About Pocket Full of Rocks
In 1995, vocalist Michael Farren and drummer David Rollins started Pocket Full of Rocks to lead worship in their local Texas church. As time passed, the band branched out to colleges and churches throughout Texas and Arkansas .
Later on teaming up with organizations like Street Rock Ministries, Pocket Full of Rocks began to crisscross the country from Washington, D.C., to California, leading worship at multi-day youth conferences and retreats.
Comprised of Farren, his wife Alisa (vocals), Rollins, Jody Crump (bass), Ryan Riggins (electric guitar) and Kyle Lee (rhythm and acoustic guitars), Pocket Full of Rocks owes its name to a song from its early days. "We wrote a song called 'Pocket Full of Rocks,' played it in a youth meeting and became known as the 'Pocket Full of Rocks' band," remembers Michael. Deeper meaning is held in the story of David—before he was ever a great king, he was simply a boy with a "pocket full of rocks," believing God would do something great using any of the small things he himself could offer.
Pocket Full of Rocks believed God would do great things with their small offerings. Such great things included having songs appear on widely selling worship albums long before the band signed a record deal. Michael W. Smith included "Let It Rain" on his album Worship. In 2000, Pocket Full of Rocks played after Michael W. Smith at a gathering called The Call in Washington, D.C. "Six months later, I get a call from Michael W. Smith," remembers Michael. "I thought it was someone playing a joke. We had no idea that he had even done the song before he found us." Phillips, Craig & Dean received a copy of "Let the Worshippers Arise" from an aunt of Michael's. Though the group was almost finished recording their album, they felt so strongly about the song and its message that they returned to the studio, recorded it and made it the title track.
Pocket Full of Rocks marked the re-launch of Myrrh Records with its debut album, Song to the King in 2006.
Capturing a true sense of how Pocket Full of Rocks leads worship, Song to the King kicks off with "The Welcome Song," the song that invariably starts each and every one of the band's worship sets. "There hasn't been an event, in five years, that I haven't played that song," says Lee. Adds Michael, "It's this anthem that says, 'God, You're welcome here, and if You don't show up, we're up a creek.' We haven't figured out any better way to start than that."
A band favorite and the first radio single, the title cut "Song to the King" is one not often played live. "It's not so much a corporate worship song, as it is an independent one, 'This is my song to the King,'" says Michael. "It's always struck me—all creation stops and all the angels stop singing when we worship; the King says 'hush' to everything else. The song that almost didn't make the album became the title and the anthem for us."
Faster songs like "Now I Sing" and "Bigger" speak to God's simultaneous enormity and intimacy, while the quieter simplicity of "Closer to You," "Worth Everything" and "More of You Jesus" call for a deeper, more compelling relationship with Christ. The commanding "This Is the Life" captures a band driven to its purpose—that despite hardships in life, it is a life given by God and there is no other life it would rather have. The album also includes the band's own version of "Let the Worshippers Arise."
The Dove nominated worship band released its sophomore album, Manifesto, in 2007.
"Manifesto is not a word you hear tossed about much," Michael Farren, the band's primary songsmith, confesses. "'Manifesto' is defined as, 'A public declaration of one's intents, desires and motives.' It struck me one morning while sitting on my porch, that there is a manifesto, a divine manifesto, that is being declared over my life; has been since before I was born; a divine, very public announcement; a documentation of God's desires, a declaration of His motives, His agenda.
"As a matter of fact, everything He has ever done has been about drawing our attention to this manifesto," Farren continues. "There are basically two things that come from hearing this manifesto...worship and truth. This thought process was spawned out of wrestling with a very familiar bit of scripture found in John 4:23-24 that says... "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." I can relate to the 'Worship in spirit' part of this verse, but to be completely honest, I have had to wrestle with the "And truth" part. I guess I have tried to derive a deeper meaning out of it, when it simply means exactly what it says.
Farren points to "Even the Worst of Us" as a perfect example of such a manifesto song; one that is emotionally redolent, yet steeped in truth. "It is about being desperate for the truth," he notes. "It is about being broken before God; about bidding farewell to dead religion."
So come you broken lonely, from the rubble find your place
For greater than our demons are the open arms of Grace
"Brokenness is not a bad place," Farren muses. "It feels awful, but coming to the end of ourselves and starting fresh with God fully in control is a magnificent thing. It is an invitation to come alive. Disqualification is not a word that God deals with anymore, because He has already dealt with it. He calls us qualified by virtue of who He is and what He has done through the cross."
A worship band with roots deep in the church, Pocket Full of Rocks has developed a reputation for birthing new worship songs during the middle of a worship service. Alisa Farren describes her husband as more of a 'song-receiver' than a 'song-writer.' Three songs, "At The Cross," "You're My Everything" and "Call You Beautiful" were all spontaneously created during congregational worship settings, she says.
For Pocket Full of Rocks, that is what this album called Manifesto is all about. It is an invitation to all who are busted and broken, to hear Heaven's manifesto of truth...and forever be changed by it. And in the light of this Divine manifesto, there is an invitation to boldly declare one's own manifesto to the world around us - a personal manifesto of impassioned worship, and unwavering, life-altering truth.