Guitar Gospel

Anyone who would attempt to coordinate the simultaneous playing of 1,000 guitars would need a little help from the Lord. Good thing Tom Dooley, who hosts the Christian talk radio show The Journey (KVTT-91.7 FM) is in good with the man upstairs. Dooley has put together the ultimate in axe/God communion: 1,000 Guitars of Praise, wherein--you got it--1,000 fretmasters will simultaneously play "praise and worship songs" at Reunion Arena. B-Sides spoke with Dooley over the phone about evangelizing via 6,000 strings.

How do you get 1,000 guitars in tune with each other?

When we first got together that was an issue--you can hardly get three or four to play in synch. We said this is either going to be glorious or a train wreck. But there are guitar tuners, just like piano tuners.


1,000 Guitars of Praise

1,000 Guitars of Praise will be held at Reunion Arena on Saturday, October 14.

Are you looking to take the show on the road?

Yes, we are looking at Houston, and we were just in San Francisco looking at possibilities out there. This really is about evangelism: We say "evangelism with strings attached." Word is getting out, people are saying, "Hey, come over here!" and we say, "We will, if you'll pay for it." After I put down the $10,000 deposit for Reunion Arena, I'd like to say, "I heard the voice of the Lord speak, and I never wavered," but that would be a big fat lie.

Now, your radio show is from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Why do Christians get up so early?

I think that's kind of a perception--Christians work the same shifts as everyone else. But the perception is somewhat justified: The Bible speaks of Jesus getting up early to praise the Father...but personally before I started doing this show I didn't know 5 o'clock came twice a day.

I saw on that you opened for some legendary people in your time--Charlie Daniels, the Doors. I bet you've got some stories you wouldn't want to tell on your radio show

I'm working on a book about it. I've told the story, of four or five of us throwing James Brown through the air to protect him from the stage where the crowd was surging, and people ask "Is that really true?" We literally grabbed him and threw him in the air to his bodyguards, who caught him and raced out of the arena. Stories about Chubby Checker in the studio slapping his wife around, that kind of thing.

If Jesus played guitar, what kind would he play?

He would play a Gibson six-string just like mine.


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