One of the highlights of Cornerstone 2006 was getting to see a whole gang of my old hometown friends, specifically the boys(and girl) in Lincoln’s Revenge, a new prog influenced orchestrated rock band, hailing from my old hometown of Guelph, Ontario(that is Canada folks). So I managed to catch up with them when they weren’t playing their own generator stage or showcasing on the Impromptu stage for a mob of crazed fans overjoyed to see some brass in the midst of the traditional metal mayhem.
Joel IVM: State who you are and what you do.
Matt: Hey, I’m Matt, and we’re Lincoln’s Revenge.
Chad: And I’m Chad.. and we’re still Lincoln’s Revenge.
Seth: I’m Seth, and I’m in Lincoln’s Revenge.
Nathan: And I’m Nathan.
Seth(laughing): He’s in Lincoln’s Revenge.
Joel IVM: Sweet. Give me the history, how did you guys first form?
Matt: Lincoln’s Revenge is basically made out of the charred remains of a band called Pretty Big Plunger which was like a fun pop/rock/ska band from back in 2003. Chad and I were kinda unsatisfied with the way the band was running and the lack of motivation on parts of other members, dedication and such. So instead of trying to make a band work while the other [members] go to school or play volleyball professionally, we decided to start over. We started looking for members for Lincoln’s Revenge and it formed up over the next year.
Chad: We’re actually still [without] a solid line-up.
Joel IVM: How many original members did you have carrying over from Pretty Big Plunger?
Chad: It was just Matt and I, just the two of us. The three guys in Pretty Big Plunger are doing their own stuff, which is really cool. Bean still comes by to visit a lot. Which I like.
Matt: He’s sweet.
Chad: So we did that and we’ve been through two guitarists and a front man so far. We still don’t have everyone we need. But that’s basically how it started.
Seth: We’re having a good time doing it.
Joel IVM: Lincoln’s Revenge is an odd title for a band, can you give me a bit of the idea behind the name?
Matt: Initially it was just kinda…
Chad: I just said it.
Matt: It’s pretty much just a random thing that Chad said when we were trying to think of band names… So Chad said Lincoln’s Revenge…
Chad: Lincoln’s Revenge!
Matt: …we voted on it.
Joel IVM: It just happened! Let’s start a band!
Matt: …and it became the band name that we chose. Overtime since then we’ve kinda taken that and put it into conceptual work. We’re kinda using it for an album theme possibly in the future and playing off of it with a little bit of art, so it has good merit.
Chad: So we probably shouldn’t give away the entire concept, but..
Joel IVM: … let’s just say it’s steeped in history.
[a couple of epic ‘ooohhs’ and approving nods]
Joel IVM: So what are the new sounds you’re trying out with the new band as to before you said it was more of a straight pop/ska sound…?
Matt: At least one of the other members of the old band just wasn’t really into trying anything new, he was just like “let’s just do the same thing all the time.” Maybe not directly, but it just seemed that way. So with the new band we’re trying to be more progressive, try new things, maybe mess around with some different instruments. [Such as] we use synth and we have more instruments. We all come from different musical backgrounds so everyone bringing their own element.
Chad: So we’re kinda putting more of a hard rock, melodic, progressive rock edge on things. We’re also keeping here and there some fun frivolity. Definitely lots of epicness…
Seth(laughing): Frivolity AND Epicness.
Chad: Yeah, make sure you get “Epicness” in there.
[much cheering from band mates]
Joel IVM: Where do you see the band going in the next while. What are some things you want to try out, you know, The Future.
Matt(showing his Canadian colours): The future, eh?
Chad: .. or future B
Seth: .. flying cars?
[much general giggling]
Matt: Anyways… the future. Well we just want to take this band as far as we can. So basically to get better personally is our main goal. Becoming a better band and better musicians individually. We want to do what God wants us to do. We want to try to listen to Him and take it where He wants it to go, through song themes or concept themes, to show spiritual truths like that. We want to get to know people and show people love because that’s what life is all about.
Joel IVM: What do you guys think about right now, there’s a whole lot of bands being all “well we’re not a Christian band, we’re Christians in a band.” And generally trying to dodge that whole concept. As far as where the industry is going, Where do you guys see yourselves, do you agree with that movement?
Matt: It’s really hard to appeal to a secular crowd when you’re saying stuff like: “Yeah! We love Jesus!” Because we’re not about just being “We’re Christians, and Christians are cool, you guys are cool to because you’re Christians.” We’re more about just reaching out and getting in with the secular people and showing them that Christians aren’t all bigots and goof-jerks. But it is really hard if you want to appeal to them you can’t exactly just go up to them and say, “Yeah Jesus! We love Jesus! If you don’t love Jesus… you suck.” We tried that with the other band and I remember a particular time I was talking to a 15-year-old guy, who was into the kind of music we were making but just refused to listen to us because, basically because we said ‘Jesus’. If we’re not going to be appealing to the people we’re trying to appeal to specifically because we’re saying things like “We love Jesus” or “Jesus saved me”. Then we probably won’t be doing what we set out to do. We’re not hiding the fact that we’re Christians but we’re not right out saying “Hey, you should love Jesus” because we don’t want to be shut down right away. …And usually when I rant I lose track.. so does anyone want to finish that off?
Seth: Yeah so if someone comes and asks us if we’re Christians, we’re going to be like “Yeah, of course” but we’re hoping that through our lyrics and through our stage performance they’re going to be able to see that we’re a Christian band, without us saying it really. We don’t want to be up there like some bands [who just] drop the f-bomb and act like [idiots]. We want to have a good time and show Jesus’ love through how we act and what we say without almost directly saying it.
