After 3 amazing years playing with my closest friends in what was, to me, a hugely inspired project, I was left to my own devices, alone. I devoted my spare time to tracking songs that I had been writing in the back room of the church youth group building, where I had been serving as a leader. The rug, it seemed, had been pulled out from under my feet, and the wind taken from my sails. Yet, I wasn’t giving up. Too much had been invested, and I wasn’t going to watch that all go to waste. So I let some folks know that I was still working on new material, and I needed to put together another band. John, from Joshua Fire, had teased the idea that he would continue working with me, but I suspected that the material I was coming up with was a little more abrasive than he would be willing to entertain, and besides, he had a new calling now to the mission field with a long time friend. That’s when I got the call from David Rossing. He was another band, Still Speaks, which Joshua Fire had shared a bill with at a church concert only months earlier. As Dave was learning the riffs I had pieced together, I had auditioned a drummer or two, until finally we enlisted, Jesse Bearce, from Still Speaks. Then after performing a handful of times with some other folks on bass, my high school friend, Jeff Reid, maintained a prominent presence, and tracked a few of the parts on the album in the works at the time. Auburn was the name I initially came up with when my wife (girlfriend at the time), suggested I name it after her sister, for some reason, and her name is Aubree. It was something that I ran with, because at the time, the idea of being colorful and abstract appealed to me, and would continue to be a theme up until even now. Something that I had come to realize very strongly with where things were going was that people were going to infer their own ideas in to what I was creating, regardless of what my intent was, which I found to be important for the sake of asking questions. People that want to know what you’re about will ask, when you give them the room to wonder. There was plenty of room to wonder with Auburn. Our first official performance as a band was opening for Liana Bumstead’s CD release party, an album that I was producing as part of our indie record company startup called, Berean Records. After ruffling some feathers and rustling some jimmies, Auburn took their stride in another direction a little further away from the Christian realm/market, to fill more indie rock bills at bars in Salem and Portland. By the time I’d finished the album, I had my recording equipment that I had amassed staged at my friend’s home in Dallas, and began to get more involved with producing other bands. We’d formed a fully functional home studio operation, and it was fun. After about six months or so, we finally cut my first release as Auburn, titled, Do Not Resuscitate, which was put together entirely from scratch, and mastered by my friend, Steve Smith, who was helping to spearhead developments with Berean Records. I had ordered CD-Rs, which simulated the cut vinyl aesthetic, and bought some clear cases, and printed sleeves from my printer, and burned all the CDs myself. It was 100% beginning to end, DIY, put together all from resources at my finger tips. A recording that I’m still very proud of and would form the basis for I hoped to operate. We received a great review from the local, but now defunct paper, Salem Monthly. I’ll have to dig up the only paper print I have of it, since there is no longer any digital record of it. The CD release would also be the first time that we get Yehuda McKay on the stage with us on the bass, as Jeff decided he wasn’t interested in getting wrapped up in the pace we were at, which was break neck, playing every weekend locally for months at a time. I was intent on putting our name on the map, and making myself a staple to the scene. By this time we had a line-up which would cover a lot of ground for the next 5 years, with Jesse, Yehuda, and I. Dave would stepped out of the band, for his own reasons, which I can’t really recall today. Tyler Steele then would become the staple rhythm guitar, and is on all of the live recordings that we have, including our performance at a skate rally video that you can see on our YouTube page. We were living the high life in those days. We were playing a lot, and getting tighter and sounding better all the time. However, there was definitely a big difference between Joshua Fire and Auburn now. We didn’t have the same reception in former circles that Joshua Fire had been afforded. There was very much an air that we were on our own. There was decent enough support from youth group kids, but the problem there was we weren’t going to be able to afford our rock and roll lifestyle this way. As much as we performed in Portland, we simply did not have the network out there that we had on the west end of the valley. This would prove to be our Achilles heel, after the years wound down, and continues to be a struggle even now, especially as tensions have grown around here with regard to worldviews, and agendas. The fact of the matter is that culture doesn’t exist in a void, and it is all directly interacting with, and related to the habits, mindsets, and intentions of the people, collectively as a whole. That is the point where Good God Father has stepped in to take a stand. Auburn was not that. Instead, we saw ourselves (or at least I saw things this way), as being the servants sent out to all the corners of every street in search of people to attend our great wedding feast, as the parable in the New Testament goes. The best part about it was meeting the other bands that were in it, and feeling like were a part of an army of troops who were right there in the trenches, toughing it out with us. As many as there were that were hardly a pleasure to be around, there were three times as many that really lifted our spirits, and made us feel like we were a part of something really special. In those days, most everything we did was managed on Myspace at the time. Booking, promoting, fan reach, networking, you name it. But we ran in to a problem there, as we were not the only group who went by the name Auburn, a detail I assumed would get sorted out over time. Unfortunately, the other group, Auburn, was an east coast band that had a bit more traction than we had over here in the west, and were under contracts with record labels, promoters, and the like. So then, rather than fight it (even though I figured we still had precedent, being that we were older), I decided that it would be a better idea just to change the name of the band, and go through a re-branding. For me, all that would mean is that I’d sign up for a few new accounts on myspace, and just let everyone know about the switch. What I didn’t know, and what I couldn’t see, is that there was an entire ocean above me, and I was leagues beneath the pressure of it, and so were the people closest to the surface. If we were going to survive, we would have to really build on a strong enough foundation to weather the storm. Next time, I’ll take you in to the eye of that storm.