Just over a decade ago, the now defunct Orange County four-piece Home Grown, released their third studio album "Kings Of Pop". The record was the band's most successful release by debuting at number 189 on the Billboard 200 chart and most notably known for featuring the classic pop-punk anthems "Kiss Me, Diss Me" and "You're Not Alone".
In 2005, frontman Adam Lohrbach parted ways with the band and a few months later, Home Grown decided to call it a day. Ten years on, Lohrbach is working as the creative arts director of a local church in Southern California and his days of being in Homegrown are now in the past.
With that said, Alter The Press reached out to Adam and reminisced about his time in the band, "Kings Of Pop" ten years on, his transition from being the frontman of Home Grown to working in the church and more.
Alter The Press: In 2002, Home Grown had been a band for 8 years, still living with their parents. Ten years later, where is the band today?
Adam Lohrbach: Well believe it or not we’re still surviving and mind you, not at our parents' homes. I suppose in some strange way that was worth boasting of in our 20’s, but maybe not so much in our 30’s, ha. To be honest, I’m not quite certain what everyone is up to at the moment, however they’re all really resourceful and talented guys so I’d imagine they’re doing great. I believe Darren [Reynolds, drums] is managing/part owner in a surf shop in Huntington Beach. It was awhile back, but Dan [Hammond, guitar] was doing quite well installing solar panels (however he did get in a work related accident, but is ok) so I’m not sure if he’s still doing that. He also plays in an amazing cover band from time to time. John [Tran, guitar/vocals] has a place near the beach last I know of, but he was the financial brain behind the band so I’m sure he’s doing well for himself. He’s also written some great songs post-HG. As for myself, I’m a husband and father of 2 boys and having the time of my life stumbling through it all.
ATP: When you look back at the career of Home Grown, compared to where you are today. Do you have any regrets or would of done anything differently?
Adam: I suppose many things yes. I’ll just list them off as they come to mind, if you don’t mind.
1) First off I regret many of my decisions regarding my own personal integrity. I was a decently nice guy but I think I lacked a lot of character. Being in a band and touring 10 months a year has a way of suspending development in maturity. I think there were quite a few people I disrespected and regretted the way I treated some people I met along the way.
2) John had handled a majority of the finances and dealing with the management/agencies etc. and in hindsight I realize how much work that was for one person to handle. Had I been more aware, I would have asked to help and been more of a support.
3) I think I took for granted all the places I was afforded to travel too. We should have taken more time to see the sights.
4) Ahem…I would have actually saved some money for the future instead of blowing it all when I was at home. Sheesh.
5) I would have paid more attention to financial details, especially in regards to our labels/publishing company (royalties, recoupables, etc.) There’s A LOT that I think we just let slide between the cracks. I would advise any new artist to work very closely with every person representing/working with to always be in the loop about how things are running and to have a wise understanding of royalties and how they work. It may sound like I’m bitter, I assure you I’m not. However looking back I realized how little I knew about the industry I was a part of.
6) Although I loved my friends in the band and appreciated everything I experienced with them (we were basically family) I wish I would have given my talents to the LORD instead of wasting so much time glorifying myself. Not to say that our music didn’t help people and have impact; I know now that I should have been serving God with what was given to me. However He redeems everything, even a goof like me. I’ll end by saying that many of my greatest memories are also with Home Grown and in many aspects of it I had the time of my life. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
ATP: When was the last you actually listened to anything by the band?
Adam: Actually, just the other day. I’ll be honest it had been years since I think I actually popped in a CD, but because of this interview I went on YouTube to see what was online concerning us. Of note, I did discover a gentleman by the title “ClassifiedBlind” had put up some unreleased material of ours. I know who you are! Ha, it’s all good. I’m glad someone put it out there for others to hear. The songs are actually pretty decently recorded for demos.
ATP: You now head up creative arts at a church in Southern California. Can you explain how you went from being the frontman of Home Grown to your career now?
Adam: No real way to give the short answer to this story, as it’s my testimony so if you don’t mind I’ll give the not quite entire story, but long nonetheless. Someone recently online had just asked for my testimony, so if you don’t mind I’ll just place it below.
