Published Jun 01, 2000There's a fine line between prophet and killjoy. Just ask Nathan Gray. As the front-man for Delaware's Boy Sets Fire, one of hardcore punk's most overtly political and socially conscious bands, Gray is learning that in order to make your point, you can't simply brow beat your audience into submission and hope they see things your way. That said, their third album After the Eulogy contains some of the most direct "message songs" they've ever written.
But when it comes to live performances and Gray's sometimes overbearing between-song rants, things are starting to change. "We've been learning to try and incorporate not only humour, but to make the talks in between the songs short, concise and to the point," he says. "I remember watching myself talking on stage on video from a year ago and thinking, 'God, shut the hell up! Play the damn song, dude.' We've been trying to find the middle ground on how to be serious and sincere about our message, but also make it look like it's fun, because if you don't, who's going to want to be part of it?"
"There's never going to be a point where we don't explain our songs that's just what we do but we've tried to make it more palatable to everyone. Sure, there are people who like to sit through a 20 minute talk, but there's a lot of others who don't and the message gets missed. And since that's an important part of what we do, we want everyone to hear it. It's the people who already agree with you who will sit through a big sermon; the people who don't really know what we're about are not going to want to listen to anything if they hear you preaching."
But, he insists, don't expect to hear or see anything that resembles Blink 182 goofiness. "If you're just goofy all the time, it's sort of silly and nobody really takes you seriously. If you're serious all the time people get bored with it and then don't take you seriously.”