I had a chance to chat with Mikey Howard and learn more about the heart behind the music.
Kim - What is going on with 7eveth Time Down?
Mikey - That's always fun stuff. Our bass player, Cliff, and his wife just had their first baby last month. That was really exciting! We're also really excited because our song, "Just Say Jesus," keeps moving up the charts. We're really grateful and blessed. God gave us this song and an opportunity with it. We don't take it for granted and we're trying to do everything that we can to make sure as many people hear it as possible. It's been a huge blessing. We get to meet people like you that we wouldn't have met, if it weren't for this song. It's been really cool.
Kim - I love the song and your band! But I have to tell you, I have a Mikey of my own and you just don't look like a Mikey to me. I see the name Mikey and I automatically get a picture of my son when he was just a little guy. He's 22 now and insists that he's "outgrown" the nickname but he'll always be Mikey here at home no matter how many of his friends call him Mike.
Mikey - (laughs) Well, my dad and I have the exact same name, so when I was growing up, that was how they told us apart when anyone was talking to us. If you didn't call me Mikey, I would think you were mad at me! I actually prefer Mikey. So many times, I tell people my name is Mikey and they either call me Mike or say, 'Are you sure it's OK to call you Mikey?' I'm like, 'Yeah - it's not like it's offensive or anything!' Nobody calls me by my full name.
Kim - You sound a little on the southern side and since I'm from the south, I know that the only time you get called by your full name is when your mom is really mad. As the mom of six kids - three sons and three daughters, I have yelled full names a lot over the years. You have to so they'll know exactly who just got on your last nerve!
Mikey - Exactly! Or when my wife does it! When I hear my full name, I know I'm in trouble! You know, your southern sound is coming out too, and I'm guessing Georgia.
Kim - You nailed it.
Mikey - I knew it by how you said 'daughters.'
Kim - Born and raised in Georgia and even though I moved as an adult and lived in Florida and then North Carolina, I ended up home.
Mikey - You know, Carolina BBQ is really good!
Kim - I know it! My mom's family is from North Carolina so I grew up on Carolina BBQ blended with Georgia BBQ. My dad's family owned a BBQ restaurant so I literally grew up on the pit.
Mikey - If I'm ever in Georgia, I'll have to come to your house for BBQ.
Kim - Come on! I'll hook you up. My husband has had death threats from some of the boy's friends over my grandma's BBQ sauce recipe, so I guess I do pretty good.
Mikey - I definitely will have to try that! That sounds like a plan.
Kim - Let's shift gears from food for the body to food for the soul. I've been in ministry for years and I believe that we put on these masks that hide who we really are. It's like somebody said, "Once you are considered a leader, you're not allowed to show weakness, doubt or even bad days because if you do, no one will follow you because you won't really be a leader" so we hide our issues.
Mikey - Exactly! And that is in complete contrast to what the Bible says. We are so hard on each other. The Apostles, when they were writing letters to the churches. Paul even found good things about the messed up church in Corinth. We're just so hard on each other. I don't understand it. The Bible tells us not to judge and to be gentle and kind and to love one another. If you study the character of Jesus, you quickly realize what He was all about. But we're quick to be so hard on one another. Paul talked about how he had a thorn in his side. I believe that it was sin - something he struggled with even though he was so close to God. Obviously, we don't know what it was, but he admitted it. As strong of a leader as he was, he called himself the chief of among sinners. People are afraid to admit what they struggle with. I'll admit, I'm scared to death to admit what's in my closet. I'm just like everyone else.
Kim - I see that you guys are going to be going on tour with Newsboys. That's a pretty big deal.
Mikey - We're pumped. We're just a bunch of southern kids who like to hunt on weekends who are very excited and grateful for the opportunity. We are so humbled that God is using us to do this. We're already trying to figure out our set and what we're gonna play since it's right around the corner.
Kim - Speaking of corners, Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away. Who does the cooking?
Mikey - I'm the kind of guy who runs all over place on holidays. My granny has a Thanksgiving dinner. My mom has a Thanksgiving dinner. We like to have a Thanksgiving dinner here. Then we go to her dad's house.
Kim - And then you get into the wheelbarrow and get pushed home!
Mikey - Exactly! I probably gain about 20 pounds in two days!
Kim - Well, not wanting to upset the delicate balance of cooking skills, if you had to narrow it down to one thing that "makes" the Thanksgiving table, or one thing that makes each individual Thanksgiving table you visit, what would it be?
Mikey - There's a couple of things that I really like. Number one, my mom makes chicken and dumplings. They're really killer!
Kim - Are they drop dumplings or rolled dumplings?
Mikey - She rolls them really thin and they're super good. They're really peppery like I like them. Then my wife makes a peanut butter pie that is absolutely out of this world! She only makes it at Thanksgiving and if she didn't make it, I would be really sad. It's so good. Anybody that eats it is like, "Oh my gosh! This is SO good!"
Kim - If you want to share that recipe, I can give it a test drive here in Georgia.
Mikey - I'll text it to you. You'll love it.
Kim - I'll let you know if I did it justice. And on that note, I will say goodbye. I'm looking for such great things from you guys. Your music is great and you guys all have such huge hearts for ministry and for the hurting and the lost. Is there any final thing you want to say?
Mikey - I just hope that what I'm saying is so powerful and filled with so much truth, that it transcends the whole genre of rock and roll music. I really hope that people feel inspired when they listen to our music and that they won't turn it off because they don't like rock and roll. I hope they like what I'm saying so much that they'll listen through the loud guitars. Our music isn't super hard because I like pop melodies, so I write them in so people will want to hear them and sing along. Thank you so much. This was awesome. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you.