Planning Yesterday has a heart for ministry. More than just a great show, they wish to leave viewers with an experience - to place a taste in their mouths that will leave them longing for the fullness of God. "We just want people to taste God and see that He is good. People now days try so many things that from the start only promise emptiness...drugs, premarital sex, bad Chinese food...we just want to offer them something that promises a hope and a future...only good things - and that's a relationship with Jesus Christ," says Corey Harmon.
What is unique about Planning Yesterday's sound?
Corey Harmon - Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar: Our sound it unique because we don't try to make a sound. If you'll look at our influences, which is a mile long, you will see we love music - period. We don't stick to one type of band. We don't write for a special niche or to impress someone. We're just trying to tell people who we are through our music.
David Conner - Lead/Rhythm Guitar: It's understood between us that we all just love music and we get together and jam and if a song comes out of that, we play that song.
Kyle Yates - Bass/BGV: Our sound is very guitar oriented and over the years that's been lost by a lot of bands. One of our mottos is that we're bringing back the guitar solo. And we've got two guitar maestros here that will melt your face right off your skull.
What does "face melting" mean to you?
David: It catches your attention. It leaves a mark on you. It influences you.
Corey: The cool thing about David's solo is that it's directive for every song. David will take a piece home with him and let the song tell him what the solo is. He'll pull the influence from the song and let the solo speak about what the song is trying to convey. People say that David can tell you a whole story just by playing a solo. And it's not always flashy. One note can say a thousand of them.
How long has Planning Yesterday been together?
Corey: Collectively, three years. David and I have been playing together six years. We met a long time ago in San Angelo and made a pact that we would play together whether anyone stayed or not. So we're kinda married. (Laughter)
David and Corey found themselves playing more and more in the Metroplex and decided they could pay rent with what they were spending on gas. Corey took a position as a youth pastor where Kyle was a youth leader. Kyle approached Corey about starting a rock band. Corey told him if he was serious to be at his house the next Thursday night. Cody Renfro came on as drummer after meeting the other three at a birthday party. When he expressed interest in being their drummer Corey said, "if you are serious, be at my house next Thursday night." Ticho Medrano, Rhythm/Lead Guitar, had played with the band on and off and was living in Houston. He didn't feel he could make a full-time commitment. After praying about it a lot he felt God was telling him it was time to use his talent for more than just playing at home. As a certified luthier, he was willing to join the band as the guitar technician if they didn't feel they could use him as a guitarist. The group greatly appreciates having his expertise and servant's heart.
Why do you work as a band?
Corey: It's easier that way. (Laughter) I think it's because we understand there are positions in a band. Cody is not a drummer. He's the drummer. We understand there are areas that only we can fill. Kyle calls me the wordsmith, and I understand that's my area, but I'm not about to tell David how to play a solo. We understand the areas we are gifted in and we know we are going to bring our best to the table. We take responsibility for our department.
Cody: And we genuinely love each other.
Corey: We're a family. We're there for each other. We have Bible studies together during our practices. Sometimes our music comes second.
Planning Yesterday has been described as having great communication with one another. "They know their faults, they are accountable to one another, and it brings them together like brothers" says fan and the drummer's mother, Joyce Renfro. "When they're playing they don't come across as individuals, but the Spirit comes through them and that is what blesses the audience."
Kyle: We all firmly believe that God has a special purpose for this band. All five of us have our personal experience with God which has made us what we are now and drawn us together to accomplish this mission that God set forth long ago before we were even around.
Corey: Our name comes from Ephesians 2:10 which states that we have been created by God and were given a purpose long before we ever existed, so we should plan on the things God has already set out for us.
What moves you as a band?
Corey: The results of ministry is what moves us. Even in our song writing, collectively, it's all about what is this song going to do to someone's life, how is it going to change them. Every goal of every concert is the cross. How are we going to write a rock song that is going to cause someone to turn to Jesus? A lot of the things we write are deep enough for Christians who have been Christians for a long time to be edified, but they're solid things that will communicate to anybody.
Kyle: We would trade the applause of a thousand people to see one kid accept Jesus at one of our shows. If we play before five people and one turns to Jesus then that is better than playing Madison Square Garden.
Is there an organization you support?
Corey: Any cancer society, any movements to advance cancer research. (Corey is a cancer survivor.) We support To Write Love on Her Arms, because with me being a youth pastor our focus is on this generation who, unfortunately, in order to get love or feel love tend to hurt themselves. They tend to do things that are way out of the realm of normal behavior. Somebody has to get out there and tell them that they love them, that Jesus loves them, and give them something real, because all they're looking for is something real. If you are able to offer them that taste of God, if they're willing to try cutting themselves to feel better, why not try God who promises only good things?
What are your goals for this year?
Corey: The main goal for this year would be that we step out and trust God in more of a full-time sense in providing for us financally and spiritually in order to take this ministry to the next level to reach more people. We played a lot of dates last year and this year we are trying to focus on important dates. We would rather play six important dates than sporadically tour every weekend. We want to pull the focus in on where God wants us and then just trust Him to make that happen.
David: Another one is to branch out a little bit more. Why stay here in Texas? Why stay here in the States? Why can't we go to another country? We want to take this ministry and really just get out there and allow God to work, not just in our hometown, but maybe in the next country and beyond that.
Kyle: An 18 passenger van wouldn't be bad either. (Laughter)
David: Ticho made a good point earlier. There's always room for improvement. The day you think you're too good or you know it all or you can't learn any more or you're better than everyone else, then you might as well quit. No matter how good you are, there is always someone better.
What venue would you really like to play in?
Cody: Any place we can use the restroom and feel clean. (Laughter)
Corey: Cornerstone would be awesome.
David: I've always wanted to play Celebrate Freedom.
Ticho: Cowboy Stadium. I could walk there from my house.
When an audience leaves...
Corey: We don't so much care about that night as we do the next day. Our goal when it's all said and done is we want to leave them with a personal experience with God so when they wake up in the morning it's still real. Our goal is to give people a great show, but the next morning if they don't wake up, if they still don't have that encounter with God then everything we did was pointless. We want them to leave with a taste of God, with a real encounter with Him.
Soon the group will be heading to H.E.B Camp near Leakey, Texas, where they will lead worship for a youth group from San Angelo. "Each year we get to see them grow spiritually, numbers, everything," states Corey. "Every year it is the most amazing point of this band's life. I go there to give, pour out, and lead. Every year I leave recharged. God gives us new vision in this little hole in the ground."
Planning Yesterday is in the process of writing a new album and will be going into the studio soon to record tracks. This album will be produced by them and Clarke Wilcox with the drop date scheduled for Christmas 2010.
On April 9th, Planning Yesterday will be performing at Just Off Main in Grapevine.