Interview with One Bad Pig guitarist, Paul Q-pek… A Christian Banned

Early in my ministry, I enjoyed listening to a very unique band.  They were called One Bad Pig. They were loud, punky, unconventional, and they shook up the Christian music world with their releases.  I distinctly remember enjoying their funny comedic attitude toward life as well as their more serious songs.

One day I remember being scolded by a pastor for one listening to one of their songs, Red River during my daily quiet time. He said that he had a hard time believing that God could use worldly music like that.  But I knew in my heart that God was using them in their own, misfit kind of way.  It inspired me for sure.

I had the opportunity, recently, to interview one of the members of that band, Paul Q-pek.  I hope you enjoy getting to know him a bit.

 

Scott:    I’ve always liked the edgy sounding music, so you can imagine my surprise when, as a young person I discovered your band, ONE BAD PIG. It touched a spot that Christian music still had not touched before. Tell us about how OBP originated and evolved.
Paul:     I used to work as a DJ at an Austin Christian radio station. We aired mostly mellow music and preaching tapes, but on Saturday night I hosted a rock show. I would play Rez Band, Petra, Servant, etc. Some of the kids that were into Christian rock would show up at the station and when the show ended at midnight we would go downtown and hang outside the punk clubs and witness to the kids and just love on them. In the summer of 1985 Carey (PIG lead screamer), myself and two of our friends made the trip up to Cornerstone Fest. There we saw Undercover, The Choir, Vector, Rez and a whole bunch of cool, radical, Christian bands. On the trip up we stopped for lunch at a Pizza Hut in St. Louis. They were selling these cool wrap-around sunglasses with the logo of a local rock station on them. The stations mascot was a tough looking pig. Carey said “Man, that’s one bad pig!” and I said “That sounds like the name of a punk band!” So throughout the whole trip it became an inside joke, this fictional band called ONE BAD PIG. When we got back to Austin, the local bands were preparing for the Labor Day Christian Music Festival. I was going to play with my own group The Paul Q-pek Band, and we had joked around so much about this pig thing that we decided to put a band together as a joke and play the fest. So the first gig was Carey ‘Kosher’ Womack on vocals, Paul Q-pek on guitar, Phillip Owens on drums and Kevin Phealan on bass. As happens with novelties, we stood out and were the talk of the fest. We played an Undercover song, an Altar Boys song, a Lifesavers song, and we wrote an original Anarchy Is Prison. The cool thing was that Carey did this kind of punk street preaching thing and God really moved! We decided after that gig that we would just keep going and follow God in whatever He opened up for us.
Scott:    Did you consider yourself a misfit in the world of Christian music?
Paul:     Well, at first we played mostly secular punk clubs, which was great because those were the kids we were trying to reach. But we ran into roadblocks there too. We were too Christian for the clubs and too weird for the church, that’s why we named our first record, the 1986 ep, A CHRISTIAN BANNED. We caught the attention of the Christian music industry when we first played Cornerstone in 1986.
Scott:    I distictly remember some of your songs being so randomly off the wall. Tell us about some of your favorite looney songs and how they came about.
Paul:     Well at first our songs were pretty serious. But we soon found that we were so unusual that many peoples reaction to us was laughter. So we mixed in songs that still had a message, but used humor to get the point across. As the years went by we upped the silly factor a lot. There was one tune on our 1989 album SMASH called Looney Tune that kind of set us on the road to silliness. We had a ball with an old Larry Norman tune on our 1990 album SWINE FLEW called Christmastime. By 1991’s I SCREAM SUNDAY we were fully embracing the weirdness with songs like You’re A Pagan, Ice Cream Sunday, Up The Nose and a 20 second song devoted to an asian dish Pad Thai!
Scott:    You had some seriously deep music as well. Which songs spoke to your heart the most as a believer and why?
Paul:     I have several favorites. Some of the ones that always moved me were Isaiah 6, Red River, Spirit Of Murder, Never Forget The Cross, too many to mention. My favorite thing about those songs is playing them live and seeing peoples response to them. We saw the Holy Spirit move in peoples lives, using a foolish thing like OBP.
Scott:   You recorded a cover of Man In Black and even had Johnny Cash singing along (which has always cracked me up). How was it working with him, and what did he think of your rendition?
 Paul:   Oh man! This is the single event we talk and remember the most about. It was surreal! Who would have ever thought that Johnny Cash would sing on a OBP record. But we weren’t dreaming. It actually happened. The story of how it came about is so long, I can’t get into it here, but the day he came to the studio was amazing. Before we started the session we all held hands in a circle and prayed. Then Johnny got to listen down to my arrangement of his classic song. I was so nervous! But he loved it! And we all had a ton of laughs as he laid down his iconic vocals. He was super cool. We were all pinching ourselves. One of the highlights of our lives.
Scott:    You are now pretty involved in the church.
Paul:     Yeah, well I’ve been employed by the church the last 11 years as a worship leader, but I’ve always been involved in the local church. My parents were strong believers and I’ve been in church since day one. I think being a part of a group of believers is super important. If someone out there is having trouble connecting, keep looking and get plugged in at a church somewhere. There’s a lot of cool Christians out there and we need each other.
Scott:    Are you still involved in the music business?
Paul:     Not so much anymore. In the 90’s I moved up to Nashville to try a solo thing. I released an album in 1996 called Touch The Ground. You can find it on itunes. But now I’m back in Texas.
Scott:    Who are some of your musical influences.
Paul:     Oh boy. So many. As a kid I liked disco! HA! Then MTV came around and I loved it all! Metal, new wave, prog rock, funk, punk. For my solo stuff Peter Gabriel was my biggest influence.
Scott:    What CD’s would I find in Paul Q-pek’s player right now?
Paul:     A mix of old and new. The latest from Owl City, Demon Hunter, The Choir, David Mullen, Rush, The Civil Wars, Matt Redman, Lust Control, Howard Jones, The Shiny Darks. I am a music appreciator.
Scott:   What is something that no one knows about Paul Q-pek?
Paul:    Oh brother, let’s see.  When I was a kid I was really into circus stuff. I taught myself how to juggle, I rode a six foot high unicycle and I had a tightrope set up in my backyard. Betcha didn’t know that! HA!
Scott:   Where can fans connect with you?
Paul:    The best place is facebook. Also you can still get PIG CD’s and shirts at onebadpig.com.  The site is being revamped so it should be looking cool soon.
Scott:   If you were only able to say one thing to us misfits, what would it be?
Paul:    Follow the ultimate misfit, Jesus Christ.  He came to his own people and they turned Him away. He was rejected and put down. But He has the power of life and death in His hands. Follow Him and you will never regret it.
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~ by Scott Herrin on August 10, 2011.

