Los Angeles-based Indie Rock artist TODDZERO has performed on some of music's biggest stages, including SXSW and the MTV Movie Awards Pre-Show, and his critically acclaimed songs have been heard on hit TV shows like the Freeform/ABC Family series The Fosters. But when TODDZERO started to write songs for his latest album, My Precious Limp, he faced an unusual dilemma. It would by easy, and comfortable, to write another collection of songs about the usual themes. Or, he could take the opportunity to tell the truth.
The result is his latest album, My Precious Limp - Twelve songs about how he threw everything away in his 20's. The songs include not-so-subtle titles like "I Knew That I'd Get Caught," "My Best Friend Wants To Kill Me" and "Yeah, I Lied About It."
Q: Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Before you came to know Christ, you had a rebellious past. How did you rebel against Christ?
Thank you for interviewing me. Actually I was raised Christian and then I rebelled in my 20s. At the core of my rebellion was a fear in my heart... a fear that following God's ways would not be enough or sufficient to fill me up. It started with internet pornography which lead to an affair which lead to a double life; a divorce; a partying, drug-fueled lifestyle; complete financial ruin, etc.
Q: How did God turn your life around?
After a number of years along that miserable path, I finally hit "rock bottom" which was the year 2003. I had a dingy, one-bedroom apartment behind a fast food restaurant. I had a mattress on the floor with my clothes in trash bags. I was tired of living the way I was so I attended a local church and God used it to reach me right where I was.
Q: Congratulations on the release of your new record. Why did you entitle it "My Precious Limp"?
Thank you! I am very proud to have released this album especially given its brutally honest lyrics. I wrote a blog post about this exact question: I entitled it "My Precious Limp" because when Jacob wrestles the Angel in Genesis 32, he comes away from the experience with a new name "Israel" and a new blessing. But it's quite an unexpected blessing - a wrenched hip socket - forcing Jacob to hobble along with a debilitating and painful limp. The timing couldn't be worse either. All this happens on the eve of Jacob reuniting with his long lost brother Esau who last vowed to kill him - which probably had something to do with how Jacob had cheated Esau out of his inheritance 14 years prior. Jacob had been on the run ever since. And the early reports about Esau bringing 400 of his men were not promising. Jacob being injured and in an exhausted state was not promising either; or was it?
Maybe God's ways are not man's? Maybe God wants us to admit and embrace our weaknesses. Maybe the only way to receive God's blessing (and survive a meeting with a brother who wants to kill you) is through humility? Step one of the 12 step program involves ownership of one's powerlessness and admission that life is unmanageable. For Jacob, that means facing his brother head on, but from the humbled position of being crippled. Maybe that's why Esau has a softened heart towards him? I don't know. But somehow - miraculously - the brothers reunite in a beautiful way: "But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept."
For me, rather than hiding my past, what if I embraced it openly? Could God do something unexpected in my story too, just like he did for Jacob? I'm not as put together as I'd like the world to think. Maybe showcasing my "limp" in this very public way declares to everybody and to myself that I'm trusting in God's mercy and believing Him when he says, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Q: You've approached many of the songs ("I Knew That I'd Get Caught," "My Best Friend Wants To Kill Me" and "Yeah, I Lied About It") from he perspective of the person who is rebellious. Why did you do this? And what were you trying to achieve?
There are a million songs out there about being the one who was "done wrong". But that's not my story. My story, unfortunately, is being the other person -- the one who did all that wrong. So to be true to the facts, I had to be honest and write from that perspective.
Q: What were some of the highlights for you in the making of "My Precious Limp""?
The biggest musical highlights were working with some extremely talented artists who helped me put it all together. I have been lucky to work with world class musicians, singers and mix engineers. Their names and credits are on my website at www.toddzero.com. Please check them out. The biggest emotional highlight was simply getting this story of mine out into the broad daylight. Come what may, at least it's out there and perhaps my misery could become a message that might help another person.
Q: What are some of the take home messages you want your listeners to grasp after listening to your new record?
That whatever we do -- some how, some way -- eventually always comes to light. There is nothing done that someday won't be known by everybody. So that should fill us with equal parts caution and joy. Caution, because eventually our secret evils will reveal themselves. And even if you've repented and changed direction, there are still consequences to be dealt with. Joy, because the good things done in secret are not forgotten about. God sees every one of them and will reward you one day for them.
Q: For our readers who have loved ones or friends who are living a rebellious lifestyle, what words of encouragement do you have for them?
My encouragement to the loved ones of rebellious people: Don't stop praying. Don't write anyone off. God can and will reach that lost person in amazing and supernatural ways. He loves them even more than you do so don't lose hope. Always believe 2 Peter 3:9 that God's "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" will be done.