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Destroying Cleveland: Interview with Matthew Greenfield

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Please state your name and what do you do?

My name is Matthew Greenfield.  I do music journalism, writing, film making, and I used to do hip hop music for years.  In my spare time, I do nerdy shit like watch wrestling and horror movies.

How long have you been involved in the music scene and what prompted your journey?

I started attending punk and hardcore shows in Youngstown, Ohio,  during my sophomore year of high school. My junior year I bought a bass and sang vocals for a grindcore band called Combat Shock with my friend Jonah “Grimy L” Smith.  After that I formed a group called King of Noise Guitar. It was a different lineup at every show. I think some members of Crowd Deterrent even subbed in a few times. We were so bad. I started rapping at the end of my junior year. I was listening to Too Short and would just freestyle about doing nasty shit to my friend’s moms, just really lewd sex rap stuff. I noticed that I could pretty much freestyle for an hour straight so I started taking it more seriously. To make a long story short, I had a pretty decent run as MC Homeless. I got to play rap shows all over the world and even in crazy places like Ukraine and Russia. Quit doing that a few years ago and totally lost interest.  Rap shows are fucking corny.  I also played in a few other metal/hardcore/grind type bands over the years but none of them really released much music.

Why Destroy Cleveland, shouldnt we be building it up?

You must destroy to rebuild. Really though, it’s an H-100s song.

 

But seriously, what motivated you and your colleagues to put this project together?

My love for the bands and their rotten attitudes.  Integrity is one of the most fascinating bands I can think of.  H-100s too. The people have absolutely wild stories that almost sound fictional. We have video proof to back them up though!  Riots, trashed venues, skinhead violence, fireworks, fights, you will see it all.

 

What are you hoping people get out of this documentary?

 

First off, I want them to be entertained and not bored. That should be the main goal of every movie.  I also want them to know that with bands like 9 Shocks Terror, Integrity, Confront, H-100s, Inmates, etc, it’s hard to find another city that has that many unique and brilliant hardcore bands.  I also want folks to empathize with the people on the screen. I didn’t make this movie for the bands to relive the glory days…or gory days. I guess would be more fitting. I didn’t make this movie just for people who hang out at Now That’s Class (best bar ever, by the way). I made this movie for EVERYONE. It would be cool to see bands pop up in Indonesia that sound like Cider or Apartment 213. This isn’t some bullshit inside joke project just made for people in Cleveland and their friends to watch. I think this is actually a really powerful narrative.  These bands happened out of desperation, violence, and boredom. Only a select few in Cleveland really understand but the rest of us get a little peek into a world of madness.

 
Have you done your best to include ALL the bands and people that played a part in building this scene, or is this just going to be the Tony Erba variety show? Not that it wouldn’t be entertaining in it’s own right.

It actually is the Tony Erba variety show and next week he will have the Cowsills, Wayland Flowers and Madame, George Kennedy and Jan Michael Vincent as his guests. Seriously though, who has been in as many bands as Erba?  He started with LEK in the 80s and then formed Face Value. After that we have H-100s, 9 Shocks Terror, Stepsister (with members of the Guns), Gordon Solie Motherfuckers and more. The dude is a living manifestation of Cleveland hardcore and the DIY punk life. He will never drop out or go away. Of course he’s going to be a huge part of this documentary.  With that said, what would a Cleveland hardcore documentary be without all of the original members of Integrity and Ringworm? We got ’em all. Integrity is THE band. There music will last forever and always sound timeless. Dwid could give two shits about Cleveland hardcore but he’s still in the movie and did a really great interview. He just has other things going on these days that are more important to him.  I totally understand and respect that. I like Dwid.  Tony Pines from One Life Crew is another lifer. He’s in there. Paul Schlacter is there and is in some of the best bands I have ever heard, period. We have Frank Novinec who not only did legendary work with Ringworm and Integrity but has also played in Terror and Hatebreed. Charlie Garigga moved away after Outface but he’s a lifer too. Charlie has played in Civ, Quicksand, and Judge. Those are bands that have made quite the impact.

 

Who have been your favorite people to work with on this project?

 

Everybody has been great. Steve from 9 Shocks/Homostupids was an exceptional interview. He has a really different and unique perspective.

Which people have surprised you the most? Or totally weren’t what you were expecting them to be?

 

I thought a lot of the guys would be assholes but everyone is cool. They all have personality quirks but who doesn’t?  People built Dwid up to be some five headed monster but he’s really easy to talk with.

 

What are 3 bands that you think kids should be encouraged to listen to before they can graduate high school? What books or movies have changed your life?

 

From Cleveland HC or in general? Cleveland HC would be Integrity, Confront, and 9 Shocks Terror. In general, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, and Kool G Rap.

 

Bands and musicians that changed my life: Motorhead, Integrity, 9 Shocks Terror, H-100s, Black Sabbath, John Carpenter, Crass, Black Flag, Slayer, Spazz, Man Is The Bastard, Hawkwind, Rakim, Mos Def, Freestyle Fellowship, EPMD, Isaac Hayes, Inmates/Cider, Ye, Kool  Keith, The Cramps, Ceschi Ramos, Joy Division, Prince, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Cro Mags, Discharge, King Crimson, Roy Orbison, Poison Idea, GISM, I could seriously go on and on!

 

Movies that have changed my life: The 400 Blows, Paris Texas, Buffalo ’66, The Brown Bunny, the work of Robert Bresson, John Luc Godard, Francois Tuffaut, French New Wave Cinema, Italian Neorealism, the DIY filmmaking of Lloyd Laufman and Troma, shot-on-video 80s homemade horror movies, Abel Ferrera’s work such as MS 45, King of New York, and The Bad Lieutenant, Martin Scorsese films like Goodfellas, Mean Streets, Raging Bull, etc. Nick Zedd and the cinema of transgression, John Waters, LuisBunuel, Dario Argento’s early work, John Carpenter and especially the first two Halloween’s, and also bad public access tv, trash culture, b movies, The Munsters, shitty 80s sitcoms that are forgotten like Small Wonder. My brain is all over the place. Love pop culture.

 

What truly inspires you or pumps you up every morning when you start your day?

I listen to 90s hip hop every morning in my car.

 

Are there any causes or organizations you strongly support and encourage others to take the time to look into?

 

I’m not much of a political activist but I respect people that work against police brutality and homophobia.  Doing work and housing battered women is pretty important too. And when is someone going to stop these rich, white assholes that keep hunting elephants and giraffes. Put these jerks in their place. Organize!

 

What are 3 things that you’ve taken in or made into a daily habit that encourages you to kick more ass throughout your day?

