Flyleaf’s Biggest Fan: 83-year-old Carl Phelan Writes Book about the Rock Band!

Josh Bechler Writer for Rocking God's HouseAllow me to introduce to you Carl Phelan. He is 83-years-old — and a very sharp 83 at that! With knowledge of his age you might not guess that he and his wife Jackie are the biggest fans of Christian hard rock band Flyleaf. Carl has written a book about the band entitled Flyleaf Spreads Their Wings, which is scheduled to be released worldwide in February of 2014. You can check out the book’s official website here to find out more details about its release. Ok, now that I have your attention, allow me to tie it all together for you: Carl Phelan is the grandfather of founding member and lead guitarist of the band Jared Hartmann.

“I am writing this book mainly because my grandson, Jared Hartmann, is one of the lead guitarists in the band called Flyleaf. My wife Jackie and I are two of their biggest fans. This book is for all the fans of Flyleaf young and old, past, present, and future!” says Phelan.

Mr. Phelan is a well-educated and experienced man. College educated, he used his gift of brilliance to educate young minds all throughout Texas until he retired from public school teaching in 1989.
He then taught math at Gary Job Corps in San Marcos, Texas and retired from there in 1999. His next venture in full-time work came as a security guard and dispatcher for The City of Austin Department of Energy. He retired from that job in 2012 — his third retirement!

Flyleaf BookFrom what I have read on the book’s website,  I cannot wait to get my own copy. It is a must-have for Flyleaf fans who want a personal inside scoop from a man who has followed the group from the very beginning! As soon as the book releases, I will make sure my copy is autographed. But for now I will just have to settle for this interview with Carl:

What made you decide to write the book?

My main reason is my grandson Jared Hartmann, who is one of the guitarists in the band. I am 83-years-old, a retired school teacher. I started on the book around 2005. That was when Flyleaf released their first full-length CD. I have a room in my house — a spare bedroom that is called the Flyleaf room; it is covered from wall-to-wall with the band articles, pictures, and band memorabilia. My wife and I have been to all of their concerts within driving distance. We could not make them all; they have been all over the world and have seen more than 25 different countries: places like Russia, Japan, and Australia. I have a map above my computer with pins in it of all the places they have ever performed.

Carl Phelan with Map of Flyleaf ShowsThe band has a new vocalist (Kristen May); what do you think about her?

I think she has a good voice and charisma. I think she is going to be ok. They want to keep going as long as she can. We saw them perform recently at The Belmont in Austin, Texas, and she did very good! Right now, they are in the process of recording their new CD. They have 67% of the album financed; they have started a funding program on PledgeMusic.com to help raise the rest of the finances for the album, and the funding program features some great band-related offers on the website. [click here to visit their Pledge Music page]

Do you have any musical talents?

When I was in high school I was in the band and I played trumpet. When I was 8-years-old I learned how to play the harmonica. I still play the harmonica all the time, at family get-togethers. Especially at the Christmas family get-together, I play lots of Christmas songs that I have learned. My son Kevin is also a musician. He was in a Christian punk band called One Bad Pig and after the Flyleaf book comes out, I have enough material to write about my son’s band as well. My son Kevin is very humble; he was the wind beneath my wings during this whole process.

You have followed the band from the beginning. When did you know they had something special?

I knew from the beginning. I am not saying that just because it was my grandson’s band. I had noted musicians come up to me during Flyleaf’s performances and tell me that the band had something special and that they would take it all the way. In the beginning, I watched them pray together before and after practice. They practiced all the time, asking God to take them as far as He wanted them to go and to make sure their hearts and music were all for his glory.