Thursday, April 24, 2014

Enter: Third World Sun

by Paul M. Carhart

So allow me to pull back the curtain and give you glimpse as to what has been going on regarding Launch Pad, the band's retirement and what is to rise from it's ashes.

The elephant in the room after Lori's passing and after giving ourselves some time to process her loss (although it is still felt deeply by all of us), we asked ourselves many questions.

Did we still want to play together?

Would Lori want us to stop?

Would Lori want her music to continue?

Is it still Launch Pad without Lori?

I think it was clear that Scott Johnson (long-time friend and Launch Pad guitarist) and I wanted to continue to play together. Neither of us thought that Lori would have wanted us to stop. We still have the same beliefs. We still have the same things to say. And, as Lori's husband, I'm pretty sure Lori would want her music and what SHE had to say to continue to live.

The remaining question was whether it was still Launch Pad without Lori. I asked myself, had Lori and I ever divorced or one of us left the band, would it have still been Launch Pad? If John, Paul or George (or even Ringo) had left The Beatles, would it still have been The Beatles? I decided that, without Lori, it was no longer Launch Pad. She was so integral to the mission of the group. Indeed, she was the heart of the band. Her voice defined our sound and our style. Without those things, we were not Launch Pad. We might be something else. But we aren't Launch Pad.

So that posed the question: What are we?

And the answer that came back was very liberating. We are whatever we want to be.

I will admit that the idea of retiring Launch Pad, a project that Lori and I put roughly six years (more than half of our marriage) into is heartbreaking. But so is losing Lori. And there's nothing I can do about that. She's with Jesus now. And all of the above questions and answers are still very valid. We must trudge onward.

As I mentioned in a previous post (I think), Scott Johnson and Launch Pad's remaining drummer, Randy Scott, and I got together and jammed and we did decide we wanted to continue to play together. However, as time passed, it became more clear that Randy didn't have the same level of interest in continuing. Randy also plays drums for Scott's band, Thunderbone. So it's possible the commitment to both projects was more than Randy was willing to make. When I think back on it, Randy never formally joined Launch Pad. He just sorta sat in when Linda left and never stopped sitting in. So, in retrospect, Randy's decision to step aside sorta makes sense.

This was the genesis of Third World Sun.

Scott came over to my house... the house where countless Launch Pad rehearsals and house concerts have been held over the years. The week before, I had showed him some material I had written and he seemed jazzed by it. The idea was just to jam... do whatever. Maybe go through those songs from the week prior. Maybe not. There was no set agenda. We went down into the basement and noodled around some. Not much came of it until Scott started with an infectious riff. Over the years, as Lori came more to the forefront as Launch Pad's vocalist, I've been working on improving my bass playing and so I wanted to give this piece a little more than the standard rolling root bass line. What we came up with was pretty cool. Scott was like, "This is pretty cool!" and I said, "Let's write some words right now. What should it be about?" And right then and there the first Third World Sun song was born, "Hostage."

We still didn't have a drummer.

I made a few calls while we ran out to the music store (I used the trip to upgrade the Underground's PA system). Out of all of the drummers we'd been in contact with and played with over the past eight years, I couldn't get anyone to jump at the chance to play with us. Everyone was unavailable in one way or another. We had all but decided to put out a Craigslist ad. It was either that or dig out the drum machine.

This is how God sometimes works. So we went back to the house and as I was piecing together the new pieces of the PA system, Scott got a call from Mike Driml. Mikey was Launch Pad's drummer for many years. In fact, Mike's drums are heard all throughout Launch Pad's first CD (Plug Into Some Power). Scott mentioned to Mike what we were doing. That we had just binge-written a song called Hostage that he was excited about. And that we had some other material I had written and we were probably going to port over some of the Launch Pad material as well. Mike couldn't make it over that Saturday and I wasn't convinced that he was interested. But as the following week progressed, Scott called me a couple times to let me know that he was pretty sure Mike was gonna come onboard. We set up a rehearsal for that Saturday. We went over some of the old Launch Pad songs, played Hostage for Mike and I played the guys my newest song, Lori's Gone. We didn't even touch upon those five songs I had originally showed Scott (which, I think, are still in the cards). I think we were all pleased at how easily things fell back together. Mike was onboard!