Nathan: Also that’s not just on stage, that’s everywhere we go.
Matt: One more thing, we do write lyrics…
Chad: … that have something to say.
Matt: We don’t just write dumb songs that have no meaning we try to portray truth.
Chad: It’s not about convincing someone that you’re right, it’s about reaching people and just hanging out.
Matt: And making people think.
Nathan: There’s lots of ways that you can connect with non-Christian people by taking something that’s similar in what we believe as Christians and what they believe also, but from a different stand-point.
Joel IVM: You guys have been playing in a lot of clubs and bars, not necessarily the ‘Christian scene’, how has the reaction been from a secular culture and also how have you guys matured through reaching that audience? I’m sure you guys have grown to see things a bit differently.
Seth: Actually we played at The Wax, which is a venue in Waterloo, there was a guy there that basically, he wasn’t a Christian but he was just like “I don’t know what it is about your lyrics and your music but you just give me this happy feeling, this warm feeling.” stuff like that, I thought, was really cool because that’s pretty much what we’re really intending. It was really awesome.
Chad: In comparison, we played at Pitch & Praise(festival) in the battle of the bands, and we played a couple of churches as well. It was a lot of fun and you get a lot of support, everyone seems to be into your band no matter what you’re playing. But at the same time, I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way but I’m kinda getting tired of the ‘Christian bubble’ kind of thing. There’s such a blatant difference between playing a show for church kids and playing a show for non-church kids. I’ve been feeling more recently it seems that a lot of Christians and youth in the church especially, seem kind of naive and ignorant about life. I mean if you’re doing what’s right and you’re doing what God wants you to do, having a good time with it then there’s nothing to argue about, but I just personally want to get out and see the world, talk to the world and see what the world is about.
Nathan: It also means a lot more when someone compliments you and they’re not a Christian, they’re not just trying to be friendly. At non-Christian venues you can’t really expect huge support or anything like that.
Joel IVM: Alright, let’s hop over to a lighter note, who does the majority of the song writing? Is it something that you guys share, sort of the ‘hands on’ approach or is it a couple of you, or what?
Chad: So far we’re not really sure exactly… what we’re doing.
Matt: Until now it’s been mostly one of us, usually it ends up being me, writes the majority of the music. Then we all fine tune it and change stuff up but we’re re-evaluating our songwriting process a bit these days. we’re kinda trying to come up with a process that works. You can expect that the music will progress a lot more over the next while.
Chad: We’ll probably share a lot of writing but look at it in more of a building sense. Take a song and write something and then work on it and build it into something good.
Seth: Keep re-evaluating the song as it progresses.
Nathan: Take people’s advice too, because I know when you play it sounds completely different then if you hear it either live or on a CD.
Joel: How does the process work right now, does someone present an idea and everyone builds off of that? Or did you come with a simple finished song and then you fill it out with the rest of the musicians?
Matt: It’s usually either I write an entire song, like everything.
Matt: Like pretty much compose a song, with horn lines and everything.
Seth: Guitar and drums and everything.
Matt: Then we play it and tweak it, or someone else presents a song that’s one instrument and a couple ideas and I’ll write horn lines on top of it, polish things off a bit. I write a lot using midi. (laughing) Most of our songs are written in computer format as well.
Joel IVM: How do you mix your faith and your music? As far as creating art, how does that connect to your relationship with Christ? Is that something that is one in the same? A lot of bands will say, ‘my music is a result of a relationship with Christ’ or ‘I write songs to save people’. Where do you guys see yourselves as individuals?
Seth: I think what’s inside of your heart and what’s really close to you, what you really truly believe and dwell on, it’s going to come out in everything you do, or should at least. So if you’re a musician, or a baseball player, or whatever and you just really love Jesus, your actions are going to show that. For a song writer your lyrics are probably going to show that. So, I do think that it’s one and the same.
Matt: Faith, like Seth was saying, isn’t what you say you believe, faith is what you do. …that’s from Blue Like Jazz I think…
Matt: We pretty much just try to live as righteously as we can.
Chad: Be an example…
Matt: …and then what we believe naturally comes out through what we do, through the songs we write.
Chad: So far we’re not really taking a preaching focus per se, or shouting it from the rooftops, or stage tops, but the lyrics that we write generally try to write stuff that is relevant and has a point to prove. Maybe we’ll do something good in someone’s life or mind…
Matt: Inspire someone.
Chad: … at the same time we just want to play really good music and meet people and talk, making friendships, relationships. For me, also sometimes it’ll actually be a direct form of worship, sometime’s it’s not, it depends.
Nathan: With the music, and especially the lyrics, I personally really have faith that God will work through the people that listen to our music because I know that our lyrics can really have the potential to speak to people but it’s all up to the people that are listening to the music. There’s really so much stuff, just reading over some of [the songs], that people can take out of it. I think that our music helps people.
Joel IVM: Great, let’s wrap this up, any closing comments, shout-outs, dope rhymes you guys wanna drop, any prayer requests anything like that?
Chad: Shout-out to Kevin at the Flying J, in Gary, IN.
Seth(laughing): He was pretty awesome, definitely an awesome guy.
Matt: He got us here.
Seth: Shout-out to Jason Gormley who’s been playing with us for this past week, who’s actually in a much better band; Lifestory:Monologue.
Matt: Lifestory:Monologue is sweet.
Joel IVM: Is that all?
Matt: Well you said we could get prayer requests, so we might as well.
Seth: Yeah! It’s like free money!
Chad: Yes. Pray for us to have free money.
Matt: No, just pray that we all keep God in the right place with this thing. …and that we get signed to the militia group.