December 5, 2007

I interviewed my friend, Jeremy Ritch off hxcboards. He is a pastor in PA that leads a really interesting life. Hopefully you enjoy!

1. Tell me about your family, life and the area you live in
That is a big questionI was born in 1975 in Cleveland Ohio, I have two brothers. We lived in Richfield OH until my father and mother divorced when I was 7. After my mom remarried we moved to Cleveland where I would live until I was 20. I grew up in a rough neighborhood and was involved in many extra curricular activities that got me in trouble. I played in bands and was active in the punk & hardcore scenes. I used a lot of drugs and drank a ton of booze, and eventually sold drugs. I lost a lot of friends and by 18 I was burnt out. After i got clean I enrolled at the U of Toledo and had a rough year there. I was kicked out of a Campus Ministry for being a bad influence. I eventually transferred to Eastern university in St Davids PA where i would stay a year and a half before being kicked out. During my time at Eastern I worked with the simple way community and started a band called Stag Thicket. I also drank myself silly. Once I was free of school I lived in various forms of housing around Philadelphia. In 1999 I joined a band called Double Down that was pretty awful psychobilly. Then after the band dissolved and became Mercury Radio Theater I started a booking management company with a friend. We had a good roster and it lasted a few years before I left to pursue ministry. I met my future wife in 2000 and started running Revolution Philly. I booked shows,did bibles studies, took kids to rehab and all kinds of fun stuff. In 2002 I was married and moved to Atlanta where I worked for Revolution and booked a lot of shows. I left Revolution in 2003 to start an ill fated Recording label. In 05 I started a media company called Floating Boy Media in Philly that does a lot of live Hardcore videos. In 05 I moved back to Ohio for 6 months before taking a job with Hope For The Rejected as a pastoring Harrisburg PA. I stayed with them until fall of 06 when I started One Church Ministries. That is where I am now.
very cool.

2. What is your vision for one church?
Right now we are meeting once a week for bible study. My vision is to get a store front or building to use as a community art space/performance space. There is a guy who is considering partnering with me to start a coffee house. I would like to not only be a ministry to hurting Christians and non Christians alike but also provide a place in Harrisburg for people to create art and express themselves through music. this will not be some cheesy Christian thing either. The art and music will be uncensored and not based on faith at all. The bible studies and other outreach will contain the faith aspects.

3. What are your thoughts on modern day church life, and how do you think it has gotten off track from what the original church looked like?
Well I think modern American church culture is nothing like Christ had spoke about. It has become a politically charged, materialistic and consumer based culture. The focus is mainly on building bigger and more high tech churches. Attracting as many people as possible to “grow” the church body. There is little emphasis on the poor, the needy and on just loving people. I am not sure how the early church was but i can imagine it was not like this. The politics are outrageous. We have Church leaders who endorse and even campaign for political figures. There is so much legalism as well in many churches that has driven thousands to agnostism, atheism and just a state of confusion. I hope that the church will return to a message of compassion, love and grace before it just destroys itself through infighting, denominational wars and just a lack of community. There are so many hurting people in the world but why should they follow a faith that is represented by a bunch of assholes with power complexes. It is sad that my friends who are gay, divorced, ex addicts, tattooed, ex cons, or just don’t fit the mold who actually want to be Christians but are to angry or intimidated by it.

very true, seems like we have built up this “industrial strength Christianity” that is not open to question or thought, just the blind leading the blind. ok, I don’t want to just harp on Christianity.

