This Week's Episode: Crystal Lewis!!
March 23, 2022

Joseph Rojas of Seventh Day Slumber

Joseph Rojas of Seventh Day Slumber

Joseph Rojas is the lead singer of Dove-award winning Christian rock band Seventh Day Slumber, president and founder of Rockfest Records, president of Teen Hopeline, and an innovator in the touring industry. But before he was any of those things, he was a broken kid desperate for hope.

 

On this episode of Trevor Talks, Joseph talks about the band’s new album Death by Admiration and the ways in which it pushes the boundaries of everything the band has done in the past. He also shares deeply personal stories from his journey of growth as an industry leader and, more importantly, a father. Join us for this candid conversation about the ways God has brought Joseph from days as a teenage drug addict who did not believe he’d live to be 22 to becoming a husband, father and one of the most consistent voices of hope in the rock genre.

 

Get Death by Admiration: found.ee/DeathByAdmiration

 

If you’re a young person who is struggling, you can chat anonymously with a caring adult at www.teenhopeline.com.

 

Follow Seventh Day Slumber:

Website: www.seventhdayslumber.com

Facebook: Seventh Day Slumber

Instagram: @seventhdayslumber

Twitter: @seventhdayslumber

 

Follow Trevor’s guest co-host, Brian Layne:

Facebook: Brian Layne

Instagram: @evgbrianlayne

 

For more Trevor Talks:

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Transcript

Joseph Rojas  0:00  
So, how can I hate someone and still want to go on a fishing trip with them? How can I hate someone and still long for them to teach me how to open the door for a woman? Maybe one day when I have a date? How can I hate someone and still long for them to hug me and say, Son is gonna be alright, I know what they did to you at school or you're going through this problem, but I was feeling that I was conflicted. I hated this person that I longed for. And that's what led me to trying to numb the pain.

Trevor Tyson  0:32  
What's up everyone and welcome to another episode of Trevor talks, you know, the place where we talk to real people about real topics, real stories and maybe a little bit of nitty gritty in between but today, I've got my guy Brian Lane in the passenger seat to help me navigate this conversation, Brian, you doing all right, man.

Brian Layne  0:50  
I'm doing good, man. It's good to see you.

Trevor Tyson  0:52  
Dude, it's good to see you looking. Looking all shabby with that one one six shirt on wonder where you got that thing from? Hmm,

Brian Layne  0:58  
I don't know. The homeless guy for like five bucks. No, you

Trevor Tyson  1:06  
but today's guest is a Dove Award winning artists with way too many accolades to list. He's the lead singer songwriter and founding member of the Hard Rock Band seventh day slumber. And he's also the founder of teen HopeLine and rock fest records. Y'all help me welcome Mr. Joe Rojas, Joe, welcome to the show, bro. Yeah, dude, it dude, it's so good to finally have you on. It's been a long time coming, man.

Joseph Rojas  1:34  
I know, man. I should have did this when you do that.

Brian Layne  1:41  
Stuff. I think it got a crowd over here. I don't know if you can actually hear it. I think. I don't know. I don't know which one it is. So I'm not gonna push the button. It could be like

Joseph Rojas  1:52  
every now and then you might hear this cool.

Trevor Tyson  1:56  
That's the one.

Joseph Rojas  1:59  
I'm kidding, man. It's good to be dude. Thanks for having me, man on the podcast.

Trevor Tyson  2:03  
I honestly can't think of a better time to do this interview. You guys just put out death by admiration, right? Probably the best record you've done thus far. And I obviously want to talk about it. A bunch in this interview is kind of why we're doing it. But also, you just did the first music video as a band and over 10 years do you just put out the best record of your career? And you just put out the first music video in 10 years. So how are you feeling about all this? Do dislike one after the other? You guys are working hard to get this stuff out?

Joseph Rojas  2:34  
Well, I appreciate you saying that. To me, it is my favorite record. And it's kind of a you know, it's the record I had the least to do with and people are saying it's your best record. But the but I can be proud of this because I'm still a huge part of it. Because my seed is the one who wrote a whole lot of this my son Blaze. He wrote about 70% of the melodies of the record, I wrote about 30% of the melodies. And then we wrote 5050 The lyrics and then Weston Evans, our guitar player who is a monster. And just in all areas, not just guitar playing, but he does some amazing production and just just a great musician and visionary. So with him in place together, along with some of me in there, I feel like it's still seven day slumber because Blazers my son, he's grown up around his daddy his whole life and heard my music we're, you know, in his, in his ears all the time. So, but it's it's seven day summer, but it's this fresh new approach that Blace and Weston, bring to it. And man, I'm so excited. Every time I listen to it, I'm like, wow, this is it's not like so far off from seven days number that you don't, you're not going do this that until a seven day slumber. But it's so fresh and so new that you're like, Man, this you know, this is a very, very polished version of the band and fresh, fresh new approach. So I appreciate you saying that, once again, it is my favorite record. A lot of people love it. And there's so much more to come and actually made me more excited about music again. You know, we never stopped releasing records over all these years. Like we have records almost every year every couple of years. So it's not like we stopped releasing records every day slumber isn't living off of Caroline. Despite what a couple of people have written on Facebook. You know, you guys are just living off of Caroline. Well, you must not have been following along because you You know, we've had several billboard records and stuff just over the past three, four years. But at the end of the day, I'm all about pushing, pushing myself. And, and Blace did that with these melodies. He really pushed me on the vocals. How

Trevor Tyson  5:23  
did that even start? Like, obviously Blaze is your son Weston's a close friend and a member of the band with EMS, comma, hometown, Victoria, Texas, shout out in Victoria, Texas, to V town. But how did they become such a force to be reckoned with? Like you obviously have poured a lot into them, but they kind of just took the bull by the horns on this thing. And it's not only that you're shifting, like, pushing the boundary between like, what can Christian music sound like but this is a hard rock record. But the lyrics are so so vulnerable. And it does sound different than a lot of the stuff you've done in the past. And it's definitely something to be proud of. But how did Western blase come into the picture with just grabbing this thing and creating it with you? Is it turning out to be death by admiration?

