Tom Green // Sleeping Giant

PC: The final shows are over, the album's out how are you guys feeling, and how do you guys wrap your head around that?

TG: We had a plan and, basically I had a plan and then we all sensed that it was time to be done. And so we wanted to finish the best that we could, we wanted to finish well and and have like a good reputation about it all. So really it's been 2 and-a-half years of trying to knock this stuff out, and so really like I know it is finality and I think we're all sort of adjusting now to like, huh, so we're really not doing this anymore. But in a lot of ways there wasn't like a lot of like grief or like, oh, there is still so much that we could have done. We were in a pretty good place and a lot of that had to do what I think having a plan and then executing it and saying we want to do final shows for sure. It would be awesome to do a final record, I wonder if Facedown would help us to put it out? And instead of music video for the record we used the amazing help of one of our fill-in guitarist name Nelson who does amazing video work and he actually filmed a short documentary about the band. In completing those things I think it helped us bring closure to a lot of it. Give us a little bit and we'll probably be more reminiscent about it. We'll miss more things. In a lot of ways our head was in the right place. We were all kind of an agreement that it was a good time to say goodbye so I think we're okay I feel like everyone's doing okay.

PC: That's great. In my opinion I think your last album was your best. So you guys went out on top.

TG: Oh really? That's cool. Thanks for saying that.

PC: This website is about positive message and really paying attention to lyrics. Going through the songs, the song "Lantern" and "Reformation", there are verses that say things like, "religion left your children here" There is almost like speaking out against organized religion on one hand but yet obviously your lyrical content routinely deals with you know biblical themes and Jesus. Can you just speak to that tension a little bit?

TG: Actually you know its interesting. It's the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. That was in the back of my mind as I was writing. That song is connected to my wife and I being contacted by a teenage girl in Europe who was being is the molested in her home and we got her rescued and put into like a religious orphanage and over time one of the leaders in charge of that orphanage actually ended up committing really heinous sexual acts against this teenage girl. She was actually trafficked to Paris by someone in her family, and then rescued and put into this religious based organization. This Priest in charge of that organization began to perpetrate this horrible stuff against this little kid. There's a man named Richard Rohr who I respect deeply in the Protestant Reformation the Protestant's Scott extraordinarily tight and religious about the written word of God, which it's amazing (the Bible's) the best thing ever. He said and conversely the Catholics got way too religious about the priest and the Bishops. So that's the controlling aspect of what religion can do is sick, it's sickening, and it robs the life of Jesus from people. It it takes away people's ability to be free and have experience and express their faith, and be creative and love out of fear. In the same token you know people without the light of Jesus to me can be every bit of controlling every bit ass messed up and controlling, and just just a mess. They can be just as religious as the religious people that ruin it and ultimately it's love, it's love right in the middle. It's very difficult to control love, it's very difficult to to tell it what it's allowed to do, it's very difficult to tell it who is allowed to go toward, then who it's allowed to forgive. We're dealing in love and that's the point. That song (Reformation) was a nod to the 500 years of reformation history we have on the planet, and the abusive and the the power that there. It was also a nod to this young girl who eventually passed away because of all the stuff that she went through in 2016. So that song was a bit of a middle finger to the system that would protect the perpetrators of sexual abuse against children, and also in the same token tipping my hat for the power of the Resurrection love of Jesus in the same breath. So standing in that tension is always hard. It's what we are designed to do.

PC: I love it that you put that much heart and soul into a song . It tells a story and opens eyes, and hopefully keeps that from happening again.

TG: It's all worship, so weird the couch it's weird the couch some of the very intense fury that I have about sequences in life and some of the pain that I've gone through because Sleeping Giant as a vehicle for praise and worship. The legacy of that and then what we were trying to build together was with more about Jesus, more about worship, than it was about all of the issues. But we're not blind to them. That's part of the reason why I'm writing "Eyes Wide Open" and sharing that with people, I believe in a good God, but I pray with my eyes open. We know what we're talking about. There's plenty of bands, and rightfully so, they are going to share how deeply upset the Injustice of the planet makes them. We realized early on with Sleeping Giant that this this vehicle this band was supposed to to elevate the conversation about praise. I could go down a million rabbit holes to get into the rage that I feel, or the anger I have about issues. But the platform that God's given us, I think was to have sacred moments with people and go, we understand that there's all this wickedness, and there is all this injustice, so much inequality, and there's so much confusion and mystery what's happening on the planet. Let's all focus on the Lord together right now. W.e're going to create the sacred moment right now, and we're going to make this about God. Even though we know that there is a million other things that we could talk about. We're going to narrow the conversation down and we're only going to talk about Jesus. So it's with intention. The lyrics aren't about that human trafficking victim. But that was very much what was in me as I was writing it. That is what religion did. It blinded someone. Because you can put on a certain outfit and pretend he was something to the depravity in his own heart. The lack of love that he had another human being, which is un-Christ like. It's Antichrist in every sense of the word. If you couch yourself in your little camp I guess you can convince yourself that he doesn't see you. And I have a problem with that in a big way. I think there's a psalm that says God called the evil doer to account for the wicked things that would not be found out. So God sees what is done in secret, and the church needs to recognize that they don't get to wash it away. The Lord sees what's happening to the people that are down and out in the people that are oppressed and the people in the people groups that are being marginalized by Church power. God sees that stuff and I don't think he's okay with it. Let's worship god, let's worship him because he's holy and he's worthy. I feel it, and it's like let's go up because hardcore is what gives your pain and anger a voice on some level. It's amazing to be able to say, but we're going to worship, and that's what we are going to be about. Even though maybe it's easier to write really angry songs about a lot of really angry things. Let's elevate it. Let's just worship even if it looks naive or stupid. We're going to do it for the reason that we're here.

