I had to put in a plug for this interview because it’s just too darn cute. Michael Booth is interviewed by some of his youngest fans, amidst much hilarity and profound insight! The Garms family promises to be a valuable addition to southerngospelblog.com. Their contributions have already been highlights. This interview is probably their best so far. Be sure to watch the whole thing. [Update: The video has been removed from Youtube, so I have removed the embed. However, it can be viewed in high quality at the link above or at the Garms family's blog.] Here is a transcript:
Jayme: We are at Lakewood Temple, Mainwood, Minnesota.
Sam: Interviewing Mr. Michael Booth of the Booth Brothers.
Caleb: Hey Mr. Booth [couldn't quite make out the rest of what Caleb said here.]
Michael: I’m happy to be interviewed. Thank you. Thank you. [Channels Elvis.] Thankuvermuch.
Caleb: All right. All three of us have questions for you.
Michael: All right!
Caleb: First: What is your favorite song you’ve ever sung on stage?
Michael: What is my favorite song I’ve ever sung on stage? Uh, believe it or not, probably “His Grace is Sufficient.” Probably “His Grace is Sufficient” is my favorite song, because I think it covers…I think it covers everybody’s need at the same time.
Caleb: Oh thank you.
Michael: You’re welcome. You’re welcome.
Jayme: What was it like singing on the NQC stage for the first time?
Michael: It, it was a lot of fun but it was, I learned that it was hard to sing if you can’t breathe. Because I was so nervous and overwhelmed. I’m thinking, “Wow this is the same stage that George Younce was on and the Happy Goodmans and the Kingsmen and all that, so I was very much overwhelmed. But I’ll say it went quick because our first couple years at the quartet convention we had eleven minutes to sing. And also we lost Horizon Group three times. That’s the limit. [Laughter]
Sam: Mr. Booth.
Sam: How do you prepare yourself for a concert spiritually and mentally?
Michael: How do I prepare myself spiritually and mentally for a concert? I was asked this last night by an evangelist. It’s, the best way to answer is it’s a lifestyle. It’s not something you do one day or just a few minutes before you go on stage and sing. It’s a lifestyle. And honestly a gospel singer’s lifestyle should be no different than any other Christian’s lifestyle. So basically my job is not to grieve the Holy Spirit so that he can work through me when we’re singing. And I do a lot of reading. Read the Bible, read some other writers: John Piper, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, you know on and on and on, you know, lot of reading. And I watch, believe it or not I watch a lot of sermons on Youtube. I think that’s a very, very valuable thing if a person can handle going on there. That helps me a lot.
Sam: All right. Interesting!
Caleb: Here’s another question. You’ve recently become very involved as a preacher. And you’ve been excelling at presenting a clear gospel message. This has been greatly appreciated by our family and many others. Now tell us, who has influenced you most in this area?
Michael: Thank you. Who influenced me the most? That’s a huge question…um, how much tape you got there?
Dad: Plenty. [Laughter]
Michael: Long story short is a friend of mine of the family’s, his name is Darrel Toney, from the Toney family, Toney Brothers, he you know in a very loving, compassionate way gave me a good godly rebuke, if you will, of my, what he recognized as my ignorance of the Scripture. Because he could tell one night I might make a point but next night I wouldn’t. And it was hit and miss and very inconsistent on the platform. So when I realized and I was convicted over that, it didn’t make me angry, it didn’t hurt, and I realized I had to do something about it. So I started studying, studying the Scripture, and I started with the gospels. Well one day I typed in “preacher,” and somehow on Youtube it came up with a guy by the name of Paul Washer and a sermon called “The Shocking Message” came up. And it stunned me, absolutely stunned me. And it’s the same message now that I present of making sure that our salvation is in faith in Christ and not in a prayer that we prayed, basically. And so you know there’s confession and repentance, and all those things are involved, but it’s not just walking in and out. So a lot of his preaching influenced me, and then as I studied, it’s an amazing thing how the Spirit brings back words that I heard from former messages from my former pastor Ledoux Strong, out of Brandon Fellowship Baptist Church, and David Rakes from First Baptist Temple, Parrish, Florida, and on and on and on, Gene Sorenson, and my current pastor Mike Stalnaker. So when you read the word and you’ve heard the word, the Spirit puts it together and just seals it in your mind. So that’s kind of how all that came about. So now we just feel… [camera shifts over to the kids, Michael moves in front of them] Now we just…over here. I’m right here. [Laughter] Sorry. Now we just feel it’s a great opportunity every night to take 10, literally 10 minutes and present a clear presentation of the gospel, ‘cuz we don’t know if everybody’s, everybody’s born again. And I think it’s, I’ve enjoyed doing that.