Joseph Rojas  6:08  
Well, Weston is his writing style is is are was completely different than what you're hearing on death by admiration. There was some honing and there was some, you know, just some input with him, but he like writes a lot of prog stuff and like, really difficult stuff that musicians would go all do. That's really, really awesome. But the average person would go, this is confusing. I don't understand it. It's like a math problem in music. And, and he's just amazing. But we, you know, I've Weston as somebody who I've always thought had a ton of potential to be a songwriter, not just a touring musician. And obviously, we brought him out. We he was our tech, he was a guitar tech. And he toured with spoken for one tour on the city rock fest tour. That's how we met him. We had spoken out on the city rock fest tour. And you know, Western is from my hometown of Victoria, like I said, and so I immediately took to the dude, but but he spoken went home and Matt was like, man, we're probably not going to do anything for a couple months. And I said, Well, Weston asked if he wanted if he could come out and even tech for us. Because we had a guitar player at a time Marco was playing for us, who's now playing bass for disciple, and who's the lead guitar player for amongst the Giants. And so, Western came out long story short, we loved him, we poured into him, and he just really became this amazing touring musician. But I felt like there was more and, and so I just kept telling him to send me stuff. And he wouldn't take it harshly when I'd say that's not it Western, or that's not it Western, this doesn't sound like what we're doing. It's really cool for Prague stuff, or whatever it is you're doing, but not for us. But anyway, that's how, and he just honed it. He like he wanted it. He wanted it and he is moldable. And he just went hard. And then Blace. And also, Weston is a very, like, you know, he understands being real. He understands not being fake. And he wants to write about real things, that people that actually matter and, and not just show off his guitar skills. That's the thing that really got me the most. Like the dude is the best guitar player, or at least one of the top best, best guitar players that I know. And he doesn't care that you think he's the best. Obviously, everybody wants to be complimented. But he wants to do something meaningful. That's what hit me. So not only is he the sickest guitar player out there, and an amazing producer as well, but he, he wants to do something meaningful. And the same thing with my son Blace. And I can brag on him for being my son, but take that aside, this kid is one of the sickest drummers I've ever played with. I would say he is the sickest drummer I've ever played with no offense to you know other seven days number of drummers but but he he wants to do something meaningful, something that matters something that echoes into eternity those are the things that I feel like God dot honors that and, and that's how this ended up happening. And then Blaze started coming to me with melodies. Like before this record, he came to me with the song man down and those lyrics made me cry dude, like grown man cry, dude. Yeah. And I was like, wow. And so Josiah Prince and I got with bliss and we finished the song man Yeah, that was on the closer to chaos album,

Trevor Tyson  10:03  
which a man down like even the music video behind that jerk some tears from your eyes, man. Yeah, like this vulnerable, it's vulnerable. And a lot of the record, like basically all of the record that you just put out is super vulnerable as well you guys tackle suicidal ideation, addiction, just people losing faith, there's so many vulnerable things that jump in your ears when you listen to this. And Weston and blaze are obviously super gifted in what they're doing. But they're also young like, what? 1920 ish, right? Yeah,

Joseph Rojas  10:36  
Bryce is 20, and Weston is 22. So,

Trevor Tyson  10:41  
and that says a lot about you like being able to step back and let the guys do what they want to do, and just come back and build a collective around it. You You do have a track record of building into these young musicians, though. So there had to be somebody that like, or maybe there was a lack of in your life, when did you really start to take these young musicians and be like, You know what, these guys are the next generation I want? I want them to lead the charge. I don't want to get left behind.

Joseph Rojas  11:09  
Yeah, well, I think that you, you touched on it, there was a lack of that in my life. I didn't have anybody to do that. For me. I didn't have anybody that that gave a crap about me, man, like, as far as a male role model in my life. You know, I had a stepdad but he was real rough around the edges. Now, I love him, don't get me wrong, and we have a great relationship now. But, um, but he wasn't, you know, he wasn't a role model to me. And. And so my dad wasn't in my life at all. My dad left when I was just, like, four years old, he and so I don't have a lot of memories of my dad other than him beating on my mom. And so I know that there are people out there that that need guidance and so and support and, and my wife and I have have been like, foster parents. So a lot of a lot of these people. Now obviously, Blace is my son and I made sure that even him Caden and sage that they would never ever have to question whether their daddy loves them, they would never have to question like, Is daddy going to come home or his daddy? Whatever, because my kids have been on the road me since they were born. Yeah, and my wife Laurie has, but Western has a good dad. But, but what I'm able to do for Weston is something that, you know, that his dad doesn't necessarily do, which is the music industry side of it. His dad's an awesome dad, great man. But the music industry side, there's a lot of pitfalls. And so his dad trust me with with their son for a year for several years now. Yeah,

Trevor Tyson  13:14  
dude, and a lot of times the family that builds you up, like, they don't have to be blood and like you get you do have the opportunity to pick like, hey, this dude's cool. I really want to consider them family. And that's something like even Brian here, like, that's something you do pretty really well, too, is like, you've had like you have a daughter, but you also have an adopted daughter, and you've been an amazing light for me and my wife, dude, like, that's something you can relate with heavily.

Brian Layne  13:44  
Yeah, one of the things I think is really important is for people like Joe in it to be out there in society. Because when I was coming up, there was never that opportunity, that space, so to speak. And that's what I'm hearing you are what I'm hearing, you're saying, Joe, as far as like you're creating space, a safe space for people to explore their their life, figure it out, and not be forced to rushed into anything. But when there's something needed, you're there to give that guidance and that advice. And that's a beautiful thing. There's so little of that, and there needs to be a whole lot more. So that's really awesome. And that's something that I practice personally, in my own personal life is trying to create like that space like Dude, if you don't want to work, if you don't want to do maybe you're not this liberal, but I am when it comes to that, like, you don't want to rush out and get a job. You don't want to rush out figure out what it is that you want. Don't go out drinking a bunch of mistakes. If you're gonna make a mistake, make sure that you make a calculated mistake so that it leads to a better decision later on. And those that's important, man, that's important.