PC: that's great I hope it doesn't get any more PMA than that in my opinion.

TG: Yo, that's what I'm saying man!

PC: The other song on the album "No Sleep" has kind of rocked my world. Living in Milwaukee and snow blowing this winter something that you probably not familiar with...

TG: Oh come on man. In Salt Lake dude, it's insane. It's like snowing all the time here.

PC: kind of headbanging and moshing in my driveway to that song. Can you give me some history and background on that song?

TG: Oh yeah for sure on the first record, "Dread Champions ..." we started the band and it was going really good. I had a young daughter that was like kindergarden age, approaching kindergarden and my ex-wife, her mother said I'm moving back to Utah and I would like to take Maren with me. I didn't want that to happen but it ended up happening. So we wrote "No Sleep From My Eyes" and that song was about Maren leaving. In that song that says you know you'll get no sleep from my eyes till she comes home. For me it was about the Journey of like I'm I'm going to be with my daughter or she's going to be with me. Then the summer that she came to visit me she was crying and I only got to see her for like a week and a half after she moved. It was just a short trip but she came back to see me in California. It had been a few months since I saw her and she was crying on her bed and she said I said why are you crying and she said that I don't want you to die. That's why I wrote the song Dynasty where it's my daughter's spoke through tear streaked eyes saying, "Daddy Daddy please don't die". And us being able to have this intimate conversation where I could assure her that I will in fact leave this planet and I'm no longer afraid to die. So don't be afraid, don't be afraid. So that first record a lot was was my journey in faith, it was also my journey in my life. So No Sleep Part 2 is about how everything comes full circle. We've been in Utah now for coming up on 11 years and my daughter is a senior in high school. I moved he I moved to Utah shortly after she left and we've been here. It's part of the reason why the band move so slow. It's part of why we didn't tour as much. Because I only found my daughter half the year her and the road cannot have my time with my family. All of the time we spent was a sacrifice for all of us, in a big way. It was so much fun but like we were grownups, I was a grown up with a familty from the jump. Every time I left was a sacrifice and it was a big deal for me because, and that's part of why I believe our band went were it went.

So "No Sleep" part 2 is essentially that like it's 12 years now and to be honest with you Marron is back with me now and and she lives with me and my wife and she's about to graduate high school. It's basically the end of this long chapter of what it took for me to be a dad. It's essentially that whole thing of like the father's The Watchmen and then was the end of the first song is about watchmen need to wake up. Even in that moment it was like Christians needed to wake up and be aware of the power that they had to connect with the Lord. Dad's need to wake up to understand that their presence is absolutely vital in the lives of the generation behind them. Now here we are 12 years later and the father is always a watchman and then they are designed specifically to watch over and protect and provide for their children. When they vacate that position it opens up doors of all sorts of chaos in the lives of their kids. So that was not going to be my daughter's story. So to come full circle and be here 12 years later and have made probably one of the biggest and most important decsions of my own selfesh life by coming out here and being present for my daughter and then having her become, man such an amazing and beautiful person. Just being able to take part in that, and then to see that journey. I'm realizing that were at the end of that road and that it has been worth it and it's been brutal and it's been beautiful and the hardest thing that I've ever done in many ways but I wouldn't change it. So it's just the completion of that story as a father for my daughter.

PC: That's amazing and I feel like that's the message that need to be out there more. That's awesome.

PC: I've got a couple more questions here and then I'll let you get back to your family. Second chance kids on that song is a pretty powerful as well. Can you speak to that song?

