Word Promotional Literature
For "Unfit For Swine"


John Schlitt
Unfit for Swine
Word Records


"This is not a safe record for me, but I like it" John Schlitt says of his new album, Unfit for Swine. Although you don't need to root out a reason to listen to the second solo effort by the lead singer of Christian music's biggest rock band, there are plenty of reasons from which to choose.

Schlitt teamed up with the powerhouse production team of Dann Huff, David Huff, and Mark Heimermann for what is his best project to date. Unfit for Swine, set for release on Word Records this July, blends the well-known strength of Schlitt's voice with an experimental side that few people have seen from the guy who fronts the legendary Christian rock group, Petra.

With songs that rage with intensity and drive, are set to modern rock motifs, and are wrought with lyrics that only a 10-year veteran of the Christian music industry can muster, Schlitt has recorded an album that will surprise and delight his established fans, as well as a whole new audience.

Although the continuation of his solo career in no way signals a lessening of his role in Petra, it does indicate an entire new sonic direction for the artist. With a couple of Grammy Awards, several Doves, and a list of accolades as long as your arm, one might expect Schlitt to stay his course. But instead he's successfully engaged the modern rock sound while maintaining Petra's inimitable ministry approach to lyrics.

Schlitt's debut solo album, Shake, started him down a path of greater individual expression musically, and more personal passion lyrically. Now, Unfit for Swine propels him farther down that road with authority and verve. Here Schlitt's unique vocals are inspired and guided by a musical bed written and played by Nashville's hottest session players. While it's still rooted in a basic appreciation of the classic rock format, Unfit for Swine dives head first into the production and instrumentation of the current alternative genre. Huff, Huff, and Heimermann have done an incredible job bringing Schlitt's sound into the late ‘90s.

To people who might question the ability of a veteran to so effectively change stylistic gears, Schlitt assures, "I'm not over the hill." In fact, he elaborates, there's an advantage to his level of experience. "I feel that as a Christian artist, sometimes you have to deal strongly with the church as well as with the unchurched. I think my maturity is an asset in that department."

While Schlitt's age and extensive experience may be discounted by some people, one listen to Unfit for Swine will make it clear that this is no geriatric rocker. Schlitt & Co. can tangle with, and hold their own against, any twenty-something band.

This time out, there's also a greater potential market for Schlitt's music, the obvious being the alternative modern youth market, which probably falls somewhat outside Petra's mainstream rock appeal. There's also a growing number of young baby boomers and older baby busters who are gravitating toward modern incarnations of classic rockers.

"Alternative, as a term, means modern. If it doesn't have that label on it, it's considered old- fashioned," Schlitt explains. "Personally, I think what we've come up with is modern rock. If we've touched a bit on alternative music, that's fine." He noted that he wanted to be progressive with the chord movements and the writing style because that moved a bit away from where Petra has been.

The band, which includes the extraordinary bass guitar talent of Jackie Street along with the talent of the above mentioned production luminaries, recorded the tracks in four days, almost entirely live in the studio. The result is a level of chemistry and groove that's never been captured by Schlitt or by his "other band."

More and more people are embracing music with thoughtful and challenging lyrics. Schlitt, along with writing assistance from Heimermann, David Huff, Toby McKeehan, and Rich Gotee, has assembled ten songs that easily keep up with the musical intensity brewing behind them. "I really went in with what felt natural to me. I never had a set agenda to write this or that," Schlitt says of the lyric composition. "what ended up coming through was pretty real for me. Often, I envisioned myself sitting one-on-one with that teenager who is going through testing times and needs to hear what I have to say."

With song writing that almost completely belies the corporate rock idiom, and with songs like "I Killed A Man" and "Save Me," which hit hard with their message yet remain artistically stimulating, Schlitt has multiplied his potential tenfold. Take for instance "Can't Get Away," from which the album's title is derived:

In the closets of my mind
I have thoughts unfit for swine
Secrets that I dare not tell
You know them well
'Neath a veil of innocence
I disguise my decadence
But somehow You see through it all
And love me still, You love me still

Even the album's most likely Christian Hit Radio single, "There Is Someone," with it's slower, country-tinged vibe complete with pedal-steel guitar and Eagles-inspired song structure and overall sound, is recorded very organically. The tones are warm and inviting, and it will satisfy fans of his last solo album Shake. its inclusion further widens the Unfit for Swine's potential fan base, without compromising the integrity of the stripped-down sound found throughout the rest of the disc.

Schlitt, whether directly or via his partnership with his producers and players, has topped all his previous efforts with the release of Unfit for Swine. As he assembles a touring band to back up the album, and as he tours supporting the latest Petra release, watch for the re-invigorated vision of John Schlitt's music to sweep across the country.

Sure, this record is just the latest in a series of impressive firsts for this artist. But considering the intensity and drive represented on it, it seems more like the start of something completely new for him. Listen to the album and discover for yourself. It may be called Unfit for Swine, but it's more than fit for today's increasingly progressive musical climate.


John Schlitt
Unfit for Swine
Word Records

John Schlitt, with two gold albums, two Grammy Awards, multiple Dove Awards and numerous other accolades already under his belt as Christian rock's premier vocalist, Petra's lead singer doesn't rest on his past successes, nor does he play it safe musically. Instead, this rock icon marks his own territory, mixing pop and rock music with a message, and expands his ministry to include two solo projects.