Joseph Rojas  14:50  
Well, I'm Mexican, so my kids better work. They better work.

Trevor Tyson  14:54  
Always. Me and Brian, and I got a

Joseph Rojas  14:57  
mowing the yard do.

Brian Layne  14:59  
Yeah, I don't My like I think you teach them work ethic, like when you do get a job, guess what you're gonna pay, you're gonna do stuff you're gonna learn, we're gonna teach you how to do it. My, my daughter was learning how to pay bills here recently. And she wanted to just put it on auto pay and on my Na, you're calling in there, you're given them that number, you're gonna make this process. And then once you get that down, then you can put it on AutoPay teaching law says, yeah, yeah, man board

Joseph Rojas  15:27  
and man, these. There's just a lot of there's a lot of kids to that. They've got a mom and dad, but they don't have guidance. Their mom and dad are so busy like checking Facebook and posting about the perfect family picture. Oh, look, hey, honey, get in this picture real quick. So I can show everybody that we went to the beach even though you didn't spend two minutes with your kid at the beach?

Brian Layne  15:50  
Or he's complaining and griping right before the photo snapped and everybody's smiling during the photo, but the pain and the process that went into getting that photo? Yeah, we'll ever know.

Trevor Tyson  16:01  
Yeah, like, I was reading a post the other day and somebody beautifully articulated, like, yeah, Facebook, and everything has done a great job of like, letting us get connected with people that we haven't seen in a while. But like pretend we're in a room right now having a face to face conversation with you connecting with those people you're missing out on the people that are right in front of you, like your phone is blocking your peripheral vision with the people that are right in front of your eyes, sitting at the dinner table talking to your best friend from high school while your kids sit over here suicide or your husband's thinking about having an affair, your wife, whatever, you know, like, social media is excellent. I'm not bashing it. But there's got to be a fine line drawn, you know, like, and I'm not a father. So like, going back to what Brian was saying, like, yeah, I want to provide a safe space and like, not make make a good job right now. And I'm like, Oh, I guess I could be honorary Mexican and some sore because I'm like, bro, they come out of the womb, they're working. And I'm not a movement or anything yet. So, you know, that's just my mindset. That's how I was raised? Well,

Brian Layne  17:03  
I mean, obviously, there's two different contexts going on here. You know, like, the context in which he's helping people versus the context, bringing, like, adopting kids and stuff like that, but it's all the same nonetheless, in the in the sense that you're providing Joe, what a lot of people only wish they could have. And for for you to be a father figure and an influence in somebody's life like that, to give them the opportunity to feel valued, but also to feel validated, to be seen, and to be heard. And to be commissioned with purpose. That's awesome. Yeah, it's commendable.

Joseph Rojas  17:36  
Appreciate appreciate that. You know, man, I will say like, this industry is a dirty industry, man, this industry, when we call it even the quote, unquote, Christian music industry is, man, it's

Brian Layne  17:54  
free to murder wire, bro. throat right, open.

Joseph Rojas  17:58  
Yeah, it's brutal, man. And the worst part about it is, you know that you are trusting someone because they said Jesus, because, you know, they're, they're supposed to be Christian. And you know, and you're like, Yeah, I would rather you steal from me, and I knew it was coming. Then you tell me, you know, all about your Bible study. And all the people you prayed for, then all of a sudden, all the while you're draining my bank account, or you're still in my publishing, or you're, like, I can go on and on and on. And that's why, you know, look this, this, but but then there's another side to it, too, that artists don't realize, is that when you do because I've been on labels for many years, like real ones, you know, and, and so not Cash Money Records, you know, or whatever I'm talking about not that can actually Cash Money Records is a real record label. Yeah. Wayne's label. Yeah. Pick a different different one big bling records, you know, think so, and they're selling stuff out of their car. You know what I mean? Like, that's cool. I respect the hustle. But I'm talking about major labels. EMI, capital Warner Brothers word entertainment to BC, rock fest, like real labels, Universal Music Group shameless plug. So I see the pitfalls, man, I've seen them. And so I've seen what real stealing from a band looks like. And so if you're a band who's never seen that then and and then the your career doesn't take off the way you thought it was supposed to. Because you felt like you were God's gift to the industry. See, we got a part to play to as artists, like you know, you don't you don't deserve anything in this industry. If I worked from sunup to sundown to get where I'm at, nobody gave me anything, I didn't have a rich mom, I didn't have a rich dad, I didn't have, you know, I worked my butt off to get where I'm at. But I had people legit steal from me, because I didn't know the industry at when I first started. And so so what I feel like we're able to do as a label, and me being an artist, as well as help those bands, from the rock fest tours to the small town America tours to the all the tours that we have the recovery tour that we've put together, and the rock fest label and Nashville label group, we've been able to help these bands, give them deals that I never got when I was signing. But if you're not careful, you know, they'll think that you're that too because they don't really understand what real stealing from you is. And and as opposed to your career not taking off the way you thought it was. And, you know, why didn't I get a check for 15,000 last month? Well, it's because you literally have 5000 streams a month, you know, like, but if we keep working hard, we'll get there. And so these are the things that I feel like, that I'm able to do for a lot of these young artists is to be real with them, be honest with them. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. But at the same time I'm here, when you fall to let you know that you're loved, that it's an all is not lost, that we can just do the next right thing. And we're going to continue to build it's not over. And yeah, it's important, you know that these that they know that because it's a cutthroat industry.

