Hard rock meets lofty goals in Upperdeck

Christian metal band returns from U.S. tour

Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009

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Submitted photo
Upperdeck band members include singer and songwriter Jenn Gottselig, drummer Mike Gottselig, keyboardist Nikki Hackleton, guitarist Wes Hackleton, bassist Cameron Smith and guitarist Nate Pitner.

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Nationally released recording artists Upperdeck returned home from the Jesus Core Tour to support the 200th anniversary of the Gray Brother's store in Marbury.

The Christian metalcore band, originally from Indian Head, signed in January of this year with independent record label Tate Music Group of Oklahoma City.

They have been on tour since March performing with groups such as Flyleaf, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Life Blood and "American Idol" finalists Phil Stacey and Crystal Stark.

According to Chris Rutherford, Tate marketing representative, Upperdeck is "a young energetic group with a catchy mainstream sound that is relevant.

"Their personalities shine bright through their determination to excel and the energy that they bring the performance is exhilarating," he wrote in an e-mail. "Overall, Upperdeck has a great message revealed through their music that identifies with young Christians and expresses the hope of Christ."

The band's main concern is "to reach teens and young adults everywhere with a message of hope," drummer and founder Mike Gottselig said, adding that, "we want to start with the youth in our own community and do what we can to better our community by supporting local businesses and organizations."

"No matter how big we get, we will never forget Charles County," he said. "We will always be in support of the local businesses."

"God commands us to give and be generous," he said. Once the band clears expenses, they plan to give a percentage to a local business, nonprofit organization or church. "We actually want to give back. It's our way of tithing as a ministry."

All of the members of Upperdeck are part of the Life Hurts God Heals ministry at Potomac Heights Baptist Church.

LHGH is an eight-step recovery program designed for students in middle school through college who have experienced pain or addiction. The program is based on the beatitudes of the Bible.

"Our whole stage show is based around the [LHGH] ministry," Mike Gottselig said. "The lyrics talk about the pain and hurts teens feel and can relate to. Our goal is that through our lyrics we can connect with them and open up the doors to talk about LHGH on a personal basis."

During the show, Mike's wife, Jenn Gottselig, and guitarist Wes Hackleton share their testimony, he said. "This is so kids can see that they are not alone. I specifically talk about LHGH during the invitation, an opportunity … to accept Christ and for Christians to connect with God. The music is the common medium we use to connect with people to then talk about LHGH."

"Every place we play, we make a connection with teens and youth pastors," said Jenn Gottselig, singer and songwriter for the band.

Their album, "Darkness," will be released nationwide on Sept. 22 and is currently available on their Web site.

In the meantime, their label is trying to market their music to both secular and Christian radio stations.

Friends and fans should call in requests to area stations such as DC101 and 98 Rock, for "POTOC," or the "Phantom of the Opera" song.

"It's our cross-over song," Mike Gottselig said. "That's our way of spreading the good news to secular teens."

As for where the band's name came from, Hackleton said, "heaven is sort of like an upperdeck" and you're striving to get to heaven.


To learn more

To book Upperdeck, e-mail booking@upperdeckmusic.com.

The band and ministry are 100 percent driven by donations. Donations can be mailed to Upperdeck Music, 5010 Nicholas Road, Waldorf, MD 20601 or made online at www.upperdeckmusic.com.