3 Responses to “Interview with One Bad Pig guitarist, Paul Q-pek… A Christian Banned”

  1. I Scream Sunday always made me laugh as a kid. I loved the Johnny Cash song, and they always held a special place in my heart (as we joked the other night) because they are the only band I ever knew who used my name in a song. Andrea is CLASSIC for me. :o) So thank you Paul Q-pek and others for proving that Andrea CAN be put in a song!!

    And thanks for reminding me of a car trip we took listening to them! Oh the influences of family and music!

  2. I’ve always loved the Swine Flew album. The music and words are awesome. I have used it to share with unbelievers and to improve the lives of believers as well. You can tell it was definitely inspired by God to help people get closer to Him.

  3. So happy to find this site, wow, SO GLAD someone else feels the same—misfits, rejects, rebels….
    I was suprised to find that OBP was a christian band the way you said the pastor scolded you– I figured it wasn’t even Christian. Wow, so many chains to be broken.. I sure have been finding that if you put Him in the center, you can a. sing to Him with most songs, and b. sometimes hear Him singing back…and that;s so amazing and beautiful.
    Love to you from Holland,
    Jasmine

    ps. wrote a post “God’s GLass Elevator” with the line “God is the Original Rebel..” Maybe you like it, I link here: https://heartinformation.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/gods-glass-elevator/

    Thanks again!

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