 

I make a point to be polite and nice to everyone I meet unless they are rude and provoke me. I will shake anyone’s hand and look them in the eye. It’s also important for me to communicate daily with people that ask questions about the movie or express interest. I do not have a rock star attitude.

 

If more people wanted to learn more about you guys and your art where would you encourage them to go?

Peep my website www.rustbelthammer.com and holla at me on the Destroy Cleveland Instagram. Also doing the twitter thing @mchomelesstwit . Cant forgetwww.facebook.com/destroyclevo and get event tickets for the July 24th premier here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/destroy-cleveland-movie-premiere-tickets-16392550560?action_type_map=%5B%22og.shares%22%5D&action_object_map=%5B823706787704440%5D&fb_action_types=og.shares&fb_source=other_multiline&fb_action_ids=10103326972637194&action_ref_map

And finally are there any shout-outs that you’d like to give anyone at this time?

 

Jorge Matthew Delrosa and Colby Grimes are my partners in this film. I can’t thank them enough for helping my achieve my dream. I do all the interviews and I’m the public face but they bust their asses daily and want to help make this the most incredible project possible.

Matt

Bill interviews Mattie Montgomery of For Today

Matty Montgomery

  • Please state your name and what do you do? My Name is Mattie Montgomery and I’m the vocalist for the band For Today.
  • Where is your group from? And what other opportunities would you have had there if you didn’t choose this path? Well the band started in Sioux City Iowa, although I did not live in Iowa, I moved there to join the band. I was living in Columbus, Ohio at the time and to be honest if I hadn’t of joined the band I probably would have finished school and gotten a degree in education and probably be a high school English teacher and a soccer coach right now.
  • How long have you been involved in the music scene and what prompted your journey? I guess I started playing music in 2001 but I joined For Today in 2007. It’s kind of always been a part of who I am, been a part of the dream. I always wanted to see if people would pay attention to music that I made. So in 2007 after I came to Christ and after I came back to playing music, I thought well if I’m going to do it, this time I’m going to do it for God. Instead of playing music to get girls or get attention or whatever I’m going to do it for a REAL reason and that’s what inspired me to join For Today and do what I’m doing now.
  • What are 3 pieces of advice that you would give to younger musicians? Play good music. You can’t succeed on heart and good intentions alone. It really, really helps. Not to say that you have to play good music because Lord knows there are plenty of people out there who don’t. But it helps if you play good music. You may be real good looking and charismatic and fun, but if you’re good looking, charismatic, fun, and you play good music then that’s one more thing going for you. Spend your time making friends not fans. People don’t want to support rock stars who act like they are too good for everybody, they want to help make dreams come true. And if you’re genuinely thankful for the attention and the time for the people that are with you it shows and translates in your character the way you treat your fans. Treating them more like friends instead of fans. And third, don’t let your band become your identity. None of us are going to play music forever and the last thing the world needs are more dudes who’ve let their success go to their heads. So we as musicians need to remember I’m not Mattie from For Today in my own mind, I’m Mattie the friend, the son, the husband, the father you know so I’m not really worried about proving myself as Mattie from For Today all the time because to most people I’m just a guy and I want to be faithful to what God has called me to be in every arena instead of just being a band guy and trying to cling to that identity for the rest of your life.
  • What are some things that have surprised you and/or still surprise you in the music industry? I guess one thing that still surprises me about the music industry is how close knit that it is. You have to know somebody to know somebody to get your foot in the door. It’s basically impossible to play in a band that makes good music and get your band signed without getting the attention of some people that have connections and get them behind you and to believe in what you’re doing. That is basically something that has surprised me.
  • What are 3 bands that you think kids should be encouraged to listen to before they can graduate high school? Wow, that’s good. This is not music that I might like endorse outright, but I think for the historical value and cultural relevance I think Bob Marley, The Beatles, and maybe Ray Charles.
  • What books or movies have changed your life? I read a book one time called Wild at Heart by a guy named John Eldridge and I thought it was really incredible. I probably read it about 10 years ago but that book was really amazing and it sort of helped me figure out what it means to be a man. What that means? How I find my identity? And how I can live out what I have in my heart? While still being true to the standard that God has called me to. Yeah that book has changed my life a lot.
  • Where do you draw most of your inspiration when writing music? Really from all over the place but at the end of the day when I write lyrics I think I am writing lyrics that God wants people to hear, if that makes sense. I’m thinking what is it that I could say that is going to impact our generation in a positive way? I see kids at shows that inspire me to write songs. I read kids Facebook posts that inspire me to write songs. I read fans e-mails that inspire me to write songs. And really it’s just the people that are listening to this band, that are part of this community, the subculture of this generation, that’s the thing that inspires me I think more than anything.
  • I really love the new album and love the attention that you guys have brought to sex trafficking with Fight the Silence the video. I’m a Father of 2 daughters and I’m going to school and this topic was researched and came to find out that Toledo, Ohio is one of the biggest HUBs for this and people don’t talk about that, it’s just something they want to ignore and I really respect you guys for bringing attention to this issue. So on that note Are there any causes or organizations you strongly support and encourage others to take the time to look into? Yeah there’s an organization called the A21 Campaign that, speaking of human trafficking, is an organization that helps fight that. And people can go to www.thea21campaign.org for more information about that. It’s an incredible organization that we are glad to be associated with.

 

