The Purpose of Life
The Purpose of Life Website Ministry
Last Updated: 14/02/2012
Whiteheart (or White Heart) are an American Christian rock
band (or they were). I have to say that I don't know much
about Whiteheart's line-up or their history, but I love their
music. They appeared to have a lot of band member changes
over the years, for all sorts of reasons, which can be a little
confusing in knowing who's who on what album. The main
core trio were Billy Smiley, Mark Gersmehl and Rick Florian.
Anyhow, after hearing their Freedom album in the early
1990's, I was drawn to their music. Even though Whiteheart
had been around since 1982, I only became interested in
their later albums from around 1989-1997, though I've heard
some of their earlier stuff, which I still like. They haven't
released an album since Redemption in 1997, and they
appear to be in a semi-permanent hiatus!
As Christian heavy rock/metal groups go, Petra, Whiteheart and Stryper are the ones who have given
me the greatest inspiration, both musically and spiritually. I know that for many Christians, these kinds of
heavy rock bands can cause quite a lot of controversy. I remember the days when books like Pop Goes
the Gospel by John Blanchard, first published in 1983 (which I still have in my library), caused a right stir,
as it seemed to condemn virtually every kind of modern music, and group and artist, around! To be fair,
the book did highlight some important points about the dangers of the rock music industry/culture, and it
was mainly focusing on rock music in the church and as a means of evangelism, but I still think it was a
little unbalanced and 'religious' at times! Nevertheless, I was so hugely affected by this kind of message
for a time in my early twenties (particularly due to David Wilkerson, whom I greatly respect) that I got rid
of half of my record collection to 'cleanse me' of such badness! I largely wish I hadn't now! A touch of
religious madness, I think!
Anyhow, for me......I love this kind of music! I like something that has some guts to it sometimes! There's
something about the power that can be produced from crunching electric guitar riffs and power drums
that highlights the awesome power of God, including His wrath, such as nature produces in thunderstorms
and earthquakes. Nevertheless, in the midst of the seeming noise and chaos (to some people's ears, that
is!) there often needs to be harmony and melody - for me anyhow! Make a joyful noise unto the
Lord....but do it melodically and powerfully!
Anyhow, I've been digressing a little, so let's get back to the music of Whiteheart. There's a
couple of songs from their Freedom album that have to be amongst my favourite Whiteheart
songs. Bye Bye Babylon and Let The Kingdom Come often move me to intense moments of
worship, due to the searing truth of the lyrics and the power of the music. The latter slowly
builds to the powerful spiritual heart cry of 'whoa! whoa! let the Kingdom come' - crying out for
the powerful Day of the Lord to come, both now in our hearts and in the coming manifestation
of a New Creation.
Yet Whiteheart also produced some tender ballads such as Gabriela, Once And For All, Desert
Rose, Silhouette and Highland of Love. You can hear most of these songs for yourself on the
Jukebox. And yet, even some of their darker stuff, particularly on the album Inside (1995),
speaks of the very real and intense battle of flesh and spirit that every believer faces to some
extent in the trials of life.
In my opinion, melodic rock music (AOR), including the heavier stuff, is a genre that can express
the multi-faceted character of God - from the beautiful loving tenderness of a ballad with
orchestral overtones to the thunderous angry power of a driving rock number. Maybe that song
is true after all - God Gave Rock And Roll To Ya!
On a final note, I was glad that I was able to see Whiteheart in concert on one of my trips to
the USA in the mid 1990's, and I'm very thankful to those brothers who gave me the opportunity
to see White Heart and Petra together. It was well worth it!
In closing I just want to say to all those who think rock music is inherently bad or evil, that
what I find really fascinating is that Hitler loved classical music like Wagner, not rock
music...and look what evil he caused! It's all about the heart! "Why should the devil have all the
Their music is quite versatile really, ranging from beautiful ballads to melodic pop/rock to darker heavy
rock. There is occasionally a hint of progressive rock in there as well. I find many of their song lyrics to
be quite profound at times, which can be easy to miss due to their simplicity (the simplicity of the song
words, not implying that the guys are simple!). I think my favourite album would be Freedom (1989),
though Highlands (1993) and Tales of Wonder (1992) come very close too.
Even as a child, I liked rock 'n' roll & pop music, and I was a huge fan of Cliff Richard & The Shadows (not
so much these days), and I also liked Elvis Presley. I grew to love the rock 'n' roll/blues sound, and I
became really interested in playing the drums, because I loved rhythm. When I first started to get into
heavy rock/metal in about 1979-1980, I was into bands like Status Quo, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and
Rainbow. Then due to the 'New Wave of British Heavy Metal' era I liked bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon. I
saw Saxon live many times, and got to see Iron Maiden on one of their early tours. I loved going to
concerts and buying (and listening to) the records. Nevertheless, what I really loved above all was melodic
rock/AOR (which some call soft rock), with bands like Journey, Boston, Kansas, Foreigner and Heart being
amongst my favourites (although Kansas verge on Prog rock). This is still my favourite genre of music
today, and I just love listening to a good guitar solo.
It's great to be able to enjoy this kind of music with sound spiritual lyrics that are in accord with a
Christian worldview, although I can turn around virtually any kind of 'secular' lyric to have a spiritual
meaning, no matter how dark it may be! Even though most rock music is often about 'partying, getting
smashed and getting laid' I don't believe the music itself has to send out that kind of message. With
intelligent lyrics and great musicianship, the overall result can be much more positive....and dare I say it,
more mature! Even sex has its rightful, God-given place within marriage, and there's nothing wrong with
having a party and enjoying oneself. Jesus did turn water into wine at a marriage celebration! It's all about
context and healthy boundaries, and a matter of the heart - in Christ, a white heart (sorry, I couldn't
resist) of one who has been made new.
Hit the Play button to listen to a selection of Whiteheart tracks