Three years ago Remedy Drive was the poster child for breakthrough rock acts. Lead singer David Zach and his brothers Daniel, Paul, and Phillip had emerged from Omaha, Nebraska onto the national stage; charting a major No. 1 radio hit for seven weeks (“All Along”), receiving several Dove Award nominations including New Artist of the Year, and touring with Family Force 5, Mercy Me, and the David Crowder Band.
But success came after years of struggling to get there. And upon arrival, the big time was no friendlier to Remedy Drive than anyone else trying to balance work and family in the music business; it still demanded long stretches of time away from wives, children, and loved ones. In November 2010, after much discussion, David’s brothers told him they had each decided to leave the group in search of a more predictable lifestyle.
“That was tough and I was devastated,” David admits, “but they gave me their blessing to keep Remedy Drive moving ahead. Rebuilding this thing again was daunting but the thought of doing anything else never crossed my mind.”
So David sold his home in the Midwest, moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and started looking for new band members. He found Memphis-based drummer Timmy Jones on YouTube and was instantly magnetized by his playing and stage presence. From Chicago, guitarist Dave Mohr was an easy choice after an afternoon of guitar playing and a likeminded discussion about philosophy, theology, and literature. Florida raised bass player Corey Horn accepted David’s invitation to join Remedy Drive after meeting him at a Switchfoot show.
“What’s amazing is that we’re an old band yet a new band,” David says. “I feel so fortunate that I found these guys who genuinely care about the music but are also invested in our fans. We have some fans that have been to nearly a hundred Remedy Drive concerts and they’ve been the most welcoming and encouraging in this new chapter.
“I’ve learned so much from my new band members in the past couple of years in terms of performing and musicianship,” David continues. “The energy on stage is new and more rowdy than ever. It’s a lot of fun watching the fans reactions and interactions with Timmy, Corey, and Dave. Our audience has really adopted these guys. It’s really humbled me and I was blown away.”
Many were also blown away by an EP the new line-up issued in 2011 that offered “some of the band’s best songs to date” and forecasts “good things ahead for these guys . . . it has us listening intently with eager ears.” (JesusFreakHideout.com)
And so we arrive at the second breakthrough of Remedy Drive, newly signed to Centricity Music and primed to release its duly storied and invigorated re-introductory album, Resuscitate, produced by Pete Kipley (Kutless, Matthew West, Mark Schultz).
Resuscitate meets the music scene’s anticipation beyond expectations with multi-layered songs that document David’s recent personal journey, and yet are conveyed with deft lyrics making each message universal. The record is refreshing for its spiritual transparency; the way Remedy Drive uses rock n’ roll to pursue light and a sense of being found, while admitting that darkness and feeling lost are a common part of being human.
David explains, “Ecclesiastes says that eternity has been set in our hearts and C. S. Lewis wrote about ‘the weight of glory that thought itself can’t sustain.’ It’s difficult to put such things into words but hopefully a song can remind us of that age-old ache, the mystery that somehow we’ve had and lost some infinite thing. The more I experience what I thought would fill me up the more empty spaces I discover in my heart.”
To that point, Resuscitate opens with the honest anthem, “Better Than Life,” where David admits his exhaustion and brokenness but gets a jolt of energy for the stadium-sized chorus: I need you you keep my heart beating / I need you you keep my lungs breathing / Because your love is better than life.
“Bob Dylan wrote in his hit song, ‘It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),’That he not busy being born is busy dying,” explains David, “and ‘Better Than Life’ speaks along those lines. The song title is something I knew in my head from reading Psalms, but have finally understood in my heart that love can be better than life and that love can be life itself.”
A similar idea gets amped up on the hook-filled and harder rocking, “Resuscitate Me”—all of my impulse is in vain/ is there a pulse left in my veins?
David says, “For anyone who feels too far gone this song is something we can all hang onto and claim the truth that it’s not too late—there’s a chance to be renewed. A voice that turned on lights in the sky so long ago is the same voice still turning on lights in hearts that need to be brought back to life.”
That light shines across several tracks on Resuscitate, allowing listeners to gain strength by getting a better grip on his true identity and destiny. Bold piano pop permeates “Lost Cause,” which was written when David needed encouragement the most; I might be lost/ I might be broken/ but I’m not a lost cause. “Don’t Forget” reveals a synth-pop influence with a lighter feel balanced by a heavy quote from English author G. K. Chesterton: We have all forgotten what we really are.
“I tried to capture that idea here—that we’re blood bought, we belong to another kingdom,” David says.
The further realization of that topic is explored in the poetic “Crystal Sea,” taken from imagery found in Revelation. The tune’s reference for hopeful songs that will be sung by the sea of glass applies to the next song also….the joyful, jump-off-the-ground, “Glory,” with a hearty showcase of what Jones, Mohr, and Horn bring to the mix.
The centerpiece of Resuscitate is “God I Hope So,” a remarkable ballad that David wrote in relation to his brothers’ decision to leave the band, and yet is a wide open expression that is already encouraging a broad range of listeners with its compelling message; Maybe learning how to find is learning how to lose.
“I hope this song will resonate with someone who is going through the loss of a loved one or the loss of companionship whether through death or something similar to what I went through. I hope it brings strength in the midst of situations that seem hopeless and overwhelming,” David says.
Indeed, Remedy Drive brings to life the spirit of determination every soul must discover on this journey. The truth that we are knocked back a step or two sometimes, but as illustrated in another Resuscitate standout, “What Are We Waiting For,” great things still await us.
“We’re all in the same war with the same doubts, messes, and fears that keep coming around,” David concludes, “but we can’t look back. We have to go forward and be moved by redemption.”