September 3—Andy Avery will be in Clovis starting Wednesday, playing “old school rock ‘n’ roll” like he used to and testifying for the Lord.
Who is this friend of local pastor Jon Forrest from the town of Lexington, Tennessee, on the Tennessee River?
What is the beginning of the story of the 59-year-old guitarist?
“I rose, music was a gift,” Avery said. “I was an athlete at Florida State University in Tallahassee and left that behind when I met Gene Simmons.”
Yes, CE Gene Simmons, the guy from the rock ‘n’ roll band KISS.
Simmons led a band called Smokehouse and Avery joined.
Avery spoke of meeting many famous musicians of the mid to late 70s and early 80s, such as John Cougar Mellencamp when he was known as John Cougar, the late Steve Gaines of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mikki Free by Shalimar.
“We opened for Bon Jovi, KISS, Joan Jett, Ted Nugent,” Avery said. “Be the opening act enough to get stuck into the opening act tour, the opening is all you do.”
Avery said he and his bandmates were “squandering our opportunity to be huge”. By his own admission, he said he was “so high on drugs”.
“Drugs and alcohol got a hold of me,” Avery said.
Avery spoke of a turn in a downward direction that happened when he auditioned for a “really famous band” he refused to identify.
Avery described how, in the music business, bands would send someone “front money” to travel and audition with the band.
“I overdosed on their front money in an overdose of cocaine and heroin.” says Avery. “I came out of the coma 6 months later.”
Shortly after returning home with his wife and son, Avery broke into a church and stole $600 from a safe.
He was arrested and sent to prison, a sentence of five to seven years, but he was released after 18 months.
When Avery got out of jail, the pastor of the church he robbed let him live in the basement of the sanctuary.
Members of this church came together and paid for Avery’s tuition to attend Bible college.
“They called the money I stole an investment in my future,” Avery said.
After Bible college, Avery became a trainee minister.
Avery’s life changed direction when he received a call from members of a church in Arkansas to come and rebuild it. building and congregation.
“I now have a business that rebuilds churches,” Avery said.
Avery also does seminars, speaks in prisons, speaks in schools, goes on cruise ships.
Avery said his message is a Christian message.
“With all the garbage I’ve been through, if I could do it, you can do it,” Avery said.
He believes looking within was part of his journey.
“I think God had some soul-searching for me,” Avery said.
Pastor Jon Forrest calls Avery’s appearances “joy-filled spiritual experiences.”
What will people hear?
Avery said there would be classic rock music just to warm people up, then some of his own music, praise, worship, and then lyrics.
What makes Avery’s message worth listening to?
“I use scripture and a testimony message about what God has done in my life,” Avery said.
Avery said his favorite scripture is “All things were placed under his feet”.
Avery said that when he became a Christian he put on a suit and tie and cut his hair.
“I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Who is that?'” Avery said.
He pushed his hair back and kept his fun spirit.
Avery said his t-shirts said, “If it’s not fun, I’m not going”. He said, “God gave me this personality and that’s who I am.”
“I got two gifts,” Avery said. “The gift of salvation and the gift of building his kingdom.”
Forrest said he crossed paths with Avery several times in the late 1980s.
He said Avery was at a church in Tyler, Texas. just like Forrest for an event.
“The last night after everyone left except the executives, Andy set up his PA system and made about an hour and a half of the most amazing music I’ve ever heard,” said Forest.
Forrest said this was Avery’s seventh time at First Christian Church.
“He never gets old,” Forrest said.
Avery will be at First Christian Church at Main and Purdue streets in Clovis.
“His theme for meetings should bring some interest, ‘Fear is a liar,'” Forrest said.
Forrest said the program begins Wednesday through Friday at 7 p.m. each evening with a pre-service concert at 6:30 p.m. There is also a concert on Saturday at 7 p.m. and another Sunday at 10:30 a.m.