Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sinking Ships - R.I.P.

Great great northwest hardcore band Sinking Ships have announced that they're calling it quits, according to their myspace page.

I've seen these guys live and they're awesome, great intensity, positive message, and they will truly be missed. if you get a chance, check out Disconnecting or Meridian, awesome albums!

Friday, April 25, 2008

What the Hell is 'Christians in a band'?

so after reading in my bible the other day i got to thinking about bands and their connection to Christianity. i think i'm going to make less of a point in this post and more trying to start a discussion/thought-process

i hope that this reference to the Bible and Christianity will not turn away non-believers but spark discussion. I believe that if you truly believe in Christ, that you cannot 'kind-of' be a Christian, or pick your spots, or whatever, you're a Christian first and foremost, everything else comes second. I'm not condemning these bands or whatever, i'm just wondering what everyone thinks when they hear these quotes.

I was reading the Gospel and i came across the part about the cost of following Jesus. it was Luke 9:57, and he it is;

57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

58Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

59He said to another man, "Follow me."
But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."

62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

After reading that, i wondered how bands could say 'yea, we're Christians, but we don't want to be preachy or in your face, if you want to talk about religion, we'll talk, but we won't initiate.

What if Jesus had told the disciples to go into towns and just wait for people to approach them? don't hurt anyone's feelings? just let people be who they are, don't bother them unless they ask?

i don't know, just a thought, here are the quotes from different bands. I basically just google-ed "[band name] Christian band" and used the results to find quotes on the subject. sorry there isn't more referencing, but you'll get the idea:


"I'm not sure what the difference is between five Christians playing in a band and a Christian band. If you truly believe something, then it should affect every area of your life. All five of us are Christians. I believe that change should start with me first, and as a result, our lyrics do not come across very "preachy." Many of our songs are about life, struggles, mistakes, relationships and other issues that don't fit entirely in the spiritual category. However, all of these topics are written about through my perspective as a Christian."

Tim Lambesis,


"I feel like I want people to know we're a Christian band," vocalist SPENCER CHAMBERLAIN says of UNDEROATH's collective devotion. "But at the same time I don't like tacking God or the fact that we're Christian onto something to sell more records. I don't want just to be marketed as a Christian band because I think we go beyond that. Tags can be limiting." ]

"For us it's a fear of stereotype," GILLESPIE explains. "Like, 'You're Christian, so you can't be my friend.' I mean, Jesus was at lunch with whores and hookers! Still, our Christianity defines who we are."


Are you comfortable with being called a Christian band?

Yeah. We don’t call ourselves a Christian band necessarily, but we are all Christians. We couldn’t separate our beliefs from our music if we tried. We all grew up in Christian homes, and it’s just such a major part of our life that whenever we write songs about our life, it just comes out. Haste the Day

Do you get opposition from other bands and fans for being a “Christian” band?

Brandon: This is the way I look at it, everyone stands for something. If there’s somebody out there who’s going to give you crap for what you believe in then, screw them. There’s tons of people we know how stand for certain things and it’s just common decency to respect what somebody stands for, you don’t have to agree with it just respect them. There’s extremely, political and straightedge bands out there, and we have a matter of respect for all those bands and we’re Christian. That’s what we’re about, by no means do we go, “Hi, we’re a Christian band, Dead Poetic.”

Zach: I think it sucks. We’re just a band, who happens to be Christian. They don’t call Beastie Boys, “Buddhist Rap“. They don’t call Godsmack, “Wicca Rock”. You live your life how you want to live your life. And I don’t know when that started getting put on the front of a genre of music, like it’s a different style or something.

Brandon: Like, “Ok , well this is their band, just so I know what area to put it in the store, who do they worship? Who’s their god? Are they Buddhist? Ok, well we’ll put them in this section.” It’s just a stupid, stupid thing.

Zach: I think DC Talk just ruined it for all of us. The only reason that we don’t like being called a “Christian” band, is because of the freaking bands that totally ruined it from the get go; we don’t want to be associated with them at all. We want to be associated with bands like, Glassjaw, Thrice and The Revolution Smile. It’s just stupid that something like that can be put on a genre of music, when it has nothing to do with music what-so-ever. It’s really stupid. But no, we get along with everyone. We’re just a band playing with bands, we don’t care if their Buddhist, Christian, Wicca, or whatever. We’ll be friends with any body.


Figure Four are a Christian band. What is the spiritual stance with Comeback Kid?

