WITH NEAL MORSE (italian
by Giancarlo Bolther
It’s been a couple of years since we have had our previous
interview, what is changed in the meanwhile in your life (both personal
and artistic one)?
I’m usually in the moment of what I’m doing…you
might find out more if you ask someone else (laughs). I guess things
haven’t changed that much, overall. I’m still living in
the same house. I still have the studio there. One things that’s
new is I’ve been performing at church services instead of concerts,
and I’ve enjoyed that. That’s not to say I won’t
do more concerts…I just don’t know right now.
The most important change is I think I’ve moved toward the Lord
more than I was before. Hopefully, I’m always growing in him.
Other than that, my kids are bigger…I’m a little older;
but other than things haven’t changed that much. I do have a
new album (laughs).
How did you go with the composing process of the new album?
The idea of doing a concept album about the Tabernacle came from my
friend Paul Farmer. He also encouraged me to tell people the project
was a secret. I was like, “I don’t think so.” But
I mentioned to one reviewer…and there began to be a buzz about
it. I hadn’t written a note at that point. Then I began to explore
that idea, it really took on life, and became serious. I believe the
Lord was in on this…
I had just returned from a tour of churches in Europe, and I started
writing. The whole album poured out in 10-12 days.
My writing process is to sit at the piano…sometimes a guitar…with
a little tape recorder, play and record ideas. One of the first things
I wrote was “Suffer, trespass, stranger redeemed.” Paul
had taken those random words from Leviticus…and they were sitting
there on the piano. I just started singing those notes, over and over…
In my opinion there are some influences from early Happy The Man (with
the use of horns), do you agree?
I don’t think I’ve ever heard Happy the Man when I wrote
this. Maybe once or twice…I don’t remember. I really heard
them for the first time when they were at Nearfest. I loved what I
heard. So, no, I don’t see a direct influence.
In your opinion, which are the main differencies between Testimony,
One and the new album?
The new album is more mysterious…that’s the main thing
I was going for…more intrigue and mystery…maybe a little
darker. Testimony was really telling my story to a lot of music…it
was my own story. On One I was trying to have people feel God’s
heart. This new album is a journey through spiritual mysteries.
Also, Testimony was the most orchestrated work, followed by One. This
new CD is the least orchestrated of the three albums and the most
Why did you choose the title “question mark”?
That had to do with the mystery factor. The Bible talks about hidden
riches and secret places…of the mystery of Godliness. I wanted
people to seek these things out, to search out these deep questions…like,
“Where is the Tabernacle today?”
The promo edition hasn’t got the lirics, can you tell
us something about them and what do you try to communicate with them?
I was communicating different things at different points. Mainly,
I wanted to give people a flavour of what it’s like be among
people who are with God. And to have compassions for the people outside…and
then see this mysterious figure lead them in.
[NOTE to editor: The complete lyrics are available in the press section
of Neal’s website, in the online press kit.]
What kind of feedbacks are you having back from the messages
present in your albums?
Mostly really, really great. I’m amazed at well it is being
Did there were some negative critics about your beliefs that
Sometimes it hurts…it’s not personal about me. If people
are upset about Christianity, they have some good reasons for that.
For example, there’s a lot of corruption in the Church. I can
see that. I don’t usually get too upset about it.
Which was the best experience with an audience that you like
best to remember?
One of my favourites was first time I gave my testimony about Jada’s
healing at the Astoria in London. It’s on the bonus DVD of Testimony
Live DVD. The Lord really moved in there that evening.
In our previous interview you told me that you feel to be
like a child in the path of being a believer, were are you today in
Jesus said that unless you become converted as little children, you
cannot enter the Kingdom of God. So hopefully I’ll always have
that. It’s child-like in terms of guilt, wrath…but we
do need to be wise. Jesus says we need to be wise as serpents, and
harmless as doves.
Maybe I’m a toddler now (laughs). I think I’m growing
in him. I’ll let him judge where I’m at, though. The Bible
says he who is wise in his own eyes is a fool (thank you, Kerry Livgren).
