August 20th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Christian band The Museum explains how it got its name–and vision

The Museum is bassist Chris Brink, lead singer Ben Richter, guitarist Geoff Ashcraft and drummer Josh Kirk

The question always comes, says singer Ben Richter: How did the band decide to call itself The Museum?

The Christian rock quartet, based in the Decatur, Georgia, is new to the commercial music scene; its first CD to be released under a record label, "Let Love Win," has been out for just a few weeks.

"I don't think we really planned on that being a band name," Richter said by phone as the band rode its bus from Jackson, Mississippi to San Antonio, Texas. "We kind of dreaded having that conversation, to pick a name."

He said the band was going through the process of recording an independent album when drummer Josh Kirk went on a mission trip to Romania. While there he had a memorable visit at a museum that chronicled how Christian protests helped bring down communism in Romania.

Upon his return, he shared his amazement with the rest of the band.

"Immediately it just clicked for us that this exactly what we want to be about," Richter said. "We just really hoped from the beginning that our ministry and our music would be something that is evidence of the revolution that Christ has done in our own hearts."

Richter laughs when he recalls the potential band names on the list that were quickly thrown away when Kirk's tale inspired the name The Museum.

"We wanted a name with meaning behind it," Richter said. "It's funny though. We never thought we'd have to answer the question so many times, but it's a great way to share our ministry and it's opened up some cool conversations."

The band is on the road promoting the new album and playing other concerts. Stops include a CD release show in San Antonio (where Richter grew up) on Friday, and then Evansville, Indiana; Martinsburg, West Virginia; Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Peachtree City, Georgia. The band has yet to announce dates for a fall tour with DecembeRadio.

The band says the new CD– they had an independent effort in 2008– is an extension of their service to God.

"In all the small things that we do, we want to love and serve people," Richter said. "That's the central message of the record, how we can be the hands and feet of God in the world and love just as Jesus did."

Most reviews call the new CD a good initial effort but say the band has room to grow. Jen Rose at Jesus freak Hideout said she liked the album but hoped for a more rock sound:

With a pop/rock sound reminiscent of Starfield and the softer side of their label mates Kutless, The Museum creates vertical lyrics and catchy melodies that stay true to church music form. So true, in fact, that while the songs are likable enough and the members display talent, there aren't too many musical or lyrical moments that stand out to set them apart from their peers.

Richter, who grew up drumming to the melodies of the Beach Boys, said the band's secular influences include the 90's rock of Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind.

Richter's biggest hero in Christian music has been Jeremy Camp. It was at a 2003 concert where the then-college student and part-time worship leader was moved by at a Camp concert to give music the full attention that he says God wanted him to give it.

Still, Richter went into the oil business after college before pursuing music as a fulltime career, quitting his job and beginning to lead music for a youth group in Texas.

Every now and then, they would try out new players and guitarist Geoff Ashcraft came to one of the sessions in 2004. Ashcraft describes the audition as the worst of his life. Hyperbole, perhaps? Oh no, says Richter.

"He came in and his fingers were sweating, he was stiff (and) he could not do anything right. His guitar wouldn't stay in tune," Richter said. "He explains it now that it was God humbling him and he forgot how to play for five minutes."

But two months later, Richter and another guitarist were doing a camp and need another player. The guitarist assured Richter that Ashcraft was actually good. There was no other option so Richter called Ashcraft and invited him down. They have been friends since, with Ashcraft coming with when Richter was hired by a church in the Atlanta area.

Richter said that the two arrived on Monday and had to play at a Wednesday service. They need a drummer and a bass player. Someone at the church volunteered that the janitor was a great drummer; Richter met him when he came by to empty the trash. Kirk was as good as advertised.

Bassist Chris Brink joined the group after playing with Richter at Southside Church in Peachtree City.

Richter said Brink helped the band form its identity. "He seemed to level the playing field of personalities," Richter said. "Once it was the four of us together and we began writing some new songs together... the vision became clearer."

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Music

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soundoff (10 Responses)
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    June 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  2. NEON whip

    this picture is really awkward.

    August 22, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  3. David Johnson

    An episode of South Park was about Cartman starting a Christian boy band. There was a scene where Cartman is taking a picture of the band for the album cover. He instructs the band members not to look at each other, but to look into the distance. If you notice the picture The Museum, is doing exactly that.

    Religion is all a hoax.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • Ron Rice

      It's pretty easy to say religion is all a hoax when you don't supply evidence to support that claim. Seems like a total copout to bash something like religion without any further reasoning. I myself am christian in name only (in that I don't go to church or identify with churches in general) and I don't find any reason to bash religion. Quite the contrary, I think religion is good as it shows people how to live a good life. The people involved with religion who call themselves religious but don't practice what they preach is why it is wrong.

      That being said, props on the South Park reference.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  4. Monty

    These guys seem really cool I'll have to buy their cd and see how they are.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:15 am |
  5. Keith

    Hey Reality! If you had any idea of the caliber of young men who make up The Museum, you would not say such things. I'm sorry that someone wearing a christian t-shirt has done something to taint you view of all things christian. The world is full of imperfect people; so are churches. I hope someday you can look past the imperfection of Christians and see the truth.

    August 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • Reality


      The truth if you care to think about it:

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions, immaculate conceptions, vir-gin births).

      Current problems:

      Adulterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      August 21, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  6. Reality

    The appropriate name would have been,The Museum of Christian Fraud, Fiction, Flaws and Follies.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  7. A Protest To CNN

    As a long-time blogger, I protest, in the strongest possible terms, the misguided erasure of vast numbers of posts in this belief blog.
    A person or persons unknown have gone through the past week and have deleted vast swaths of posts.
    If you are a blogger who has contributed in the past week, I invite you to go and see if what you wrote is still there.
    Whether it was the moderators, or somebody "flagging" every post they didn't like, the fact remains that this is outrageous behavior.
    Freedom of the press and speech don't really matter I guess. Expect this protest to disappear as well (if it even gets past the moderator filters)
    Bad functionality or deliberate act?
    How can anybody justify such immature behavior?
    So much for cnn. I had hoped for better from a member of the Fourth Estate.
    Where are the cowards who did this?

    August 20, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • ImpudentRadish

      @A Protest To CNN

      You posted this too many times. Now it should be deleted as well. How "ironic".

      August 21, 2010 at 1:12 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.