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NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: Building 429. Now that may sound to you like a location. But it’s not a location. It’s a worldview. It’s the name that singer/songwriter Jason Roy and his bandmates chose for their Christian rock band some 20 years ago.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s based on a verse in the book of Ephesians, chapter four, verse 29: “Let nothing unwholesome come out of your mouth except that which is helpful for building others up according to their needs.”
Over the years, Roy has used that scripture to help repair his relationship with his father.
WORLD Radio’s Myrna Brown has their story.
LYRIC, IMPOSSIBLE: We can rise above the typical. And be anything but usual. We know, We know, We know, that there’s no such thing as impossible.
MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: Since 1999, Building 429’s Jason Roy has written and produced songs with the same battle cry.
LYRIC, WE WON’T BE SHAKEN: Whatever will come my way. Through fire or pouring rain. We won’t be shaken. No, we won’t be shaken.
Anthems about living an unshakable faith, even when circumstances leave you rattled. That’s a lesson That’s a lesson Roy had to start learning early.
ROY: Money was not something that we had a lot of, and it was obvious.
Born in the north Texas town of Talco, the sandy-blond Roy was big brother to Roy was big brother to two younger sisters. He loved his mom—but idolized his dad.
ROY: His name is Ray Roy, and everybody in town knew him.
Standing at just 5’11, Roy says his dad was a massive semi-pro powerlifter—a semi-pro powerlifter…
ROY: Weighing 200 pounds, he benched pressed over 400. He squatted around 700 and dead lifted around 700.
… with a personality to match.
ROY: I think he loved being Ray Roy. That when he walked in a room everybody turned and stared. So of course, as his son, I was like, man this guy is a superhero.
But Roy spent the next decade of his life apart from his larger-than-life father. His parents divorced when he was 5 years old.
ROY: I think he wanted to have fun and just decided to go out and live his life for fun and do whatever he wanted.
Roy’s mom remarried. They moved to the West Coast before eventually settling in North Carolina. By then, Roy was 15 and curious.
ROY: You want to know who your father is, especially when your father is a superhero like mine was.
When Roy got a chance to live with his dad, their life together was very different from what he imagined.
ROY: If my dad was sitting next to me, he would tell you this, that part of that world is steroids and stuff like that. And they alter your body, but they also alter your mind. I left knowing who he was. I wasn’t as proud as I was when I first moved there at all.
After four years with his father, Roy returned to North Carolina in the mid-90s for college. He got married and began pursuing music. Along the way, he gained a new perspective that then flowed out of his songs.
LYRIC, YOU ARE LOVED: I still remember three feet tall, standing next to you I felt so small.
ROY: Actually listened back to our first record called The Space In Between Us the other day. And I honestly completely forgot that I had wrote it, but it was a song called “You Are Loved.” And the whole song is me kind of talking to my dad and then turning and realizing that God had become the father figure that my father wasn’t.
And of course at the time, I was 22 or 23, I think. That song wrecked my dad because it actually reminded him of his relationship with his own father. My father used to call me and go, ‘Son, are you writing about me?’
Roy says today his father takes responsibility for the pain he’s caused.
ROY: He became a man willing to own his own mistakes and stop blaming everybody else.
And two decades later, Ray Roy is his son’s biggest fan.
LYRIC, FEAR NO MORE: And I will fear no more.
ROY: He loves “Fear No More.” His wife today has a lot of health issues, and I’m not going to lie to you, I talk to them a lot on the phone, and they’re constantly trying to remember to not be afraid. And I think it’s cool that the bridge of that song says, “I’m not giving up. I’m not giving in to what you’ve planned, God, for your glory.
LYRIC, FEAR NO MORE: For your glory…
ROY: And then for me to go and be able to talk to Dad and say, Dad, it comes from Exodus 14:14 where it says, ‘Don’t be afraid. The Lord your God will fight for you. You need only to be still.’
And that, says Jason Roy, is more powerful than any superhero.
LYRIC, FEAR NO MORE: For you glory, yeah.
ROY: And I think for him to find out that we all have the same struggle and for me to continually respond to him and say, I don’t need you to be the perfect man. I just need you to be my dad, and I love you. And it’s been awesome.
LYRIC, FEAR NO MORE: Your hands are reaching out. You hold me through the storm. And I will fear no more.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Myrna Brown.