Brian Layne  21:43  
Well, I'm still trying to scratch my head at the statement you made a minute ago. And that is somebody stole from you. When I look at you, you're somebody I would think twice about stealing from none. I'm saying like, I'm so Joe, it must have been like on drugs or something, you know, or I'll tell

Joseph Rojas  21:59  
you a story. And this is gonna put me on Front Street. I'm all yours. All right, listen, I've never told this story on a podcast before. Oh, so. So listen, so I, I signed a deal with a label, you know, this was years ago, right, like 20 years ago? Or like, Yeah, something like that. I'm not gonna give you exact how many years ago it was okay. But I signed a deal. And, and I, it was major distribution. It was a beautiful deal. And I had to come up with $30,000. Right. So for the deal, like, basically, I got an amazing deal, but I had to pay for my own marketing. And I was happy with that, because it was like a pass through deal. And I didn't have to sign my publishing away. I didn't have to do anything. So I was new, like, in this industry. I hadn't made no money. I had just I was living in apartment. My wife and I Blace was just born. And so anyway, um, I borrowed my mom is She's a single mom raise two boys on her own. She took out her 401k basically. So that way I could use that money. And she believed in seven days number that much. And that money. I signed it over. I put it in that escrow account. That money was stolen. It was my mom's money. You got to remember, I only been a Christian at that point. Like, just a few years. Yeah, a few years. So here's the story that I never told nobody.

Brian Layne  23:51  
They haven't seen or heard from him since.

Joseph Rojas  23:53  
Well, no. They haven't done that. Since I'll tell you that.

Trevor Tyson  23:58  
Somewhere to signify where you buried this guy.

Joseph Rojas  24:01  
No. But listen, my mom has everything to me. She's the only one that ever loved me properly. Right until I met my wife, you know, and so no, they I got a call from somebody at that office and said, Hey, man, I'm sorry to inform you. But your money was stolen and the so and so that stole it is no longer here, but we don't have your money. And I told them that you got to remember, I'm still a new Christian at this point. Right? I told them that they had about five minutes to come up with my money. Or that I would be at that place and I'm willing to risk my salvation. And and, and I'm and basically, I said I'm coming with a bat. Yeah. And I was dead serious. And now I did get a call back in five minutes and miraculous miraculously my money had appeared. And and there was actually a good man there that that did something amazing for me. And, and he is still a good friend of mine to this day, but but anyway. Yeah, so that's it. I've never told that story but that money came back to my mom. And then it wasn't long after that, that we ended up getting to deal with. I got a call from Brandon evil over a tooth and nail. And Brandon was like, Hey, man, been watching you guys, and I want to offer you a deal. And we ended up signing to tooth and nail EMI at that time. Wow. Anyway, I'm a little embarrassed to tell that story because it makes me sound like like, I'm just a bad person. But at the end of the day, right? Yeah. And it's not a case. Like, you know, I felt bad after I said that things I said, but like I said, I was still a new Christian. This is 20 years ago. And I was like, it was my mom's life savings. You know what I mean? And I was ready to I was ready to, you know, I was ready to at least destroy the office. I'm gonna be honest with you. I was at least going to destroy the office and I was probably going to go to jail.

Brian Layne  26:24  
Yeah, but there's no like, it's your mom's

Joseph Rojas  26:28  
my mom's Ronny Do not mess with him to the day.

Brian Layne  26:30  
I don't care how long of a Christian you've been. I mean, even Jesus went in flip some tables, right. So like, Yeah, sort of, like cracking with people. So I mean, come on. Yeah. Yeah, I don't know.

Joseph Rojas  26:42  
I don't know that to this. But at the same time, thanks for having my back.

Brian Layne  26:51  
I don't think I'd have handled any any better. I would have probably been like, I'd still you know, I'd still be in prison today. Well, my mentality.

Joseph Rojas  27:01  
Trevor, what do you think, man?

Trevor Tyson  27:03  
We're not endorsing it. We're not endorsing it. But you know what? I mean, you mess with Joe's Mama's money by

Brian Layne  27:11  
anybody's Mama's money man came.

Trevor Tyson  27:14  
It's like that Doritos commercial, like, don't mess with my Mama, don't mess up my redoes. Like, that's what I think of and I wouldn't know like, think twice about messing with Joe. And you're not, you're not telling a bad story. You're just letting people know, like, you know what this happened. And this is why I'm wrong. But I might still do it.

Brian Layne  27:32  
By the way. There's, there's a there's an element of vulnerability when you when you share stories like that. So it's also about progression and that you're human, you're sharing your human experience that isn't. And I just want to clarify, we don't we're not putting out there to Joe Rojas as some kind of gangster Suge Knight or anything,

Joseph Rojas  27:50  
I'm not gonna go out there and bang somebody's office up. I was 20 years ago, and I'm taking a chance that someone's not going to like me anymore because of a story 20 years ago, but at the same time, I can give you worse stories than that, that you won't likely you're gonna decide for yourself whether you like me, all I know is that Jesus loves me. And that's good for me. That's right.

Brian Layne  28:10  
That's right. And that's the whole essence of Trevor's podcast is highlighting those things and but the flawed aspects of our character now want even a flaw? That's a reaction to something that called for justice. So like, but the fact that you were able to share that with us, lets anybody who's out there, you know, who may be struggling or had just come out of a situation similar where they lost her cool about something justified or unjustified? That Hey, it happens to every one of us and we all move on. We grow we learn.

Joseph Rojas  28:40  
Yeah, definitely. Well, I've definitely grown since then. And you know, I still honestly now I don't say I'm not I'm obviously not in the in my my life has changed since then. It's been 20 years and I've grown as a I'm more mature, I still like anybody else get angry at stuff, especially when it comes to my family. My family is everything to me. I had nothing man like, my mom was the only one who I had I was a drug addict with no hope in my life. I've been in and out of jails institutions locked up from Texas to California. Man, I hated myself. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think about taking my own life. And so to have a mom that is that never left you when everybody else did. That's what I should have started with on the context of the story like that someone who never left me when everybody else turned their back on me. She was the one to come to visit me when I was locked up. She's the one that found me on the streets of Austin, Texas when I was homeless, living in an alleyway eating out of garbage cans. It was my mom who was there through it all. There was my mom, who was Jesus to me when I didn't believe that there was a God. It was my mom who loved me into the arms of a living God when I thought even if there was is a God, which I didn't believe there was, what would he want with someone like me, but my mom was Jesus to me. And so yeah, I didn't, I didn't handle that the right way. And thank God it didn't go I believe God protected me from that situation. Because I would have gone there with a bat and busted the whole place up. Because it was my mom's money. They stood, I didn't care. I don't care, you could steal from me. People steal from me all the time. I mean, there's a record label that owes me $300,000 Right now, but at the end of the day, I'm not going in with no bats. I'm not going to insist you can steal from me, God is my provider. He's my source. And so there's nothing that you can take from me or cancel me out of that, that God can't give me back tenfold. You know, I'm not worried about you don't provide for me God does. So I'm not worried about that. This was just more about the respect factor in the print store. My mom, put some respect on my mom's name.

