Gavlak: Poetic Punk Rock Band with Heart, Soul & Mind – & Plenty of Screaming.

Wild at the California Institute of Abnormalarts

Wild punk band Gavlak at the California Institute of Abnormalarts

I saw GAVLAK recently at the California Institute of Abnormalarts, a fascinating venue that feels like a museum of creepy dark mortality. A huge stone sculpture of a skull looks down upon the outer courtyard that wraps around the building for mingling amidst bizarre artifacts like mummified human remains and Carnivale-like statues and paintings. It’s a refreshing truthful change of pace from the delusionary world of immortal youth in LA.

Which is why it was the perfect place to see the EP Release of the punk rock band, Gavlak, a gritty, gutsy performance with Michael Lee bellowing beautifully on lead vocals, Ben Stelle plucking away clearly on bass (and cowriter of the music with Lee), Steve Watson playing a mean guitar, John Steward banging away gloriously on drums (He plays for Fishbone, and was helping them out). The drummer on the EP album is Fredo Ortiz, a previous Beastie Boys drummer, who was on tour with Gogol Bordello at the time of this show.

Full disclosure, Michael Lee is my friend. But also full disclosure, I don’t like loud banging music and I especially do not like live performances, I am a studio music lover. AND I have no problem telling Michael if I don’t like his stuff. We critique each other’s art all the time. But in this case, I truly enjoyed the experience. Yes, I wore ear plugs to stave off deafness, and yes, I was too damned tired to hang around after the gig, since I want my sleep and late hours for rock and roll are not a mid-life crisis of temptation for this boy.

But the performance was really quite amazing. These guys were real pros. The playing was tight, and Lee’s performance as the lead vocalist was truly entertaining. The guy knows how to scream with passion, move with the music and interact with the crowd. And he really does have a great voice for this stuff, and he has the persona of a star up there, which of course makes his wife and me laugh and shake our heads with amusement, since we know he’s just dust.

And that’s the point of the band that makes it transcend your typical punk rock band. Their music feels the pain of existence with a true honesty, but hints at redemption, unlike the nihilism of so many other punks. The lyrics are poetic and gutsy, and there is melody that keeps you humming the tunes. No clashing dissonance of absurdity here. This music is more the ancient text of Ecclesiastes set to catchy music. Wisdom wrapped in suffering.

Their cover songs were truly fun and memorable. Sedated (Ramones), All Day and All of the Night (Kinks), Paint It Black (Rolling Stones), Seven Nation Army (White Stripes). But my personal favorite was Come Together (The Beatles). What can I say, Beatles Bias.

But to be honest, their original material was easily of equal calibre.

And since I have the recorded EP, I will comment more on that because the lyrics are clearer, the music sharper and tighter to my studio loving ears.

1. In the Pain. This is the one I can’t get out of my head. My personal favorite. Singing Gavlak’s crooning coolness as I drive in my car. But it’s also the one I most relate to. It’s a gutsy lament of how we try to hide our internal suffering, yet that is precisely the thing that may wake us up to our true need and hope. It is within that pain that we can actually meet our Maker. “In my pain. I feel you.” Like I said, baby, a musical Ecclesiastes. Damn. This is my friend. But he’s actually got a great voice that I like to listen to along with my few other hard rock songs (I’m an old timer: Zeppelin, Queen, Aerosmith) In fact, in some ways this music reminds of that spirit.

2. Nothing I can do. A song about free will, and how we can’t make someone see what they don’t want to see or understand. It’s really a ballad-like lament of resignation to our inevitable finite humility. Simple, yet profound.

3. Bag O’ Tricks. This one is my favorite for lyrics because it really addresses the futility of the atheist worldview of materialism. It’s philosophical, clever and passionately pure, all in one. The atheist worldview reduces the human experience to meaninglessness, which is self-evidentially absurd to the soul that longs for transcendence.