Andrew: Whether or not everyone has the same opinions on God and spirituality, both bands are spiritual bands simply because of the individual members and what they bring. However, neither of the bands are ministry bands. There is no agenda that is trying to be pushed.

However, there must be expectations placed on you by Christian, mortal listeners.

Andrew: Yeah. I think sometimes people want your band to be what they want it to be. However, you can't let that kind of stuff get to you. You can't let people tell you what your band should be. Personally, I think everyone should live their life honestly and how they think they should live their life. All of us in the band see life differently from each other, yet we agree about a great many things. But for us, it's a personal thing.

Scott: ...And expectations can be taken on a wider scale than religion. In general, if you look up to a band and expect them to be something they are not, you end up getting disappointed. In fact, I just got done writing a song about that very subject. It's about building someone up and putting them on a pedestal, only to watch them fall because they are not going to be what you want them to be.

Andrew: Also, some people don't stop and realize I formed Figure Four when I was 16 years old. I'm 23 now. A lot of my views have changed. I look at life totally different now.

Jeremy: A lot of bands will be unified around a certain topic or issue, but change over a period of time. The listener is removed enough that they are in an ignorant position and maybe don't understand the position a band is in. It's the same way with the way people expect certain things out of politicians. There can be a lot of unnecessary pressure placed on a band.


We're definitely not a Christian band. We've never been into being preachy, never been into spreading any kind of word. It just came from [lead singer Dustin Kensrue] singing about issues that he was having--a lot of those were faith-based. Some people are turned off by that. Then there are a lot of people who are like, not even from a Christian standpoint, [and they say,] 'Dustin's lyrics have helped me start exploring why I'm here, what I'm doing here, justifying my existence and stuff.' I think that's a good thing. I'm not a Christian, and I'm not exactly sure what I believe in. But I do believe in looking for answers and being open to a lot of different things."

-Thrice drummer Riley Breckenridge

Reed says Destroy the Runner's spirituality is subtle.

"I've been to P.O.D. shows where they would preach from the stage, saying they are representing Jesus Christ. We're not that kind of band. We all share beliefs that are portrayed in our lyrics, but we're not out to be a ministry band. We don't want to make anybody uncomfortable."

CF - When you were on Tooth and Nail you were always known as a Christian Band. What makes a band a "Christian Band"?

YURI - Well, I think it's different. I think that there is sort of different opinions about that. I guess we sort of got in that market because of Tooth and Nail. We were Christians. We are Christians. But we just play in a punk rock band. We never preached on stage. We never handed out tracts at our shows. We just didn't even know that was something you did. We were just a regular band.

When we were signed on Tooth and Nail, they were booking us pretty much so we were playing churches and those type of venues. That's when we realized that there are a lot of expectations on a band if they are Christian, because you have to preach and all this crap. We just said no, that's not us.

Were not going to lie and say no were not Christian and we're ashamed, but we just didn't want to change for people. So we got sort of black balled in a way and a lot of fans kind of like freaked out because in an interview we said you know we're not a Christian band…

We're Christians.We play in a band. But we're not a Christian band. Some people were like "What? You lied to us all this time." But for us what we believe is what we believe. That's what we've come to in life, that is where our lives have led us. But we're not up there to push that. Some of that comes out in our songs. Because we are Christian, but it is not like a big preachy mission type thing some of the bands do. That's cool with them, but it's not for us.

CF - Be who you are.

YURI - Yes


I think we're categorized like that a lot because we're on Tooth & Nail Records, which, years ago, was known as a Christian label and never lost that reputation. I don't care who listens to our records. If it helps people in whatever circumstances they're in, that's amazing, but I definitely don't classify us as a Christian band." Elsewhere, Christian has remarked, "[My faith] affects every single aspect of my life, but I'm not a preacher, I'm an entertainer.


