"I'm playing in these venues; I'm touring with Judas Priest. That's crazy, you know what I mean? I'm getting to do all this stuff, and so there's almost, in one sense there's an emotional high about that," Anthony recalls. '"You're like, 'Wow, this is the stuff that I dreamed of doing and I'm doing it. I'm getting to live it."'
As guitarist for the hard rock band Pop Evil, Anthony Greve enjoyed the success of having four Top 10 singles and living the life of a rock star.
"For me it was an identity thing," says Anthony. "This is who I am, I'm Tony Greve; I'm the guitar player of Pop Evil. This is what I do. It becomes your identity. I think that scares people. Who would you be, if you weren't you?"
Anthony's life was consumed with music, drugs and alcohol, but the partying wasn't enough, and he fell into a deep depression.
"There's an emptiness because it's not what you thought you'd be," Anthony recalls. "The bigger the band got, the emptier. It was like going into a black hole. It felt like you were just walking into a black hole going deeper and deeper into darkness. And there was less and less hope the further we went. And at this time, I remember crying out to God—who else are you going to cry out to? But people began to come into my life."
One of those people was a pastor who prayed with him, but Anthony says he didn't feel differently afterward. A few nights later, alone in his hotel room, Anthony had a talk with God.
"I said, 'There's nothing different, but I believe in You,'" Anthony remembers. "I said 'God, Why is this still hard?' And I heard God speak to me so crystal clear, He said, 'I created you for a relationship with Me. It'll never work without Me.' And this was the thing: I'd never repented. I'd never repented of my sins, and for the first time in my life, I felt the Holy Ghost convicting me about my sins. So I began to just confess my sins out to God and as I did, I broke. I mean something in me broke. I just—it was like I fell into His arms."'
Anthony decided he should leave the band. He couldn't wait to tell his family what had happened.
'"I remember calling home and being like, 'Listen, you guys, I know you don't understand, but I met Jesus. He is real.' I thought, 'I'm going to leave all of this and I'm going to come home and I'm going to get to have a real relationship with my family.' And they didn't want that. They didn't want that. They were livid. My father was livid that I was going to leave this band. I mean, the fame, the money that we're about to make; all this stuff. The band's about to blow up. And all of a sudden, you know, Tony changes his mind and says, 'I don't want this anymore.'"
Crushed by guilt and confusion, Anthony gave in to the pressure to stay with the band.
"I felt trapped. 'What about all of our fans? We have record deals. I'm signed to managers. I literally felt like, 'You know what? There's no way out of this thing.' So I backslid. And drinking, girls, you know, that sort of thing again, but in the back of my mind, you know, I'm like, 'I can't be living this way,' there was just this fight."
As a young Christian, Anthony was torn between his new faith and the world that was pulling him back in. He was on a visit home when he says the Lord spoke to him again.
"He said, 'Mark 9:26.' The passage was a story about Jesus casting an evil spirit out of a boy's body. I read this passage, and I really freaked out because I thought the Lord was trying to tell me that I had a demon in me."
Anthony didn't understand what was happening but felt that something supernatural was at work. So when a friend suggested that he try consulting a Ouija board, Anthony was willing.
"I thought, 'It's a piece of plastic and a board, I mean, how harmful can it be?'" Anthony recalls. "All of a sudden it began to work. And something began to feel terribly wrong. And in that moment, my brother cries out and this thing enters his body. And it just kind of flies him back to the ground. I remember stepping back and just being terrified. He turned and looked at me. I had never experienced that much hate in all of my life to see this thing looking at me through my brother. And the Lord spoke to me and said, 'it's going to be you or him.' And again, he brought that Scripture back to mind, '9:26. 9:26, cast out that devil, boy!' And all of a sudden I felt boldness hit me, and I remember I just jumped over my brother and palmed his head and took authority over that devil. It was like it lost all power immediately. Just gone. His head shot back, his eyes rolled back. I mean, he just—this thing convulsed at the name of Jesus."
Anthony says that experience made his decision very clear.
"What became so real to me about this experience was God's Word, was His Word. Because Scripture says, Jesus said, 'I have given you power and authority to cast out devils in my name.' And it hit me, I thought, 'Wow.' I thought, 'If this is real, which I just experienced, then that means everything that Jesus said is real and is true.' I was either going to choose the world or I was going to choose God, but I knew that you cannot have both; the two are just totally contrary to one another. And so eventually I just—I laid it all down. I left the band and just totally gave my life to God. Just to be completely surrendered to Him and used by Him.'"
After leaving the band, he began a journey to discover God's plan for his life. That search led him to seminary where he is preparing to go into the ministry. Anthony says that now he understands his purpose.
"I didn't know who I was before. Even though, yeah, I was Tony Greve of Pop Evil. Yeah, I had all those things. There was this emptiness of this not knowing, this un-belonging. And knowing, you know, that God is real, that God is my Father, that I have a relationship with Him. There's no greater fulfillment than that."