Jeremy Holderfield—Axe Man of Seventh Day Slumber: On Their “Small Town American Tour”!
Jeremy Holderfield shreds!!! He provides the hard-rocking riffs that are essential to the unique sound that fuels Christian Rock band Seventh Day Slumber. I had the privilege of hosting a benefit show they headlined and was able to witness first-hand God-driven rock. It’s so powerful and packs such a punch—after the set people all around felt the power of Jesus through Seventh Day Slumber’s music. God was in house, praise and worship was at full tilt, and hard rock flooded the air. Jeremy was kind enough to take some time to tell me about Seventh Day Slumber’s plans for an upcoming tour, to talk about their new music, and to discuss what inspires him as he hammers away at his guitar like the comic book hero Thor!
What can you tell me about the Small America Tour?
“The Small Town America Tour is something we’ve been doing for the last two years. We would be playing in smaller towns and people would keep telling us, ‘I can’t believe you’d come to our little town,’ or ‘How in the world did they get you to this small town?’. We know larger tours skip over the small towns because they believe there won’t be a big turnout. Well, we love the small towns and believe it’s the heart of America. So once a year we do this tour specifically geared toward small communities and smaller churches. We lower our costs as much as possible and put on the BIGGEST concert we possibly can. It’s an awesome opportunity for small towns to get a big tour with big bands at an affordable cost.”
What kind of guitar(s) do you use?
“I play PRS guitars. I’ve been playing them for about five years. The thing I really love about PRS is their quality. They make really expensive guitars and really inexpensive guitars. I own both. No matter which one you own, it’s great quality. I play both of them live. It’s nice to suggest PRS to guitar players, no matter what skill level or price range they can afford.”
Tell us about the new praise and worship album called Love & Worship.
“We’ve wanted to record another worship album ever since we recorded our first. We love playing worship songs live and the atmosphere of worship at our concerts. It’s just something we love to do. When we were picking songs for “Love & Worship,” I felt like God gave us a great list. The song selection happened very quickly. Eight of the songs we put on the album were on the first list we compiled. They all have seriously powerful lyrics.”
Who are your biggest influences as a guitarist?
“I don’t really have any guitar heroes I model my playing after. When I was growing up, Tony Palacios [lead guitarist of the Christian hard rock band Guardian] was who I proclaimed as my guitar idol. I have never been able to play as well as him or even learn his songs, but I was blown away by his talent. Over the last decade, I would say Clint Lowery, Simon Grenehed, and Phil Sneed have been big influences on my guitar playing.”
How does God reflect in your music and in the writing process for Seventh Day Slumber?
“I’ve got 2 answers for this: Musically, I believe God gives me melodies and ideas that come out when I’m writing the music part of our songs. Sometimes I listen to some of the stuff I’m writing and think, where did that come from? God is always ready to flow through you if you’re willing to let him.
“Lyrically, Joseph [Guitarist Joseph Rojas] does almost all of the writing. He draws from personal experiences as well as the experiences of our fans who write to us. There is so much depth to draw from our fans stories. They write us and tell us seriously deep things about their lives. It’s an honor that people trust us enough to tell us their deepest secrets. It gives us a chance to share the love and hope of Christ and to write songs based upon the real life experiences our fans have made us a part of.”
What is your favorite Bible Verse?
“I’ve always loved Joshua 24:15. It’s kind of a declaration for my family. No matter what happens in life, no matter how bad my day, no matter what the enemy throws at us—we choose to serve the Lord!”
You’re a new father. Congratulations! How do you keep family and faith a priority while having such a heavy touring schedule?
“I am a new father! It’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. My wife and baby mean more to me than anything in this world. God is the center of our entire life. We always strive to be closer to God individually, and it draws us closer together as a family. My wife and daughter travel with me on the road. I just couldn’t do it any other way at this point. I’ve been traveling full time with Seventh Day Slumber for over twelve years. I’ve been all over the world, played to millions of people, had numerous #1 songs, won a Dove Award, toured with the biggest names, met all my heroes. I don’t have anything else to prove musically. It’s ALL about ministry. The ministry is WAY more important than all the accolades. It’s the only thing that makes touring worth it. Contrary to popular belief, touring isn’t glamorous. It’s got a lot of great perks, but it’s not easy. Without my family, I just couldn’t do it.”
You guys let me be an honorary roadie at your recent show in Columbia Tennessee. Did I exceed your expectations or was I more in the way?
(Laughing) “You definitely exceeded our expectations. You’ve got a job with us every time we’re playing around here. Whatever we paid you this time [$0.00]—double it!”
What advice would you give to a person interested in learning guitar?
“A lot of aspiring musicians ask this sort of question of us. I always tell them this: PRACTICE! If you want to be good at something, you have to practice. I spent three hours a day practicing in my bedroom every day after school. I didn’t take lessons, so I would just keep playing the same three to four scales a friend taught me. I would keep running over the only three chords I knew. If you really want to learn anything, really put some effort into it. You get out what you put in!”
Seventh Day Slumber Consist of Band Members: Lead Vocals & Guitarist Joseph Rojas, Bassist Talia Haughn, Guitarist Jeremy Holderfield, and Jamie Davis on Drums!