Raymond father and son front Christian rock band
RAYMOND - If someone had asked Mike Tarmy 10 years ago what his life would look like now, he probably would not have said he expected to sign a record contract or that he would be performing Christian rock music with his son.
A lifelong music lover, Tarmy played guitar in various bands in the 1980s, but after his children were born, in 1986 and 1989, he put down the guitar and focused on his duties as a dad.
Then, about seven years ago, he began attending NorthRidge Church in Derry with his second wife and, he said, something just "clicked."
Tarmy came home from church one day, wrote a song he called "Blood of Christ" and invited his son Jordan, 24, over to sing it.
"We had never done anything (musically) together before this," Mike Tarmy said. "(Jordan) saw the title and wasn't really too thrilled."
Nevertheless, Jordan Tarmy sang the song, and it sounded good - so good that his father sent the recording to a bunch of recording companies.
Four days later, Mike got a call from Tate Music Group.
He told the company he had eight songs ready to go (despite only having one), signed a contract and got to work.
Cryin' Shame's first album is scheduled for release on April 23.
Tarmy said if it were not for a conversation with Pastor Mike Mills of Derry's NorthRidge Church seven years ago, his dream might not have been realized.
At the time, Tarmy was a jack-of-all-trades who worked repairing and cleaning boilers while running his own video-recording business. He was assigned a boiler job at Mills' home, and the two got to talking about God, religion and the Bible, all subjects that had fascinated Tarmy since he was a 9-year-old boy reading "Revelations." Mills asked Tarmy if he would film a session at NorthRidge Church, and the rest, as they say, is history.
"I ended up going and filming a session for (Mills) at the church, and I was going to get paid for it at the end of the session," Tarmy said, "and I was just so intrigued I didn't charge him."
Raised in the Catholic faith, Tarmy said he always had many questions about God, church and religion.
The church music to which he was accustomed didn't sound like rock and roll, but it did at NorthRidge.
"I'm thinking Christian music is 'Kumbaya,' and I'm hearing guitars and metal and drums and saying, 'What is this?' So it brought out my Aerosmith and Van Halen, and I said, 'I can do this'," Tarmy recalled.
Since the father-son duo recorded that first song together, Mike Tarmy said, Jordan has joined him at church faithfully each Sunday.
It may be Tarmy's greatest gift. For three years while Jordan was an adolescent, the two did not speak.
"Now we're tighter than ever," the elder Tarmy said.
The band also has a drummer, Bill Melanson, with whom they performed their first gig outside of church recently at Joker's in Manchester to a packed house.
After their album is released, Cryin' Shame will do a bit of promotional work in the area, including CD signings and a bit of playing at the Be A Blessing Christian Bookstore in Seabrook on April 27 from 1-3 p.m.
The name of the album is "Too Late." Tarmy said the message is that there is a hell, and there is a heaven, but if one sits back and listens to the stories of Jesus and the Bible, one can be saved.
"It might sound like I'm a real fanatical Christian; I'm really not. I'm more down to earth, but at the same time, I would like someone to say, 'That could change my life ... This could be different for me,'" Tarmy said. "I was a rough-looking guy at some point, and here I am doing Christian rock."
Another song on the album, titled "Hell," talks about someone living a hard life but finding a way out. That one, Tarmy said, is at least partly autobiographical.
"For me, (church) changed my life," he said.