BustedHalo discusses life in the spotlight with the most high-profile Christian band in the post-hardcore rock scene.
BustedHalo: Do you get much backlash from the Christian scene?
Christopher Dudley: Honestly, not really. I think most people get where we’re coming from. There are some people who say that what we’re doing is not okay, but those are the same people that say that if you’re in a band that screams, you can’t believe in God—really extreme people. Honestly, those opinions really don’t bother me too much, because they obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. I just write it off without worrying about it too much.
BH: Do you feel like you have a bigger spotlight on your personal behavior than bands that don’t identify as Christians?
CD: I think that we do have a lot of people looking at our personal lives and looking at what we’re doing, but I think that we put ourselves in that position. Just being a Christian band and being a Christian, what you want to do is be able to say, “Look at me. Look at what I do if you want to see what Jesus is like.” But the thing is, we are humans and we are very imperfect and we screw up and do crappy things. We do our best not to, but we come at it from a different perspective. I do think that people look at us that way, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I want them to. The fact that that’s true keeps us on our toes and keeps us from doing stupid crap that we know we shouldn’t do.
BH: Do you find that the bands you tour with are curious about your faith?
CD: Yeah, a lot of people come up to us because a lot of them know that we’re a Christian band, but they don’t know what that entails. A lot of the conversations will be like, “What do you think about this topic? What do you think about abortion? What do you think about George Bush?” A lot of times it opens up cool conversations, and we’re just as open to hear about what their views are on different topics. I’ve had plenty of conversations with bands that we’ve toured with, and I’ll say, “Look, I really don’t agree with what you believe, but I think it’s cool that you respect what I believe and aren’t trying to shove anything on me.” But then again, we’ll have people who will say, “Man, I never really thought of it that way,” and they’ll rethink how they look at Christianity, because maybe they grew up in a home where they got turned off to God. It runs the gamut, and we’ve had conversations on both extremes.
BH: Do you feel like you have to be on your best behavior when you’re around the people you’ve been having conversations with?
CD: I don’t think it’s a pressure to be on our best behavior, because I think that implies that you’re just faking around everyone, and when you’re by yourself you can just do what you want. Just being a Christian, there’s a standard and a set of morals that you live by, where some things are okay and some things aren’t. I’m a big believer in something that our old guitar player called ‘parallel living’ and ‘parallel speech.’ You don’t act differently around certain people. You don’t act differently inside a church than you would outside it, whether it would be acting really bad outside a church or really bad inside it. You just need to be who you are, and instead of changing who you are to fit people’s perceptions of who you are to who they think you should be, you should just always be who you want to be. You should change your inside and who you are instead of just putting on a front.
BH: And that’s largely what the new album, Define the Great Line, is about?
CD: The lyrics themselves are really personal to Spencer [Chamberlain, lead vocalist]. They deal with things that he’s dealt with in his life, from friends dying to divorce—all of these things that have molded him into who he is today. It totally goes along with the title. It’s kind of a broad thing, but it’s pretty much the idea that there’s a line that everyone walks in their life. There’s the person that you feel that you’re supposed to be, but then there’s the person that you feel your parents want you to be, and there’s the person that God wants you to be—all these different things that are coming together in your life. It’s just trying to walk a line of where you feel like you should lead your life.
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