We chit-chatted about a name. There were some front-runners. I always wanted to name a band Tri-Pod Dog. It was in the pool. So was The Straightjackets, Planet Granite and Jam Sandwich. Scott came up with Third World Sons and part-way into the week I came up with  Paramortal (which to me sounds like a heavy metal band). We also cracked ourselves up at switching the letters around slightly and being Paunch Lad. Very funny! But I'm hoping to lose some weight, I argued. So, after pondering for the next week, at the next rehearsal we decided on Third World Sun, a slight variation on one of Scott's contributions. We also realized that we had roughly nine songs down pretty well (including Hostage, Lori's Gone and other previously Launch Pad material). That was after only two rehearsals! We're only going to get tighter!

So now we're Third World Sun. We're made up of all former Launch Pad members even doing some former Launch Pad songs (they'll evolve into Third World Sun songs now). Our style won't be a whole lot different musically other than that I'll probably be the primary vocalist now with Scott fronting some songs and even Mike maybe fronting some. Vocally, our style will be much different. But we still believe the same things and we still have a lot to say. And some of what we have to say, we'll also be saying for Lori. Without the sweetness of that female vocal and the keyboards she played, we'll probably have a little more of an edge. We're going to rock. But my pop sensibilities aren't going away either.

This weekend, we look at logo ideas. Look for a Reverbnation and Facebook page shortly. If we can capture some decent quality live recordings, we'll throw a couple demos up too. We plan on recording and we expect to start playing around Southern California this summer.

As for Launch Pad, no one can take away what it is. There are still two CDs out on with Lori fronting the band. As long as those recordings exist, that music will continue to exist. I hope people will continue to listen to it and get something from it. But in a real sense... in the everyday life, Launch Pad has now officially been retired. It's lifespan, it turns out, was ultimately intertwined with Lori's. Without her, it ceases to be much more than a glorious memory that a few of us can share. I'm not sure any of us would want it any other way. Retiring Launch Pad is a bittersweet thing for me to do. But I've always done what I had to do. And there is a season for all things.

Now is the season to make new memories moving forward. Please support Third World Sun with prayer, pats on the back and by coming to our shows starting this summer. Lori still shares co-writer credit on many of our songs. She'll be with us in spirit! And we'd love to see you!

More info will be forthcoming. Cheers and rock on!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Photo Loop of Lori

The following is a link to the photo loop from Lori's funeral reception.

The End Of An Era

On February 18, 2014, Launch Pad's lead singer and co-founder and co-visionary, Lori Carhart (aka LoRaeMe) passed away from a stroke she had suffered days earlier. The remaining members of Launch Pad, including Paul, her husband of ten and half years, have been hit very hard by her loss. Her eulogy is also posted on this blog.

What is certain: There will be a time of mourning and there will be a time of regeneration.

Whether Launch Pad survives without Lori is a matter for discussion. Is it still Launch Pad without her heart, her vision and her voice? We're not sure.

Or perhaps something else will rise from the ashes. Whatever happens next, it will never be the same without Lori. She was the heart of Launch Pad and she will never be forgotten.

One way or the other, her music will survive either via Launch Pad or a another project. And her voice will continue to sing out on the two CDs (Plug Into Some Power and Uncontrolled) that were produced and are still available at

Thanks to her hard work while she was with us, Lori's daughter will never forget the sound of her mommy's voice.

Paul M. Carhart
Lori's husband and co-founder of Launch Pad

In Loving Memory of Lori Esther Hedgpeth Carhart

February 25, 1970 – February 18, 2014

I possess, according to my late wife, a trait she termed as Carhart Confidence. I don’t suppose it was a compliment. Lori was shy and reserved. She did not like to draw attention to herself. I, on the other hand, don’t have a problem standing out. Indeed, one of our favorite lines was Jim Carrey’s zinger from the end of the film Bruce Almighty: “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.” And so today I invoke said confidence to stand before you and say a few things about my wife, Lori. I trust that she will be rolling her eyes somewhere in the great beyond.

In the late spring of 2002, thanks to the conspiratorial ways of Lori’s dad and my sister, Lori and I began talking long distance between California and Colorado where I was living at the time. She had the sweetest voice and was almost shy. But she was also very smart and had her own ideas about things. That summer I flew back to California to visit my family and boy did my arms hurt.