  • What are 3 things that you’ve taken in or made into a daily habit that encourages you to kick more ass throughout your day? Morning Prayer time. First thing my mind is on God and what his design is for my day and breakfast. Yes Breakfast has changed my life and I will wake up early to make sure that I have time to eat a decent breakfast. And exercise, I work out and lift weights every day. I always feel weird if I don’t get a chance to lift.
  • If more people wanted to learn more about you guys and your art where would you encourage them to go? fortodayband.com and they can get everywhere from there. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube you name it and we got it.
  • So here’s a question I really want your input on, recently Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying who claimed to be a Christian all of these years, what do you think of his claim that all of these Christian Metal bands are NOT really Christians? I think that is 100% true! Jesus said that we would know people by their fruit and I’d say most of the members of Christian bands that I have met are no different than anyone else that I have ever met. They are not about seeing people get saved and encounter God, they just want to play in a band. Nothing against that but the reality is that these guys don’t live for the glory of God, they just live to play music. From what I understand, As I lay Dying started as a Christian band that fell away and never publicly came out and said “By the way we’re not Christians anymore” and I think that’s the case for a lot of guys. They believed in God but maybe didn’t have a firm foundation in faith or maybe they did have a firm foundation in faith but for one reason or another they fell away but they had a crowd that expected them to be Christians and they just allowed them to keep believing that and haven’t done anything to correct the situation. At the end of the day instead of pulling back the curtain and exposing all of these guys that are sneaking in under the Christian radar, I’d rather just do my best to be an example of what a REAL Christian looks like. And hopefully people can respect that and hopefully I can challenge guys in bands that are popular or may be popular that if I’m going to claim to be a Christian then I’m going to live for the glory of God because that’s what it means to be a Christian.
  • Well I’ll just get into my story real quick. I’ve been doing this Domain Cleveland thing for years and have made friends with many popular bands and lived the lifestyle. When you hang with Rock Stars you want to be a Rock Star. For a number of years I was taking advantage of the “rewards” of drugs, drinking to excess, womanizing, all while I had 2 kids at home that I was neglecting. I was in the military reserves and got called to the Middle East and after witnessing some angel flights I had a revelation that if that were me in that coffin then what would my daughters remember of me? That’s when a seed was planted in my head. I came home and my relationship with my kid’s mother fell apart as she found out about my years of infidelity and drug use. I felt like I was losing everything. I came up broken physically, spiritually, and broken emotionally. I was raised Catholic but never had a relationship with Jesus Christ. Finally I ended up at a service with some family members to support them and the Pastor that was speaking it felt like God was talking through him, directly to me about my lifestyle and I broke down in tears at the church. I spoke to the Pastor afterwards and gave my life to Christ. This was 2009. So I got my daughters involved and we started going to alive festival every year which is where I got to see you guys. I’m coming up on 6 years of sobriety, involved with some Men’s groups at my church, I just got my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and am working part time at a children’s home by my house.  All of that because God has transformed my heart and continues to work on me. But I must say that coming from the Heavy Metal world and hearing you guys and you glorifying God with your music it reaffirmed for me that I can do this Christian thing. That’s awesome. And I see you up there rocking and praising God, stepping out in rough environments to glorify the name of Jesus from the stage or in the crowd and that fire you have motivates me but lately I’ve been fearing I’m backsliding. I went overseas to a war zone voluntarily but here in my own country I fear stepping out with my faith. And I’m asking how I get to that level. I’m 41 years old and I’m trying to raise 2 daughters and be a Godly influence and I just wish I had the courage and fire that you do. So how did you get there? And what would you recommend for me?  Well you know I used to joke for years that I couldn’t cheat on my wife if I wanted to, I couldn’t flirt with a girl if I wanted to because I can’t have a conversation for more than 5 minutes without bringing up Jesus or talking about my faith. If I ever walked into a strip club I’d be getting a lap dance and say “so do you know Jesus?’ And it’s the truth, I’ve been so desperate to see people come to know Christ that there is just nothing else to talk about. And I think one of the practical things that has really helped me is making sure that the people closest to me are the kind of people that encourage and challenge me to be that way. Whether it’s my Pastor, my best friends, my band, my wife. The people that are closest to me and that I spend the most time talking to always want to hear “Did anyone get saved today?” So throughout the day I’m thinking yes I want a story to tell them so I’m out there sharing my faith trying to see what God wants me to do because obviously I want to see people come to know the love of Christ but also because I want a cool story to tell my friends when I get home. So that fellowship and church family has been a huge benefit to help me stay focused and stand solidly in spite of all the temptation in front of me.
  • Like the one verse that speaks on the company you keep. Yes, Bad Company corrupts good character.
  • So I’ve watched a lot of your videos on YouTube and would love to bring you in to my church to speak to the youth. How would we go about making this happen? I have an assistant that works my booking stuff and you can send her an e-mail at booking@mattiemontgomery.com you just go there and there is a contact form you fill out. Yeah being a single Dad, I have a heart for kids and I notice that most Dads are not doing what they are supposed to be. There are more boys than there are men. They are not stepping up and taking on their responsibilities and you see that when you walk the crowds here at Warped and you see the results. It breaks my heart and I want to have the courage like you do out there, like when you said on stage today that no one is too broken to be saved. I look at my own past and all the mistakes that I made but I no longer dwell there, I look back with gratitude for the things I’ve been through since coming home because I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.  So yeah I would love to bring you in to speak.
  • Now this may seem kind of weird but I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind praying for me for these struggles with my faith, to step up courageously, protect my children, be an amazing Dad to them and then hopefully be blessed with an amazing, Godly woman someday. That sounds like a great prayer, Amen! Ha-ha, just hearing you out there today I thought it would be cool to have Mattie pray for me. Yeah man, let me do it.

Mattie went on to give me an amazing prayer that I will forever be grateful for but because of Matthew 6:5-7 I will keep his prayer to me between us. I truly hope I made a new friend this day.

Featured Artist: Needtobreathe

Needtobreathe group promo pic

The sons of an Assembly of God pastor, Bear and Bo Rinehart had inherited their father’s gift with words, and put it to good use in their songwriting; their mother taught piano, making music a constant part of their young lives. Formed in 1999, NEEDTOBREATHE (with childhood friends Joe Stillwell and Seth Bolt) built an impressive regional following, playing throughout the Southeast. Along the way, they sold more than 15,000 copies of their self-released EP’s, recorded by Seth, who had earned a degree in record engineering. 2006 saw the release of the band’s major label debut, Daylight, and a relentless, national touring schedule. Despite being on the road nearly non-stop, NEEDTOBREATHE returned the following year with The Heat, which went to #2 on the Heatseekers chart and spawned the hit single “More Time,” a top 10 success at Triple-A radio (sitting alongside established artists like Coldplay and Jack Johnson). The group’s penchant for capturing a poignant moment or eliciting an emotion with their music is evidenced by the numerous songs from each of their albums that have appeared in film and television, including the Hilary Swank-starring, motion picture P.S. I Love You and MTV’s “The Hills,” among many others.

On their latest album, The Outsiders, NEEDTOBREATHE has truly come into their own, seamlessly blending ambient, arena-ready soundscapes with a decidedly Southern sensibility. “The ‘Southern thing’ is very scary to some people,” Bear laughs. “But for us, it’s not so much a sound than a feeling. It’s just about having some soul in the words you write, the music that you play. And it’s something that just comes naturally to us.”

And it is truly magic when the four members of NEEDTOBREATHE take the stage. The band has honed their live show the old-fashioned way – putting in the time, spending years on the road. Aside from their skillful musicianship, there’s a spontaneous energy that intangibly connects them with their audience, and their powerful performances have helped build a dedicated fan base that’s been clamoring for The Outsiders.

Check out NEEDTOBREATHE live Tuesday, November 9th at the House of Blues.