TG: That phrase that phrase for me is something that I said two friends of mine for a while. It's something that I said the people at that one we're doing ministry and someone makes a mistake, or we're butting up against our own judgement. You want someone to just get kicked out of life somehow cuz they hurt us or somethig. Unfortunately, we are in fact second chance people. So just the idea of where I grew up in Salt Lake City at least it was like we just don't talk to each other like we were hardcore kids and so it's always been about like the kids. And so for me this record has been parting shots. You know, what is it that I would leave behind maybe for some 15 year old kid or 13 year old kid that and he's going to hear that record. And some of the themes will speak to him. And then he'll be like, "man, this is what I want to say" then he'll take part of that message and and run with it. I felt like I was throwing messages in a little bottle out with every song. Someone should here that this is about a value, this is about something that's important. Not just a Christian hardcore scene but to the hardcore scene and potentially to maybe the work that were called too. I said I've got one more shot to throw this out. So Second Chance to me is ultimately to call out to be encouraging, it's meant to reinforce the virtue of forgiveness, and it's also to put Jesus front-and-center and say that that really someone has actually lay down their life so that you could be forgiven and you could be empowered and you could be connected and you could be family with God forever. And no one can take that from you. When you're in that place you can forgive and have mercy and have gratitude and have compassion for other people and so to celebrate that and say I'm never going back. Like I'll never go back to the world that I lived in before because there was not second chances in that place. There's so much fear in the world that were part of now. I have a coach in my life and he said you can start over a million times a day. The Bible says that God's mercy is brand new every day. That's not just him giving you mercy every day, but the availability of mercy is brand new every single day. The life of the Christian disciple is a life of infinite possibility where nothing is impossible. That's where I want to live, I'm not saying I do all the time. The second chance kid understands that this is an eternal life if that he has been given. So take all of it, and drink it all in. It's going to be the best existence that he can make it. God gave you life, so take it, take all of it. He made it all available. If you come from a background like I did you're basically scared of life and you're scared of what you can do with life. So being empowered enough to have life is a big deal. I want people, as Christians to stop being afraid of life and live it well.

PC: That's excellent, that is excellent! What would you say would be your best sleeping giant memory?

TG: Best Sleeping Giant memory....? I don't know there's a lot. There is really notable crazy supernatural kind of miracle things that happened in our shows for people. There were moments of beauty where we were on tour. Our guitarist Eric said one of his favorite memories Sleeping Giant finally made sense was when my wife was on tour with us and got up on stage and danced with flags in the middle of our show. Especially like in Salt Lake City where I live where it's very much not like a super Christian scene and we just demonstrated what we were about. So that's always one of my favorite, thinking of my wife dancing while we're like playing our butts off and stuff that's always a good one. Playing on the Mount of Olives in Isreal and telling a whole predominantly Muslim crowd that they should turn their lives around and follow Jesus Christ. Having people grab me off stage be like you realize what you just did? I didn't get hit in the face with rocks, so I guess we're cool. Hanging out with my friends and driving and being a part of meeting all these other amazing bands on the road. So I don't know man, I don't I don't know if I have a favororite moment right off hand. It was all where I wanted to be.

PC: I think those will definitely do those are a pretty amazing experiences.

PC: I'll ask question your for you so any future for yourself or any other than the band that you like to give a shout out to her mention to?

TG: No for me, I don't right away. I've been doing solo work for a while with a guitar under the banner of "A White Flag", but I haven't put anything out in seven years. And that's ok. Maybe someone is going to ask us if we'll do something at some point you know. Or maybe one of the dudes in the band says do you want to play on something. As it stands all I'm saying is I don't know. All of the other musicians in the band our guitarists and drummer especially are just so gifted they could probably do whatever. I feel really like content with where we are and we get a chance to create something down the road I think that would be sick but right now there is no plan.

PC: well if you ever do decide to put something out I know there's a lot of people probably would embrace it with open on cuz you got to have a lot of great things to say and I think the world will continue to need to hear it.

TG: I will say this before we jump off. My wife is actually writing down the story of what we went through as a family trying to basically rescue and potentially adopt that human trafficking victim and we we've started a nonprofit just recently called Run Against Traffic. I'll be running across the state of Utah in October of this year to raise awareness. Then invite kids at schools and and people and communities into the conversation to be on the lookout for people that could suffer from this thing. If there's any way that you can share that with people that we are really trying to do massive good and rescue people out of this thing. And support organizations that are directly helping not only the survivors but the families of those survivors. This is kind of the next chapter for us apart from some of the church work that we're doing to establish run against traffic. Put races and events and stuff like that. Ultimately trying to do some good so if you get a chance when you put it out if you can just let people know to check out Run Against Traffic", that'll be a thing that's going to be happening and if anyone wants to run to get at me.

PC: No problem is that like a website or Istagram thing? How do people connect?

TG: The paperwork is going through this week and it's going to take a little bit for it to get setup and established. We are on Facebook and people can hit up Sleeping Giant as well via Facebook if they have any questions for me or anything.

PC: I really appreciate what all the hard work you've done and continue to do. Blessings to you and your family. Thank you for your time!

TG: Heck yeah, thank you so much dude.