John Kilzer's life has been a fascinating journey. He grew up in the hometown of Carl Perkins Jackson, Tennessee and lettered in basketball at what was then Memphis State. After earning a degree in English, he taught Modern Lit and Composition at his alma mater.
Then, John Kilzer became a rock star. He was signed to Geffen Records in the 1980s, and was called "the next John Mellencamp." After scoring a hit with his first album, Memory in the Making, which included the Top Ten single, "Red Blue Jeans," Kilzer hit the road to open for The Moody Blues and Little Feat. He's written songs for Rosanne Cash, Trace Adkins, Jimmy Davis and Dobie Gray. His music was featured on the hit '90's TV show, Melrose Place.
Living in the world of rock and roll presents its share of excess, and Kilzer realized that there was a down-side to the fame and gold records. After a few alcohol-related accidents and a few stints in jail, John Kilzer realized he needed a change; for him that meant entering a recovery program and enrolling in The Memphis Theological Seminary.
These days he's The Reverend Doctor John Kilzer, an associate minister at St. John's United Methodist Church. Each Friday night he leads "The Way" recovery worship service, a life-affirming spiritual experience which features, what else, great music. Some of the music from those services was recorded and is featured on Kilzer's latest CD, The Way: Live, which features performances from a stellar roster of Memphis talent, including Steve Selvidge, Jim Spake, Scott Thompson, Jim Duckworth, Rick Steff, Richard Ford and Ryan Peel.
This Friday, August 3 at 6pm, you can join John Kilzer and his musical collaborators for a CD Release Party and Recovery Celebration at The Way, 1207 Peabody Avenue in Midtown Memphis.
Kilzer dropped by our studios to talk about his life's journey, and his new CD, The Way: Live.