Trevor Tyson  30:55  
Hey, what's your what's your mom's name? Joe, Mary, Mary Rose. Mary Rojas this this episode is going out to Mary, Mary Rojas and Mary nickel because we love her to nickel. Nickel. Yes.

Brian Layne  31:11  
Much in her Instagram post.

Trevor Tyson  31:12  
Dude, come on. And hearing this story just opens up a whole other can of worms in my mind. Like, I want to hear the whole story, Joe, like, before you found Christ. So like, obviously, the moment that you had in the ambulance, but I just believe like for people that maybe they haven't heard of seven days home or Rockfest records, or even you Joe like, I want everyone to hear how impactful that God has been in your life. Like when Jesus came in your life. It was a complete 180 It took time, obviously. But yeah, you've been locked up from Texas to California. That's just not something you say like it's actually something that happened. Addiction almost stole your life, suicidal ideation almost stole your life, would you mind sharing, like as much as you feel led to on your story and becoming the guy that you are today? Well,

Joseph Rojas  32:03  
I think there's a lot of people that have a similar story. And a lot of them are, are ashamed to tell it because they're afraid that maybe people will walk away people that maybe are hanging on by a thread, at their church or out there, whatever. And if they knew that about me, there's no way they, you know, I'm trying to get them to like me as it is, and they don't even know. And so for me, I just feel like I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna let the cards fall where they may, because I'm tired of trying to make people like me, I'm tired of trying to fit in with a bunch of people that I'll probably never fit in with anyway. And so if I can just let it all out now, then I know the ones that stayed, or the real ones. And so, but most importantly, hopefully it would help somebody that's struggling in their own life to realize that there really is this living God who has a plan for you. It's more than just some cool little Bible story that weak minded people tell themselves to get through the day about their imaginary friend and heaven. Up in the clouds, there really is a God, he really is mighty in battle. He really is a loving God, he really does hold you hold the broken in his arms and heal broken hearts. He really is that God who can deliver you from your addictions, restore marriages. And I've seen him, you know, do the most amazing things being being a drug addict. And I started using drugs when I was drugs and alcohol when I was 12 years old. Because I wanted to fill this void. I was empty. I didn't know what it was. I didn't know how to fill it. I didn't know what I was missing. I was just empty man. I my dad wasn't in my life. I told you the last memory of my dad was him beating on my mother. He was I still remember the anxiety from being three and a half, four years old. I still remember that anxiety of seeing my mom bleeding, hearing her screaming. And it's crazy. Because, you know, I'm in my 40s now and so to be able to still feel that anxiety is something that man like it's hard to explain. But throughout that time, I still wanted a dad I still wanted my dad it's crazy. Like this is the craziest part about this is how can you long for someone that you hated. I was longing for someone and at the same time hated them for what they did to my mom and what they did to me by leaving me and leaving my brother, but I was still longing for you. How can I hate someone and still want to go on a fishing trip with them? How can I hate someone and still long for them to teach me how to open the door for a woman maybe one day when I have a date? How can I hate someone and still long for them to hug me and say, Son is going to be all right. I know what they did to you at school or you're going through this problem. But I was feeling that I was conflicted. I hated this person that I longed for. And that's what led me to trying to numb the pain, whatever it is, I could get my hands on whether it was drugs, alcohol, messin with girls, the stealing, robbing. I mean, trouble. I broke into my first home when I was nine years old, because I wanted to, there was some older kids there and I wanted to impress them. And I wanted a dad, I wanted a father figure. And, and so anyway, you know, uh, by the age of 14, cocaine became my dad was my drug of choice, like, I was my jam. And so it got out of control. My mom's putting me in behavioral centers, I was in trouble with the law. I was, you know, juvenile stuff, you know, and until 18, and then I was locked up in big boy jail. And so, but are around there. But my mom, like, was hurting for me so badly, that she finally went to church with I don't even know who it was. Somebody invited her to the church, that the place where they raised their hands in this crazy people over there by the airport, in Victoria, Texas, and they raise their hands during praise and worship. And so my mom, I'm gonna make this statement, and then I'm gonna have to clarify, but my mom risked hell to see me saved. All right, so I'm gonna tell you what this means. My mom risked hell to see me save. I don't even sound right Joe.

Joseph Rojas  36:49  
Like in our family, you're born Catholic. Like, you don't have a choice. You can say I told my mom, I don't even believe in God. She said, I don't care. You're an atheist, Catholic. You know, but you're Catholic. You're born Catholic. My mom was born Catholic, do you have no choice. But my mom was also told that if she went to any other church outside of the Catholic denomination that she was going to lose her soul. And she believed every bit of that. And so even when I was younger, I wanted to go to this Christian camp. I wasn't even a Christian dude. But it was this guitar player friend of mine named David. He was sick guitar player I wanted to be like candidate other than the whole Christian thing. But even that I was willing to fake if I had to just to be around the students such a sick guitar player, he invited me to Christian camp or like a Baptist camp. My mom didn't want me to go because and here's her son out on dope and messing around, and there's a chance I could get better but because she didn't want me to lose my soul. If one day I decided to be, you know, believe in God. She didn't let me go. And then that she did later down the road, but she was really worried about it. My mom really believed that she was going to lose her soul. But anyway, here I am locked up in big boy jail doing all this dirt doing messed up stuff I was, she had to come visit me in hospitals with Nike imprints on my face from getting jumped to fighting and all the different things that dislocated jaw the whole thing, man, and anyway, my mom finally went to church with this lady because she was so desperate for help for me to get help, that she went to church with this lady and my mom risk going to hell. So her son could be saved, so their son's life could be saved, because my mom really believed that she could lose her soul. But instead of losing her soul, my mom found her savior. And my mom had an encounter with Jesus. And she gave her life to the Lord. And that began the journey, even my journey because my mom would, then at that point, she would be talking about Jesus speaking the blessings of God over my life praying over me, she goes to the visit me when I was locked up. She talked on a nasty phone to the nasty glass. Do you know tell me God has a plan for you. Meanwhile, that means my son, God has a plan for your meal. He has a plan. He loves you. He loves you. You don't have to die a drug addict meal. God has a plan for you.

