Last month, Sidewalk Prophets returned to AU to host a free concert for the Anderson community. It drew many AU students and community members to Reardon Auditorium. At the end of the night, the band won the hearts of audience members by providing 300 Deluxe Donuts.
Coming back to AU was an emotional experience for one alumnus in the band.
Dave Frey, the band’s lead singer, remembers his time at AU fondly.
He recalls a time when a squirrel was running loose in the fourth floor of Smith Hall and started “terrorizing the entire floor.”
They eventually caught it in an Applebee’s to-go box and threw it out the window. Frey says they were worried it would die, but it “spread its squirrel wings and trickled down to the ground.”
“That’s what college is all about,” Frey said. “Yes, you get an education and all of that future knowledge, but those nights in the community of the dorm floor are really what last in life.”
When asked if he ever believed the band would be as successful as they are, Frey says it was “like a wild dream.”
Frey was an English education major throughout his time at AU, so he didn’t expect to pursue music as a career. He thought of music as just a hobby, but God paved a way for him to make it happen.
The band was the first group to be signed onto AU’s Orangehaus Records. They won a contest that allowed them to record an EP—a small album containing four or five songs—at Gaither Studios. For Frey, that was the “first glimpse that maybe there could be something in this music thing.
“I think our success has been a mixture of being faithful with what God’s given us and definitely a lot of hard work,” Frey says. “We didn’t stop, even when things looked awful.”
The band even played a show to only three people once, but they never gave up.
Sidewalk Prophets is on the road for 200 days out of the year, so sometimes getting those creative juices flowing can be difficult. For their last record, they took three weeks off from the road and spent some time in a log cabin in New York.
“It was really awesome to get away from the rush and to have God speaking into you while you’re surrounded by nature,” Frey says. “In those days, we would just sink ourselves into songwriting.”
The Bible is always next to them wherever they are writing, and most of their inspiration comes from there. Frey also mentioned that the works of C.S. Lewis and other authors constantly inspire them in their songwriting.
The music business is constantly changing as our world evolves in technology. Album sales have decreased, and the internet has paved the way for streaming to gain popularity.
“We just keep making records even though a CD may not sell,” Frey says. “I love being able to listen to an album from start to finish. An album for us is like a collection of what we want to say.”
Frey says that social media is a huge part of their career. It allows the band to interact with the fans on a more personal level and give them a behind-the-scenes look at their lives.
Sidewalk Prophets is currently on the Church Night Out Tour with artists including Newsboys and 7eventh Time Down. They are also currently working on a new album that will be released next year.