Stepping out on his own almost eight years ago, Schlitt began accepting requests for solo appearances. As his solo career developed, it caught the attention of Nashville based Word Records. Word recognized Schlitt's capabilities as a vocalist and front man for their top selling band, Petra, and thus began his solo recordings,

In his first attempt at songwriting, John wrote the number one hit "Just Reach Out" on Petra's '94 release. On his debut release, "Shake", and the follow up release, "Unfit for Swine", John showcases his versatility, not only as a vocalist, but also as a songwriter. On both albums nine out of ten songs were co-written by Schlitt. "I just felt that God has given me a say, and being involved in the songwriting on "Shake" and "Unfit" for Swine" allowed me to communicate what's on my heart," says Schlitt.

Schlitt's debut album, "Shake", started him down a path of greater individual expression musically with a unique blend of pop, rock, and soulful style. In addition, the lyrics express his personal passion for God and his desire to encourage God's people to boldly press on.

"Shake" is described as "hard rock with a soft heart and soft ballads with cutting edge!'. "Let It Show" with its driving percussion and its heavy guitar punches, encourages listeners to let their faith show. While the slower ballad, "Inside of You", has a melody that encourages the listener to surrender himself and be inspired to think about the gifts God has put inside each of us. Rock anthems "Carry The Burden" and "Wake The Dead" deliver strong messages with enjoyable and interesting musical diversity. With the powerful gospel ballad, "The Road To Calvary", John explores his lower vocal range along with his soaring rich voice on the song's chorus to challenge us to contemplate Christ on the road to Calvary. Each cut on the album has a message that is close to John's heart and is straight ahead lyrically.

Even with his album title John sends a message. Schlitt entitled the album, "Shake", because be wanted it to convey the duel meaning of the energy of the music and urgency of the message. "Shake" is taken from Hebrews 12:26,27: "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens ... so that what cannot be shaken may remain." "I wanted to create an album that shakes people up," admits Schlitt. "I want them to get excited and think about what it means to be a child of God."

Following "Shake", "Unfit For Swine' propels John farther down the road of individual expression with authority and conviction. While it's still rooted in a basic appreciation of the classic rock formal, "Unfit For Swine" dives head first into the production and instrumentation of the alternative genre. "Alternative", as a term, means modern. Personally, I think what we've come up with is modern rock," Schlitt explains.

Both projects called on a diverse group of well known producers and musicians. "Shake" producers included Mark Heimermann, Greg Nelson, and two highly accomplished musicians turned producers, Dann and Dave Huff. For "Unfit For Swine" Schlitt teamed up again with the powerhouse production team of Dann and Dave Huff and Mark Heimermann along with the extraordinary talents of bass guitarist, Jackie Street. "The band" recorded the tracks in four days almost entirely live in the studio. The result is a unique level of chemistry and vibe.

The lyrics for "Unfit For Swine" are both thoughtful and challenging. Schlitt along with the writing assistance of Heimermann, Toby McKeehan, David Huff, and Rich Gotee has assembled ten songs that easily keep up with the musical intensity brewing behind them. "I Killed A Man" is a gripping acknowledgment of what our salvation costs. "Take You On" has a biographical aspect. "There Is Someone", with its slower, country-tinged vibe complete the pedal-steel guitar and Eagles-inspired song structure and overall sound, reminds the listener of God's love and faithfulness, "Need I Remind You" deals with the challenges of Christian life. Schlitt says of the lyric composition, "What ended up coming through was pretty real for me. Often I envisioned myself sitting one-on-one with a teenager who is going through testing times and needs to hear what I have to say."

Although John gets a chance to speak to more kids as lead singer of Petra he admits there are limitations with Petra's big production. On his own there is more time to share his testimony and interact more personably with concert goers. There's an intimacy that comes between himself and his audience through his solo concerts. You already recognize his voice. Through his solo work you come to know the man and his unwavering testimony to the love, power, and mercy of his Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the highlights of John's solo concerts is hearing his testimony. Family is a priority to John. Residing in Franklin, Tennessee, John and his wife, Dorla, are very committed to raising their children. But family life hasn't always been an important element for John. During his stead as lead vocalist for Head East from 1973-1980, John says he went from a kid who just wanted to sing, to an alcoholic and cocaine addict who was willing to put music and his career before anything - including his own health and family. "I was willing to sacrifice everything that was really important for the promise of fame and fortune. Head East and its success was my entire focal point for seven years," John recalls.

In 1980 John left Head East because of the group's internal problems, but he did not give up his dreams of fame and fortune. After a failed attempt at starting a new band, John became so depressed he considered suicide, During this time, John's wife, Dorla, came to know Jesus and within, several months led John to Christ. "Not only did God forgive me for all I had done, but He also gave me back my life, my family, and a chance to sing again."

For five years John worked at odd jobs, including digging drainage ditches, sweeping floors, and working in an oil shale mine. In 1985, after being promoted to the main office at a mining company, Bob Hartman called. John knew it was time to combine his faith with the music and message of Petra.

Whether touring with Petra, or on his own solo tour, Schlitt continues to exemplify his faith and position as Christian rock's premier vocalist.