David Nantais: ‘Rock-a My Soul’

To Dave Nantais, rock 'n' roll can feed the soul. In his new book, "Rock-a My Soul," Nantais explores the connection between rock music and spiritual life.

"Writing 'Rock-a My Soul' was my attempt to marry secular music and my faith," he said.

Nantais, who plays drums, grew up listening to rock bands like Rush and Devo.

In time, he found a connection between God and the popular music he enjoyed. "Music forces you to remember that you're a creature of God," he said.

Nantais, director of campus ministry, was raised Roman Catholic and, before marrying, considered becoming a Jesuit priest. He has been a musician for the past 20 years. His passion for keeping the beat began after high school.

"When you play in a band, it's exhilarating," he said. It "kind of makes the statement that you are doing something bigger than yourself, (that) there's something else out there other than me."

Nantais said his motivation for writing a book about rock and roll came from what he sees as a bigger issue: faith.

People don't always see a connection between popular music and faith, he said. But Nantais believes that music can serve as a common language.

In "Rock-a My Soul," which was released earlier this year, Nantais discusses how rock music fused with faithful messages requires attention. Through listening a person can reclaim a sense of identity as a creature of God, he said.

Nantais' interest in music is wide ranging – everything from R.E.M. to Miles Davis. He also relishes writing, but he needed guts to complete "Rock-a My Soul."

"Psychologically, the idea of writing a book was too intimidating" for a long time, he said. "I was afraid of someone ripping on my writing."

Nantais found the courage to allow close friends read his work, which led to him publishing essays in the early 2000s.

He began working on "Rock-a My Soul" in 2008, waking up two hours earlier during the week to write. He is at work on another book, about volunteer work for young adults prior to entering the workforce.

Nantais said he was surprised to learn from his publisher (Liturgical Press) that "Rock-a My Soul" has found an audience among military personnel and people studying to be Protestant ministers.

"I just never expected that all these people would be interested in it," he said.