The OC Supertones

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All about God…

The Supertones were always a band that was all about God. To think that God could use a bunch of crummy guys like us amazes me! It all started the night I got saved. Even though I was raised in the church, it wasn’t until my Jr. year of High School on a normal youth group night that I ever truly put my trust in the Lord. In the middle of a worship song, I heard God ask me, “Jason, you’re either for me or against me.” Obviously, being against God wasn’t an idea that thrilled me, so I surrendered. Up to this point, being in a band and playing drums was my whole life. And it seemed that God was now asking me to give it all up to use my talents for Him. Without a doubt, this was the most impossible scenario I could’ve imagined. Give up the band I was in, the party scene, most of my friends, my popularity, my fun, my sins, and my whole life- with no guarantees that I’ll get any of these things back.

It was a real step of faith, but when it’s all about God, it’s always hard. I gave up all that God had asked me to and went through the most confusing week of my life. But it was only a week! Exactly seven days later at youth group, without even telling anyone I was interested, a guy asked me if I was looking for a Christian band. Over 5 years in youth group with drums being my life, and no one ever asked me if I wanted to be in a Christian band- it must be all about God! Of course I said yes, and wouldn’t you know it… my friend gave me the phone number of a guy I never met before… Matt “Mojo” Morginsky. And in 1991, Matt and I started a band called “Saved.” Matt had also recently given his heart to the Lord as well. We were just a couple of sinful guys, saved by God’s unbelievable grace, that wanted to use our talents for Him. We wanted our band and everything about our lives to be all about God.

The early days weren’t pretty. For the first three years of the band, we were all about God with absolutely no musical direction. Matt always was and still is a great songwriter. We went through over 50 original songs from every style of music you could imagine. Rock, Disco, Punk, Funk, Metal, Country, Grunge, Speed metal, Hardcore, Soul, Emo, Ballads, Grindcore, Groove, Grunge Polka (Yes, Grunge Polka), and of course, we had a Ska song. After going through a few different band members, Matt and I needed a new bass player. Wouldn’t you know it that my best friend Tony Terusa had just given his life over to God. Tony was from the band that I quit when I became a Christian (This must really be all about God)! The three of us were totally different and yet we could clearly see how God used those differences to establish the heart of this band. For another year and a half, we kept on writing a variety of songs, playing about 5-8 shows a month in front of an average of 30 people a night, most being our close friends. But even then, it was all about God. One of my favorite memories was a show in front of 50 people where we saw 30 people give their lives to the Lord and another 11 rededicate their hearts to Him. Talk about success! We didn’t get paid, but eternity was being impacted. We were right where God wanted us.

In 1994 and 1995, Tooth and Nail Records owner Brandon Ebel had the hottest label in Christian music. They were located in Southern California and signed practically every single band that we played shows with on a weekly basis… except us! We couldn’t believe it! We started to get a little bit more of a fan base and our songs were definitely progressing. One ska song turned into two, and then two into four. We even got a couple of guys to play horns with us on a few live songs (Paul Clark and Dave Chevalier). By this time, Tooth and Nail moved to Seattle and our dreams seemed to be crushed. Every time Brandon Ebel came down to shows in S. Cal., I was there to give him our latest demo tape while begging him to give us a shot. In perspective, I can’t blame him for passing on our first 3 or 4 tries. Meanwhile, Saved had finally found it’s musical direction. The ska thing was really clicking with who we were as a band, and it was now a musical focus of ours. People at the shows loved our ska songs. Everyone was saying, “Bail on all your other songs and write more ska tunes (we already were, thank you- does anyone have any patience?)?” We finally got a 7 song ska set prepared and ready. I happened to be throwing a concert at my church for MxPx.