Brian Layne  39:22  
Is was there a point in your journey? I mean, for me, personally, having had a similar experience coming up. But I always had the sense of purpose, even in my disparity or my despair. I always felt like there's more to this. But then at the same time, I never felt like I was going to get better. Like, is there is there a breaking point and in which I'm going to get better? So my question to you is this in that journey? Could you ever have Fathom or imagined where you are right now?

Joseph Rojas  39:58  
No, not at all. I didn't think So I was just one of those. There's no way I could have imagined this because I felt like I was worthless. I felt like I had no value. And you know, what's crazy? Is as I as I'm older now and I look back on it, I go I was never an atheist. I, I would say I was, and maybe I didn't even understand what it really meant back then it was just cool to say I was an atheist, to all my friends, you know, as a way to rebel. And, you know, that kind of thing. But as I'm older, I always have a set. I always say I don't believe in atheists. Because, like, how can you know that? There is absolutely no God? I was agnostic. I didn't know whether there was a God or not like, you know, but I would say I was atheists. But really, I just didn't know if there was a God. More. More than that. I thought if there was a God, what would he want with a worthless drug addict like me? Isn't there really is this holy God? Right?

Brian Layne  41:09  
Did you ever have this? Like, let me just cut this out. But did you ever have this feeling like though that there was more though, that like, you knew somehow, some way it was gonna get better? You just knew, but

Joseph Rojas  41:23  
oh, well, I never knew it was gonna get better at all. Like, so no, no, I didn't. I didn't ever thought it was gonna get better. I thought I was going to end up dying. But I told my mom, I probably wouldn't make it to 22 years old. And I knew that I would die before then. And I got that was how I felt. So I never, never thought that and at 22, I made the decision to take my life. And in the back of an ambulance, I felt the hand of God and I gave my life to Jesus in the back of an ambulance. Not being able to speak with my mouth. I had tubes and wires and stuff, but but in the back of an ambulance, I felt I felt the hand of God. And I gotta be real clear about this. Because I know that there are viewers and listeners that you know, it's they hear Yeah, the big man upstairs or the big pie in the sky. Well, I'm not talking about that. I'm not talking about your higher power and, you know, shouts out to you. No, you know, no disrespect and that kind of thing. I'm talking about an encounter with a living God, not a doorknob being my higher power, or a cactus being my higher power. I'm just gonna be real. And I know it's gonna offend people. I was a drug addict with no hope my life, I'm one of you. So don't trip. All right, I'm telling you like it is. I did all of that. And, and, and I was still empty. You know, that you can be sober and still empty. You can be sober and still hate yourself. And, and, and I had an encounter with Jesus, not not, not a higher power, not the big man upstairs, not rubbed the fat Buddha, not none of that stuff. I'm talking about Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I want to be clear about this. I had an encounter with him. But I used to go to these meetings. And I will go because I was court ordered or whatever. And I'd see someone get up and they'd say, Yeah, my name is Michael and I'm a drug addict, or I'm an alcoholic or whatever. And, yeah, today sucked. I, my wife left. I lost my job. My car has no gas. Honestly, I don't. I've felt like taking my own life pretty much throughout the day. But hey, by the grace of my higher power, I didn't use today so and then you go, Oh, thank you, Michael. Or Thank you, Bobby, your thank you. And I'm sitting in that meeting going, Dude, you should have drank something, bro. Like, seriously, like, if your life is still that bad, at least get high. Right? I mean, I know that's gonna offend people watching this. I don't even care. I'm just telling you like it is. Dude, why would I want to go and do the same thing that you're doing? And feel I already feel that empty. Like, give me something I can look forward to. Now I got to feel empty and not have anything that numb it. Nah, dude. I want to know that there is really a living God who can change my life and I don't have to fill that empty anymore. And I can be completely clean and sober and happy. And that's what I was looking for. And I had an encounter with Jesus. And He wrecked me in a good way. Changed my life.

Trevor Tyson  44:45  
Dang beautiful man. It's fascinating to hear like, when people see you on stage, they're like, oh, you know, he's, he's Joe Rojas. You know, the great and mighty from Seventh Day somber and they a lot of them like they're saying that I was saying the other night, y'all started to make your compliment then y'all were playing what I become. And I might ask, who does Pyro when a church? Come on? Like we do? And exactly, it's, it's fascinating though, because like, I've never done drugs are going to jail by the grace of God, how will you praise them. But like so many people have, but the one thing that we can really relate on is being in that place where you're like, Man, I don't even want to be here anymore. I don't see a purpose in my life, I don't see a reason to live, like, God doesn't want to use me. And that's the mentality I had for so long. Being from a small town, like, you don't, a lot of times you don't break out of that. But like, God had a different plan. And like he had a different plan in your life. And there's a lot of people that are going to hear this number like, Man, I feel I feel like that right now. And what they, what they need is that encounter with Jesus. And a lot of people hear that and like, oh, that's just a Sunday School answer. But no, like, we don't just say it to hear ourselves, say it. Like, it's, it's a legitimate thing that happens. When you allow God in your life, like, he can take that pain from you. You don't have to self medicate, like God can provide the healing and it may be something that you have to learn to live with over time, like for me, like with panic disorder, and having anxiety like it's not a one and done many hand and calm, like slapped me in the face. I didn't fall out. It wasn't anything like that. It was learning like, Okay, I do have purpose, I do have value and being able to look in the mirror and be like, You know what, I'm a work in progress. But God's got something cool that he wants to do with my life. And sometimes it's just that mindset of like, okay, like, when you watch fixer upper on HGTV, like, they see these houses, and they're terrible, ugly, yellow walls pink, like, and maybe somebody has some pink wall, like, you know what, forget that. But I would see that as like, oh, we need to change that. And God doesn't even look at us like that. He's like, I want to use that wall exactly the way it is. And for me, like, God did that my life too, and hearing your story and how God's impacted your life. It just adds fuel to the fire man, like even getting to see you guys play the other night. Like the energy that obviously Weston and Ken and blaze and yourself bring every single night. It's not like a typical rock band, there's obviously something different. And a lot of that difference come through the comes through the vulnerability of the lyrics. And just to kind of like segue here, there was one song on the record that I really want to talk about, and it's halos. Yeah, the one that Apple Music put on the worship playlist, I hope some worship, people went from listening to reckless love to hear it God, like, that's exactly what happened. But Spotify did it too, dude is because it's a banger, and God wanted people to hear it. But that song has a lot of vulnerability in it. And it's come from like, not only your experience, but people that you've lost in your life. But from the beginning of the writing process for that song and to what it's obviously become on the record. Where did the concept for that come from? And how was halos born?