 

Bill Bailey interviews Leroy Hamp from War of Ages

Our own Bill Bailey got the chance to hang out with War of Ages vocalist Leroy Hamp while the band was in town on their Project AK-47 tour. See what Leroy has to say about his own journey both to Christendom and through the Christian music scene. Big thanks to Nathanael Dolesh for transcribing it all.

Bill Bailey: Alright here we go. What’s been your most inspiring moment during your music career?

Leroy Hamp: A few years back, we were playing at…I can’t remember which tour it was…I think it was Terror…anyway, we were doing this tour about 4 or 5 years ago, and this kid walks up to me and asks if he can talk to me for a second. I said sure man. He goes “I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in anything you guys stand for, but my mother just passed away, and the only thing that got me through this trialing time was listening to ‘Heart of a Warrior’.” He’s like “the words you were saying” and whatever else… he goes, “I don’t agree with it religiously and whatever else you’re doing, but it helped me get through it”. I didn’t know what to say. I was like “what do I say to that?” And the only thing I could muster up was like, “I understand your opinion and what you believe in, but the fighting spirit in that song that I’m talking about is the fact that this world is going to rip you apart…but, God is there to heal those wounds and to make you stronger and to turn you into a warrior. That’s the point of that song. You know it’s like your mother is hurting and she’s passing away, but the awesome thing about that is that that’s what molds and shapes you into the warrior spirit that you are. Because if you had no trials or temptations or anything…then we would all be weaklings walking around, mindless beings.” And I was like, “But the fact that we have these trials and these things going on is why we are RAW!, why we are so strong”. That’s the way I explained it to him; it was the only thing I could muster up. “It is God man, I’m sorry, but that’s awesome though that it helped you”.

 

BB: That’s great. How would you describe the scene in Erie?

LH: Amazing. We’ve been playing that scene for seven, eight years now. In the very beginning it was rough as it is for any band starting out in their home town. And then as time went on, we see new fans; brothers and sisters who were fans of War of Ages…now it’s like, their younger siblings are now fans of War of Ages, or just other kids in school. Like literally, we just played a home show a couple days ago and I did not recognize one kid there. Like maybe a couple, but they’re all new. So Erie has always been diligent and they’ve always come and they’ve always had great crowds and whatnot, and we’re just glad they’re still enjoying the music here seven years later. So it’s awesome, it’s incredible.

 

BB: What was it like to work with Tim from As I Lay Dying on Arise and Conquer?

LH: It was amazing. Tim’s a great dude. I learned a lot from him as an individual. And the guy can’t say no. He has such a giving spirit. And he knows what he likes, that’s the other thing. We wanted to have him on Eternal to do that album, but he wasn’t able to because of his schedule. But on Arise and Conquer, he’s like “this is what we should do” and whatever, whatever. And if we disagreed with him, he was like “okay, well let’s try your thing” and “what do you think about this?” He was very easy to work with and he had a good mind for what we were looking for, and he was able to adapt and mold into that. And he respected us for who we were and the writers that we were. He enjoyed what we were doing and whatnot so just a great guy to work with, good spirit.

 

BB: Cool. Where do you see the band heading musically in the future?

LH: We’re a progressing band. Each album is always going to be different than the others. And Eternal for us, was an album that we could bridge into something. And what that something is, no band ever knows. Some bands like what they do and they play that and that’s what albums they come out with. Bands like Cradle of Filth, Hatebreed…those bands are like “this is what we write, this is the way we are, that’s it”. We’re a band that likes to progress. We like to try things; we push the envelope over here, and do that. Both styles of bands are good, but we’re just a progressing one. So Eternal for us was a bridged album. We did a little bit of singing, a little bit of rapping, tried some rhythm stuff, you know, little bits of this and that. And we really enjoy the song “Eternal”, really enjoy “Indecision”, and we want to take those songs, and construct the next album. Which we believe Eternal was a good bridging album to do that with, to where we can maybe add a little bit more rhythm in it, maybe add a bit more of that rhythmic rapping whatever, I don’t know. A big influence of mine has always been Rage Against the Machine. And POD as well, but old, old POD, like Snuff the Punk days and stuff like that. But Rage Against the Machine, I have every one of their albums; I’ve been following them since I was a kid. The one thing I’ve always admired about them is the writing, musically and lyrically. And the way he brings his lines across and whatnot, that’s similar to what…

 

BB: Especially in today’s times, you know?

LH: Exactly. I don’t wanna be Rage Against the Machine. We wanna be like that as far as coming up with our own thing, doing our own stuff, hopefully making a staple on metal and what we do in it. And so that’s kinda what we’re looking for.

 

BB: Yeah. How do you guys deal with the whole Christian band stereotype? Do you think it helps you or hurts you guys when playing with other bands?

LH: That’s a loaded question. We have a hard time with the way certain people do certain things. We have an easy time with how other people do things. I think it’s always gonna be a struggle. Especially for us. We’re not a very vocal band, not that we weren’t before. You know at one time we were very vocal, but not a lot of bands were very vocal. And we felt like this was our mission and this is what we’re doing and that’s what it is. But now we try to focus more on like, content; who we are, and why we are this way. If you think about it like this: Christ mingled with prostitutes and the drug addicts of that time and whatever else. So if we are to mingle with those kind of people and be strong and whatnot, how do you mingle with them? I mean if Christ was like, “I’m God, I’m Jesus. I’m here to save you guys. That’s me. Let’s rock, let’s do this,” who’s going to take Him seriously in those times? They’re all gonna be like “get out of here dude. You’re just condemning us” or whatever. So we feel as though we need to live amongst them, and they need to see our hearts. And they need to see who we are and whatnot. So we focus more on that and the things like the after show stuff or the doing our own merch table or hanging out with the kids or whatnot. We feel like, on stage, I can quote scripture all day long and give them 30 seconds between each song of the most passion filled whatever, but then that’s gonna leave them with what? Like a 30 second understanding of what this massive quest of their life is, you know? So I feel as though we can do more with getting them to understand and mentoring them, or creating a follower of Christ and keeping up with that. I feel that there’s a lot more to do there, where most bands I feel like it’s just this whole passion thing. If you listen to the lyrics of “Failure” on our new album, it’s “When voices fade on passion, will your hearts still burn through failure?” Basically what that’s saying is “you’re crazy and passionate right now; that’s awesome; good. But when that fades, ’cause it will, you know when a revival happens and then it’s gone, what’s left there?” Destruction. Pretty much every time in history. After a revival, there’s destruction, cause people take it and run with it. And then there’s profiting and then there’s this and there’s that. And then it’s destroyed. What originally was something so great, is destroyed. So what we would like to do is hopefully grab a little of the passion, but bring this feeling of understand and whatnot into it as well. So I know it’s a loaded question; there’s a lot to give in a couple minutes, but yeah we have a hard time with a lot of ways things are done. We feel like there should be more time and consideration, I mean He’s God, He’s endless. There’s so much to explain about it. How can you possibly do it in 30 minutes on stage, you know? You can, but the full understanding of what God is and who He is is not gonna happen. That takes years of foundation building. I heard one band say “We wanna baptize kids right when they’re saved on stage; we’re gonna save em, baptize em!” I’m like, the kids aren’t gonna even get why they’re getting baptized! They won’t know why they’re doing it. It’s like “cool, we’re getting baptized; we’re saved.” That’s all they’re gonna know. They won’t understand what they’re doing and why it’s cleansing…like where have we gone? (laughs)

 

BB: What’s the toughest thing would you say about being a Christian and being out on the road and being around all the darkness of the world?