You’re a skin sack full of bones.
You’re a meat rack on a stick,
a bucket full of oozing sludge,
a biochemical bag of tricks.
You’ve never really made a choice
and you’ve never really had a thought.
That’s not how the whole thing works.
Isn’t that what you’ve been taught?

But he doesn’t leave us wallowing in such insane irrationality. He screams his hint toward redemption as loud as his mockery of godlessness.

You think you know who you are?
I tell you, you better think again.
Not a waste of time and space.
You’ve got something within.

4. Monster. The music begins with an eerie impending doom, as he sings of the “monster in your head,” a revelation of the original sin of human nature. Man is basically bad, not basically good, as delusional humanism keeps repeating to its hollow-souled adherents. It’s only by facing our own depravity that we can begin to find our way out of the bondage to that creature of the dark residing in all our souls.

The things you say and all the things you do
they come from somewhere, somewhere deep inside of you.
What’s hidden there is a fright to see.
It’s just your monster. It looks just like you and me.

5. My Demon. This song is just cool. It’s a catchy riff about being haunted by the demon of our own choices that lead to the consequences of our suffering. We face our comeuppance if we fail to conquer that demon. Because it is coming for us…

Lunatic ahead is aiming straight for me.
Where did he escape? Am I the same as he?
See my demon seething in his cold pale skin.
Eyes of darkness gaze from sorrow deep within.

There is “only one that can make us whole.”

6. Deluded. This is another song of resignation and regret reminiscent of “Nothing I Can Do.” But in this case, it sounds like a deeply personal experience that the writer is somewhat haunted by, trying to sing his justification to cleanse himself. The guttural painful screaming of “I did not backstab you!” carries this home.

The Gavlak EP has strong catchy music, vocals full of passion and character, and a powerful combination of gritty gutsy honesty wrapped in a poetic redemptive hope.

You can hear some of their songs and buy them here at ReverbNation. (At this point, there is Bag O’ Tricks and Deluded. I assume there will be more available eventually.

Their Facebook Page is here. Like it and find out when they will have their songs available for purchase.

AND FINALLY, they are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a music video they are making of “Monster.” Go here to pledge.

I just did.

The Glory of Story: Genesis 1 and the Art of Storytelling


I am posting this playlist of clips from my friend, Jim Womer’s class on The Glory of Story. It was a powerful influence on my understanding of story from the Bible.

Watch the complete playlist of all segments on YouTube here.

These are edited segments of a 2.5 hour lecture

To buy the full 2.5 hour lecture, The Glory of Story:
(includes movie film clips not shown on YouTube version)

Discover the hidden treasures within the biblical “creation model” found in the book of Genesis. Decode the”seven days of creation” as an organic template for story structure.

• You will learn how to organically generate dimensional back stories and characters from a simple logline.
• Identify and address story problems in any stage of the writing process from outline to finished draft.
• Identify characters that are out of balance with the story, why they are out of balance, and what must be done to realign them or omit them.
• Identify the true motivations behind any character’s dialogue and actions.

Introduction: The WHY vs. the WHAT of story
Act One: Born Identity vs. False Identity and Hero’s Departure
Act Two A: Hero’s Descent, Plan A, Point of No Return, and Bonding
Act Two B: Hero’s Eclipse and Ascent
Act Three: Abyss, Gauntlet, Hidden Truth, Deliverance, and Return

“I heartily recommend this series on storytelling structure based on Genesis One. I use it myself. If you buy it in combination with my “Screenwriting for Christians,” you will have an unbeatable combination to help you write stories with an incarnate Christian worldview.”
— Brian Godawa


Aaron Judkins Interviews Godawa on Nephilim, Noah’s Ark and the Watchers


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Listen to Epic Voyages Radio Interview of Godawa here.We talk about the rise and fall of the Nephilim in the Biblical Cosmic War of the Seed. Watchers, giants, and other bizarre phenomena of the Bible as it appears in the novel series, Chronicles of the Nephilim.
The host of the show, Dr. Aaron Judkins aka “Maverick” is an author, explorer, & archaeologist from Texas. He has a passion for searching for the truth about the mysteries of the past- exposing forbidden archaeology & forbidden history. He appears in the new documentary “Finding Noah,” about the current search for Noah’s Ark.