Joseph Rojas  48:11  
Well, Weston, we needed one more song to finish out the record. And Weston sent us this music that it was just the verse, add an intro and the verse and I thought, wow, that intros banging in that verse just seems so soothing, but rock, and, and metal at the same time, if that makes any sense. And, and then he said, Hey, listen, here's an idea that I had musically, but also, I'll tell you what I was feeling when I wrote this. And I could almost feel what he was getting ready to say, because of the music. That's so weird. Like the art of the music made me feel like what he was getting ready to tell me. And he said, Hey, man, this is about not being able to say goodbye to somebody or get to somebody in time because you you maybe you didn't take the time, or you got busy or whatever. And then he told us that he had been living with this thing for a while that he never told anybody that one of our big time supporters, Joe verdine, big time supporter of our band, he was on every one of our lives. He was at a lot of our concerts. He's just a big time supporter. But Joe wrote him and it was like, asked him a question and just said, Hey, write me back when you get a chance or whatever, but Weston never wrote him back down. Like Western was gonna write him back. And he ended up getting busy doing something else. And then like, two days later, Joe died, suddenly just was a health thing. But it No, it was unexpected. And Weston has been living with that. For all this time that he, he actually was gonna write him back. And then he's like, now just write it back later. And he said his exact words were, I felt like at that point I did, I just didn't want to be bothered with it. Like, and that's a rough thing to feel and say, and so and then for me, I said, Well, man, first of all, like, you know, you don't have to carry that burden. And, and so anyway, but for me, it was a friend of mine, Amy to semicolon project. She was a friend of mine for many years, she got saved at a seven day slumber concert. And then she, you know, had issues after that, and like, had other encounters at different ministries, but seven day slumber was her that was that was the beginning of it for her. And we were able to speak into her life all these years. I'm the one that told her she should do this, like with the Ministry encouraged her through it walked her through the tough parts of it. And she started doing really, really amazing. And the ministry took off changed. countless lives, still changing lives to this day. And then she just went through a difficult time after that. And my wife and I were trying to help her through it. She called me actually just to tell me what she was going through. And so we pray to her. I was on the phone for weeks, just with her. And I made her upset, because I actually called the police to her house. Because I thought I was going to lose her that night. And so I wasn't going to be it wasn't gonna be on my watch. And I'm no snitch, but at the same time, I didn't want to lose her. So I sent the police that caused a big problem with her. She was mad at me. And then we had a big argument after that. But then it calmed down. And she texted me. She really wanted to talk. But I was still upset at the argument because she had said some things to me that were really hurtful. And I didn't write her back, I still have that text message. And she's no longer here. So halos is is about that for me. But it means something to a lot of people mean something different. Somebody that wanted to spend time with a loved one, and they just didn't get around to it. And they're like, Man,

Brian Layne  52:35  
I That's powerful. Does that mean that's a powerful lesson? And it's so powerful. I had to jump in. Because I mean, you're, we need to learn to love and love always enough selectively. Because you never know. Yeah. And thanks for sharing that part that's naturally

Trevor Tyson  52:54  
moving the lyrics and the song. And I know it's not my fault, but I'm so consumed with the thought of your last words questioning everything can't reach out now. It's too late. Why is it so hard to say goodbye so long till we meet again. And like I heard the song, like before the record was released, and I sat on it. And then now hearing it again. But hearing it live and hearing the story with it. It was like, I never know it was about Amy who turns out was a mutual friend, she was the first person to give young high school Trevor a shot, do an a&r work. And if it weren't for that, like connection, like I don't know, like, I wasn't suicidal at the time or anything. But like, I don't know, that I would have been able to do the career moves that I'm able to do now. Because I had someone give me a shot. And that opened a door and then God just use it to start opening doors. So like her ministry still lives on. And she impacted my life, she impact your life. It's she had a global movement project semicolon, like that was a huge thing. And I remember just, we had spoken a few days before and then I saw it on CNN, you know, and it was a that was the first time I'd lost someone to suicide and it's, it's just, it's wild to see, like, such a light in the community or the world for say, still go through those same emotions and still go through the motions with that. And it goes to show like sometimes the loudest voices in this realm are the ones that are struggling the most and you would just never know about it. Like you think about Robin Williams like being such a happy go get her on screen, but I struggled with depression in that way and I'm tired of losing people to suicide. So it's like what can we do about it but you're putting your actions forward with the teen HopeLine so like, you have this HopeLine for people to get help 24/7 Can we touch on that and kind of hear what you're doing and what your plans are? And it's actually what prompted the recovery tour to happen over the past few months. So what is to hope mine and