Could you tell us which were the ways Jesus has changed your
How much time do you have (laughs)? It’s a transformation of
all areas. My favourite thing is what the Bible calls a circumcision
of the heart…the peeling away of the deadness of your heart…so
you can really feel love and compassion. I feel things in a way that
I couldn’t before. I had become comfortably numb in my life.
He’s changed my heart so I can love God, love my family, my
music, and my audience in a different way.
Can you tell us about your relationship with God and how much
time did you spend to pray in an ordinary day?
Well that depends I’m not a huge scheduler. I think sometimes
those thinks can become robotic one of them main things in jesus teaching
is don’t be like the pherasis where everything was turned into
a method. I mean, having said that…I dunno I probably pray for
an everage of 20-30 minutes. I pray throughtout the day. I pray with
my kids. There were prayer meetings.
He’s here, man. It’s incredible. It’s really amazing
it’s like…I feel he’s right with me, helping me
along the way, coprecting me…we have to be willing to take correction.
To be a good son. The bible says “dispise not the chastening
of the Lord.” Once you know how wonderful He, you know if He’s
correcting you it’s going to be best thing.
A lot of people thinks that following Jesus is like to loose
freedom or that a believer doesn’t think with is own mind, what’s
your answer to that?
It seems like two different subjects. On losing freedom: I believe
you have two options: you can serve God or serve the flesh. You’re
not really free when you’re serving the flesh…though it
may seem that way. But what’s really running the show is one’s
sinful nature: pride, greed, avarice…they are at play. If you
serve God then you’re free from all that. The Bible says that
where the spirit of the Lord dwells, there is freedom.
There is freedom from material existence…but it’s also
clear…in Galatians, it is writing, “Use not your liberty
as an occasion for the flesh, but in love to serve one another.”
You’re free to serve God and your brothers and sisters. If you
take that on, you’ll discover real freedom in your heart and
soul. It’s lifelong process, though…it doesn’t all
happen at once. [The disciple] Paul says, in Romans, “I have
been saved; I am being saved; I will be saved.”
On being a believer and not thinking: Jesus wants us t think for ourselves.
It’s also true that you don’t think so much with your
mind, as of the Spirit. Your life is not your own, you were bought
wiith a price. You still have your carnal, but you’re seeking
to have this spiritual one take over. It’s a process. Jesus
talks about taking up your cross, daily.
What do you think about the attitude to link rock music with
I think music is like languages. And I think they can be used for
evil or good.
In your opinion lirics can really influence the youg listeners?
Sure. But I also think it can be a complex issue. I hope that young
people are affected by music…only time will tell.
What do you think about the artists that put subliminal messages
in their albums, some involved seem to be The Beatles, Led Zeppelin,
Queen, The Rolling Stones, Stix and many others…?
I never really cared much about that stuff. I remember the whole Paul
[Mcartney] is dead thing…I just thought it was really weird.
My friend Paul [Farmer], who was involved in inspiring me to do this
album…he was really into it. That’s why I put the backwards
In Italy we have had a lot of problems about the connections between
satanism and heavy metal with some horrible murderes, what’s
your point of view about this?
I think music is a powerful influence. That’s why I love it
so much. It can powerful influence people to evil or to come to God.
What does it mean for you to be a Christian artist in a world
(the music one in particular) were there is a very little place for
God and his loving message?
You gotta come to my world, brother (laughs)! There’s two world’s
going on: there’s this physical world…and then Jesus says,
“My Kingdom is not of this world.” I find that there’s
a lot of people really hungry for God.
These seem to be very dark times, in your opinion which is
the most important thing to change as soon as possible in our world?
It starts with a “J” (laughs).
If somebody ask to you “Why do you do all that?”
What is your replay?
My direction is really driven by where I feel God wants me to be...to
feel his heart. It’s really a liberating thing, because you
know that what are doing is the right thing, even you can’t
see that at the moment.
Which was the best gift that you’ve experienced since you’ve
started your solo project?
The Holy Spirit.
Do you have a word of hope to end this interview?
Praise the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and watch what
other interviews: 2003 (only in
Reviews (only in italian): It's
Not Too Late; Testimony; Testimony
?; Cover to
Scriptura;? Live; Sola
Scriptura Live; Lifeline; So
Testimony 2 Live
Related Artists: Spock's Beard; Transatlantic