Last week indie rock star (wait, is that an oxymoron?) Shaun Groves came to town.
I’ve tried to keep up with Shaun since his debut album came out back when I was just getting started at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. We interviewed him at GMA and he played at the our offices and I think we talked him into writing for us. I was always struck by how genuine he seemed. A few years ago he launched a blog, but it wasn’t a typical rock star blog. For starters he called it a “Shlog” (which is where that ‘shlog envy’ comment came from), but more importantly he blogged about the real stuff of life and not just ‘hey look, I’ve got an album coming out’ or ‘we’re rocking in Georgia!’ and then no posts until the next album. Plus, he tried to kick Amy Grant’s ass (OK, not really).
Anyway, since Shaun was in town I said we should hang out and he graciously let me crash with him and his booking manager/roadie/web guy Ben Stewart while they had a late dinner. Shaun’s good friend just returned from Ethiopia after adopting two kids, so we had plenty to talk about. Among other things, we talked about the irony of technology in the face of poverty (like Twittering at a homeless function or blogging extreme poverty). Shaun also told a story of a woman in Ethiopia. I don’t need to repeat the story, but it’s one of those stories that’s just insane and makes you realize that we have nothing to complain about here. It sucks to lose your job and your house and all that, but you had something to lose. So much of the world doesn’t even have a house to foreclose on.
It wasn’t all poverty and despair. We also joked and laughed and I gave some web site advice, earning my cherry Coke.
The next day Shaun did his thing, talking poverty and playing music on KTIS, speaking at Northwestern’s chapel and playing a concert that night. In the end, those notoriously broke college students sponsored 163 kids with Compassion International. To celebrate they graffitied a rock (does every college campus have a graffiti rock?).
That’s pretty cool. Indie rock star, poverty crusader and vandal. I love how Shaun pushes us to ask the hard questions. We need that.