See his website, Man Vs. Archaeology, here.


Christ’s Descent into Hell (Part 2)


In a previous post, we started looking at one of the most difficult and strange passages in the New Testament, 1 Peter 3:18-22. Many Christians avoid passages like this because they are difficult and hint at content that doesn’t fit well with their own theological views.

Let’s take another look at it with an attempt to clarify its meaning.

1 Peter 3:18–22
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

In the previous post, I explained the two main views that Christ either “went” somewhere in his spirit body during his death on the cross or he “went” after he resurrected BEFORE he ascended into heaven. Then I proved that the “spirits in prison” were not humans but the angelic powers who had fallen during the days of Noah, and were imprisoned much like the book of 1Enoch says. (And Peter is borrowing from 1Enoch)

The last two questions we now want to address are:
Where did he go to proclaim to the spirits? (v. 19)
What did he proclaim? (v. 19)

Where is the “Prison”?

One interpretation of the prison is that it is a metaphor for human beings on earth who are “imprisoned” in their sin. But the context of the passage mitigates against this view.

When the New Testament refers to preaching the Gospel to people on earth, the Greek term for “soul,” is used (psyche). But this is not a term about a ghost in a machine, but rather an expression of the life of an individual human, their inner being, their “person,” or their “self.” Thus, Peter writes in 3:20 that “eight persons (psyche) were brought safely through the waters” in the ark during the Flood.

When Peter preaches the Gospel in Acts 2, it says that “those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls [psyche]… and awe came upon every soul [psyche]” (Acts 2:42-43). “Soul” could be used synonymously with “individuals” or “persons.”

But in 1 Peter 3, the distinct Greek term for “spirit” (pneuma), not “soul” (psyche), is used in contrast to the physical flesh. And these “spirits” are those who were disobedient in the days of Noah (v. 20), so they could not be people on earth at the time of Christ. Christ was proclaiming to spirits.

During the time of Christ, those who were around in the days of Noah could only be in one place according to the Old Testament: The underworld of Hades or Sheol.

What was Hades?

Hades was well known in the Greco-Roman world as the holding cell of the spirits of the dead until the judgment. Sheol was the Hebrew equivalent for Hades so the two could be used interchangeably.[1] Prisons in that time period were exactly that, holding cells for punishment. So when Peter refers to a prison for spirits, this view concludes that he is referring to Hades, just as he did in 2 Peter 2:4 when he said that the disobedient angels were cast into Tartarus, the lowest prison region in Hades.

There are orthodox traditions of Christian scholars who have supported this passage as referring to Christ’s proclamation as occurring at his physical ascension into heaven and others as referring to Christ’s spiritual descent into Hades. I take the position in Jesus Triumphant that Christ spiritually descended into Hades. So did early church fathers like Tertullian, Augustine, Jerome, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Cyril, and Origen, as well as Medieval scholastics like Robert Bellarmine, John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas, and modern scholars like Charles B. Cranfield, and Bo Reicke.[2] But I also incorporate the post-resurrection interpretation as well, with its fascinating possibilities.

Ad300x250-BookofEnoch1 Enoch, which seems to be the source of the Biblical text, does in fact depict Enoch as visiting the place of the condemned Watchers who were “formerly in heaven” (1 Enoch 16:2), and that place is described as a “deep pit,” in the bottom of a mountain, just like Tartarus of Hades (Sheol), “an empty place with neither heaven above nor an earth below” (1 Enoch 21:1-2).[5]

The descent of Christ in 1 Pet. 3:19 is poetically structured to counterbalance the ascent of Christ into heaven in verse 22. In the same way that Christ went down into Sheol, he later ascended up into heaven. But more importantly, if Christ makes a proclamation to the spirits in prison, those dead and bound prisoners are certainly not in heaven. They are most likely in Sheol.

