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North of OK

New Kids in the Gospel Music Game


North of OK

North of OK

Courtesy of: North of OK
Updated September 15, 2005
They came out of Jacob's Generation and even though they have played with the likes of Roper and toured with Spoken and John Reuben, this independent Wichita, KS based band is finding change can be hard. "The name 'Jacob's Generation' we picked when we were really young. I was about 14 when we started the band," said Brian Dexter, drummer for North of OK. "It was our youth pastor's idea to have a band that was a ministry. The original idea was to be a rock band, but we started doing both. We were really just in a worship band mode. We thought we had grown past that and it didn't represent who we were. We had changed our sound quite a bit," Dexter explained. Hence, a name change, North of OK.

Though the band has been together since 1997, they haven't been touring long. "We have only been touring full time about a year and a half. It is frustrating at times to think we are still independent," Dexter said.

With three albums under their belt (two as Jacob's Generation and one as North of Ok), the band is changing more than just their sound. "Our lead singer is leaving to spend time with his wife and the rest of us are planning on pursuing this full-time. Our goal is to get signed by a bigger label, have more stability and make more of a career out of it," the now 23-year-old drummer said.

Juggling band responsibilities and life, Dexter is going through his own change. He has personal reasons for wanting to stick with North of OK, which consists of Ryan Wallace, lead singer; 24; Tom Jackson, guitar, 21; Ryan Bebee, 20, bass guitar, and himself. "Doing what we did the past year and a half is living a dream and I have just felt more alive and most fulfilled doing what I love and making an impact on kids' lives. When they buy a CD and take it home and listen to it, they can connect with it. It is something that brings me fulfillment," Dexter said. And he has no regrets because he has already seen how the band's message has touched lives. "We get e-mails from people we don't know. We have gotten e-mails from kids that say 'That song, I can really connect with it and it really changed my life.' It is pretty humbling to think that something you scratched down with a pen on paper, while you are sitting in the back of a van, could mean anything to anyone else. Just reading those e-mails really makes me want to keep going, keep doing it. Even if we broke up tomorrow, I would still look back and say there is definitely some of the kids that we made an impact on and that is why I want to keep doing it," he said.

Part of that impact comes from not just trying to reproduce songs that are copies of secular bands with Christian lyrics. "The Christian music industry is really two or three years behind the secular industry and what was popular in the secular industry is really just becoming popular in the Christian industry. Creed was a big band two or three year ago and now it is Kutless and the Jeremy Camps. I don't want to say those guys are horrible people or aren't good musicians because a lot of them are. But I would tend to agree that the Christian industry does lack originality a lot of the time. We have written songs that were kind of copies of secular bands, we are guilty of that, too," he admitted.

The bottom line for Dexter is moving forward with North of OK. He knows that change is good and he is anticipating and looking forward to where change may lead North of OK. But he isn't forgetting his roots. "Lots of bands don't last that long and sometimes it is frustrating to think we are still independent and doing it all on our own, but I have enjoyed every minute of it," he said, quietly.

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