Thursday, 3 January 2008


There is a band I like very much called coolhandluke.
For a long time in their time as a band they played with their backs to the crowd to people would focus on God and not on them. When I saw them at cornerstone festival they announced they were going to be playing later in the evening but pointed out it would be a worship set and told people that if they wanted to see them perform instead of worshiping they should stay away. Their lead singer (and drummer, which I think is very cool) always puts his home address and email address in the CD inlays so people can contact him if they have any questions about the subjects raised in their songs. They are the only band I have ever seen who give the whole of their shows to God
and help encourage the crowd into his presence (they aren't a really a worship band).

So, to then go on their website and read in big letters ' Coolhandluke need help' and read this letter, I'm still pretty amazed.

Dear friends,

It is with great humility and even awkwardness that I write this to each of you. Cool Hand Luke is in a tough spot due to several unforeseen circumstances, and we need help. We have always tried to be as truthful as we can in what we present to you, whether it is music, information, the gospel, or ourselves. We have been praying about our situation for over a month now, trusting and believing (and still learning) that God will meet our needs. (Philippians 4:19) Talk of bringing our needs to you, our brothers and sisters, has come up every time we discuss it. I have been reluctant to do this and seen it as a last resort.
It has taken over a month to come to this point purely because of my pride. From an American perspective where wealth and status are the measure of success, this feels so much like failure. Acknowledging our weaknesses and our insufficiency and saying, “I need help,” are so contrary to every ideal that our society teaches and contrary to our very nature. Coincidentally, most everything that Jesus taught us during his time on earth is contrary to our society and our nature, too. Turn the other cheek. Bless those who curse you. Love your enemies. Rejoice in suffering.
I’ve been reminded of these things over the past few weeks as I have examined why it is I feel so averse to acknowledging our needs to you. On one hand, it is humiliating to announce that we aren’t what we’ve presented ourselves as, that we can’t do this on our own. It’s humiliating to tell our friends and our family that things aren’t good when we want them to believe that things couldn’t be better. On another level, I am reluctant to ask for any help because a lot of people’s perspective who have only seen us at a big festival show is that we are some huge band that makes tons of money and sells tons of records.
What it all comes down to is this: God never called us to do this because he was concerned with what people thought about us. As soon as I remembered this, God started walking me through the process of getting over myself and how we are perceived. I’m writing this to you because God meets needs through His people and He calls us to share our burdens. So, that’s what brought me to this point. Now, here is the situation:
Recently, we had to cancel a short tour out to Texas and back. To the best of my memory, this is the very first time in the nine years that Cool Hand Luke has been a band that we have had to cancel a tour. The reasons for our canceling the tour were manifold, but they mainly stem from three main things. 1.) We have no van. 2.) Cool Hand Luke is out of money 3.) We, the members of Cool Hand Luke, can no longer look to the band as a source of income. That means that we have to stay home and work. In addition to this, we have no label to help us get a van or to put out our new record and we have no management or booking agent. We recently lost our rehearsal space due to circumstances that had nothing to do with us, so we can’t even write, rehearse, or take our equipment out of our trailer. We have an almost finished record and no money to put it out on our own.
We all have bills including unforeseen medical bills and car repairs that have come up, and there just isn’t any money. Only some of us have been able to keep a job because we have been on the road so much. It feels like a Catch 22 because if we go on the road we can’t pay our bills, but if we stay home and work we’re not going to be able to pay the band’s bills. We need to play shows so we can buy a van, but we can’t play shows because we don’t have a van. We don’t know what to do, so we’re asking for your help.
You may be asking one or both of the following questions: 1.) Does this mean Cool Hand Luke is breaking up? 2.) If all this is happening are you sure you’re still supposed to be doing this?
In response to the first question, Cool Hand Luke is not breaking up. We may be taking a break from touring while we figure things out, but we are not breaking up. We will still be playing shows here and there, and we believe that soon we’ll be writing you a happy letter telling you that our prayers have been answered and that our new record will be out shortly.
In response to the second question, good question. I’ve asked it myself many, many times. I think we all have. If anything, I think the trials we are walking through are serving to confirm to us our calling to this band. It has made each of us evaluate things and make a conscious decision to sacrifice to do this work that we believe is the work God has given us to do. We are all committed and we are experiencing the promised “peace that transcends understanding.” Cool Hand Luke is ministry. If it were not, none of us could in good conscious send a letter of this nature. We understand that some of you may not see things this way, and that’s okay. We have wrestled with this question, and we do indeed feel that today, God is calling each of us to be in Cool Hand Luke.

If you are just a casual listener of Cool Hand Luke and you think that it’s really lame that we’re doing this, you can just dismiss this and we will all understand because it is sort of strange. If you have read this and feel like you want to help in some way, here is how you can:

1. Pray—We need lots of prayer, and we know that this is the most important thing. We need prayer to trust God. We need prayer for His provision. We need prayer for His will concerning the future of the band. We need prayer not to stress out but to cast our anxiety on Him. We need prayer for creativity in ways to save and make money.
2. Help us find a van—If you or someone you know has a reliable van that would be good for towing a trailer and touring in that they would be willing to sell for cheap or even donate, please let us know about it. You can e-mail us at or send us a myspace message.
3. Give—We aren’t asking everyone for money, but if you feel led to give to us, here’s how you can do it: You can make a check out to Cool Hand Luke and mail it to:

Cool Hand Luke
389 Ash Grove Drive
Nashville, TN 37211

Shortly, we will also have a Paypal account set up. We will let you know when that is up and running.

If you do decide to give in one form or another, please give us your e-mail address and/or physical address. We aren’t planning on selling your information to pick up extra cash; we’d like to give you something small as a token of our appreciation.

Thank you for reading this and hearing us out. We look forward to seeing what God does in all of our lives in the coming months and having stories to tell and songs to sing about it. We hope that we will get to see you all soon. May God bless you and teach you as you strive toward Him.

By His grace,
Mark Nicks


Phil said...

The phrase 'get over myself' rather stuck out for me. A good principal, perhaps.

Dave said...

yeah, I'm currently working on that.