When it comes to musicians, “normal” might look a little different than it does for most people, but in Nashville, Tennesse, Jeremy Thiessen is something of an anomaly. As drummer for Christian rock band Downhere, Thiessen is one of the most down-to-earth performers you could meet. The band’s latest record, On the Altar of Love, garnered the Canadian natives their fourth Juno award, but to Jeremy and his bandmates, success has never been the point. Maybe that’s why Thiessen has adopted the nickname, “Normal Rockstar.”
Beyond the music, Thiessen is a devoted husband and father of two children, Liam (3) and Karis (2). The birth of their son changed everything for the couple as they discovered Liam had Down’s syndrome. For a time, Jeremy seriously considered quitting the band. Ultimately, the family decided to move forward, but with an understanding the entire band shares: if the day comes where a family member says, “I can’t do this anymore,” the band is done. For Thiessen and his bandmates, family truly comes first.
Which brings us to the nickname, “Normal Rockstar.” Thiessen doesn’t want to adopt a false humility, but instead be a good steward of the platform God has given him. He makes efforts to be accessible, noting with a laugh, “You don’t have to look very long to see pictures of my kids online.” Thiessen sees an opportunity to make connections and minister to other parents with special needs children, both at home and on the road. It’s something he and his wife are beginning to explore and something they’re excited to see develop. “The nickname is an oxymoron,” he notes, “but hopefully it isn’t just the same.”
Life as a musician is uncertain, and Thiessen holds loosely to the future. “We’re not in a safe place, and we’re okay with that.” As far as rockstars go, there’s nothing normal about Jeremy Thiessen, but that’s what makes him truly normal. And that’s just the way he wants it.
Read more about Jeremy Thiessen and his family in the October issue of ParentLife. Whit Stiles, a writer and musician in Nashville, also wrote the article in the magazine.