Here is the latest episode of Voices. This is #7.
You wouldn’t be able to pick up a music magazine in the past several years without seeing a piece on August Burns Red. While some may say heavy music is dying or at least becoming terribly unoriginal, ABR, led my tough guy/sweet guy Jacob Luhrs is flourishing. Most recently, Luhrs was asked to head up Heartsupport.com, a well known and now revitalized branch of Fireproof Ministries. Luhrs spoke with XXXchurch recently while on a stop in Las Vegas about the life of a touring “rock star” and all the temptations that go along with that title.
What are some of the biggest temptations on the road, how do you avoid them?
Jacob Luhrs: Parties. When you’re on tour with different bands of different beliefs you tend to get a lot of wildcards. I don’t necessarily have any temptation with like drugs or anything but I used to be a heavy drinker when I was younger. There’s always alcohol at shows, there’s always parties on people’s buses. There’s definitely temptation with the opposite sex. It’s kind of all around you. The only place that it doesn’t come into your life is in your bed or in your van, unless you let it. I just don’t put myself in the situation. When I was younger and single I probably did because I was interested in finding a girlfriend or maybe even a wife. Now I just don’t put myself in the situation, its avoiding the appearance of evil and out of respect for my fiancé. I know if I don’t have a respectable relationship with alcohol or if I don’t keep myself out of those situations, I could easily backslide.
How prevalent is pornography while on the road with a lot of dudes?
Jacob Luhrs: Pornography, it’s an evil thing man. That used to have a big grasp on my life. It was only because I guess I didn’t really know how damaging it was to me as I first started looking at porn as a young kid. It can definitely mess with your spirit and kind of almost brainwash you into thinking that’s what love is or that’s how sex is supposed to be between two people, and it’s definitely not, it’s definitely a show. If it wasn’t a bad thing, I don’t think you’d see strong organizations like XXXchurch trying to fight against it and tell people more about how damaging it is. As far as tour, it doesn’t really pop up. I think depending on the bands you’re touring with obviously some talk like high school kids and others talk like men. It’s not really much of anything that anyone really talks about but there are people who have dirty minds and mouths. For me personally, if I ever get that temptation to look at pornography I usually just pray against or get up and walk somewhere or do something because I used to have a real struggle with it and I know that feeling I get when I’m tempted to look at pornography. Fortunately, XXXchurch has this software you can download on your computer, I put it on my laptop and added my fiancé as my accountability partner. Lord knows that’s the last person you want finding out. I have her on there and my brothers Matt Greiner and Chris Carroll. I use that a lot and if it gets at me, if it attacks me, I’ll pray and talk to Matt Greiner about it, we keep each other accountable, its good to have fellowship like that.
I’ve noticed that it attacks me if I’m alone so if I’m at home or mind’s not running or I’m not doing anything or I’m not staying focused on things, that’s when I get bored and all of the sudden I’m thinking lustful thoughts and being tempted with pornography. Its everywhere you go, everyone has a smart phone, and it’s at the tip of your fingers.
What would your advice for young bands who are just starting out on the road and who are maybe starting to see these temptations?
Jacob Luhrs: Things are going to look awesome and this is new to you and exciting. Its still exciting to me, that doesn’t fade but as far as the drinking, drugs and girls. That’s going to be out there no matter, where you go but none of its worth it. I know of dudes who have gotten STDs from sleeping around on tour and getting their photos blasted on the internet and it’s horrible because there’s no love in any of those situations. All of those things are negative whether they know it or not. I know people who are dying because they’re alcoholics and drug addicts, all of that is in the rock n’ roll scene. Just be smart. I understand you want to go out and have a good time and there’s nothing wrong with that but don’t let it consume your life…you’re going to start getting selfish and prideful…Its real and its out to get you, its definitely not your friend.
If you could speak to the girls who try and find their identity in hooking up with band dudes or being that temptation, what would you say?
Jacob Luhrs: I guess I messed around with some girls when I first joined August Burns Red. I definitely felt convicted the next morning, why was I doing that? Why did I do it? It didn’t fulfill me in any way shape or form and I see girls doing it now and they do the walk of shame off the bus…finding your identity in having sex with a band guy…these girls are so much more than that. It really breaks my heart when I see these girls backstage with other bands, drinking and just trying to show themselves off to these band guys, like they’re kings or something or they have something that no one else has. In all honesty, they’re like the king of this small little castle which is part of this scene, they’re actually nothing. They’re men or boys, I like to call them boys, boys who play music and don’t have responsibility because they’re on the road, they can drink and do drugs. Then you have this girl who is worth so much offering herself for nothing. The next day waking up, this guy does not care; he’s going to the next show to find the next girl to do this to him. You’re used up, essentially being used. There’s nothing powerful in that. I did that before I was in August burns red as a non believer and now I see what it really does to people’s souls. I’ll apologize publicly right now, to all those girls I messed around with and had sex with or just demeaned them and their bodies because they were nothing to me. I want these girls now to see that the mindset I had a long time ago is the mindset that the rest of these guys have…you’re worth so much more. It’s your body, you should protect it and not give it to everyone, no one is deserving of it…you should take power in that.
I think a lot of young Christians think that when you make that decision that things start to come easier but that's just not true, that temptation will go away. When was that turning point in your life? What did that look like?
Jacob Luhrs: I can't remember the exact date or moment I felt like this was a problem, I always knew it was a problem, I always felt convicted after looking at porn and things like that. After becoming a Christian, your life doesn't get easier. I really wish that people would stop thinking that after you give your life to Christ that everything is sunny and everything works out for your best interest. That's actually not the case at all. If you want to be biblical about it for a second look at Paul, look at John the Baptist, he got his head cut off. Look at Jesus, our own savior, he got crucified, murdered by his own people. Becoming a Christian, walking that line of faith is not an easy thing. If you believe in good you believe in evil, if you believe in God you believe in Satan and I think Satan uses anything, he throws snares in my life, anything to make me go the wrong direction and veer from the path that I believe God has for me. I guess giving myself to Christ was an amazing start to a new life and journey because I had God, I was never alone but I still have the same feelings, the same fleshly feelings that anyone else does. I'm still human I still crave and have lustful thoughts and I still commit sins and am a band person. But I'm still a good person with Christ by myself trying to lift me up. That relationship I can now bring it head on with God at my side and not having to face this alone. I can pray for answers and direction and guidance. Life doesn't get easier but at least you're not walking it alone.
You're engaged right now as you stated. When the relationship first began and you and Kris were in such different environments each day while you were touring, was there a conversation where you kind of had to explain what tour life is like?
Jacob Luhrs: At first, me being on tour and her being at home was kind of difficult for her. Its not like she's never been to a show or anything, she knows what goes on backstage. Because we were so young in our relationship there were some small trust issues but it wasn't anything really difficult that was a huge bump in the road just because I was just being honest with her, where I was, what I was doing etc. obviously having my best friend Matt Greiner with me...even if I wanted to get away with something, I couldn't, we're not like that. At first it was kind of hard because we don't' see each other every day, I was gone for months. You text message, you call, you Skype, I'd send her flowers and letters, just any way to kind of be in her day when I'm not there just to show her that I appreciate her and I hold her high and she's number one. It was rough for a few months but if you can't handle that then you probably shouldn't be dating. I know trust can be a big thing with people but if you can't work through that then its probably not going to work. It’s hard for band guys who have girlfriends or wives because of the lifestyle and what it involves.