Wayne Hindson from The Big Breakfast caught up with Paul Colmon, founder of the Aussie Christian band Paul Colmon Trio and former Newsboys band member in a candid conversation about what he’s been up to for the past 10 years, how he ‘got over himself’ and realised God looks at us totally different to how we see ourselves!

Wayne: I think it’s 2012 the last time we saw you. What have you been up to?

Paul: Well I’ve been living in Tennessee the last 10 years but I’ve been performing in Europe. So I play about 70-80 shows there a year. 

Wayne: So I don’t want to offend you but you had some big hits early 2000 you know, that kind of period. My question is, do people still remember you, have they forgotten who Paul Colman Trio was, have they forgotten your solo stuff?

Paul: Why would I be offended by that?! I’ve had 8 years of therapy. I’m over myself! I don’t care. Every concert I do anywhere, I say, put your hands up if you’ve ever heard of me before and probably 60% have never heard of me. I look at a guy and say what’s your name and he’ll say so and so and I’ll say I’ve never heard of you either! But I always ask people and I just did a tour with a band called Unspoken and a band called Citizenway, two bands that I really like, and every night I ask that question.

Before therapy, being known and being popular was the most important thing for me in a lot of ways. Way more important than Jesus. It was! I mean I loved Jesus, but I felt like I dragged him around the parking lot behind a car with a fish sticker. There was a lot of ‘me’, there was a lot of self interests…

I started to understand my story in therapy and started to understand why I was doing that. When I was a kid I was bullied and beaten up everywhere I went so when I discovered I could play music, it was suddenly a way that I could say ‘well check this out then’. And the only time that people wanted more from me was when I was on stage so where do you think I wanted to be! 

Wayne: So tell us about your time with Newsboys. Paul: I joined that band not for a career move but for therapy. I got myself to a point where I realised that Jesus talks about your foundation being on the rock or the sand and I realise that a lot of my foundation was on the sand a lot of it was based on shame counteracting rejection. 

There was a lot of self-interest a lot of manipulating people rather than understanding it was God’s job to lead. So I began to say, ‘God I’m really jacked up. I need help.’ So at that point I disbanded the Trio and said ‘You guys can can keep going if you find someone called Paul Colman other wise it’s over’ and they said ‘Yeah see you later’. 

So when Peter asked me to join the Newsboys and asked me to play the guitar I said ‘yeah I can probably do that’ . So really I joined the band with a private jet to get away from myself, but I was just stage right, I was a backing vocal and a guitar player and I didn’t even say my last name. It was perfect for me cause suddenly all of the momentum I had caused through my ego just ran out of steam. Even though it looked like some big career move, I’m on stage with 1500 people per night so it was never an ego rush for me. It was almost like playing in a cover band because I didn’t write any of the songs until ‘Something Beautiful’ and I was just one of the guys.

Wayne: As you look back particularly around the PC3 stuff do you reflect upon it and think I wish I had of done this differently? 

Paul: I would have answered that very differently a couple of years ago. I would have talked about about regret, but he’s what I’ve realised. If you’re going to believe in God’s grace and kindness, then you have to accept that even when you didn’t think you were doing this or this, he still loves you, he still used you, you were never perfect, you were on your way. So the way we look at ourselves is very different to the way he looks at us.

I mean I look back and think, ‘Oh Paul, you narcissistic beast. You self absorbed, arrogant, manipulative, shame filled, toxic, hating…’ I can go down that track but then I look at characters in the Bible and you go you know, none of us have got it together. David was a murderer and an adulterer, I haven’t done those things, but we’re all that and if we look back and beat ourselves up, what we’re doing is we are kind of bruising this idea of God’s grace. The thing is, God is still saying ‘Hey Paul, I love you. Yeah you jacked up, but we’re working on that.’ So it’s almost arrogant to look back and criticize yourself because God’s going, ‘Excuse me, I love that person 12 years ago and even though he had a lot to learn, I still love him just as much as I love him now.’ I have a song on my latest record called ‘When I Look Back’ that’s all about that. Mia Fieldes helped me write it, she’s a genius, but the chorus says ‘when I look back, help me see your hand and love’. It’s that exact same thing. I had to write this song as a mantra to help myself understand that God looks at you totally differently than how you look at yourself, thank goodness actually.

Paul thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us on the Artist Spotlight. We love your down to earth and honest conversations and we look forward to seeing what God has in store for your next 10 years!