'Hardly A Flash In The Pan!'
To define art is to define a journey. With perspective and taste entering into the field of play, said definitions are very hard to come by. He knows this and yet regardless of what the circumstances may be, he still continues upon his journey because that is what must be done.
Splitting himself in two is not entirely out of the question. It may sound crazy, but we are all guilty of it in some form or fashion. He is just smart enough to pack a bag before his trip.
As a Lutheran minister he is so well-versed in spiritual ideology that conversation can be hard to maintain because at times he makes too much sense.
As the vocalist/leader of the buzzing hard rock band Homeless J., he becomes the Flash - someone who fights for art and delivers the message that they both can agree upon. And each half of his internal whole has a job to do.
Homeless J’s label the Nashville-based Selectric Records is totally committed to them. In 3 Seconds To Gaze, they possess the rare record which offers so much to so many.
Primal moments such as the war-cry in The Flash’s namesake song will capture the kids with energy to spare. The poignant “Not The Son” plays hosts to lyrical content that should engage fans of amazing storytelling on multiple levels.
And of course there is the message. He’s not afraid of the message but he also prefers to let mystery provide an introduction or two (but there are some clues …)
Everything will be alright (he did say so himself in “Man On The Radio”). He is confident of this fact … The message will get out, one way or another.
This Is The End Of The Beginning …
Chatting recently with Chad Van Meter (aka The Flash), and knowing that their path along the way to now hadn't exactly been smooth ie: being dropped from MCA due to a merger, I first wondered what had enabled them to keep faith with their music and continue to push towards that new elusive record deal? "For the most part it was the fact that we never actually got our shot.
Bad luck, bad timing, who knows? We were out nothing, and we knew that. As long as the music was still happening we knew we could make it.
Fortunately it was and is. It ultimately boils down to pesky persistence, which either comes from simple determination or a scary case of denial."
Your album title 'Three Seconds To Gaze' is very thought provoking,
but I'm wondering what it pertains to from your own point of view? "It comes from a lyric in the song 'Beauty Boy': "I love you, kill my own son for you, just three seconds to gaze and I'll shock the world for you." There's a couple ideas going on. The first, sadistic as it sounds, is more about not wanting something too much. It's a reference to the Abraham Isaac episode - letting go in order to hold on kind of thing. The "3 seconds" part has more to do with the fleeting nature of inspiration (the ram in the woods). We get a glimpse (or in our case "a flash") and that's got to last us a long while."
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Homeless J at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "Definitely "The Flash" - again, it's a discussion on the fleeting nature of inspiration ("not burning red, or glowing long, just a flash of light, beneath this song"). We got to learn to be content with the hauntings we get here. It may not seem like much at the time but in the end can reap a great harvest. Or a forest fire."
And talking about titles, how did the band's name come to be ...
and what else could it so easily have been?! "When we started the band I was really into this book of photographs of homeless people. I was especially intrigued by this one shirtless-scabbed-over-scraggly-bearded guy (who we affectionately call "Jim"). Anyway, our artist friend sketched a picture of this guy for our first demo cover. The sketch ended up looking like certain renditions of Jesus. One of the guys in the band said, "that looks like Homeless Jesus" and we all went. "That's it." The theological significance (out of Matthew 25) matched my curious zeal for the homeless ("whatever you do for the least of these."). Later we realized the name Homeless Jesus was somewhat of a loaded phrase. It had potential to keep otherwise prospective listeners from hearing the music, or at least hearing the music objectively. We soon realized that abbreviating Jesus (going with homeless "J.") could retain the original meaning (and actually remain theologically accurate since Jesus made himself interchangeable with any disenfranchised person) without the
potential damage. We have been using the name since. Otherwise the
name "Just Because" was a contender."
OK, if your nickname is 'The Flash' - which is exactly the same as one of the new tracks on this album - following that logic,
there are also the songs 'Beauty Boy' and 'Bra In The Window' ... so why
weren't you named "Bra Boy" instead?! "The embodiment of a Bra, while a tad bit tantalizing, I'm afraid would confuse our audience. I will give it some serious thought, however."
Hailing from Ft. Wayne, Indiana what was growing up there like for
a teenager and what was the highlight of the average Saturday night "I have a unique condition where I don't get bored. I could be stuck in
a closet for a weekend and be quite happy. Fort Wayne has actually been
voted "the average American city" a few times. Not sure if that is a compliment but I feel that living here keeps me grounded in reality. Frequenting McDonalds helps."
For fun, and taking the titles of a few of your album tracks,
please let us know:
'The Flash' - OK, is anyone in the band a fan of the old TV series of the same name ... or perhaps a Queen fan also?! "Brad, our guitar player I am guessing. He is a comic book guy. Not
huge fans of Queen but distant admirers."
'If I Could Raise Myself From The Dead' - If you could raise anyone from the dead for a chat, who would it be and what would be your first question to them? "Bertrand Russell. Were you right about God?"
'Bra In The Window' - Is this a signal like a tie on a door knob,
etc.?! "Actually, originally it was a girl standing in the window with only her bra on. In a college dorm (suspiciously close to the public eye) it became symbolic - did she mean to tease us boys OR was she truly ignorant to the fact that her window shades were open? Somehow the metaphor morphed into an imagined conversation with culture and religion ("you're the lock, but I'm the key")."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop song would you love to cover
today if asked ... why?! "We have done a few already. One of the most enjoyable was "Don't You Want Me Baby." We had an excuse to get a girl singer to join us on stage."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I was truly inspired by 'March of the Penguins' and I love the penguins in the kids movie
'Madagascar' (a movie which, because of my 2 year old, I have seen 25
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Homeless J's new CD, just answer this easy question: 3 Seconds To Gaze was produced by which music veteran brothers?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before July 1st with your answer and the subject title 'HOMELESS J SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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