The concert needed an opening band, so being the concert promoter, I got the biggest perk of all time. When Brandon Ebel traveled down from Seattle to see MxPx play it’s first show in California, he would see the version of “Saved” that we had always wanted him to. The concert was a huge success. Over 1,000 people and we played a great set. But I think Brandon was still scarred about us being this wacky band with a hundred different musical styles. After the show, as a concert promoter, I took everyone out to Denny’s and then provided lodging at my parents house. The guys in MxPx stayed in the guest room, and I gave Brandon my bed to sleep in while I slept on the floor. I had to get him to sign us. I tried asking him some leading questions about our band, but he was too tired and just abruptly said “Good Night.” The next morning after breakfast, everyone was packing up getting ready to leave for the airport and I realized this was my last chance. If I didn’t talk Brandon in to signing us now, he would be gone forever to Seattle and I would never again have a chance (My faith struggled at times…). I saw him go into my room to get his bag, and I jogged down the hallway. I closed the door behind me and practically locked him into my bedroom. I told him that he just had to sign us and give us a chance. “We’ll work hard, we’ll tour, we’ll sell lots of records, we’ll be the first Christian ska band, we’ll be your personal slaves…” (well, maybe not the last one).

After Brandon listened to the stalker, he actually told me that he was impressed and thinks that we do have some amazing potential. He told me that he would really think about it and that we should maybe consider a name change. After Brandon left, we thought we didn’t really have that good of a chance and started to give up hope. But we made a commitment as a band that it didn’t matter if we were signed or not, we would just continue to be open to all that God had for us and all the opportunities He would give us. After all, it was all about God.

We ended up sitting down at my parents kitchen table to brainstorm for a new name for the band. It was just the three of us and Scott Siletta, formerly of Plankeye. After laughing at each others failed attempts, Scott was the one who actually came up with the name Supertones. Matt added “The O.C.” part of it, standing for The Orange County Supertones. Just when we had come to peace about being in God’s will even if we didn’t get signed, I got the call from Brandon.

While in the studio recording our first album, we had another great friend of ours from High School, Darren “the chief” Mettler, play trumpet for us. Without question, we knew he was a perfect fit and had him join the band. We also added Kevin “Slim” Chen on guitar, which became Bronson the album after that, and Ethan Luck the album after that. Right after we put out our first album in 1996, we got a call from a guy in Texas that wanted to play trombone for the Tones. At first, it seemed like it would never work (Texas?). But the first night we met him, we knew that Daniel Spencer was in the band for good. Jason, Tony, and Darren left the band (in 2000, 2002, and 2004) to pursue God’s calling in ministry and family, and the band added John Wilson (drums), Chris Beatty (bass), and Bret Barker (trumpet). The Supertones played their final show in 2005. It’s amazing how God brought together this entire group of guys from all over the country- it must be all about Him.

In 2009, my best friend Tony and I started to talk and dream about this idea of “What if we could go back and do it one more time?!!” We had so many ideas of what we would do differently. It was funny to see how much life away from the band had changed our perspective. We weren’t in the spotlight any more. We weren’t signing autographs. We were just normal guys, surrounded by family, church life, and friends that knew us exactly for who we were. We wanted to go out again and do some intense worship and powerful ministry. Maybe we could encourage and build up the church, and give God the glory like we never had before! We brought it up to Chief and Mojo, and they were all in. Dan Spencer couldn’t commit at the time, so he suggested his younger brother Nathan who is a great addition to the band (yes… we’ve all called him “Dan” several times by accident). Since 2010, we’ve been playing anywhere from 5-14 shows a year. We don’t want to close a door that the Lord has clearly opened, and is using in new and fresh ways each time we’re able to minister to people.

We originally had a 4 album deal with the goal of selling 20,000 records. Who would have dreamed that the band has now sold a total of over 1,000,000 units. We’ve had the opportunity to do 15 national tours, play over seas, and minister to millions since 1991. We’ve seen tens of thousands come to Christ and make commitments to Him, and we’ve seen the church built up and encouraged. At all of our shows, it was the top priority to share God’s love and to see the people come together and worship Him. Dreams fulfilled. Lives changed. Eternity impacted. It’s all about God! What a wonderful, faithful God we serve. To Him be all the glory, honor, and praise!