I know for a while it was a big fad to like have a lot of Christian bands were just Christian guys in a band so I mean first and foremost we’re Christians above anything else ... obviously ... the band is going to come and go and it will be over one day and that’s just the way it goes. It’s just like any other occupation. We are Christians first and foremost and therefore it has to impact what we do everyday as our job and in our lives so I mean… everyday we’ve got tons of Christian fans that their like, "Hey you guys are the best Christian band blah blah blah or one of the best or whatever," and that is fine, but we gave up on trying to draw that line because it’s pretty much you have to get out of the stigma of being labeled a Christian band where non-Christian people will listen to you because if you play in only Christian venues or you play with all Christian bands all the time you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot for as far as having a career goes and even as ministry speaking ...
... I mean there is a place for that. There are bands out there like worship bands and stuff that are great at that and I think they are called to do that but we definitely are not called to do that. We tried it, we played in churches before and we have played with a lot of Christian bands several times and we felt really really out of place, we kind of felt like, it was almost like God was saying this isn’t what you guys are supposed to be doing. Not that it was anything bad or anything like that but we just didn’t have that spirit of fulfillment that we feel like we do have now because we relate so much better to people, to crowds like this than we do youth group crowds

what do you think? lets get some comments going...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Destroy the Runner - I, Lucifer review

so little known metal/post-hardcore/christian act Destroy the Runner just released their second album, I Lucifer, on Solid State Records. For those of you who actually listened to DTR's first album, Saints, this will be quite a different feel.

I was first drawn to Destroy the Runner after hearing My Darkness off of Saints. and very fast, heavy song with lots of screaming and an incredible break-down that most bands would love to write. The rest of that album however seemed boring and repetitive and i wouldn't really latch on too any more songs as much as i tried. I recommended the band to my friends only to hear responses like "i already listen to As I Lay Dying". so this new album holds so much potential

and its quite a change. first i learned that Destroy the Runner is managed by As I Lay Dying
vocalist Tim Lambesis, which might or might not be why there is a common sound between the bands. The second thing i learned is that DTR changed singers between records, bringing in Chad Ackerman, who apparently had done work with early As I Lay Dying. the first thing you'll notice on this new record is the lack of screaming vocals and more singing, so be prepared.

Changing vocalist is always a risky thing, especially for core fans. i remember when Dropkick Murphys announced they were changing singers after their amazing first record, Do or Die, and i was pissed. it took me about 4-5 years to get back into them. and its turned out good for the Murphys, as well as their original singer Mike McColgan who's now the front man for Streetdogs.

Another example would be Haste the Day. I wasn't really into these guys until after the vocalist change, and i think it will be better for them. But the common issue with all these changes is that the band is quite different sounding after the change. its almost like they should change their name to something new, because its such a new sound.

And this record really supports that notion. i like the new sound, but its definitely not like the old sound. if i'm looking to rock-out, i won't turn to this album. If i'm looking for something to listen to in the background, well then this will fit the bill.

Once again DTR fails to write a completely interesting album, start to finish, and once again, the first track seems to be the best track. I love the fact that the songs really change up the feel, they aren't just blasting straight-ahead with full speed, they have numerous didn't drum beats and feels. the lyrics are great, very artistic and powerful:

Take these hands and turn them into weapons.
Change these plans and make them into your's.

Take this man and turn his sight from demons.

All I am is wanting you more.

For fans of underOATH or Dead Poetic, this album is definitely worth checking out. It is original in its sound and the singing is very good, and not off-putting like heavier bands (Life in Your Way, Means)

I really recommend this album, its a fun listen and definitely powerful without harsh screaming vocals of
DTR's past.

Also, these guys will be in town(Denver) on May 7
th and May 26th. check the show module on the right for more information! i'll be there, will you?

Friday, April 11, 2008

519 radio interview

Hey guys, our band, 519, will be on the radio Saturday, April 12th at 10a.

Tune in and show your support. It should be about a 30 minute show with an interview of myself and Aaron Britton by Rachel Mains, 3 tracks from our latest album More of You, and a live performance.

So tune into 560AM or go online and listen to a live stream of the show

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


MY poor first generation 4gb ipod Nano was run over today

If you know me at all, you know that my stuff goes through hell when its in my possession, from my cell-phone, to my vehicles, to my instruments, to my ipod apparently. i have a tendency to drop things, scratch, bend, dent, and just plain break stuff.

as for my Nano, this thing has lasted me like 3-4 years, it has a huge dent in the back, its been played for an average of 8-9 hours a day, in fact, i just cracked it open and replaced the battery 2 weeks ago. i take it everywhere i go, in the car, all day at work, on the plane, snowboarding, showering....

anyway, today i noticed i didn't have it when i got to my desk, so i figured it was in my car. well, at lunchtime i went out to my car and there was BMerPod, laying facedown on the pavement, tire treads on the rubber-case and everything.

after a few tears, i plugged it back in, the screen is worthless, but i managed to recall from memory where the Shuffle All Songs option was and wouldn't you know, it still plays.

now i have to convince my lovely Kansas rooting wife to allow me to get a new one off craigslist or something.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Life In Your Way breakup

It really disappoints me to announce that Life In Your Way have decided to call it quits.