Joseph Rojas  55:13  
how these are the this is the I'm just going to kind of cover that, but Well, you can't really see it. I'm getting a ton of, but these are the messages is there any chance you'd be free to talk over the phone for a bit, I'm in really, really in need of it. That was her last text to me. So I still have it on my phone. And so I wasn't not paying attention. I was just getting that message. So people can see that even now I can't get rid of that message. And I've I've just recently been able to kind of let go that it's not my fault that that happened. And that's the craziest part about it is I do this every day with the teen helpline and throughout the years with teen helpline we we help hurting teenagers the first year that when my wife and I took it over a Bill Scott originally started he's a friend of mine does a lot of radio stuff out in the industry. And he's actually lives down the road for me, but I became the president a teen HopeLine years ago and and in the first year that we took it over, we ministered to over 50,000 Hurting teenagers through phone and through chat. They could talk to us anonymously. It's just a person that cares on the internet that a caring adult, our hope coaches. And so I partnered with Dawson Macalester ministries, and I actually our bus tour bus is actually parked at Dawson, Macalester is building that they actually built a bus pad for seven day slumber. So we have a great partnership with Dawson McAllister, and he's passed now. But the ministry there. And so we ministered to a lot of hurting teenagers. And I've and I've learned over the years of cat can't hold this. But this one hits so close to home, that it was hard to let go of this one the way that it happened. I've lost friends to suicide. I almost lost my life to suicide, but you know, family members to suicide, but for some reason, this one I couldn't let go of and and there's a part in that song that says, I can't go on living like this, I have carried the weight now for too long. You know, and it's time to let go. And I think that for everybody watching this, you know if that's something that you've held on to and it's going to end up killing you inside and you've got to understand that you you can't fix anybody. But but we can be available to those people and that's what teen helpline is at www dot teen hopeline.com If you're going through a tough time you're struggling with anything, you can go talk live to a caring adult at WWW dot tiene hopeline.com. You don't even have to give your real name. It's through chat. And there'll be somebody that understands your pain. They're not there to see through you. They're there to see you through and help you through the things the difficult parts of your life. I don't care if it's something you're scared to tell your parents if it's something that you're going through that you don't understand about yourself. If it's whatever anger, bitterness, depression, somebody you just need to talk here or there. Maybe not hear their voice but see their words and that they care then Tino blinds.com is your place.

Trevor Tyson  58:50  
So good man and they have taken time to be here and share about not only the music but about the amazing things that you're doing in the community and I just want to say from personal level thank you for doing the work that you do. God's using it tremendously and I'm just thankful to know you man it's it's cool to see everything falling into place and even with Blaze and Western light coming in and becoming strong powerhouses with seven day summer like it's all so encouraging the watch. And even when the rock fest dude, like y'all are doing some big moves. I know there's gonna be some announcements made soon. And do just keep trucking along like you're doing big things and if nobody else tells you that which I'm sure they will I appreciate you.

Joseph Rojas  59:34  
I appreciate you guys dude.

Brian Layne  59:36  
And I had to be on this. I had to be on this episode. I'm never on video episodes which Trevor we have an after show but I had to be on this episode because you were gonna be on here.

Joseph Rojas  59:45  
Dude, thank y'all so much man. I'm honored dude. And I appreciate you taking the time to let me get in detail you know with some of this stuff. Hopefully they didn't cut it off after I talked about about to destroy somebody's Building back my mom used to get her money back row

Trevor Tyson  1:00:05  
always gotta get her money back I didn't

Joseph Rojas  1:00:07  
get show money Mama.

Trevor Tyson  1:00:11  
Mama exactly, but seventh day summers new record death by murmuration is out now you can go stream it everywhere if you don't want to be cheap go to seven day slumber.com Go get the merch bundles they've got some amazing merch out there they got t shirts a physical copy of the CDs and everything on their website which will have a link in the description below. They'll be sure to go check out Brian on social media at E G Brian Lane across all the boards there and yeah, I'm excited to see what's next for seventh day and teen HopeLine and go see some day summer they're coming to your city most likely they're about to go on a tour with the cipher down amongst giants spoken. Who else is going on as I said, right? You guys obviously so it's a big

Brian Layne  1:00:58  
dope name such a dope name to seven day slumber

Trevor Tyson  1:01:02  
J slumber it's birthday great. So

Brian Layne  1:01:04  
the name they're like, they're like on the level with corn and stuff.

Joseph Rojas  1:01:10  
With a whole nother level right there man. keep trucking along though we're gonna keep trucking along. Make sure you go check out the debt by admiration for seven days Thumper, decipher down spoken and amongst the Giants come into a city near you. Seven Day slumber.com All your info.

Trevor Tyson  1:01:28  
And this episode's been brought to you by the whosoever so now the teen HopeLine and we'll talk to you guys next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Seventh Day Slumber Profile Photo

Seventh Day Slumber

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 over 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 Weston Evans(guitar), Blaise Rojas (drums), and Ken Reed (bass) are known for a string of signature songs, including "Oceans from The Rain," "Inside Out," "Caroline," "Finally Awake," "We Are the Broken," "Wasted Life,” and “Alive Again.” Their 2022 album “Death by Admiration” debuted on Billboard Top 200 album sales at #69.
Front man Joseph Rojas gave his life to Jesus in the back of an ambulance after a suicide attempt, overdosing under the same roof where his praying mother daily fell to her knees on his behalf. Joseph's $400 per day cocaine addiction left him nowhere to turn, and God supernaturally showed up on the way to the hospital and changed his life forever.

Joseph Rojas Profile Photo

Joseph Rojas

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 over 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 Weston Evans(guitar), Blaise Rojas (drums), and Ken Reed (bass) are known for a string of signature songs, including "Oceans from The Rain," "Inside Out," "Caroline," "Finally Awake," "We Are the Broken," "Wasted Life,” and “Alive Again.” Their 2022 album “Death by Admiration” debuted on Billboard Top 200 album sales at #69.
Front man Joseph Rojas gave his life to Jesus in the back of an ambulance after a suicide attempt, overdosing under the same roof where his praying mother daily fell to her knees on his behalf. Joseph's $400 per day cocaine addiction left him nowhere to turn, and God supernaturally showed up on the way to the hospital and changed his life forever.