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The Sacred Musings of a Warrior

Singers are not a dime-a-dozen. When you discover a special one, like Rey Parra, you pay attention. It's to our benefit that he's still around. I had the privilege of catching up with him, giving him a hard time like old friends do, and find out what he's up to.

What makes an old crooner like yourself stay at it?

Doug, you've known me for many years, and you know that singing is my passion. I have led worship at my church, then was on the praise team after that at another church. I am a worshiper of God and my talent is singing.

I told God at an early age that as long as I have a voice to sing, I will use it for his Glory so.... I can still sing so I am doing it for the Kingdom.

How does an old geezer keep his pipes healthy and strong?

Keeping the Pipes healthy and strong is always a task. Trissy (my wife) and I are always on the go and time is often limited but what we have done is, we created "ME TIME." We go to the gym and work on cardio. Cardio is a very good way to keep healthy but it also helps with vocal stability because as your heart rate increases so does your breathing and for me, that helps a lot. I also sing, sing, sing all the time when I'm in my truck, or at work, I am always keeping the vocals warm if you will.

(NOTE TO SELF: I so want to drive around with Rey like James Corden does and belt out old Sacred Warrior tunes at the top of our lungs...)

What blessings has your voice brought you through the years?

Well for one thing, I have recorded several records and have had the opportunity to lead worship in church so I would say that those are great blessings.

What has music cost your family? How have you fought against it taking a toll on your wife and family?

Doug, I am very blessed to have a totally supportive family. Trissy always has had full support for my career as an artist. It has never come between us nor will it ever. My kids are just stoked about it because in their eyes, their dad is a Rock Star LOL!

What drives you as an artist?

The driving factor in my career is simply to get the Gospel Truth to as many people as possible using, what I believe to be, great music that is relevant to these times. Doug, the bottom line is, "PEOPLE NEED JESUS." I'm not trying to over spiritualize this, but it is the truth. Now I will also say that putting out music is also very rewarding.

How hard is it or what challenges do you face in creating compelling art/music in 2018?

First and foremost is time management. I am a project manager for a national builder and it takes up a lot of my time. I also am very involved in my kids' lives. Trissy and I try to go to all the school functions that they are involved in - there's football practice, my son Dylan's concerts, watching Survivor (laughs), and so on. but, that being said, I have to make time for music as well and it gets challenging but I just do it. Not as often as I need to, that's why it takes so long to do a record.

What themes have been important for you to write? Why?

People today are very critical of everything. Our nation has made it so easy for us to judge everything, there is no such thing as mercy any more. "One nation under God" is not a reality. It's quite comical how issues that really matter have become sort of a joke in our society. Our president is not respected, the flag is being punished for racial tensions. Many who have loved God and country, no longer love either. Why do we persecute this country when it always gave us freedom, gave us the right to pretty much do as we wish. Makes no sense to me. Why is there so much hatred toward Christians? Why is God being removed from our homes and our schools? God's plan for us is to spend eternity with Him in all his glory, not for us to utterly destroy His spirit yet that's exactly what is happening.

We need God more now than ever before but yet we continually push him away and move closer and closer to a Godless society. We write music that hopefully reaches those who need to know the truth.

How have you kept your faith growing and healthy?

I am the spiritual leader of my family and as for me and my house, "WE WILL SERVE THE LORD."

Keeping in tune with God is not easy, however, if you devote yourself to prayer and seeking righteousness in all you do, it becomes easier. There are many struggles we all face but we just need to stay focused on Jesus.

Tell me about your latest and new projects.

My new band DENY THE FALLEN is a collaboration with Jon Johnson (second guitarist of Sacred Warrior, Wicked Generation and Obsessions). Jon and I have talked about doing this for years and, 4 years ago, while I was working on Worldview music, Jon and I started writing. I faced the challenge of singing in a form I was not accustomed too. I wanted to sing some harsher type vocals styles, but I did not know how to get there. Jon worked diligently with me and the end result was great. The Symptoms Of Eternity record had many of those topics I talked about in the main body of this record. I believe that we accomplished what we wanted to with this record, both lyrically and opening up about how we feel. Jón is a great writer and producer. This record will not please everyone but I believe it will please God.

What’s it been like working with people outside of Sacred Warrior?

You know Doug, the guys in Sacred Warrior are and will always be great friends of mine. We shared a ground-breaking experience with the birth of Warrior. George Ochoa, Ronson, Jonnie, Toss, all from Worldview, have become great friends as well. George and I clicked and once we started tracking The Chosen Few we just had a dynamic time in the Lord. Working with Jon is a pleasure as well. As you know, Jon and I have already shared writing time together on Warrior. I especially like the direction we were going in with this new music. We shared lots of laughter and tears as did I with the other bands. For me it has been a pleasure working with all these guys.

