“Sons of Thunder” is a progressive contemporary Christian band based out of Williamson, West Virginia. The band members are: Joe Lycan who is a geologist with a degree from Marshall University. Joe provides lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar and also plays the trumpet. Daniel Lycan, Joe’s son, is currently a junior at Belfry High School. Daniel plays both lead and rhythm guitar with the band. (Daniel, now 16, was only 15-years-old when the album was recorded.) Charley McCoy, a Morehead State University alumni, works in the banking industry as a branch manager. Charley plays bass guitar and sings backup vocals. Mike Maynard, a Belfry High grad, is the band’s drummer and also adds backup vocals. He is a heavy equipment operator in addition to being a phenomenal drummer.
To get a feel for what the band is all about, read the following article by Dave Kibler from the April 2009 edition of Music Entertainment Magazine.
“We want to communicate to the kids that it’s the best decision you’ll ever make, and it’s the best buzz you’ll ever have.” - Joe Lycan
I was on the phone with frontman Joe Lycan of a new band called Sons of Thunder. I called him to talk about his band’s soon-to-be-released album, but all he wanted to talk about was his relationship with Christ. What a breath of fresh air it is to see an artist more consumed with Christ than with his own success. However, many wonderful Christian artists, while very strong in their walk with Christ, are not good musicians. I was dreading that possibility, because this guy was so on fire for God and I really was hoping that his band was as strong musically as they were spiritually.
“When did you guts get together?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, “God told me the plan about fifteen years ago, but we actually didn’t get together until about two years ago.”
“Why the 13-year wait?” I asked.
“Our lead guitarist wasn’t born yet. I had to grow him up,” he laughed. He explained to me that his son, Daniel Lycan, was the lead guitarist along with bassist Charley McCoy and drummer Mike Maynard.
Right, I mused. A band of fully grown men with a 15-year-old guitarist. This was sounding pretty bad.
He continued to say, “We are tired of what we feel Christian music has become; more about the headline act than about God. The true headline act is right now sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and His name is Jesus Christ. We are about renewal, restoration, and bringing people to Christ. That’s it. We just want to see Christ lifted up, and when He is lifted up, He will draw all people to Himself.” Straight out of the Bible: John 12:32, to be exact. I liked that.
“Fantastic,”, I said, and then, “Where can I listen to you guys?” He sent me to a website containing the as-of-yet unmastered tracks from the studio, told me to listen and tell him what I thought, and then we said goodbye. I clicked on the links and began to listen. Now, remember that I am a music critic. I’ve been a musician all my life and am very picky with very high standards of musicianship, and I don’t throw out compliments very often.
What I heard not only impressed me; it astounded me. One of my laments since the death of the hair bands of the late 80’s has been the lack of guitar players that can actually play a solo-not just a solo, a SMOKING solo, and not just drop-D power chords. Joe and Daniel Lycan of Sons of Thunder know how to play the guitar. The tone and feel of the guitar work on one of my favorite albums: Van Halen’s first album, released in 1978. To say Sons of Thunder know their stuff is an understatement. I was not expecting what I heard. As I listened, I thought to myself, “Here is a band that is good enough to blow the doors off any bar or nightclub, and all they want to do is see Christ lifted up.
I heard Skynyrd’s influence in the song, “Come on Home,” with great bass runs by Charley McCoy. I heard some of the Steve Vai, Whitesnake era in the church busting song, “Status Quo,” and I heard Van Halen influences in the songs, “Don’t Lose Your Dream,” and the album’s title song, “White Horse Coming.”
More important than the excellent musicianship was the message behind it. I heard no apologies, nothing watered-down, no punches pulled, no wondering about offending anyone, just the straight-up, cut-through-the-garbage message of Christ, loud and clear in each song. I listened to five songs and then called Joe back.
“Hello?” he answered.
“One question,” I said. “How old did you say your son was?”
“He’s fifteen,” he said simply.
“Let me get this straight,” I said. “Your son is fifteen and can play like that? You’re serious, now you’re not messing with me on this, are you?”
“No”, he said. “He’s very good.”
“The whole band’s good,” I said. “No, wait a minute. They’re not good – they are fantastic. In three years of writing for this magazine, I’ve never come across a band that can play like you all. I’m impressed.”
He simply said thank you and that it was a blessing talking to me. Let me tell you folks – there is something different about this band. The combination of musical talent and humility that I’ve encountered is a rare thing indeed, and so very refreshing to see. I can’t wait to see these guys live. Daniel, Joe, Charley, and Mike, I wish you the best. And for those of you in the towns of Morehead, Grayson, Paintsville, Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Ashland, and Maysville (KY), there is an amazing band that is looking for venues to play in. Look for their new album, “White Horse Coming,” in early May. Also, visit their MySpace page at www.myspace.com/sonsofthunderrocks and check these guys out.
I’ll see all of you at the next Sons of Thunder concert.
- David Kibler is the lead minister at the Catalyst Christian Church in Nicholasville, KY www.CatalystChristian.net
Nestled in the heart of Appalachia, Sons of Thunder's mission is: To deliver the message of salvation through grace with redemption, renewal and restoration by sharing our music, testimonies and fellowship that souls be won to the Kingdom of Christ Jesus, Lord and Master of all.