LH: Honestly the toughest thing for us is not so much the darkness; the darkness is where people are at rock bottom. I mean it’s easy to talk to people. They may not agree with you, but it’s cool to just sit there and hang out, and homeless people or whatever, you kinda just hang out and talk to them. There’s a homeless guy I was talking to. He didn’t seem like he was all there, but then all of a sudden, he kinda turned off this whole, “Hey man, I’m trying to get home!” Whatever, blah blah. And he said where he was from, and I’m like cool, what makes you come two/three hundred miles up here? And then he started saying why and whatnot. But I mean, it started getting real. That to me is awesome. The challenge is the different types of Christians. And I’m not gonna lie, we’ve fallen into that, where “you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong!” But no we’re just like, “Do it however you feel led to do it. We’re gonna do it this way.” That’s the hardest part, getting your mind there. You know, focusing on what matters, and not what doesn’t matter.

 

BB: Okay, are there three pieces of advice that you would give to a younger musician, and what is one thing that really surprised or still surprises you about the music industry?

LH: One thing would be when you’re touring, keep it small. Keep it little; enjoy what you’re doing. Months and months and months of touring early does nothing but burn you out. Keep it small keep it easy; we did that. And young bands these days…there’s so many tours going on and whatnot…keep it small; keep it fun. And the other thing is merch. Merch is the most important thing ’cause that’s what gets you from point A to point B. One shirt, one demo. That’ll get you gas. Don’t go crazy, don’t go into debt, you know. And the other thing I would say is you get your area, your surrounding area, to fall in love with you first. Once you build a good following in your hometown, and then a couple other stronger areas, you got it made. You’ve got something good going on. And then something that surprised me would be the way the music scene actually is. I mean when you’re a garage band writing songs for your first album, you have like this preconceived notion of how being in a band is supposed to be and the tour bus and whatever else. And everybody loves everybody and you’re just like “yyyyeeeaa! kids are going nuts!” (shakes his head) No. That takes years. Sometimes you skyrocket up, but it usually doesn’t last long. It’s like…there’s a lot to it. A lot more to it than I thought.

 

BB: What are three bands that you think they should require people to listen to in high school before they can graduate?

LH: I would say xDisciplex AD because they were my favorite band; that’s the band that got me doing what I was doing. Rage Against the Machines were life-changing. And number three would have to be…I’m gonna go with a metal band because I just started – not just, but the last few years started listening to metal cause of our guitar players. I would have to say Soilwork. No actually, In Flames. I really like In Flames.

 

BB: What books and movies would you say have changed your life?

LH: The Barbarian Way is a good book; I love that book. The favorite book that I’ve ever read literally was the key to changing my life: Wild At Heart by John Eldridge. It taught me about being a warrior; it’s what the basis of the song “Heart of a Warrior” was. It taught me to be humble, it taught me to think of life. Like Braveheart, he uses references of Braveheart in it all the time in it. Basically because of that book, I didn’t date anyone for two years and found my wife. So that was a huge book in my life. Then I would also say I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I feel like as a young man, if you’re single or whatever, those three books together create an unstoppable force. There’s other books I’ve read since then that I loved, but those are the three that I would say are very vital to a young man. For a woman, CaptivatingCaptivating is amazing for them as well as I Kissed Dating Goodbye. And The Barbarian Way appeals to them as well. But I would say Captivatingover Wild at Heart, though I think it’s good to read that one as well, but Captivating is the female version of that book. My wife read it and it changed her big time.

 

BB: What kind of message do you hope fans get out of your music or take away from your shows?

LH: That we’re real. That we’re real dudes trying to hang out and have fun and play music that we love. We’re not putting on a show other than musically. And we are what you get on stage and then when we get offstage, we take the whole band helmet off and put on the regular human being helmet. The bigger we get of course the less time you’re going to have for your fans, but at the same time we hope we’re always real. So I would say the aggression you get on stage – the showmanship, whatever, we try to build the best set possible for a live performance – stays, but you know, off stage it’s hangout time.

 

BB: Cool. And would you like to send any kind of message to our troops that are serving overseas?

LH: Yeah there’s a funny story with that. We played a bar a couple years ago, and I’m sitting on a bar stool. And this guy walks up to me and shows me his military license; he was a Marine. And I look at it, and nine times out of ten…bald head, I looked like a “tough guy.” Sometimes you get those guys that just wanna fight you. So I’m lookin at him and I’m like “Cool, man”. I thought he was just showing me his military license like he could kick my butt or something. And I look at him and I’m like, “Awesome dude. Thank you for fighting for our country”. And he goes, “I want you to know something”. And I’m like oh boy here we go. He goes, “When we’re all in the plane, I pop on Heart of a Warrior. And then we listen to ‘Strength Within’. And then when I get out of that plane and we jump out and I hit the ground, I kill every ______ ______ I see”. And I go, “That hands down is the most insanely amazing thing I’ve ever heard”. (laughs) I’m like, “that will never be topped”. I gave him a hug and I said, “I hope that you’re killing for us, the right people, but that is amazing, thank you very much!”

BB: Wow. (laughs)

LH: So it’s hard doing what they’re doing being away from their families. I have a lot of friends that are in the military. My wife tried to join the Air Force, but they wouldn’t take her because of her tattoo. But they’re doing something great and they’re working hard. Most of my family is military, and I hope that they continue to keep their hearts right and they continue to fight and keep doing what they’re doing. And that they come back alright.

 

BB: And then I wanted to see if you wouldn’t mind sharing like a brief testimony of what you’re life was like before you received Christ and the changes he’s made in your life and what your life is like now?