After about 9 years of touring with Home Grown, in the latter 2 years I had moved in with a girlfriend. Being on the road 10 months a year, it's difficult to maintain relationships at home at any level, and as a touring musician it takes its toll on many things. I always looked to coming home to her as stability and my rock so to speak. I had given my life to Christ when I was 15, but after touring for so long and not pursuing my relationship with Jesus, I had lapsed into a lot of destructive behavior and was in backslide mode for many, many years. When my girlfriend broke up with me, I went into a tailspin of depression, self-pity, and drinking. After months of this, I realized how empty everything I was doing was and God began to call me back to Himself. Quite suddenly everything that I had been doing (self-glorifying really) became bitter and I just wanted to live in the light, to pursue the calling God had for me. I knew that it wasn't with Home Grown. No slam on them of course as they are quite remarkable guys and I loved them dearly, I just knew I had to quit.
Just before our European tour with New Found Glory, I knew it was time. I stood with my hand shaking for 15 minutes near the door knob of the rehearsal room all my buddies were practicing in. I finally got the courage to go in and give them the news. Of course I could never have expected them to understand at the time, but fortunately time has healed such wounds. From there my relationship had been restored with my ex, in Christ, and we gave our hearts to him fully. We experienced tons of blessings and soon got married. Now being a musician with no real skills and a mortgage I got into dry walling, sales work, and writing for artists on the side in hopes of "making it big" in publishing to be able to be comfortable enough financially to give all my time to worshiping the Lord.
Well, of course God wasn't going to allow me to "make my way into my calling in my own strength as that would have been disastrous in hindsight. So I spent a good 3 years doing odd jobs and trying to make ends meet. Finally one day while driving in a car with my friend I quite loudly cried out to the Lord, "I've had it Lord! Everything I try to do fails! I can't make a way into ministry, nothing is working! If you want me to be in ministry, then You're going to have to do it! I give up!" The next day, an old pastor friend, who married my wife and I, called and invited me to lunch. He went on to tell me that the Lord had put me on his heart about 8 months ago but he never really felt released to call me. He said that the Holy Spirit told him that the same day I cried out to the Lord (which he had no idea about) was the day the Lord told him it's time. God is awesome! About 3 weeks later, with no experience at all, I was in full time ministry and have been ever since. It's my dream job and it only came when I surrendered everything to God. I always heard those stories from other people, but it became my testimony when I laid everything down.
ATP: Does anyone you work with/associated with know of your past with the band?
Adam: Yeah, although they usually don’t notice until someone tells them, or they hear me sing in church and go “I feel like I’ve heard your voice somewhere before.” That, and it’s almost traditional that at least 10 or so people will discover/rediscover our dance version of "Feliz Navidad" and bust up laughing at our music video. I think I probably get more emails from people who discover I’m in ministry and have something encouraging to relate. It’s really a cool connect.
ATP: When was the last time you were in touch with Home Grown?
Adam: Actually, just last week I pastored the 10 year wedding anniversary of our old drummer/guitarist Justin Poyser and his wife. It was pretty awesome. They asked me last minute and I was of course stoked. We had a nice dinner together afterwards and just caught up on life. He and his wife are doing great by the way.
ATP: When did you last receive a royalty check from Drive-Thru Records?
Adam: Don’t think I’ve ever seen once from them honestly.
ATP: Are you completely disconnected from the genre of music you used to be associated with?
Adam: Na, pop-punk will always have some sort of grip on me. The music I write nowadays still has a punky aggression to it, just with more MIDI and synth production involved. Synth pads, electronic percussion, strings, orchestral arrangements to thicken up the sound etc. However I’m still a sucker for a catchy guitar rhythm lead and a good hooky chorus, and some nice harmonies. That will never change. As a shameful plug, you can hear one of our simpler rock tunes at www.facebook.com/nightlifeworship.
ATP: Will there ever be a Home Grown reunion show?
Adam: There was talk of it a long while back, but doubtful.
ATP: For anyone who is just discovering Home Grown for the first time, is anything you would like to say to them?
Adam: It was the soundtrack to some close friends growing up through our late teens/twenties together. You’ll hear songs that will make you laugh and songs that will hopefully help you through some dark times as they did for us personally as we wrote them. And lastly, you’ll hear songs you wish you wrote. Doo-doo-chee! Sorry, had to do it. We were the self-proclaimed Kings of Pop now weren’t we?