I took a day to meet Lori and go out to lunch with her. Lunch turned into a movie and dinner. I remember thinking that night that, if she made an effort to drive me to the airport the next day, surely she was interested. I was relieved to discover that she not only picked me up, but she also took me to a little park where we could stroll hand-in-hand and chat before she dropped me at the airport. Before I got on my plane, I endeavored to kiss her into her soul. I didn’t want her to forget me in my absence. I told her, “You’re making me not want to leave.” And it was true.

A few weeks later, Lori visited me in Colorado. By Thanksgiving, we were engaged. Lori was a first grade teacher when we met and she intended to finish out the school year before we were to be married. Over spring break 2003, Lori and her parents brought all of her belongings out to the small home I had rented for us in Colorado. On August 2, 2003 we tied the knot. Barely a month later, Melody was growing inside of her mommy.

At the time, Lori’s dad had said something to the effect that he thought maybe we should have waited a bit to have a baby. But Lori had always wanted to have children and we were already in our thirties. In many ways, we were making up for lost time. That was probably for the best. For how were we to know we would only have ten years together?

Indeed, we were schooled early into our marriage about the brevity of our time here on earth. My dad passed away roughly two years after we got married. And Lori’s dad left us a mere six months later. Had we waited, neither of them would have got to hold Melody. And, although she doesn’t really remember them, Melody would not have go to meet them either.

Lori was almost mule-headed when she set her sights on something. To her, having a family was synonymous with owning a house. And what started as viewing model homes as no-money fun quickly became a campaign and Lori was leading the charge. I remember waking up one Sunday morning to find the bed empty. I stumbled into the front of our rental house and there she was at the dining room table, pencil in-hand. “I figured out how we can get that one that we liked yesterday,” she said as she showed me the paper. “We should go back over there today.” And so, even before Melody was born, we had purchased our first home in Colorado Springs, only a few short minutes from my job.

Lori’s pregnancy with Melody was difficult, to say the least. She was plagued with high blood pressure that the doctors had a very hard time getting under control. Ultimately, the doctors told Lori to have the baby early. Basically, they gave up. On April 19, two months before her due date, Melody started her habit of getting up early that continues to this day. Even that was difficult, resulting in Melody in the NICU in one hospital and Lori in the ICU in another hospital and me darting between the two locations, trying to keep two females happy, which we all know is pretty much an impossible task. The entire experience made such a negative impact on Lori that she wished to never darken the door of a hospital or doctor’s office again.

From the start, Melody was the center of Lori’s world and this would be true for the rest of Lori’s life. Over the course of a series of moves, first from Colorado to California and then all around the Long Beach area, ultimately landing us downtown, Lori made Melody the primary focus of our family. Especially after we lost our second daughter mid-pregnancy, focusing on Melody was the only way Lori could move on. There were other miscarriages following, each breaking Lori’s heart all the more. And each time, she redoubled her focus on the systematic and ever-increasing spoiling of Melody. Indeed, even when shopping on a shoestring, she would inevitability find the cutest stuffed animal in the store. And she would say to me, “Daddy, we only have one little girl,” which can be translated as, “we should buy this for Melody even though we just bought one almost identical to it for her yesterday.” And this was how an entire top bunk was transformed into a plush zoo.

Lori also cherished the arts and her worship of God. And she dedicated herself to proving that the former could be used to serve the latter. And so when we stepped down from leading worship at various churches, we started Launch Pad: A band and ministry that was about God without being about church and churchiness. Musically, we were influenced by everything that had ever influenced any one in the band and yet we sounded like none of our influences because we weren’t trying to sound like anyone but ourselves. We structured ourselves almost like a jam band so Lori could have the sonic canvas required for her voice to soar in absolute freedom. It was true that our band wasn’t for everyone, both onstage and beyond the stage. We cycled through drummers as if we were actually Spinal Tap. And not everyone “got it.” But that didn’t stop Lori. As usual, once she set her mind to something, she intended to see it through.

And so was born the monthly Blackfriars Theatre gatherings in our home where we would play the typical Launch Pad set. People could worship, dance, rock out or whatever their heart desired. And afterwards, we would do an open mic session (or three) with guitars and vocals. Usually backed up by Launch Pad’s rhythm section, people would mess around with their favorite songs or even original material. It was a great way to connect and to show artistic support. I believe this was the direction we were meant to go in.

