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Published: Saturday, 12/10/2005

Pawn s next move includes2 songs about rights rift

BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Pawn, from left: Kyle Kleeberger, Tim Strausbaugh, Travis Montgomery, Mark Montgomery, and Rob Golden. Pawn, from left: Kyle Kleeberger, Tim Strausbaugh, Travis Montgomery, Mark Montgomery, and Rob Golden.
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Christian rock band Pawn, scheduled to play two local concerts this weekend, is poised to release a new disc that includes songs addressing the fallout over its freedom-of-speech lawsuit against Rossford schools.

This CD exposes more of who we are and how we felt, especially over the past year concerning the controversy that we ve been involved in, band member Travis Montgomery said this week.

The group, represented by an national religious-rights organization, the Rutherford Institute, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Toledo in February after its scheduled anti-drug concert at Rossford High was canceled by the district superintendent, Luci Gernot. She said she feared possible lawsuits against the schools for promoting religion in a public school.

Mr. Montgomery said that two songs on the new album, Outcast Redemption, deal with the impact of the lawsuit on Pawn s members. In addition to Travis Montgomery on vocals, the lineup consists of his brother, Mark Montgomery, and Tim Strausbaugh on guitars, Kyle Kleeberger on drums, and Rob Golden on bass.

Church or Man is about how being associated with a church can cause someone to lose their right to speak in public, Travis Montgomery said.

The chorus is, Do I look like a church or a man? Hopefully people will understand that individuals have rights to be able to speak their individual viewpoint in the public forum, Mr. Montgomery said.

The second song that reflects how the lawsuit has affected the band is Get Back, which Mr. Montgomery described as a response to criticism from Christians for filing a lawsuit.

We don t need this pessimism and negativity that the church is throwing at us, he said. What we need is support. So either give us some support or get back.

The group members feel betrayed by Christians who have attacked them for trying to protect their First Amendment rights. The four band members who filed the suit are seeking $1 per person, because financial compensation is required for filing, and want Rossford to pay their attorneys fees.

The rock-rap band, formed in 1998, recorded the new disc at Uptown Studios in Chicago and was hoping to sign with a major label. But with the lawsuit looming over their heads, and possibly going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, record executives may have been scared off, Mr. Montgomery said.

I think the labels are waiting to see what happens with the lawsuit. The last thing they want is to pick up a band that has a lawsuit pending, he said.

The new disc should be ready for release in January or February. In the meantime, Pawn is playing the new material in concert, including one at 8 tonight in All Saints Catholic Church, 628 Lime City Rd., Rossford, with admission priced at $5, and 7 p.m. tomorrow at Timberlake Community Church, 1007 South McCord Rd., Holland, where tickets are $8. More information on Pawn is available online at www.pawnband.com.

David Yonke



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