Clang Quartet Talks INC 2013 and Harsh Christian Noise: "I Am a Follower of The Crucified and Resurrected Christ"
I imagine, along the way, you've bummed out Christians with the intensity and harshness of the performances, and bummed out noise folk with the message. Any notable experiences from either end of that spectrum?
I had an experience in the early Clang Quartet days with someone trying to physically stop me from performing during a show. This was at a so-called Christian place and a bouncer had to come and assist me. You read that correctly: some Christian places have bouncers!
I have had other experiences where I was not allowed to perform at certain Christian venues unless I was willing to change certain elements of the show, namely some of the masks, which I do not feel the need to do.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have had some opposition in the form of internet insults. From time to time, someone will approach me at a show and try to engage me in a pointless argument over an aspect they do not like or understand. One guy walked up to me in Portland, Oregon and said right to my face "Jesus SUCKS!". I very calmly asked him if he believed that statement enough to bare his soul in a performance in front of people who might not agree with him. He did not really answer me at the time, but later on the Noisefanatics website that he did know I was really a Christian when he made the remark. Interesting.
More often than not, the discussions are very civil and usually I discover that people are picking up on personal aspects of the show that I did not think they would. Also, many people who called themselves "Satanists" are far more civil than some Christians I could name!
Has your message evolved over time?
Not so much the actual message, but the delivery of said message is far more prominent than it was in the past. I have become more confident with the performances, and even though the show still has major abstract qualities, it is much more clear in terms of the statement I am making.
Does your act always involve the "Passion Play" style components? Do you ever perform without any of the faith-based significations?
I cannot imagine a Clang Quartet show without the elements you mentioned, but I do perform in other settings where I just play drums, or play some electronics, or even sing. I do session work for varied artists who would be probably not know how to handle a Clang Quartet show!
How does that giant noise cross work?
Every device in the show is both a sound/ visual element. They all pull double duty, as it were. For the cross, I use a combination of guitar pedals and acoustic guitar microphones on the actual cross body, which is actually pieces of several crutches put together with spring clamps and a number of small sound making devices, like springs and other small pieces of metal. The other items on the cross (words with reflective letters, trinkets, etc. ) are only visuals. This device is not nearly as complicated as some might think!
When NYC straight-edge hardcore act Youth of Today broke up and the members went on to form Hare-Krishna hardcore band, Shelter, they received flack from members of the religious community that believed they shouldn't bother playing rock 'n' roll at wild concerts. They should just chant "Hare Krishna" and live the life of a devotee. I don't personally subscribe to that thought process, but how would you respond to that critique? As in, why don't you just become a monk or preacher?
I had forgotten about Youth Of Today! I read part of an article on, I believe it was Connie Hopper of the Southern Gospel group The Hoppers, about this same thing some time back. I share her opinion on this issue. It is weird to me that there is someone in the Christian community who feels that being a speaker or minister is the ONLY way to serve God as a devotee.
I usually refer people to Romans 12: 1-8 The entire passage deals with Christian conduct, but in verse four it begins a section on the diverse talents of the believers in question. "We Have Many Members In One Body (comparing the number of members as one group with the number of different parts that make up the human body) And All Members Have Not The Same Office". As I understand it, this passage is referring to the varied gifts that people have that are different from one another that can all be a part of the same cause.
Not everyone can reach people through speaking in a public setting. Not all can work in hospice or a care facility. Not everyone can prepare food for those who cannot prepare it themselves. And not everyone can be a performer of some sort. Somehow, all this diversity is working together to help the cause. It boggles my mind to think that there is someone out there who thinks their way to do things is the only way.
International Noise Conference 2013. Presented by Rat Bastard. Wednesday, February 6, through Saturday, February 9. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. Visit squelchers.com.
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