LH: Well before I was a Christian, I was very miserable. You know, which is the ongoing story of every person that’s onstage or offstage; they’re always talking about how miserable they are. But I was pretty miserable. I’d been kidnapped, molested, abused in every way you can think of. My father is not the greatest human being in the world. I didn’t come from a very great home: drugs prevalent, my father recently just left my mother, cheated on her twice, you know that whole spiel…just a very broken situation. I was very hurt by the family life and whatnot, and so my choice was to take it out on the only thing I could control, and that was my aspect of what I believed in. So I took it out on my own body, my own self, and got so depressed and so rock-bottom that I just wanted to commit suicide; I didn’t wanna live anymore. I almost killed someone. I bought a gun ’cause there was this kid picking on me in school; I was very young. And the only way I could get out of it was kill him. So I bought a gun, never got the gun, luckily, thank God, but I was so depressed, so low, that that was the only way that I was gonna protect myself and I didn’t care if I went to jail. I figured I’d kill him, then just kill myself. So all this stuff adding up. There was one day that I was working at Subway. And I nicknamed it “Drugway” ’cause I sold drugs out of the back. And I started sitting there thinking randomly about my two sisters, my brother, and how they’ve always did everything I did. If I smoked, they smoke; if I drank, they drank; if I partied, they partied. And I’m like “you know what, do I really want this life – how miserable I am – for them? And do I want this for myself anymore?” And I basically told myself “no”. Yeah I was sitting right there and I bagged up everything I was doing, all the scale stuff I was figuring out, gave the weed to my friend…which is amazing, ‘gave it to my friend,’ like “here smoke this”. So I just said I’m done. I quit smoking shortly after that. And a lot of it was selfish at the time. I was rock bottom. I felt like if I could just change my life around that I could be cool, I could find friends. A lot of it was just selfish like that. But I started building this foundation of who I was and why I was who I was. Started a band thinking it would be cool. And then it slowly turned into something else as I started getting more understanding of who I was. Then it led into this and that. And honestly, so many people I see become Christian and they become all these things because they want a lifestyle change. The most important thing you can do is your foundation. I don’t care why you changed your life around, I don’t care if you’re not changing your life around…then work on yourself as a human being. You know, and build that foundation and there it’ll turn into something else. So, selfish and whatever reasons I did it in the beginning…I didn’t come from a great family life, but I taught myself everything. Everything, from how to play sports to how to play bass, to how to scream in a band, to how to tour, whatever. I had no one teach me, I learned everything myself. And that’s the kinda man I’ve always been. So I’ve taught myself this, and that’s my relationship with Christ. And then I’ve learned from other people and put people in my life where I could learn from them and understand what the true meaning of this is and whatnot. So build a strong foundation. And basically yeah, that’s it in a nutshell. Very low, low life; low times, and hitting that rock bottom which most people hit…cause people come up to me and ask me all the time whether or not they can be Christian, or “how could you be Christian” and whatnot. To be honest man, it’s a choice. I can’t make anyone Christian. I can’t make anyone understand why I believe what I believe. They probably don’t care. And when you hit rock bottom and you wanna change, you’ll want it. I don’t have to explain it to you, you’re gonna want it.

BB: God kinda helps decide too, you know?

LH: Yeah exactly, and it’s like, I don’t ever wanna convince someone to be a Christian. I don’t ever wanna convince someone to believe in God. They have to do it themselves. Otherwise it’s not gonna last.

 

BB: That’s awesome. If someone has strong opinions like against the church or organized religion for whatever reason, what would you say to them to encourage them to seek a relationship with Christ?

LH: That’s a hard question. I was kinda discussing a little of it before. It’s like, someone who has a strong opinion against something…I mean, it’s like the government. Making a Democrat a Republican or a Republican a Democrat is not gonna happen. Convincing someone to like the Steelers over the Browns is not gonna happen. Unless they have some unknown reason why they want to make the switch. Someone who has a strong opinion about the church and has a strong opinion about religion…there’s nothing you’re gonna be able to say to be able to change their mind. Their mind is made up. It’s up to them personally…and this is what I’d tell them. I’d be like, “There’s nothing I can say to you to make you change your mind. The only thing that I can do is be me and hangout and be your friend”. There’s a friend of mine that came to last night’s show that used to be a very strong Christian. He has a mural of Christ on his back. Well some things fell apart years back. He basically fell apart and got a tattoo over that of like a decrepit Jesus and then some banner underneath it that says like ‘screw you’ or whatever. He made the switch because something happened. You can’t force anything; you can’t push something on someone. He’s still friends with us. We still love him. He came last night, hung out, knows exactly what we’re about, but he loves us. And hopefully someday that friendship…he’ll understand again or he’ll get it and realize what’s going on. It’s never too late. So for someone who has a strong opinion, which he does…just be his friend. Just hang out. Show him love. Don’t try to convince him of anything. Definitely don’t argue with him. Fall into that and you’re shutting the door right in your face. I see arguing so many times from young bands or even older bands. They’ll just sit there and argue their point of why God exists. You know, “And then the stars…if they were this much closer to this then everybody would burn and whatever”. And it’s just like, they don’t care. Be their friend. Shut up. Just be their friend.

 

BB: And then my final question is what Bible verse would you say is your most inspirational?

LH: I have lots, but I would say Jude 1:9. I’m pretty sure that’s it: “But not even the archangel Michael spoke blasphemy against Satan.” I feel like with everything that’s going on…I’ve heard so many Christian bands get up on stage and talk about how warrior and whatever they are and how they’re gonna defeat Satan and whatever…not even the archangel Michael spoke blasphemy against Satan. I’m not saying you don’t get up on stage and be strong with who you are and whatever else, and through the power of Christ, you are going to overcome what’s in your life. But I hear so many bands sit there and say, “Hell hath no fury!” and I’m like yeah okay, he may not be able to get you, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to rip apart every single person in your family to get to you. And through years and years of that…here I am in a band doing what I’m doing. Both of my sisters have had kids, my father is now divorcing my mom, there’s all these things going on. Yeah sure, he can’t get me, but that doesn’t mean he’s not gonna attack my Christian family. You know, that doesn’t mean anything. So you just gotta be careful. That speaks volumes to me. I think kids are awesome and they’re getting strong, but you gotta humble yourself a little bit. You sit there and talk about how you’re gonna battle Satan and you’re gonna win…no, you’re not. I’m sorry, you’re not.

BB: Ruler of this world, you know?

