The Rockin' Reverend - Our Exclusive Interview
I want to introduce you to a true man of God. He´s a Rock musician, Biker and Servant of the Lord. His motto is ”My face is forward, my ride is set and my purpose known! My colours are clear, I serve my God and my goal is heaven!” He is ever driven forward by his calling from God.
He was born as Pontus J Back In Jyväskylä, Finland. Music has always been an important part of his life. When he was a little boy he saw Elvis Presley on the TV and he started to dream. His dream was to become a rock star. At the age of four he got his first guitar and started to learn the first Elvis riffs. Later he studied classical music and played both trumpet and cello. This was not what he dreamed about. His dream was to rock! During his childhood he played in some local bands with good friends and continued playing in local bands until 1995.
In 1995 he took off to London, England when he met former Whitesnake guitarist Micky Moody. They became friends and worked together for a while. It was through Moody that Pontus was introduced to other musicians on the London rock and roll scene. This is when all started and his dream started to become true. From 1995 to 2006 Pontus toured with different bands and line ups featuring members from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Status Quo, Gary More, Cinderella and Chubby Checker to name a few.
He lived a rock star life and by human standard you could say, that he really had it all. But it all also had a flip side to his life. What he did not realise was that the lifestyle of a touring for a rock musician was slowly killing him, to the point that back in February 2007 he was laying on his deathbed at hospital in Vaasa, Finland. It was just a question of the time when his life was going to end. His organs were shutting down because of his lifestyle with drugs and heavy drinking but God had another plan. This is where he had an encounter with Jesus:
"Honestly I should not be here. I should be dead according to science. It is just grace and love from our Heavenly Father. When I look back at the time before Jesus and how I lived back then I know that this is the only right way. Every single day is a day of grace. I have served the Lord and been out sharing my life story full-time for twelve years now. I could never have imagined that God could use someone like me”.
Released from hospital and with a new found faith in God. The Lord started to speak to him about something he could first not understand:
"God told me to became a biker. The reason I was surprised by this was that I didn't own a bike nor did I even have a license to drive one rather and never even drove a motorcycle. But that's when God speaks and that's when you better obey! I then got in contact with Ambassadors For Jesus Christ motorcycle ministry in Houston, Texas."
Just the year before God had told them to expand their chapter outside the borders of USA.
"It was in 2008 when I founded Ambassadors For Jesus Christ motorcycle ministry in Europe. We started with a small scale of people that were coming and going. Many of these people were just joining to be able to carry the leather west with it's badges.
I was a leader for the ministry for seven years, but today Ambassadors For Jesus Christ motorcycle ministry are well established in several European countries.”
In 2015 he was about to retire, but instead he started Ambassadors For Jesus Christ Hot Rod & Racing Team that reaches out to greasers and racing folk. Music has always been his strongest tool to reach out to people and it works both with the mainstream motorcycle and car circuits.
“People listen to music and then you get an unique opportunity to witness about Jesus both through the music and also while performing with the songs”.
Now focused with music, Pontus writes all of his material with important and meaningful messages, as with his first record ”Ride to Freedom” that was released back in 2009, that featured his old friend Garry Nutt on bass guitar. His second album "Thankful" came out in 2011 that was mostly recorded locally with local musicians. The title track of the same name became one of his main songs Pontus loves the most.
"I love the song, I was listening to the album today, I just felt that it was not me. It is way over produced".
In 2014 he started to work on a new project that became the “Hope” album which was released in 2016. This was some kind of Rock and Roll history for Pontus as he got to have some of his old friends as Dave Hlubek (Molly Hatchet), John Coghlan (Status Quo), Pete Rees (Gary Moore), Glenn Kaiser and Jukka Tolonen on the album just to name a few.
10 years with Jesus!!
As Pontus celebrated 10 years with Jesus he decided to do something different. He went to his roots with Elvis Presley and with Rockabilly music and then released his album ”Rockabilly Redneck” with some of his favourite songs from his old discography while adding a few new songs with Rockabilly versions:
"This was the second album I did with songwriter and producer Janne Hyöty. It was a fun project to work with and I am happy with the record. I think this is the most solid album so far as we have reached over 4000 copies sold."
The Dream of America
In 2018 Pontus then released a four track E.P. "The Dream of America". With the title track of the E.P. tells us his story how when he as a little child saw Elvis Presley on television and how he started to dream of being in the United States and how he finally got to experience the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As we speak he is working on his fifth solo album since December of last year. The concept of his new album will be of a classic and southern rock sound that will fit well towards his overall personal endeavours.
"This time I have had completely free hands. No one has ever told me how to play or how to sing. I've have been able to do it the way I have felt comfortable with. This record is not polished or over produced. I have found the way back to myself musically and it feels great. The main thing is the groove and the riffs. The ballads are emotional. One of them is about that we all have a different past. When we turn to God the best is yet to come. The other one is a story about a good friend and brother in Houston, Texas is about how he found Jesus next to his bike in his garage on a dark and cold night.” This time most of the recordings have taken place at home in the living room. Together with Hitmaker Janne Hyöty they have worked on the material to a ready and rockin’ product, ”Rock Force One”. A new album with 13 new originals.
"I got a recording program for Christmas and I started to practise recording at home. At the time new riffs and ideas came to me and I started to write new material. For me it is very important that the songs have a message, but on the other hand I do not want to scare anyone away from listening to the album with being too religious or being too spiritual. These songs are about life, experiences and messages from the word of God. I am excited about this album. I grew up with the 1980’s and early 1990’s hard rock and heavy music. You can really hear a mixture of that sound and of southern rock. Some stuff really turned out sounding like "Georgia Satellites" and I didn't mean to do it that way, but it rocks. I can’t wait to get it all done and get in the studio with Janne Hyöty again. I am sure this will be the best album ever"
In the middle of October, Pontus will be on his way on a mission trip to the U.S.A. This is something that he does twice a year. The record should be released by then and before that a digital single with two tracks that will also be released.
"There are still people who want to buy a physical record. Most of the records we sell on are in concerts and meetings. The truth is that I give away more than I sell, to the people I feel that need to listen to the message."
Listen to the first track "Preacher Man" from the NEW ALBUM "Rock Force One" here: http://www.reverbnation.com/open_graph/song/31058813