However, the realization of this vision was cut tragically short. On the morning of February 6, 2014, just five days after what would become Lori’s final house concert, Melody’s mommy informed me that she thought she had pinched a nerve in her foot during the previous morning’s run. In reality, only 19 days before her 44th birthday, she had suffered a devastating stroke, the ultimate effects of which we would not know for many days. Twelve days later, my sweet Lori was no longer with us on this earth. Just as I had not wanted to leave her at the airport, I’m convinced that she would not have wanted to leave Melody and me behind.

But the choice wasn’t hers.

In the end, I believe Lori knew something was wrong with her. She had lost sensation and mobility in her right leg and it was creeping into her right arm. She begged me not to send her to the hospital, but to pray for her instead. As I finished praying, the two of us on our couch in the house that we had worked so hard to restore, her head lay upon my shoulder and my head rested against hers. I said to her the simplest of words, “I love you, Lori.” There was no hesitation in her reply, “I love you too.”

That was the last coherent conversation we had.

Lori always wanted to have a lot of children. But we were only ever able to have Melody. But in the life beyond, Lori is now the mommy of our other daughter, Lyric, as well as three other miscarried children. Now she can finally be the mommy she always wanted to be.

Naturally, there was much more to our life together than what I’ve outlined here. If you make it to the reception, you can view many pictures, each one worth a thousand un-uttered words. And I haven’t even got into the dog! There were so many things Lori still wanted to do. She longed to go to Ireland and Scotland. She looked forward to celebrating the 100th birthday of our Craftsman home that we’ve been restoring for the past six years. I’m sure she would not have passed up another chance to roll her eyes at me for some perceived infraction of etiquette. I know she wanted to continue to sing and play and worship with the band. Most of all, I know she wanted to see Melody grow up, go to college, get married and have children of her own.

And perhaps she can still witness these things from where she is. I don’t know. If so, I’m sure she’ll roll her eyes at me more than a few times in the years to come. But seriously, she’s left me with some pretty big shoes to fill. And I wear a thirteen, folks. She was the best possible mommy to Melody and she will be utterly missed by both of us and by everyone who ever met her. All I can do is promise to take the baton and finish the race the best I know how.

If I could say one final thing to Lori, it would be this: “You have been the best mommy. I did my best to love you and to protect you. Now I have to be the best daddy and love and protect Melody. Your daughter loves you and we will never forget you. And we will do our best to not disappoint you.”

And to Lori’s and my colleagues, friends and family who have gathered here today, I thank you for your time and support. I only wish to leave you with this final parting thought:

Life is a short, wonderful, devastating adventure. Live it well. Protect it. Feel everything. Listen deeply. Forgive often, even if not asked. And love with all your heart. There just isn't time to do anything less.

- Paul M. Carhart, Lori's husband

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Launch Pad Currently Working On "Uncontrolled," Their Second Independently-Produced CD

Powerpop undercover worship band Launch Pad is currently working on their new CD,  "Uncontrolled." This will be the band's second independently-produced CD. "The album will highlight many of the songs we have been playing over the past year since the release of our first CD as well as new material that we haven't yet played live," says bassist, Paul Carhart.

The first CD, Plug Into Some Power, came out in late 2011. "We played the downtown Long Beach scene at the tail end of 2011 and early part of 2012 to support it," says Carhart. The band also stepped into the worship scene for the first time as a band (both Paul and Lori have led worship countless times, both together and individually). The band is excited to go that direction with their music. Says Carhart, "We considered that a big success and a direction in which we would like to continue to go." For now, however, and throughout the summer and well into the fall, Launch Pad has been focusing on this new CD.

Produced by Paul and Lori Carhart, the new CD will feature the following songs:
Not Another Night - A Lori and Paul piece that's been re-worked by the band into an upbeat rocker but with a rap from Lori smack in the middle. Multiple vocal tracks from Lori makes this song sparkle.
Caida - A band-written rocker with a Spanish title featuring Lori on lead vocals and  percussion by Randy Scott.
Uncontrolled - A multi-part piece from Lori and Paul and co-written with Scott. Popular at recent gigs. Lori's vocals soar on this one. Includes a rap from Lori and congas by Randy Scott. We love the break-out ending!