LH: Yeah, he rules this; he’s been doing it since the dawn of time. He was given this. He reigns. Now, God reigns over everything, but gave him this world to have dominion over. It’s like and now you’re sitting there telling a being older than…he doesn’t even care about you, it’s his demons that come and bother you. My other thing is, people always go “Satan can’t get me!” It’s like, he doesn’t give a crap about you, he’s busy handling people that are like destroying masses. He’s not omnipresent, he’s one. He doesn’t have the abilities God has. God is omnipresent. He isn’t. You have like that much authority in your own mind and body that you’re doing such great things that you think Satan’s devoting his time to you? No, he’s worried about the world and the antichrist and everything that’s going on with that. He’s not worried about you. So, Jude 1:9 that’s what I would say.

 

BB: Cool man. Thank you!

 

Bill Bailey interviews Nick Hipa from As I Lay Dying

Bill got the chance to hang with the guys in As I Lay Dying and discuss the band, their music and life on the Christian music scene. Here’s his sit-down with guitarist Nick Hipa.

Photos Courtesy of Tim Rader

Bill Bailey: So tell me about your DVD set This is Who We Are,and what was your inspiration behind it?

Nick Hipa: The DVD is an all-encompassing As I Lay Dying visual product I would say. It’s got a pretty in-depth documentary as far as where the band started from when Tim and Jordan initially founded it and where it went along the way to get here. And the second part is actually a series of live performances from a couple places in the southern California area. The third DVD is a combination of music videos and just random bonus features of people being goofy and funny and stuff like that.

 

BB: It’s interesting that you guys are on the label that started Metallica and other metal greats from the beginning. Is there a sense of honor with that would you say?

NH: I think the coolest thing about being on Metal Blade is just the people that are there. Like Brian Slagel, who’s the owner and founder of Metal Blade. He’s the dude that was responsible for putting out the first recordings of those bands. It’s just so cool to be involved with a label that really does live and breathe metal; they really care about what’s going on in the world of heavy music. They care about our band, they care about us, so it’s been an awesome label to be a part of and we’re really happy with it.

 

BB: Who were your main influences growing up, and what got you into metal and hardcore?

NH: Well when I was a kid, my favorite guitar player was Randy Rhoads, Ozzy’s guitar player. In addition to him, I liked all the usual suspects in the metal and rock world. The metal side: I liked Dimebag, I loved the Metallica dudes, and of course you’ve got your rock guys like Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, and all those dudes. Pretty much everyone that Guitar Worldwould tell me is an awesome guitar player when I was a kid, I would scope them out and love ’em. So that was it, but yeah I’d say Randy Rhoads was my biggest influence when I was younger…and also David Gilmour from Pink Floyd was a huge one because my mom used to always listen to that and I just loved Pink Floyd. It’s still one of my favorite bands today.

 

BB: And is there a preference on who you tour with? Do you enjoy the secular tours versus the more Christian tours and events?

NH: Well I’d say we don’t really do any Christian tours, not that we’re opposed to it, but I just feel like our band exists in the world of normal music. Sometimes we’ll have bands on tour that have similar beliefs as us, say a band like Underoath or August Burns Red or War of Ages or guys like that, and they’ll be on a tour with us and we’ll have maybe half non-Christian bands and half Christian bands. And it’s both the same as far as hanging out and just the getting along. We for the most part get along with all the other bands we tour with, it’s just with those bands in particular, we have a lot more in common and so we kinda connect with those guys a little bit.

 

BB: What were your first instruments that you started playing?

NH: When I first started playing music, it was all about the guitar. It’s still my favorite instrument.

 

BB: How do you keep your guitars in tune with the low tuning that you use?

NH: Our guitar tech. No I’m kidding (laughs). You just have to use a heavier gauge of string I think. There’s a couple things you can do. Some of my guitars have a longer scale length, and those hold the lower tunings a little bit more because there’s more tension there, and also using a heavier gauge of string. You’re able to hold a lower tuning without having super floppy strings or anything like that.

 

BB: What’s been your most inspiring moment during your music career?

NH: It’s hard to say because there’s so many different types of moments within the band that it’s been really. I don’t wanna say inspiring, but just really powerful moments. On one end, we’ll have shows in Russia or Japan that are absolutely crazy, where kids are just singing along to every word of the songs and…I mean there’s definitely a language barrier there. But so to see that a band that we put so much time and effort and thought into kinda transcends those boundaries and connects with people halfway around the world is a pretty awesome feeling. But then, we can play a city like this, and a kid can come talk to us after the show and say that maybe Tim’s lyrics like changed his life for the better or something like that or like pulled somebody out of depression, or when you hear that the band makes an impact on someone’s life, it makes us feel like we’re doing something worthwhile.

 

BB: Yeah, that’s cool. So where do you see the band heading musically in the future?

NH: Musically, I can see us still trying to expand on what we do, and well, never stray from what we do, you know we’re a heavy band first and foremost, and we’re always going to try and put out some pretty aggressive and intense records. But I think there’s just so many different things that we kinda touch on, whether it’s some of the texturing that Phil’s done, you know with guitar, or maybe with more shredding, you know, you never know, just more interesting song arrangements really the sky’s the limit and I think we’re just gonna try and find new ways to be a heavy band (laughs).

 

BB: Do you guys ever run into or deal with any Christian band stereotyping, and if you do, do you think it helps you guys or hurts you guys when playing with other bands?

NH: I don’t think we’ve ever run into any stereotypes that were detrimental to us. I mean, we’ll start a tour off and a band will just be kinda like reserved just to see how we are, but when they see that we treat everyone with the same love and respect that we’d like to be treated with for having our core set of beliefs, then they’re a little bit more open and friendly around us. Because I wouldn’t say we go overboard to the point where we’re telling anyone that they’re doing anything too, too wrong or what it is that they believe is…

BB: You’re not pushy.

NH: Yeah, I guess we’re just not pushing it man. Because we don’t want anyone to push anything on us.

 

BB: Yeah, exactly. I remember before I got saved. I had pushy family members, or just anybody in the church pushing it, and that was just pushing me away, you know? It just seemed like…you just gotta experience it yourself, you know? And that’s kinda how it was for me; when God wants ya, he’ll get ya, you know? And what’s the toughest thing about being a Christian and being out on the road and all around the darkness of the world all the time?

NH: I’d say the hardest thing is to just keep progressing and not getting lazy. For instance, when you’re on tour and you’re just watching TV or playing guitar, just hanging out all the time, you’re not really doing anything that’s spiritually edifying. If you’re not lifting each other up and moving forward, then I feel like you can’t just stay there; you’re moving backwards. So for us, we just try and get together every week and just talk with each other and get into real spiritual issues just to keep each other like, accountable, and just not let anything get out of control.

 

BB: Yeah, that’s great. Like do you guys do any kind of Bible study or anything?

