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Rock group leader prayed: ‘Lord, I’m tired and need help’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Driving 75 mph down a dark highway, John Davis, then-lead singer for the pop band Superdrag, found himself in a shouting match with God.

Although he was raised in a Southern Baptist church in Knoxville, Tenn., 50 yards from his backdoor, Davis was far from serving God.

The creative force behind Superdrag’s four albums and various singles, Davis enjoyed the music scene’s limelight for a decade. The band was on the “Dude Where’s My Car” movie soundtrack and “We Will Fall: The Iggy Pop Tribute”; they had two appearances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brian” and a “Buzz Clip” on MTV; and one of their singles spent some time on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart.

In the world’s eyes he had it all, Davis, now 30 years old, told Baptist Press.

“But I constantly had this ill-defined feeling,” said Davis, who became an alcoholic after being signed to a record label with Superdrag at the age of 19. “I could easily drink myself to stupidity. I was trying to fill a void that only God could.”

Or, as he put it in a news release, “I had a charter membership in the ‘Bon Scott Club,’” referring to a singer in the hard rock group AC/DC who died from an alcohol overdose in 1980.

But as he was driving to his parents’ home in 2002, the Holy Spirit took hold of him.

“I remember driving and just crying out to God,” said Davis, who was going home to Knoxville to be fitted for a suit for his wedding. “I said, ‘Lord, I’m tired and need help.’ I knew I was being convicted –- I didn’t hear a voice or see a vision, I just knew God was dealing with me. I had no intention to change my life before that night. It was like going from zero to 60 mph in two seconds. The conviction just hit me.”

He broke into cold sweats and had an uncomfortable feeling in his stomach. “I didn’t know why,” said Davis, who calls that night in 2002 his Damascus Road experience.

“I had no time to do anything but pray, which I hadn’t done in a long time. I had no intention to get saved that night.”

But “it was like a huge burden was lifted” once he gave his life to God there in the car.

After that, Davis stayed with his parents for two weeks to heal a body and soul that had been wrecked by alcohol — and to begin realizing that he was a changed person.

“Every chance I got my nose was in the Bible,” said Davis, who found out his mom had always been praying for him. “I realized that there was no substitute to feeling the power of God changing you.”

But he was obligated to fulfill a contract with Superdrag to finish a record and promote it across the country. That tour was the last he did as a member of the group.

“I laid it all out for the group and they were supportive of me,” Davis said. “They were concerned for my health. There was a lot of love. And then one other band member got sober. That’s what caused a divide in the group.” Currently the group is on hiatus.

Davis released his first solo album with Rambler Records earlier this year, a self-titled compilation reflecting his changed life.

Of the album, which has been promoted on Superdrag’s website, reviewer Andy Argyrakis wrote that “Davis changes gears to evoke a few retro troubadours on the bluesy snarl of ‘Jesus Gonna Build Me a Home,’ blending his voice somewhere in between Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia. Imagine that storytelling style crossed with Brian Wilson’s vocals and that’s what resurfaces on tracks like ‘Stained Glass Window’ and ‘Salvation.’

“Such well-executed musical decisions, mixed with lyrics of Davis’ renewal, are sure to reach a much broader audience than merely the CCM [Contemporary Christian Music] community, kick-starting a promising solo career,” Argyrakis, of Christianity Today, wrote.

Although Davis still plays in clubs, he openly shares his faith through the lyrics of his songs to a strong following of fans.

“God gave me these songs,” he said. “So far the reaction from my Superdrag fans has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Davis, who recently became a dad, plans to continue touring and sharing his faith whenever he gets an opportunity.

“I stand at my T-shirt booth and wait for people to ask me questions about God,” he said. “Even if one person says, ‘You really got through to me.’ I would stand there all night if need be.”

Concerning other prominent rock performers who whose lives have been changed by turning to Christ, such as Korn lead guitarist Brian Welch earlier this year, Davis said, “I’m no counselor but I would be there to talk to others who are going through that process. I would be there to encourage … sympathize and love them. I have a heart for anyone who goes through it.”

Recalling how “cutthroat the [secular] music business was,” David said, “There is no love there. There is a self-perpetuating cycle of alcohol and drug addicts. As the years go by, it seems the enemy is working harder because the time is short….

“[God’s] Word says He can move mountains, and He did move a mountain for me,” Davis said. “If He does that for me, He can do it for anyone. He had wisdom and strength for me.”

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  • Kelli Cottrell