The Story Behind We Were Just Kids by Brave Machine

We were just kids is one part love letter to the church that grew up in and one part critique of that church and the American church in general. The first verse details some of what I experienced playing on the worship team at this church. The sound guys would keep my bass guitar turned down so low that you could not even hear me. And of course, playing worship music is not about being seen and heard as a means of drawing attention to yourself, but your instrument should at least be turned on. I developed a technique in those days of keeping my bass guitar turned most the way down so the sound guys would set the sound and then when the church service was actually taking place I would turn the volume knob back up so you could actually hear me a little bit. The second verse makes reference to a time when I got into a bit of a scuffle with the pastor’s kid. I don’t even remember what it was about but an older boy joined in on the side of the pastor’s kid who was younger than me. Amusingly, much later in life that pastor’s kid became a preacher himself and unfriended me on Facebook when I gently and privately called him out for plagiarism. 

Musically, We Were Just Kids started out a little more raw and with a punk feel but somewhere along the line I kind of smoothed out those rougher edges and gave it more of a pop anthem sound. I like them both but part of me wishes I had stuck with more of that punk sound. I do like what the song turned out to be in the end though.

Joe Wenger did some background vocals on this one. I confess that I do not remember the name of the guy that mixed it. I hired him over the Internet and as sometimes happens in those cases even if someone presents themselves as being able to produce professional results, that’s not always the case. The end result was a mix I think sounds pretty good but it took a long time to get it there. There was a lot of back-and-forth between myself and that person. I have no hard feelings toward them but I also am not going to seek them out to work with them again. Again that’s just what it’s like when you hire people that you don’t personally know over the Internet to do a job, you hope for the best.

Unlike many of the other songs on this album, We Were Just Kids didn’t really go through too many changes musically or lyrically aside from the aforementioned popification of it.

The central theme of the song is about longing for true religion, a true pursuit of godliness and a rejection of church politics and the glitz and glam of mega churches. A rejection of church vision being dictated by business metrics. At a time when we see young people rejecting organized religion more and more I don’t see that the answer is to keep ramping up the entertainment aspect of your Sunday morning gatherings. Such things are shallow and without lasting impact often.

Next song: You Are Loved