Before he met the Lord in the back of an ambulance more than 25 years ago, Joseph Rojas had willed himself to die. Overdosing under the same roof where his prayer-warrior mother daily fell to her knees on his behalf, Joseph's mile-long rap sheet and $400 a day cocaine habit left him nowhere to turn. But God supernaturally showed up on the way to the hospital that night, touching Joseph's heart and changing his life forever.
It's a powerful testimony the Seventh Day Slumber founder and frontman never tires of sharing. And with a successful career and loving family further helping heal the pain of his troubled youth, Joseph couldn't have imagined he'd need to be brought back from the brink a second time. But two years ago, he found himself in the wilderness again...
SEVENTH DAY DELIVERANCE
Among an elite group of bands who have dominated and shaped the Christian rock scene for more than two decades, Seventh Day Slumber remains a consistent force on Christian CHR and rock radio. They've sold a combined total of nearly 500,000 units to date; charted two Billboard #1 albums; five #1 singles; 14 Top 10 hits; and garnered a Dove Award. Joseph and his bandmates--brother-in-law Jeremy Holderfield (guitar); son Blaise Rojas (drums); and friend Ken Reed (bass)--are known for a string of signature songs, including "Oceans From The Rain," "Inside Out," "Caroline," "Finally Awake" and "Wasted Life."
The group's 11th studio recording and first release in two years, Found (VSR Music Group) showcases Jeremy at the production helm, guiding the band through 10 new selections ranging from hard rock anthems to melodic pop ballads. This diversity is a calling card for Seventh Day Slumber--one few firmly-rooted rock acts can own--and the project's title-cut and debut single easily proves this sonic breadth. Written by Joseph and Jeremy, along with acclaimed
singer/songwriter Daniel Doss, "Found" is a response to Joseph's recent deliverance from a dark season of burnout and depression.
"'Found' was written from the heart and hits me every time I perform it," Joseph says. "The truth is, I was singing every night on stages all over the country ministering to others, but inside I felt empty. I poured myself out but never filled back up. I was too ashamed to tell my pastors how empty and depressed I was feeling and I ran to things that left me emptier than before. Food became an addiction and I isolated myself in embarrassment of the weight I had gained."
"I came to realize I was so empty because I wasn't allowing myself to rest in Him," he continues. "As St. Augustine said, 'You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.' When you lose that closeness with God, nothing you have or accomplish will fulfill you."
Emerging from this self-imposed isolation with healthier lifestyle choices and complete reliance once again on his Savior, the experience served as a creative catalyst for Joseph, fueling many of the themes Found explores. Alongside rockers like "Sky Is Falling" and "Into The Fire," the album demonstrates a decidedly softer side too. The piano-based "Mercy Meets My Pain" is also an autobiographical track. "It's about someone desperately trying to hear God in the middle of some really tough times, wrestling with doubt, but ultimately beginning to realize that God does understand the struggle," he explains. "One of my favorite lyrics in the song says, 'Through all the chaos and madness You are working for my gain/In my darkest night is where Your mercy meets my pain.'"
SEVENTH DAY SONS
"Sin Of Our Fathers" tackles the topic of generational sin and learning to break cycles that have bound families for years. "We as men can have such negative effects on our children by making bad decisions and not being in their lives," Joseph explains. "The song is written from the perspective of a child left to deal with these consequences."
"My father was not in my life growing up," he continues. "He was abusive both physically and emotionally to my mother, and after almost killing her she made the decision to leave." But after many years of estrangement, Tony Rojas reached out to his son for restoration. "He said, 'Son, I know you probably hate me but I just felt the need to call you,'" Joseph remembers. "I stopped him right there and said, 'I don't hate you at all, I love you and have been praying for you.' I invited my dad to come to Nashville and stay with my family. The minute he came out of the airport my kids--who barely knew him-- ran up and hugged him."
"I had to be back on the road in a couple of days so I invited him to take the four-day run with us," Joseph continues. "I don't think he realized there were people all over the world who knew our songs or the impact our ministry has had. That was the first time I ever felt like my father was proud of me. During that run we played in South Dakota and as I was giving the altar call rain started to pour. There were many people who responded, and in the middle of the crowd I saw my father coming to the altar. I was able to pray with him and lead him to Christ that day."
The family bonds for Seventh Day Slumber came full-circle yet again two years ago when Joseph's son Blaise--now 15--joined the band. The budding drummer was asked to audition just like anyone else, and his skills more than measured up. "It's amazing to look behind me when I'm onstage and see my son worshipping God," Joseph says. "Blaise doesn't just talk about gear or drum stuff, which would be understandable, but he always seems to bring it back to praising God with his talents. My relationship with Jesus has gotten even stronger watching this young man of God every night."
SEVENTH DAY HOPE
Touring has always been a key ingredient in Seventh Day Slumber's successful ministry formula. They founded and host the annual City RockFest and Small Town America Tours, bringing a unique lineup of faith-filled pop, rock and metal music to enthusiastic audiences across the country. "This tour has grown every year and has contributed to thousands of lives being changed," Joseph says. "It isn't just an outlet for Christian rock fans, it's an outlet for Christian rock bands as well."
Moreover, touring has given Seventh Day Slumber a firsthand glimpse at the deep struggles their fans face--from substance abuse to troubled relationships to suicide--serious issues that simply can't be solved during a concert. For that reason, Joseph established Teenhopeline.com more than a decade ago, and the online crisis ministry has proven vital. "Our mission at Teen Hopeline is to be an encouragement to those who need it and to give godly advice to those who are hurting," he explains. "There is no judgement, no condemnation--just people who truly care."
Serving others in need is a reminder of Joseph's own troubled past and the many miles he and his band have traveled since. The journey has hit some bumps in the road along the way, but for a man who understands--yet again--what being Found truly means, one thing is constant: "It's the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus that has kept me all these years," Joseph affirms. "From delivering me from a cocaine addiction to my present situation, He is faithful!"
take everything| Posted November 05, 2011
"Take Everything" made me rethink my worship and the way I was worshiping God. I don't want my worship to be empty songs ever again! Thank for the revelation Seventh Day Slumber!
The real deal| Posted November 04, 2011
These guys are the real deal. If you want to talk about a band that walks the walk that they talk, these guys are them. All of their music is uplifting and brings glory to God. I just got to see them in concert and they completely rocked. I can't wait for their brand new album to come out!!
God bless and keeping rocking for Christ!!
You guys rock| Posted November 02, 2011
I love yalls music, a lot of it has helped me through my life and letting me know that God is always there and that i am never alone thank you guys for all that you do