I finally got to visit with Kathy Sanders about Rich's birthday weekend in Chicago last October. For those of you who are new to the list, or don't remember who Kathy is, let me give you just a brief story of how Kathy fits into the Rich Mullins story.
Kathy met Rich at the Cincinnati Bible College in 1975. Kathy briefly describes her first introduction to Rich Mullins music in an interview with Rich she did for the MetroNews (a publication by the radio station she now works for), that was also reprinted in The Lighthouse electronic Magazine. Later, they would both end up in Wichita, Kansas (in December '88), where Rich would go to school at Friends University, and Kathy would go to work for the Campus Crusade ministry. It was at after school Campus Crusade activities that I had voluneered for, where I met Kathy. Presently (for the last 3 years) Kathy is half of the morning team of "Craig and Kathy" on KTLI Light 99 FM; one of the biggest all-CCM 24-hour radio stations in the US. As I've told you before, you may have seen Kathy's name in the credits on Rich's albums, but only if you knew that Sprinkle is her real last name (Sanders is her radio name). Kathy has led a prayer support effort during the recording process of most of Rich's albums.
So how was Rich's birthday weekend? Since we've pretty much already heard about the concert, let's skip right to the party afterwards. There were over 100 people backstage for the celebration, of which most were band member's family and friends, and over 35 were Rich's immediate family. Kathy said that Rich received some "serious grief". After all, it was the big 4-0. One of the gag presents came from Ashely Cleveland, who got him one of those life-like masks of a really old man. One of the coolest presents came from Reunion A&R Don Donahue. Don got Rich a neat set of several recorders in all sizes to use in his teaching ministry on the reservation. The next day (Sunday 10/22), everyone enjoyed the day off and went shopping and visited museums in Chicago. Later that evening, even though Kathy missed it because she had to fly back to Wichita, everyone went to see bass player Mark Robertson's band This Train, who played in Chicago that Sunday evening. (Check out their album _You're Soaking In It_. It's cool!)
One other story Kathy shared was Rick Elias' latest venture that took him away from the tour for a while. Rick has had four of his songs picked to be used in a new movie that will be Tom Hanks' directorial debut. She couldn't remember the name of the movie, but it is supposedly about a burned out rocker. The songs were produced by Don Was of the group Was Not Was. Don Was also is involved wih Bonnie Raitt's music. When Kathy was visiting with Linda Elias (Rick's wife and member of Tuesday's Child), she said that it was really cool to meet Tom Hanks. I'll see if I can get more details from Rick, when I visit with them in Tulsa next weekend. (Can't wait!)
I asked Kathy to share a little more about the college days with Rich. One unknown fact is that Rich was turned down four times at entering the Cincinnati Bible College talent show. Dr. King (of the music department) said that it was because he pounded too hard on the piano. He had said that he could sit down at any piano in the department and tell of Rich had played it. (I don't really think of Rich as a piano pounder. He must have grown out of it.)
One of our list members, Molly Nonnenberg, asked a few weeks ago: I read an article which mentioned that Rich was engaged, and his fiancee broke it off. (The article was saying that was the night he wrote Damascus Road.) Why haven't I heard anything about this anywhere before? I thought I had managed to get my hands on everthing in print regarding Rich - does he not talk about this much? Did you know anything about this?
Rich is a very private person, and there are many things about his life that we don't know - especially girlfriends. So the answer to one of the questions is - No, he doesn't talk about it very much at all. Kathy told me that, yes, Rich was involved for quite a while with a girl named Ann, who finally broke up with him. Just after that, Rich had gone to Michigan to record a demo that would be discovered and end up touring with Amy Grant, and begin his career. Kathy didn't know for sure, but guesses that after the breakup with Ann, Rich made a commitment to God at that point that would become his music ministry. That's why the song _Damascus Road_ (which was in fact written that long ago, and just now made it to the public on "Brother's Keeper"), while written right after a very difficult time in his life, sounds so positive.
I hope everyone had a blessed and happy Thanksgiving, and continues the celebration, not only through this weekend, but all year round. Count your blessings! God Bless. (One week 'til Tulsa!)