Scarecrow and Tinmen
Official Web Site
Scarecrow and Tinmen Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Scarecrow and Tinmen lyrics)
Scarecrow and Tinmen Biography
It's a common fantasy among children to want to be a Superhero, coming to the aid of those in distress. But in the title track of its latest Pamplin album, Scarecrow & Tinmen encourages us all to become heroes for a much greater purpose.
Chris Padgett, lead vocalist/keyboardist for Scarecrow & Tinmen explains, "Despite our sins and weaknesses and failures, God uses us to reach a world in need, to be love to the unloved, to be encouragement to those who are discouraged; to really involve ourselves with humanity." Adds partner Bradley DeRosia (guitarist/programmer), "Even though we are fallen and we stumble, we can be all things through Christ, to a lost and dying world."
The music on Superhero builds on the unique "technofolk" sound Scarecrow & Tinmen introduced on its disc, No Place Like Home. The band incorporates progressive and classic rock ideas while also skillfully blending acoustic elements and even hip-hop influences. Says Brad, "We have very different musical backgrounds. Chris generally writes on piano or acoustic guitar, where I've always been an 'in your face' rock guy. For most of Superhero, I would program a loop, add a guitar, maybe a bass line, and then throw it to Chris. Or he would pass along one of his song ideas and let me add all the programming bells and whistles. Hopefully his sense of melody and my sense of arrangement result in ideas that will stick in your brain!"
One thing that certainly sticks in your brain about Scarecrow & Tinmen is the band's name. "The name really does have depth and meaning," says Chris. "' The Wizard of Oz' is such a wonderful piece of Americana; everybody's got some kind of memory associated with it. Of course, we identify most closely with the Scarecrow and the Tinman, who needed a brain and a heart. As Christians, God gives us a new mind and a new heart."
Given their backgrounds, it's not surprising that Chris and Brad bring widely divergent musical tastes and styles to Scarecrow & Tinmen. "I was almost literally born with a guitar in my hand," recalls Brad. "My dad has been a musician all his life, playing country music professionally since he was 16. In the first picture of me as a baby, I'm holding a little cardboard cutout of a guitar!" Brad would go on to become an accomplished saxophonist, while still retaining his passion for guitar and love of all things technical ("I'm one of these people who reads instruction manuals for recreation," he confesses.)
Through his parents' love of music, Chris would be exposed to everything from the folk sounds of early Jesus Music to alternative and hard-core punk.. Although he played trumpet through high school, Chris says he always loved the piano. "I didn't have much formal training, but I enjoyed picking out melodies and writing instrumental music. It is really only through God's blessing that I can turn these thoughts and ideas into songs."
Chris founded what would become Scarecrow & Tinmen in 1994. Shortly after, Brad joined him. "I was helping Chris to produce piano and acoustic guitar demos for his original duo," recalls Brad. "I thought, 'boy, his melodies and lyrics are great! Wouldn't it be cool if...'
So I came on the scene and added all the loops, programming and electric guitar."
Thanks to Chris' prowess at booking, it wasn't long before the band was able to go full time, though Chris admits, with some trepidation. "It was overwhelming at times to think of what we'd done. But I wish everybody could experience that sense of total dependence on God--giving up savings, insurance, What you cling to as stability-and living on faith." Affirms Brad, "we were called to this job, and so were our wives and kids. We do it because God says 'Go!"'
In fact, adds Brad, as tough as touring gets, it's really the heart of the ministry of Scarecrow & Tinmen. "I love hanging out with kids and getting the chance to make a difference in someone's life. I want to make sure I'm an influence that they're going to remember and cherish. We fall and we fail, but we can point you to Someone who doesn't."
As with their groundbreaking debut No Place Like Home, acclaimed producers John & Dino Elefante have pulled another collection of entertaining tunes out of Scarecrow & Tinmen for Superhero. "'Big Mouth' picks up on the 'Superhero' theme," explains Chris. "It talks about using our words to give encouragement rather than tearing down. Then 'This Much' continues along those lines, talking about God's willingness to provide the ultimate sacrifice on Calvary. That was truly the greatest act of heroism."
"I really am Chris' biggest fan," enthuses Brad. "I think as a writer, he's able to take theological concepts like dealing with the death of our sin nature ("Get Off My Back") and get to their essence in a way that allows kids to go, 'Yeah, I get it."' "You don't always have to say 'Jesus loves me' to express it," Chris concedes. "But sometimes it's important to be direct, even blunt. Kids have a tough enough time knowing what path to travel without having to translate the directions."
Scarecrow & Tinmen are known for their kinetic live shows. "It's pretty interactive and hyperactive," Chris says with a smile. "The goal for our shows is to touch every sense humanly possible. We do contests-- chugging YooHoo or Coke with an optional best burp; dancing, seeing who can sing the best version of "Sweet Home Alabama." We just try to be as silly and crazy as possible."
He continues, "The second half of the show is very introspective and ministry oriented. The point is to win kids over; whatever we can do to make an impact, so that they're more receptive to what we have to say. When they listen to our music later, we want them to remember the concert and how God spoke into their lives. I think we're a good advertisement for the fact that if God uses us he can use anybody."
As they prepare to tour with this new album, Brad says Scarecrow & Tinmen hopes that a new organization it has formed will help recruit a new generation of "superheroes." "We're launching an organization called 'Be Warm, Be Filled,' because when God eventually brings an end to this band, we don't want to ask ourselves, 'what do we have to show for it?' We see thousands of people on a monthly basis. If they see us doing good things, they'll hopefully try to emulate that. So the organization will be asking people who come to the shows to bring staple items--canned goods, blankets clothing--and we'll funnel them to existing local charitable groups. We want the youth of America to get excited about those who cannot help themselves. And in that, I believe, Christ will change the lives of both those who give and those who receive."
And that, Chris says, ties in with "The Reason Y" a song he calls their statement of purpose. "We're out here doing this because of who Jesus is and what he's done for us. If we can help people eat, stay clothed and arm and find some hope amidst the tragedies life can bring, that's so much bigger than a band. The greatest hope we can have not only for Scarecrow & Tinmen but for those whose lives we touch, is that we will all be able to hear the words, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant."'