Caleb: Wow. I’ll take that to heart.
Michael: Thank you.
Jayme: You have been involved in the southern gospel music industry for over 20 years [Michael looks sad], traveled countless miles, met lots of people and visited many different places. Looking back, if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Michael: I know exactly what I would do differently: I would enjoy things more. Specifically when we were singing to 20 or 30 people. Because now I realize I’ve learned to enjoy myself by being fulfilled in being effective, and not because of the size of the audience. Let me say that again: Learn to be content. I wish I had been content and enjoyed singing to 30 people because I’m being effective for the kingdom, not because of the size of the crowd. Because I had a huge awakening, if you will, one time when we were with the Gaithers and I was sitting between Guy Penrod and Jake Hess, and there were 15,000 people, literally, out in front of me. And I thought, “This is it. This is the biggest Christian tour, biggest crowd I’m ever gonna sing to. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.” And it was one of the lowest points of my life, because I realized I had…I tried to find joy in being part of a big thing, not in part of a big message. So, I thank God for delivering me from that. So those of you who are singing to 20 and 30 people, you’re still representing the King of kings and Lord of lords. It doesn’t get any bigger than that. Nothing is bigger than you singing about Christ.
Sam: All right. When you sang here at Lakewood Temple last year, you mentioned from the stage that you have chosen not to watch television on the bus. This spoke volumes to our family, for we also do not watch TV. Would you explain how and why you came to this decision?
Michael: Did I say that?? [Laughter] What is critically important is what goes into our mind. And in our society today it’s very easy for one TV show to turn into two, to turn into three, to turn into six hours. And the next thing you know, you’ve got six hours of who knows what influencing your mind. What is most important is that even if you’re going to watch television, you’ve got to offset the junk that has gone in. Junk in, junk out. So good in, good out…I think a person’s gotta know when they’re caught up into something. And bottom line, if you find yourself caught up in something, you gotta try to break away from it. So that’s what I tried to do, is just break away from it. And rather than spend time watching TV, either listening to sermons, even playing games, giving your mind a break. Anyway, just fill in the blank, you say the rest.
Caleb: [Pulls question off the wall.] First off-the-wall question.
Michael: The first off-the-wall question.
Caleb: Here is mine. Just wanted to know what was your first impression of Scott Fowler? How did you meet?
Michael: Oh! My first impression of Scott Fowler was [looks down] “Well, he’s a little guy.” [Laughter.] “Thought he was bigger on stage.” No, honestly, Scott Fowler is one of my dearest friends. And I’ve always had a love for simple people [laughter]. I just, no, Scott’s one of my best friends. We go to Cracker Barrel all the time. I did find out this: When the check is put on the table, don’t go “I’ll get that,” because he’ll say, “Okay.” And then you end up paying for it. He don’t ever pay for nothing. Matter of fact, at quartet convention this year, he went all six days without buying lunch one time. Yeah. He manipulates people, he does. That’s what I think of Scott. [Laughter]
Jayme: Here’s the second off-the-wall question [goes and pulls it off...] Are there any questions you have never been asked but are dying to answer?
Michael: Wow. Yes, October 8th is my birthday. What would I like for a gift? [Laughter] You know what, just send a Visa gift card. That would be fine, and then I can just, you know, pray about it and get whatever I need at the time. That would be, that’s something I’ve never been asked. Anybody like to ask me? What would you like for your birthday? Visa gift card.
Michael: Your turn? [Hands mic to Sam.]
Sam: As for the third and final off-the-wall question…which is, what is the most unusual thing that has happened at a concert?
Michael: [Laughs] Um, one time I was singing and Scott Fowler was there. [Laughter] I’m kidding. Most unusual that’s ever happened at a concert… Well I don’t know how to des…no, I can’t, I can’t tell that one. [Laughter.] Um, wow, see there are a lot of things that have happened. I’m just trying to think which one I can put on the internet. I’m drawing a blank man, there’ve been…I remember one time the electricity went out. So we’re a track group and all the tracks are gone. So we do what we can and we start singing acapella. And an old guy, I’m guessing 80, 90, 400 years old, whatever it was, old guy…he stood up several rows back and he said, “That, that’s good singing right there! You don’t need all that RACKET!” That’s a true story, true story. That’s one thing that happened, and there have been a lot of things happened to me. Get back to me on that one and I’ll try to think of ‘em, bring ‘em to memory. Some of them I’ve sponged from my memory.
Li’l Adventurers Together: This is Sam, Jayme, and Caleb Garms. Reporting for southerngospelblog. Dot com. Bye!
Thanks kids for giving me some more great reminders of why I like Michael Booth so much. Keep the great interviews coming!