If there ever was a defining moment in a band’s history, for Bride, it would be this one. Snakes in the Playground was Bride's fifth and most successful album. Rarely did albums grace the Christian music scene that were welcomed with as much fanfare as this one. For Christian rock fans worldwide, this album was our Abbey Road, our Hotel California, our Back in Black and our Appetite for Destruction. It was also our defining moment as much as it was the band’s. Our rock was finally as great as theirs. Maybe it was Bride's relentless touring and international attention. Maybe it was their four previous albums that brought them to this moment. Whatever the reason, we were blown away the second we heard "Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart today," followed immediately by a bell tolling and a siren. It took exactly 49 seconds to realize this was going to be something very special; and special it was. Bride won the 1993 DOVE AWARD™ for HARD MUSIC SONG OF THE YEAR for "Rattlesnake," as well as the 1994 DOVE AWARD™ for HARD MUSIC SONG OF THE YEAR for "Psychedelic Super Jesus." Snakes in the Playground also solidified its lasting impact landing at #45 in Heaven’s Metal’ magazine's list of the Top 100 Christian Rock Albums of all time.
If you have never owned this album and this is the first time you are seeing/hearing it, you are in for one of the defining moments of your life. I promise you, it's that good. For those of us that have owned it on cassette or CD it's going to be a special moment listening to this on vinyl for the very first time. It's hard to believe that this will be the first opportunity to spin this. A moment for the ages.
Snakes in the Playground would be the breakthrough CD of our career. This would produce more touring, more press and even two Dove Awards for best song. But it was no easy chore achieving such accomplishments.
SESAC had now esteemed us with another award for outstanding achievement in Christian music. Seeing that we were their only Christian metal act, we felt that being recognized as a legitimate band was important. Now more than ever did I understand the importance of Bride as a band and as a ministry. I could finally see how God had been with us through all the good times and bad times, and that he had much greater things in store for us.
I felt that our next record had to really excel above and beyond anything that we had previously done. It was important to outdo ourselves, or fall into the pit with many of the other stale bands. We did a lot of work in the studio fine tuning possible songs even before a producer was decided upon. We tried to write more from the heart. Doing a more live sounding record was the key. Our energy from the live shows had to somehow come through on this record. We brought it a Producer from New Jersey named Plinky. Plinky worked crazily hard for this album.
The "Snakes" album was done on long hours into the night and Plinky's oil-like coffee. Plinky was lots of fun in the studio and had a great ear. Jerry and Plinky butted heads a few times about triggering the drums, but they seemed to work things out. Plinky needed lessons in the art of coffee brewing, and his blackened chicken dinners were a gourmet treat, though we had to eat the meals outside due to the entire upstairs filling with smoke. We had every door and window open and fans blowing on high to clear the heavy fog that rose from the skillet.
We brought in a few special guests for the album. Peter and John from the Newsboys, Rik Florean from White Heart for back up vocals, Greg Martin from the Kentucky Headhunters, Rick Elias, and Derek Jan from Novella for some solo guitar spots. The album was coming together very well, and Plinky had already convinced us through his knowledge of the studio that we would have a project of which we could be proud.
Snakes was released with overwhelming praise and acceptance. I was pleased, but had to question if maybe we had compromised our songs in order to gain such credibility from those who despised us just a couple of years earlier.