Preview by Joshua Maloni
On "Sky is Falling," the fist-pumping lead single from Seventh Day Slumber's new album "Found," lead singer Joseph Rojas sings, "It's not over unless you give up the fight."
He would know better than most.
First, "I was delivered from a $400-a-day cocaine addiction and then I became a Christian back in 1996, is when I got saved. God really took away that hurt and that pain in my life," Rojas said in a recent phone interview.
Then, "We got signed and I had a whole career in music, and still do, but four years ago I came to a place where I just got depressed," Rojas said. "I don't even know how it happened. I don't know even why I was depressed. I think I was just pouring out every night and not getting filled back up. And hearing so many stories all these years of kids wanting to commit suicide or cutting or eating disorders. Just a lot of things that people come to us about, that maybe they don't go to talk to anybody else about. They feel like they can open up to us about it. We love them, and we care about our fans.
"And so I think maybe just hearing so many of those stories, I don't know, and then I wasn't sharing with my pastor of how overwhelmed I was kind of feeling. I was embarrassed to even talk about that I was kind of depressed.
"Before I knew it, I had gone into a depression. I gained over 100 pounds in four years. Just running to food, and whatever else. Even though I never went back to drugs or anything like that, I still was running to other things than God."
Though Rojas was struggling, Seventh Day Slumber continued to tour and - remarkably - encourage others.
"I never lost my passion for ministry, or anything like that, but I just couldn't make myself be happy," Rojas said. "I had taken my eyes off God and I had lost my focus with him. So, here I am playing every night, and helping other people, but I can't help myself.
"And so, several months ago, as we're finishing up this record and writing this record, I just decided to write about it. I decided to just put my heart and my soul into these lyrics. ... That's what this record, 'Found,' is about.
"Honestly, I'm in a way different place than I was several months ago. It was just me getting my mind and my heart focused back on God."
Having a platform assisted Rojas in his recovery - "At the end of the day, being able to write about it, being able to share about it, (helped)," he said - but not as much as family and faith.
"My kids - my middle son, his name is Caden, he came to me. He said, 'Daddy, I miss you.' And that, to me, is so profound, because he's with me everyday. All three of my sons travel with me on the road. I'm always with them. So, he wasn't talking about he missed me physically. He was talking about he missed my smile. He missed my jokes - as lame as they are. He missed his daddy.
"Of course I was always there for them; I wasn't a bad dad or anything like that. But, you know, he could see something was wrong. For that past four years, he's seen me sad. When he said, 'Daddy, I miss you,' it made me realize that I have to do something.
"My wife, Lori, of 18 years, I know that she's an amazing supporter, a beautiful, awesome wife; she's my best friend. But I know that she had to see my bummed out, too.
"I just made a decision. I remember, I think it was St. Augustine who said this ... 'God has created us for himself, and our hearts will always be restless until they find their rest in him.' That's what it was. It doesn't matter how beautiful and amazing your family is, or the things you've achieved. You will always be left wanting until your heart has found its rest in Christ.
"Somehow, someway, I had just lost that closeness. That's why I was restless. That's why I was depressed.
"And, man, this record talks about that. It talks about finding that rest again in Christ - that ... I can hear him calling deep in the valley. I still heard this sound in my heart of him calling me. And while my eyes weren't fixed on him, his eyes were fixed on me."
Even with its heavier subject matter, "Found" is a rip-roaring, uplifting rock album.
"This record isn't a depressing record. It's not about all of Joseph's problems. This record talks about the hurt and the struggle and the pain, but it also talks about the hope that I have now," Rojas said.
Seventh Day Slumber will perform Thursday, July 27, as part of the Kingdom Bound Festival at Darien Lake. The band is set to take the Park stage at 7 p.m.
"I know that the only hope that these hurting kids that come to Kingdom Bound have, the only hope they have - and not just kids; adults; parents - we see married couples come to the altars at our concerts. ... The only hope these kids have is Jesus. That's the only hope.
"You can dance around on the stage. You can have a great show, and use pyrotechnics - blow things up. And we do a lot of that stuff. We have fun. But the only hope these kids have is Jesus. That's their only hope. And it's up to us to bring them that message."
Kingdom Bound Festival Director Donna Russo said,
"This year, let's be intentional about sharing the Gospel through the vehicle of Kingdom Bound. Do you know someone who is need of encouragement or looking for hope in the midst of challenge? Bring them to Kingdom Bound this summer where they can hear uplifting words and be encouraged to have hope."