A Fly On the Wall in A Thai Restaurant

Artist: Building 429
Published: 2005-06-23

It was a who's who of the music industry at a Thai restaurant in Nashville in April of this year but to the casual observer it may have appeared to be just two couples, the Neufelds and the Roys out enjoying one another's company. Tim Neufeld's Winnipeg band Starfield and Roy's band Building 429 were however the recipient of two of the most significant awards in the music industry during 2005. Starfield was named "Artist of the Year" in Canada at this year's Shai Awards while Building 429 received the nod from the GMA and received the Dove Award for "New Artist of the Year".

The friendship shared by the big Texan (Roy) and his wife and the Canadians was just one of the topics that he discussed when we chatted recently. "They (Starfield) are so cool and Tim and Carla are just awesome. Jon (Tim's brother) is an awesome guitar player. It was one of those things where we really hit it off. We are really good friends now and go to the same church in Nashville."

As you talk to Roy you are struck by his humility and how easily he deflects credit for his personal success and the band's success to God and others including Cortni. "There's not a selfish bone in her body. I've never in my life known her to be selfish. For me to do what I do it requires her to give a lot and not be recognized."

The most you will get out of Roy in terms of taking credit for the band's success is his saying that with the song Glory Defined he thought it was a good song and something to build on. "I think it is really just the story of God deciding to do something really special. As long as we stay out of his way He will continue to do things that are beyond our abilities."

The track "Glory Defined" was nominated for a 2005 Dove Award as "Song of the Year" and is a song that almost got overlooked. Roy was doing a demo for Word Records and started with Glory Defined, a song he penned, however he had come prepared with a list of songs and just kept going for fear the people from Word would tell him to stop. Roy remembers, "They said whoa let's go back to that first one (Glory Defined)."

Roy and the melodic rock band Building 429 have come along way since bassist Scotty Beshears and Roy met at a concert in North Carolina. Not realizing that this was the last concert Roy's band would be performing in Besheears gave Roy his phone number and said if you ever want to play together give me a call. Three days later the phone rang in Beshears' home.

In 2001 Beshears' best friend Paul Bowden joined them to play guitar. The drummer Michael Anderson was added the following year. A year ago Bowden had what can best be described as an out of body experience at an autograph session. Let's just say he broke his elbow in a fashion that would have made Leslie Nielsen and the cast of the Naked Gun movies proud. With Bowden out of action for six weeks Roy turned to an old friend guitarist Jesse Garcia from the band Afterglo. The later stuck with the group when Bowden returned. This has allowed Roy to concentrate more on vocals and he plays the guitar a little less during the concerts.

After the band members had brainstormed trying to come up with a name for the group it was Cortni who suggested Building 429. She had once belonged to a youth group named 429 Challenge. The 429 refers to Ephesians chapter 4 verse 29. The band members feel the name gives them an opportunity to share their faith as people inquire about the name's origins. Twice the band had considered changing the name.

"Now we get the opportunity to encourage and uplift people and we look back and say okay God that was obvious I don't know how I missed that," says Roy in discussing the decision to stick with the name Building 429.

Before signing on with Word in 2004 the band had four labels courting them. Once again the band members chose Word because they felt the label had a better understanding of their vision and was more in tune with them. He is quick to point out that this is not meant as a sleight against the other labels.

As the band has become more popular Roy says one of the biggest adjustments for him personally has been, "recognizing that you are now a recognizable person. It is the realization that every action you do is and should be scrutinized. You are completely in the spotlight."

He says most people do not experience being under the microscope to that extent and although all of us make the effort not to fall we do not have the added pressure of knowing that if we do come up short spiritually there are a lot of people not only watching but being influenced by the band members' actions. The scrutiny is sure to increase now that the band has received the Dove accolades.

"We had to recognize that to whom much is given much is required," he says paraphrasing a passage in the bible.

When I met with Roy he had been reading the book Wild At Heart. Paul Colman who they had been touring with at the time of the interview had suggested the book to him. As he read Wild At Heart God began to reveal more of his love to Roy by helping him understand that it is okay to be working through issues in life because all of us do. In his words, "I am not the only person on the planet that has issues to deal with. It helps me personally to understand that God doesn't love me any less or any more. His love for me is constant and I don't have to have it altogether."

In his Texas drawl Roy drew a comparison between his two year old son Avery's dependence and faith in him to the way our lives should be centered in God. "I think my boy just reminds me how much God loves me. The dependence that he has on me and the belief that he has in me is just unbelievable and I think if I could just have that kind of heart and that kind of belief in my God." He said every morning when his son wakes up and calls his name he has the firm belief his father is going to walk through that door. He made the point of saying that is how we should look at God, knowing that if we call out to him he is right there."

Writer: Joe Montague

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