The Haunted Church - A Paul and Lori piece about churches that misuse their power. One of two that Paul primarily sings with harmonies and speaking parts from Lori.
There's More (intro) - Written by Lori and Paul, this lilting intro to We Know There's More features Lori on both keys and vocals and will also feature violins and possibly cello by Melody Carhart (Paul and Lori's daughter).
We Know There's More - Upbeat rocker written by the band with an 80s vibe. Lori vocally knocks it out of the park on this one and also provides the harmonies. Features percussion by Randy Scott.
Vino - A cry for something new from Lori and Paul. Sung by Lori with harmonies by Paul.

Shades of Grey - One of Scott's originals. Lead vocals by Scott Johnson with harmonies by Lori.

Memories* - A mostly-David written piece (Lori finished off the lyrics and contributed to the melody) with a sharp edge. Features David on both guitar and drums and multiple haunting vocal tracks from Lori.
This is the Place - Lori fronts this slightly Nashville-flavored worship anthem written by Lori and Paul.
Sins of the Father - Paul sings this eclectic piece that features keyboard synth and harmonies from Lori and effects-laden guitar from Scott about breaking generational cycles. Written by Paul and Lori.
Purrfect* - This combination music/drama piece was conceived by Lori. The lyrics were co-written by Lori and Paul and then married to a guitar riff by David and fleshed out by the rest of the band. Lori is the primary singer but the song also includes character voices by Paul and a faster rap (than usual) from Lori. Also features David on both guitar and drums.The song will make use of drama when performed live.
Don't Hold Back - An 80s-inspired worship piece from Paul and Lori. Features lots of synth from Lori, who also sings most of the song.
Pitter-Patter Blues - Launch Pad tackles to blues. A vocal tour de force from Lori.
We Wanna - Two-parter from Lori, Paul and Scott. Lori tackles the rock ballad first movement while Paul (with Lori's help) handles the rockin' ending.
High - The sole Lori-only composition, this piece turns the idea of getting high on its ear. Vocals by Lori.
The CD's track order has not been finalized but the order above is the current working order.

Early mixes of many of the songs can be streamed from Launch Pad's Reverbnation and Facebook pages.

"Launch Pad: Uncontrolled" is on target to be available before the 2012 holidays. The band intends to include the lyrics with the CD. For downloads, the lyrics will be available on the band's various social media pages (Facebook, MySpace, Reverbnation).

Last year's "Launch Pad: Plug Into Some Power" is still available at and from the band. Digital downloads of individual songs are also available.

Launch Pad: Lori Carhart: vocals & keys, Paul Carhart: bass & vocals, David Rodriguez: guitar & drums. Additional guitar and vocals by Scott Johnson.

* Features David Rodriguez on both guitar and drums.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Launch Pad Re-Books Max Steiners Date

We just re-booked our gig at Max Steiners. We'll hit the stage at 9pm on Thursday, April 5.

During the time since we had to drop out of the previous Max Steiners booking, the band has recorded seven new songs for our new upcoming CD and we've also been working on a new set, including some new material. In fact, the current plan is to have two new songs to unveil on April 5. We hope you will dig "Caida" and "I Know There's More."

Hope to see you at Max Steiners on Anaheim in Long Beach on Thursday, April 5 at 9pm. No cover! 21 and over ONLY!

And check our Facebook and Reverbnation pages frequently as we're slowly dropping new recordings. The first was our take on the blues, Pitter-Patter Blues. Lori really knocks it out of the park on that one. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Launch Pad Dropping Out of December Max Steiners Show

Regretfully, we won't be able to make the Dec. 15 gig at Max Steiners. It is our hope to return to the Max Steiners calendar sometime in 2012, probably in the spring.

In the meantime, Trial By Fire will likely be subbing for us at 9 pm on Dec. 15 at Max Steiners. Trial By Fire is fronted by Launch Pad's guitarist, Scott Johnson and features Launch Pad's drummer, David Rodriguez, on bass and former Launch Pad drummer, Mike Driml, on drums. Trial By Fire does all-0riginal material primarily by Scott and perhaps some stuff they've written together.

So make sure you go out and see current and former Launch Pad members at Max Steiners in Long Beach on December 15, 2011 at 9 pm.

Launch Pad is still planning on continuing the recording of new songs the week of December 26 and we'll be back on the flip side of the new year.

Peace on Earth!