something... And I said, "Well yes, we did." And she said, "My daughter left the concert when you made rain." And I said, I was ready to go... (a pause, silence)...
Sandi: Right. Just trying to explain it. Yeah. Right...
Rich: "...well, what's wrong?" And she said, "No, nothing's wrong. My daughter is hearing impaired, and she had never heard rain before. But because of the proximity of the sound, when you were making it, she could hear it, and it sounded exactly like she had imagined."
Things like that. And you go, "Wow! That's great." Things like going back to the hotel after you've done a concert, and realizing that a lot of people are going to bed the same time you are, and they're tired, and they're exhausted from doing work that they hate to do. And, what a terrific blessing to be able to go to bed tired from doing something that you love to do. That's gratifying for me.
Sandi: Just to alert the station to get "Boy Like Me, Man Like You" cued up... we're gonna go into that in just a moment. But anyone who knows your music well, knows that you're not an easy artist to put in a box. You're not an easy artist to figure out. Perhaps that's why you're an artist. Do you thrive on maybe doing things different, going into the studio trying not to just produce another album or another hit song? Is that really motivating to you, does it challenge you even more to know that your music doesn't sound like everybody else's?
Rich: Yeah, it, it does. (They both laugh.)
Sandi: You enjoy that a little bit?
Rich: Yeah, I'll admit it. (Rich still laughing.) I mean I've heard a lot of people do a lot of weird things for the sake of being weird. And I don't ever want to get into that. But, for me it, it's challenging to say... I think the biggest challenge as a writer and as a performer is not to come up with something different for the sake of being different. But the challenge is to not be afraid to try things that other people maybe haven't tried because they were afraid.
And so, I think courage is the hardest thing to cultivate, you know? The courage to go ahead annd do something even though it sounds like it's gonna be stupid. Like the cup thing we do in concert. I mean that's still, people still, everywhere I go, that's, "Oh, you did the cups! That was so great!" You know? And I go, "Oh, I'm so tired of that." And, "Why doesn't someone else do it?" Because, you know, it's just a lot of people would never do that. Why? I don't know. Maybe because they think it's stupid. I think it's stupid. But I also think people enjoy it. I think all the best things in life are stupid.
Sandi: (chuckles) We want to talk about a song, "Boy Like Me, Man Like You", but first, maybe just get real philosophical... very briefly, what do you think your biggest or most major accomplishment is or has been?
Rich: (very seriously and humbly) I think that if I... if I can be obedient to God, that would be the greatest accomplishment.
Rich: It just came out of a, Beaker and I talking about trying to... I can't remember exactly how the whole conversation went. It was a conversation that lasted about three days. (Sandi laughs.) You know, we were talking about the apostles, and what it would be like to be one of the apostles and try to understand that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He was the Only Begotten. You know what I mean is?
And you're basically trying, you're wrestling there with the doctrine of the Incarnation. And then we were talkin' about Mary; and how weird it would be for her. And then we were talkin' about, "Okay, I wonder if Jesus had any friends when he was a kid?", and "What would it be like to be his friend?", and "What would it be like to have him in class with you?" "What would it...?" And out of all of that, we ended up coming around to "Boy Like Me, Man Like You." And one of the things that I think really hit us was that, it seems wonderful that God, who is from eternity to eternity, should come and dwell in time. And that He Who is Spirit should become flesh. That, even wilder than that, is that once we were nothing, and we were made. And the fact that we are given the opportunity to live, however briefly we get to live... it's kinda wonderful. And life is something that I hope we can be grateful for.