Solid State's up-and-coming hardcore act, Life in Your Way, was just starting to get some momentum, it seemed like, but have decided to move on. They will be finishing their current, first and last, national tour with Means. This means that i will be driving up to Cheyenne to see this show next wednesday, so you should come out too! for those in the sacramento area, they are playing Club Retro in a few weeks, do yourself a favor and check these guys out while you can!

As for memories, i only got to see these guys once, and i've been dying to see them again, they are super-energetic, positive, encouraging, and honest...brutally honest. probably one of my favorite bands of the last 2 years. here's what we're losing:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Album Reviews: Flashback

i've been listening to some great music lately, so i thought i'd do a few reviews. The most recent albums released bring me back to high school times, Pennywise, Millencolin and No Use For a Name haven't changed their sounds at all really, and they're still pumping out albums like crazy. as skate-punk becomes extinct these guys are still producing at a high-level, and i love it!

Pennywise - Reason to Believe

I never know what to think about Pennywise. They were one of the first punk bands i listened to, back before Full Circle and i loved them. a lot of people in the punk circles don't like them, called them sellouts and jock-rock but here we are, like 15 years later and they've never sold out, they never changed their sound, and they're even giving away this album for free! this is their best release since Full Circle, its great recording and good throughout song structures. You won't be blown away by the music or the same message, but you won't be disappointed and i'm sure that on your 2nd listened you'll be singing along. some good songs would be Western Wall, Something to Live For, and All We Need.

Millencolin - Machine 15

Critics are bagging on Millencolin, saying they're starting to sound like Fallout Boy, more alternative and less punk. well maybe they haven't listened to all of the records. Millencolin had goofy keyboard pop songs on Life On A Plate and For Monkeys, they've always been goofy and this album fits right in line. I don't know how anyone would not like this album, its starts off with a great track, Machine 15 (apparently referring to how many years they've been around) and the next few tracks are catchy and energizing. The album does begin to fall-off near the end, but most Millencolin albums do that anyway. Songs like Detox and Vicious Circle are slower, but solid. Besides Kingwood, this is their best release of recent years. Good songs would be Machine 15, Done Is Done, and Turnkey Paradise.

No Use For A Name - Feel Good Record of the Year

I was really looking forward to this album. For some reason i really like NUFAN, even though their message is questionable and i'm not usually partial to bands where the lead singer plays guitar as well, takes away from the live show.

anyway, this album blasts out of the gate with energy and speed, in classic NUFAN fashion. After the first track the album starts to bug me. The music is great, absolutely fun and energetic, but the lyrics are weak. the choruses are annoying, for example, Under the Garden, the singers voice is way too nasal-y and whiny. other songs that annoy would be Domino and I Want To Be Wrong.

Also, NUFAN has a handful of slow ballad acoustic songs throughout their catalogue that are great. they seem to be trying too hard to reproduce that in this album, resulting in weak songs that just don't quite make the grade. this might be the most forgettable record they've made. Good songs would be Biggest Lie and Pacific Standard Time.

Dave Barnes - Me & You & the World

Wow, another great record by Dave Barnes. I wasn't sure about how this one was going to be, after Chasing Mississippi (which i felt was a step-back from his first release), but i was pleasantly surprised.

Dave starts off the album with a dance/disco infused track titled Brothers and Sisters, which is awesome. i actually heard him play this track live last fall and i wasn't impressed at all, but it sounds great on the record. After he gets that dance track out of his system, its solid singer/songwriter feel for the rest of the album, including a redone version of Until You and On A Night Like This. The sound for the album seems bigger, with more horns and support in most songs. This is his first label-backed release and you can tell where the polish has been applied, but not too much to take away from Dave's feel.

I think this is an upgrade of Chasing Mississippi, with great songs like Since You Said I Do and Believe, the singing is great, solid and thoughtful. great album, i recommend it!

This is Hell - Misfortunes

I've been waiting for this record for over a year now, and it's finally here! i'm not going to go into much depth here, except to say this record is brutal! if you're into hardcore/post-hardcore/punk this is a must-have, the drumming is amazing, the singing is intense. get into it!