Why the move to Florida (is that right?). Tell us about it.

(laughing) Well it's kind of funny. Sacred Warrior had been to Florida on a few occasions to do shows. I believe that it was our second trip here that I just fell in love with Florida. I loved everything about Florida, the ocean, the big palms, the great weather. I just told Trissy one Day, "Honey, we are moving to Florida next year," and she said, "Have fun, cause I'm not going." Trissy opposed it all the way because she did not want to leave her Dad in Chicago. Well, long story short, her dad moved here first and that made it easier for Trissy to agree. We love it here. Our entire family now lives here. And it's been real cool.

Take us through EACH Sacred Warrior release and tell us what comes to mind. Don’t forget to include any pre-debut times with demos and live opportunities. Also include any post Obsessions activity that the world does not know about.

WOW! If anything has gone bad as an old geezer it's my memory, (laughs) not really, but partially true!

Rebellion So, in 1988 we released the Rebellion Record. This record was a long time coming. Rick, Bruce, Tony, Steve and myself had been writing for quite a while for this record. I remember we had this reel to reel recorder in our makeshift studio, and we thought we were "big time" because we could record our stuff on tape instead of the old school ADAT recorder. (laughs).

We would always have people come to our practices and sort of put on a live show feel. I guess that ultimately prepared us for the live shows because we almost always had a crowd in attendance. We had put out a pre-demo tape. Yes, tape. And I guess you could say that people liked it. It wasn't until we were given the opportunity to open for Whitecross that we were discovered by Caesar Kalinowski. Caesar was present as we were doing our soundcheck and I guess he liked what he heard. Caesar approached us after our soundcheck and said that he wanted to sign us ... the rest is history now. We then went on to record our first record in Chicago.

Masters Command Well, I must say that this record was the least of my favorite albums. From concept to finish I was not totally happy with the record. I do love most of the songs, but I didn't believe that the tones or the mixes were the best they could be. I will say that probably my all-time favorite song is on this record - "Holy, Holy." As you already know Doug, we ended every concert with "Holy, Holy." It gave us an opportunity to bring the other bands together and end the night in a spirit of worship. Very powerful. We saw God do many things through this song.

Wicked Generation Phew, this record was a roller-coaster of emotions for us and especially me. I had an opportunity to interview several people about being assaulted by family members and such and found out just how much that was happening, hence the song "Little Secrets." "Miss Linda" was sort of a comical song when you realize the inside story on how that song came about. Miss Linda is a psychic in Chicago who totally got it wrong when it came to telling me my fortune. This was a research project, if you will, a way to expose the false realities of fortune telling. The entire record was a sort of concept album and it dealt with addiction, abuse, lies etc... It was a challenging album but overall it turned out exactly how we wanted it to.

Obsessions As a whole, was by far my favorite album. Once again, we dealt with things like addiction, porn, the devil seeking to kill and destroy us and sweet memories. The song "Sweet Memories" was mostly written (lyrically) by Bruce. His mother had just passed away and it was weighing heavy on his heart, so he decided to write about it. It is a great song with lots of emotion and just filled with the Spirit. The album even has a song called "Remember Me," which is the account of Jesus on the cross. Overall just a great record.

Favorite Sacred Warrior memories?

One of my all-time favorite memories is the time we went to Germany. Germany was so beautiful and so clean and all the people we came in contact with were just very cool. Very hospitable. So I remember we were in Witten, Germany. We did a couple castle tours and saw the Castles on the Rhine. I was amazed at all the torture methods they used to use and how small the people were in those days, because all the corridors were very tiny but the dining table was huge, (laughs).

Anything else you’d like to talk about?

Well the last thing I would like to say is this. Life is short, we as Christians should not bicker about who has the gospel truth. There is only one Gospel truth and that is that, Jesus came to die for you and me, for all of us, we ought not to bicker with one another, we should pray for one another. Don't be quick to judge someone, instead look in the mirror. It doesn't matter if you like metal music or if you like church hymns only, what matters is that you have a relationship with Christ, A real relationship with Him. One that includes prayer, real prayer not just a wish list of things. Reach out to people you may know who struggle with doubt about the things of Christ but don't judge them. Instead lead them to Christ. As an artist, help out other artists. Don't bag on them, don't think you're the best band out there. Be humble and let the Spirit of the Lord lead you in all you do.

Love you guys and blessings to you all.

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