NH: Yea, well before, we used to do straight up like, Bible studies, but now we’re just doing like, topics. Like we’ll talk about something like a Christian issue. Like right now, we’re talking about the consistencies in the Christian religion with other religions of the world and how that’s gonna use as an argument against Christianity by saying that the story of Jesus was shared with cultures that existed before that, and how, you know when you get into a conversation with someone along those lines, if you’re not educated in it at all, you really have no argument against it. So we’re in the process of just coming up with stuff this week and trying to think of a logical way to diffuse that topic if it’s ever presented to us.

 

BB: Yeah that’s great. I saw you guys at Alive Fest in 2009, and that’s where I got a chance to talk with Tim a little bit. But at Alive Fest, there was a Christian music festival. So we shared a little bit on stage, you know, the gospel message. But at shows like this, do you guys ever share the gospel message with the crowd during shows? And if not, with everything we’re dealing with in the world today, no matter how unpopular it may be at times, do you think more musicians of faith need to stand proud and present the message? Because you know, we all know that God would use that message at the right time when somebody needs to hear it. I mean do you think it’s something you would support? On these kind of tours?

NH: I don’t know, it depends because…this might be a difference of opinion within the band, but I don’t think we need to because I don’t think any of the people here are here to hear any sort of message in particular. And this is me, this is like my view: I just want to put on a good show, but that’s just me. Tim’s the one who writes the lyrics, and I feel like he would be a little bit more outspoken, but he doesn’t really say anything either. And that’s like really the responsibility that I feel like I need to uphold in just being the guitar player who kids are coming to see like our band for our records. And people can look down on that, but I’m not in this band for any sort of evangelical intentions. I love playing guitar first and foremost, and I’m happy to be in a band with dudes who have the same set of beliefs as I do. But really I just enjoy being a musician playing in this band.

 

BB: Yeah, and I’m not saying like make it a whole…like read a whole scripture or anything like that. I was just saying like a brief, whatever.

NH: I mean, I guess, but then if you just throw it out briefly, then I feel like that doesn’t really make it…I feel like you either go for it or you don’t.

 

BB: I see what you’re saying.

NH: Like if you just kind of casually mentioned anything, I don’t know if that would even plant a seed if it’s like five seconds of like a little quip of a thought between songs. It’s just hard, like I guess it depends what the setting is. Like if we really were trying to spread a gospel message of any sort, I would think that we’d thoroughly present it, and not just, you know. But you know we’re playing at a club in Cleveland and people are here for the show and that’s what I think we’re going to give them.

 

BB: Are there three pieces of advice you would give to a younger musician? And what is one thing that really surprised you or still surprises you about the music industry?

NH: Well three pieces of advice…one would be to find other musicians to play with (laughs), and try to find other musicians that will push you. You know, people that can challenge you. I’ve noticed that I’ve grown the most as a guitar player by being around other guitar players like on tour who I’ll watch and they’ll have like this crushing tone or this really good technique, and I’ll learn from that, and that makes me better. So I would say find other musicians in your area, whether it’s like kids in your school, or even local bands, befriending other bands that are where you’re from. The second thing I would say, at least if your intention is to be in a band, that song composition and writing is the most important thing. You can’t really get anywhere in a band if you can’t write awesome stuff. So I would definitely encourage people to nurture their creativity and just go for it. Don’t be afraid to try and write a song because you don’t know how. I would say just go for it and make yourself use that creative side of your mind, because that’s the only way you’re going to develop it at all. The third thing I would say is to never get discouraged with the level that you’re at. Because I guarantee you, any other musician that’s out there wishes they were better and practices for it. So because you’re not as good as you know, this person, doesn’t mean you’re not a good guitar player; don’t sell yourself short. You just have to remember it’s a journey. And yea, don’t get put by yourself (laughs).

 

BB: Alright. What are three bands that you think they should require people to listen to in high school before they can graduate?

NH: Geez, that’s really hard. I’d say Pink Floyd is one for sure. Just because I think they’re an amazing band, a band of substance. They write powerful music and they have very intelligent lyrics. I love Roger Waters’ lyrics. Um, Metallica (laughs). Listen to Master of Puppets. You know, get one of the metal classics under your belt. And then maybe Led Zeppelin. Those are all classic bands that I feel like kids should just get into. And it’s funny, I have a little brother who’s in high school, and I’ll show him bands for the first time, and it’s just like, “I can’t believe I’m showing you this! I mean, you’ve never even heard this in your life.” You know? (laughs)

 

BB: What books and movies would you say have changed your life?

NH: Wow. I can’t really answer that question because I haven’t read anything or watched anything lately that’s blown my mind, but I was just talking to our bass player Josh while the TV was on. We were talking about the movie The Sandlot. You know, simple movies. Like a fun…I don’t wanna say coming of age…but it’s a very light-hearted movie that, whenever that movie comes on, I just watch the whole thing. I don’t know, it makes me feel like life is good, you know? So if you’re ever feeling bummed, I suggest watching that one.

 

BB: Okay. What kind of message do you hope fans get out of your music or take away from your shows?

NH: I would hope that we just empower people, like lyrically, to just use their minds a little bit; think about what it is that they believe in or that they live for and what they stand for. I don’t think we try and challenge anyone in a negative way, but in a positive way. And I hope that the people that listen to the band will take that away from it. From our shows, on a very, very basic level, I hope people will have the time of their lives when they come to see us. That they’re stoked that they spent the $15 to go to the show and that they had a blast, you know?

 

BB: Cool. And I was wondering if you had any message that you would like to send out to the troops that are serving overseas?

NH: Definitely. Get back safe, and we love, appreciate, and support you guys, as a band.

 

BB: And then I wanted to see if you wouldn’t mind sharing like a brief testimony of what your life was like before you had received Christ and the changes He’s made in your life, and what your life is like now that you have Christ.

NH: Briefly huh? (laughs) Well I got saved in eighth grade. And that’s still pretty young, you know, I didn’t really experience a hard life before that. But I got saved right around the same time my mom did. I grew with…it was just my mom and I most of the time. We moved to Texas and my dad is still deploying. And it was just really hard for us. My mom was at a point where she really just felt defeated in life. She didn’t really have like any peace or any true feeling of love and acceptance. And when she got saved, I noticed an immediate change in her and I felt the same way as her before. When I saw it happen to my mom, and I heard the gospel for the first time, it just made sense, you know? Like it seemed like there was something fundamentally missing in my life. And it’s very basic, but I felt at peace and where I should be when I got saved as an eighth grader. It’s been like that my whole life.

 

BB: Wow that’s awesome.

NH: Yea, nothing too gnarly of a life, I was just a kid, you know?

 

BB: Yea. Well that’s cool man! I guess that’s about it.

NH: Thank you guys!

 

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