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Join us this week on Christian Devotions SPEAK UP! as Scott McCausey discusses a story which led John Schlitt from drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to Christ and Christian music.
John began singing when he was just five years old, performing the leads in recitals and plays in his school. By the time he was thirteen he was in the unforgettably titled band Vinegar Hills Hometown Band Something Different – being paid twenty-five bucks as lead singer. It soon became clear that a career in music was in John’s future. He finished college with a degree in civil engineering and promptly set about making a name for himself in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. His unique, fiery tenor and unbridled passion for singing landed him a gig fronting the secular rock outfit Head East.
John’s eight-year stint with Head East put him on the map in terms of his career. The band was celebrated for its raw energy and swagger. Described by one newspaper as a "brash…cocky, (and) hard-fisted rock band,” the five-piece group enjoyed a loyal following and a string of hits throughout the 70s that helped solidify their fan base. John’s career seemed set, but it all came to a distressing end in 1980 when he was let go by the band. The reason? John had an out-of-control drug and alcohol addiction.
Fast forward six years where John Schlitt officially joined Petra in 1986, bringing with him his amazing vocal range and abilities that made him a legend with Head East. Except this time, his mind was no longer blown on drugs and alcohol. He was clean, focused, and armed with a powerful message: God made us to be winners – Jesus Christ is alive and through Him we are to be victorious in His perfect plan for each of us.
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