Another passage, Ephesians 4:8 quotes Psalms 68:18 about Christ “ascending on high and leading a host of captives.” Paul then adds a parenthetical,

Ephesians 4:9-10
“In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.”
Christ “descending into the lower regions, the earth” can legitimately be interpreted as referring to Christ’s incarnation or even his descent in the Spirit on Pentecost.[6] But other scholarship argues that the phrase is better translated as “descending into the lowest parts of the earth,” in other words into Sheol.[7]

This underworld (Sheol) interpretation would seem to coincide with the memes presented in 1 Peter 3. The contrast of the heights of heaven with the depths of Sheol, and the tying of Christ’s death, descent into Sheol, resurrection, and ascension into the totality of his victory over the angelic principalities and powers.[8]

Psalm 68 says that after leading the host of captives, God “received gifts from men,” a reference to the notion of ancient victors receiving tribute from their conquered foes. Paul changes that “receiving of gifts” into “giving of gifts” as a expansion of that victory over foes into a sharing of victory with his army, the people of God. Perhaps this is the meaning of the Old Testament saints resurrected at the time of Christ’s resurrection (Matt. 27:52-53). They too were sharing in the long awaited victory train of Messiah to free them from Hades and ascend into heaven.

The context of conquest over the angelic powers is also apparent in Eph. 1:20-21, “when he raised [Jesus] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named.”

Christ’s death on the Cross becomes the apparent defeat by God’s enemies, led by angelic principalities and powers. But it turns around and becomes a disarming of those spiritual powers and the beginning of his triumph over them (Col. 2:15). In this view, Christ goes down into Sheol (in his spirit or later, in his resurrected body) to make a proclamation to the original minions of evil, now held captive. After he raises from the dead, he ascends into heaven to be coronated as king over all authority and powers of heaven and earth (Eph. 1:20-21). And that victory over spiritual powers brings us to the next element of 1 Peter 3:18-22.

What was the Proclamation?

Continue reading

Kuyperian Commentary Interviews Godawa on Jesus Triumphant and the Nephilim


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Listen to it here.

Uri is a great interviewer. We talk about the storyline of the Cosmic War of the Seed in the Bible, which could also be referred to as the “Christus Victor” motif. We speak of the Tower of Babel, and the Alottment of the nations under the Watcher Sons of God. And how Jesus disinherits the nations from the gods and has victory over the heavenly principalities and powers. We talked about the Divine Council, and the Nephilim throughout the entire Bible, and how they even show up in the Gospels. I’m not kidding. It’s all orthodox and affirms a high view of the Bible as God’s Word.

Buy Jesus Triumphant on Kindle and paperback at Amazon here.


The Young Messiah Trailer: A Promising Positive Portrayal of Jesus


I have not seen this movie yet, but I know the writer/director, Cyrus Nowrasteh, and I believe it will be a positive portrayal of Jesus.

Aronofsky and Scott get behind thee!

Cyrus is a great filmmaker with a rich worldview and courage. He made The Stoning of Soroya M. That took GUTS and a heart for justice (It was a movie about the evil of Sharia Law).

Disclose Truth TV Interviews Godawa on Nephilim, Watchers, & Bizarre Bible Passages


This interview was lively. I talk with James Swagger and Susan Kornacki about the Biblical and ancient historical and mythical research of the Nephilim.

The Nephilim in the Bible is controversial. But Genesis 6 is not the only place they show up. This interview explores everywhere giants appear in the Bible, and there are many of them. Nephilim and demons. Satan’s place as “god of this world.” The Transfiguration of Christ as a declaration of war on the Watchers.

Watch YouTube link here

Capricorn Radio website (The website of James Swagger)