4. You were in a wide array of bands, as well as the business side of music. What do you think about the future of the music industry, are you hopeful? Do you think it’s getting washed out?Well I have always played in punk & Hardcore bands up until my latest countryish thing. So I have always had a more DIY approach. I think the music industry is in real trouble from a corporate stand point. The companies are now run by business people not music people. They are producing records that sell and are cookie cutter types. Jobs are few and last only a few years so many talented people don’t want to risk it. The hope I see is in the DIY movement which has moved from 4-track recordings and paper zines to quality MP3 recordings and internet promotion. I have worked with many bands and seen the mistakes that were made by signing their lives to a label it almost always ends in disaster. The ones that make it and do well tend to do things their own way. by releasing their own music and keeping the creativity going.It should be about more than money
agreed. 5. Hxcboards has a majority of late teens, early 20 something’s. As someone who is a bit older, do you have any advice for them?
hmmmmm, support local bands and stop comparing everything to bands from 15-20 years ago. I satrted going to shows in 1989ish and I have seen a lot of these “legendary” bands. The thing is they weren’t anything back then but another band coming through. They stick out now because of what they did or what the represented. There are good bands still out there doing fantastic music. The problem is kids are fixated on being scholars of hardcore, having to download every band that ever existed to show they are the most HXC of them all. It is stupid. The bands now are only different because they weren’t the first to do it. Hardcore is a young music form, it is only around 30 years old. There is more that can be done but people have to stay creative and stop living in the past. Be influenced by your roots but don’t just copy cat and wish you were born 20 years earlier. love what ya got now because time flies. I would love to see more bands saying something, anything, just speak your mind and make people listen. My main complaint now adays is no one is saying anything meaningful in Hardcore

6. what are some modern bands that you think are doing something unique/impactful?
hmmm I haven’t stayed up on things too much as far as hardcore. There is not many political or even socially conscience bands that come to mind. I mean guys like Paint it Black always have something to say. There is a band around here called Steel Nation who are not that impactful but they are intelligent. I mean I really haven’t seen many bands that are really challenging kids. I am also not as active as I once was. I just think there is a mentality now of start a band, record, tour and get signed. That is not what hardcore used to be about.

ok, I’m going to switch gears again. 7. I know you live a fairly simple life as far as money/lifestyle goes, how do you think one makes that transition, and what are the obstacles you face?
Well first you have to look realistically at your situation. Me and my wife make far less then most people do, because we work in the non profit sector. Our combined income is under 25k but we have everything we need. We budget our money, we do not use credit cards and we do not buy what we don’t need. Both of us grew up poor and were used to not having the latest and greatest stuff so that helps. I mean you have to look at what you need before you buy what you want. Food, shelter and all that come first. I have never had money and my family growing up was poor. Now my mom and step dad have some money but it is because my step father worked his way there. He started as a low paid locksmith and after 15 years he bought the company from his boss who was retiring. Now he has owned it for 10 years and is doing ok. Not rich but they are able to finally have some things they never could. I guess it all comes down to what are your needs and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to live. I mean a lot of people I know make more than me by a lot but are in debt, struggling and just can’t get by. It boiled down to them spending more than they make. They don’t need the stuff they bought they simply wanted it and it is costing them.

8. I recently read an article about a couple who have 7 kids and make a total of 35k per year. Are you and your wife planning on having kids, how would this effect your current lifestyle?

We are not planning on having kids. Partly because of financial reasons. I grew up poor and in my neighborhood i saw so many lives ruined because of money. I saw so many friends get people pregnant and it ruined those kids. They grew up with nothing because there parents just kept having babies and not taking care of them. I have seen people lose homes because they have too many children. The thing that pisses me off about this is when these pro lifes get all up in arms about abortions and yet what are they doing to help. They act like girls are just lining up to get em, but where I grew up they were having babies not killing em. If some of these pro life people would start adopting these kids and not reproducing themselves like rabbits maybe we could help this problem. I mean a big part of pro life beliefs is to not use birth control and let what happens happen. that is pretty jacked up thinking.

We won’t get into the abortion discussion, because I only have 2 questions left, but. 9. As far as over-population crisis goes, what do you think are the causes of this, and what do you think is a cure?
I think it is caused by many things. Poverty, Religious views, Greed, Lack of education, and a disregard for responsibility. The cure? I have no idea. wrapped that shit up!

haha!Ok, I have really enjoyed this interview, thanks again, here’s my last question. 10. You are on an island by yourself, “cast away” style. You can only take 5 things with you, what do you bring and why?
1. flint – start a fire
2. my wife -I needsomeone to talk to
3. rope – ya always need rope
4. A hoodie- it can get cold
5. my bible – it is a good book and i haven’tquite understood it all yet
my wife should be #1
haha, i won’t tell her.: good interview man. thanks!
you are welcome



  1. Interviews are fun. Plus you found a great vicitm.

  2. Good interview.
    It’s fascinating to me how people can find the church/Christianity/religion to blame for everything in the world.

  3. I don’t really think Jeremy blames everything on Christianity. I think I asked him pointed questions about his faith and he answered. Whatevs.

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