About Monday Morning
As young musicians growing up together in North Carolina, Monday Morning’s primaries – Derek, guitarist Justin Blythe, bassist Kevin Stipe (Derek’s brother), and drummer Kent Rector – were nurtured in the support of family, friends, and a church community that encouraged them to follow their musical dreams.
In high school, lead vocalist Derek Stipe met Kent Rector, who played drums. Soon Rector, Stipe and his brother Kevin began jamming together. After playing with a few other people, the group eventually narrowed down to four members: the Stipe brothers, Rector, and Justin Blythe who they knew from their church. Lead singer Stipe said, "We thought we kinda had something special, so we started playing out, getting better, and it just exploded from there."
They guys decided on a band name, "Monday Morning", because it was "a dose of reality." Stipe noted, "When you confront the world, yourself, and everything around you. No more games, masks, or half truths. That is the boldness we want our music to have."
“The first show we played was for 800 people,” Justin says, remembering the band’s earliest support. “But the more we played and were accepted among church circles, the more we realized, on some levels, that we needed to branch out.”
In 2001 they released the three-track Monday Morning EP, followed by Blind in 2002.
In 2005 they released their major label debut through Selectric Records, Fool's Paradise, and are known for their number 1 hit song "Wonder of It All (Next Year)". "Wonder of It All (Next Year)" was released as a single, and reached #1 on R&R's Christian CHR chart. It was the #9 most played song of 2006 on that format.
“The overall theme is about problems, but they’re problems that can be overcome,” says lead singer and primary lyricist Derek Stipe. “The songs address a variety of issues – ‘Blind’ deals with addictions, ‘Can’t Go On’ covers racial topics, “These Eyes” explores self doubt – and they’ve come about through experience with close friends, relatives, even ourselves. “These problems exist, but there are always ways to overcome,” Derek says.
The band members’ willingness to tackle difficult ideas head on while rocking out comes directly from Monday Morning’s maturity and engagement in the world around them. “I think we’re a lot more aware of what’s going on politically,” Justin says. “When you’re 17, 18, 19, you don’t care about picking up a newspaper and keeping up with world events.”
“We wrote a lot of these songs during those years when we weren’t quite as involved in our world,” Derek says, “but now the entire record deals with problems that we experience personally because of this messed-up world. “‘Fool’s Paradise’? We’re there in the form of our entire society being content with where we stand as a nation, even as a church,” Derek continues. “If you look back at the early church by reading the New Testament, you see how far we’ve strayed. Somehow, modern civilization is okay with that, and while I’m not saying we’re going to change the world or anything, at least we’re acknowledging that there are problems.”
“What do we hope people take away from this record? Purpose. It’s as simple as that,” Derek says. “Hopefully, your interpretation of the songs and record as a whole will inspire you to do something. I don’t know what that’s going to be. What’s your heart for? What does it convict you of? But simply put, purpose.”