Redeemer University - Christian university changes everything. Starting with you.          
Skip Navigation Links
Seeking God?

Visit this room to enjoy Christian culture

In the Spotlight with Vince Lichlyter from Jonah33
What inspires the music of Jonah33, an alternative rock band? Lichlyter talks about God’s influence in his own life and how it translates into his music.

I recently caught up with Vince Lichlyter, lead singer for alternative rock band Jonah33. Their latest album, The Heart of War released in the fall of 2007.

The Heart of War

Amy Hagberg Hammond (AH): Are there any specific themes on your new recording?

Vince Lychlyter (VL): Oh man, there’s a bunch. There’s one track called “Father’s Song” and that’s just a song I wrote about the decay of today’s society... a lot of it has to do with the fact that dads [have] just kind of dropped out of the picture. For whatever reason, in today’s society, fathers just don’t hold high esteem. So it’s my challenge and encouragement to have Dad step up to the plate. And it’s important to me you know, because I’ve got a four year old boy.

I lost my dad in June of 2004; he passed away. That was really hard, because three days later I was back on the road after the funeral. There’s a song on there called, “I Need to Let Go.” And that’s just asking my dad’s permission to let him go. It’s not like I’m not going to miss him or anything like that, but my dad’s gone now so it’s my role to be a dad instead of a son. And it’s just the cycle of life.

AH: You had a tough time as a teenager. Explain how you came to be a Christian.

VL: Well, I was 19 and I was living in Tacoma, Washington. I ran away when I was 13 and I lived on the streets and in and out of rehab and in and out of jail all the way from 13 to 19. When I was 19, I was living with a drug dealer and just things went south really fast. My life ended up being threatened, so I called home to my dad, who lived in Arkansas—he had retired and moved to Arkansas, and I told him I needed to come home, I needed a break, I needed to get out of where I was at. So he bought me a round trip ticket from Seattle to Arkansas. I came home to my parent’s house, and about two weeks after I came home I ended up giving my life to the Lord. I met this youth pastor guy who told me about Jesus and just really, it was one of those situations where it was just perfect timing you know? I was ready to hear it—I was ready to give my life over to something that was greater than me.

AH: How did God help you through the substance abuse issues you had?

VL: It was a piece of cake.... When I got saved, I was so surrounded by immediate love by my church family, so the substance abuse, the addiction aspect of it was almost taken away from me literally overnight.

AH: It’s kind of a prodigal son story. Your parents were exceptional – especially your dad. As a role model, how does that impact how you plan to parent Jonah?

VL: Oh man, before my dad passed away, I watched this movie; it’s called Big Fish.... And as soon as that movie was over, I got up and I went into the kitchen and wrote my dad a three-page letter, front and back…just thanking him for all of the stuff that he did for me. He saved my life twice obviously. First he adopted me when I was three out of a horrible situation, and for bringing me back when I was 19 after I’d trashed my relationship with my parents. He didn’t have to do that. ...I mailed him that letter and two weeks later he passed away. So it was definitely divine intervention on that part.

But as far as the way I look at Jonah, first of all, I want to guide him and nurture him and protect him from making any of the decisions that I made.... And then secondly, I’ve just been praying a lot since he’s been born that Jonah will come to know the Lord at a young age and that God would place a calling on his life that would just affect the multitudes.

AH: When you are on the road, what are some of the struggles of being in the spotlight?

VL: For whatever reason, the value that Americans put on entertainment…, like it or not, it trickles down to the Christian industry. And just because you’re doing it for the Lord, and just because you’re trying to advance the kingdom, that doesn’t stop people from looking at you like you’re somebody bigger than you really are.... And so, it’s a challenge to not buy into the hype.... And so I’ve been really careful to pick a team—my business manager, my management company and my booking agency—that is quick to call me out on the carpet about stuff and they keep it down to earth.

AH: What message would you like to share with your audience?

VL: Question everything because we’re spoon-fed everything; we’re handed the Gospel by a preacher on Sunday morning, by our youth pastor on Wednesday night, we’re handed the news by various news programs and newspapers and we just take it as fact. We don’t stop and question the why or when or where or how for our own selves...I think a lot of Christians are mediocre in their walk because they’re afraid to question. And God’s bigger than any question that you ever have. Just because you’re questioning His existence and what He does and how He does it, doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in Him. You just want to understand deeper.


AH: What kind of music do you listen to?

VL: I kind of listen to pretty much anything; I would say anything that has passion really. As far as hard rock music goes, I really like POD and Blindside, stuff like that, but also living where I do in Arkansas, you can’t help but be saturated with country music. So I’ve been kind of diving into a little bit of country music.... I listen to Louie Armstrong, I mean, you name it. I just like anything that’s not cheesy or irrelevant.

AH: You are a busy guy, you have an awesome ministry, and you’ve got a new album coming out, what do you do for fun?

VL: Andrea and I absolutely, positively enjoy watching movies.... anywhere from 3-5 times a week we’ll put Jonah to bed and we’ll crawl into bed and pop in a DVD. It’s just a good time for me and Andrea to just hang out and not have to try to talk about the business of the day or whatever. I enjoy golf, I enjoy playing guitar, even though that’s what I do for a living, I still enjoy it. And I really, really, enjoy hanging out with my kid; man, if I could do that all day, every day I’d be the happiest guy in the world.

Amy Hammond Hagberg is a frequent contributor to publications around the world. Her first book, How Do You Know He's Real: Celebrity Reflections on True Life Experiences with God (Destiny Image Publishers) was released in April 2006. The first in a planned three-book series, it is a collection of testimonies from well-known athletes, musicians and actors on how they know Christ is real. The second book in the series, How Do You Know He’s Real: God Unplugged is geared for teens and young adults and was released in November 2006. She is also the author of My Favorite Christmas (Integrity Publishers), which was also released in November 2006. All can be found on her website:


How Do You Know He’s Real: Celebrity Reflections on Christ
Between the covers of this book are testimonies from Christian role models from the worlds of film, sports, and music. The stories are real and powerful, and are presented in a way that believers and seekers alike will find compelling.

How Do You Know He’s Real: God Unplugged
In this book Amy Hammond Hagberg shares the profound real-life journeys and dramatic encounters with the living God by young athletes and musicians.

Originally published on the website,, 2007.




  • Redeemer University - Christian university changes everything. Starting with you.

Visit our Marketplace

Support the EFC ministry by using our Amazon links