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vol 3 • iss 4 – july - aug 06
Scott Stapp KT Tunstal Cory Nastazio
John Hensley Al Green
Surfari with Shannon and Shayne McIntyre Zela Lobb Robert Maxwell
FEATURES 20 Scott Stapp :: Feeling the Music Scott Stapp’s closet is empty. The skeletons have vanished in order to hamstring someone’s life. He feels free, but now the hard work begins.
26 KT Tunstall :: Like Being a Successful Tramp You’ve heard her foot-stomping and elegant hits “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” & “Suddenly I See” all over radio, now find out what’s stirring in this wandering minstrel.
32 John Hensley :: Honor the Disturbance From wrangling horses in Wyoming to portraying Matt McNamara on the sometimes whack FX series Nip/Tuck, Hensley has managed to keep his head on straight.
38 Shannon, Shayne & Banyon McIntyre :: Supernaturally Spoiled She’s an artist. He’s a model. They gallivant around the globe looking for exotic waves for their Fuel TV show, On Surfari. What can be better than that? How about taking along their toddler, Banyon
44 Cory Nastazio :: Nasty Heard God Say Heaven wasn’t ready for him, so Nasty is ready for round two of flips, family, and living the good life on a two-wheeler.
photo: Michael Wong
Departments EXPRESSIONS 50 Leigh Nash :: The Right Time
The angelic voice that brought you the mega-hit “Kiss Me” has trudged out of her musical purgatory just in time.
58 Zela Lobb :: Cayman Daydreaming Our favorite newlywed artist has packed up her brushes and laptop and headed off to the Caribbean with her hubby. She lives in splendid chaos. Now, she’ll do it with sand between her toes.
62 Robert Maxwell :: Honestly
Robert Maxwell highly values honesty in those who pose before his lens. Can that be found these days? Maxwell seems to think so.
SCREEN 70 DVD Reviews
Jeffrey Overstreet recommends some of the movies that you may have overlooked and shouldn’t have.
SOUND 72 CD Reviews
RISEN lays out the low-down on a stack of new musical offerings.
UP TO SPEED 74 Common
Catherine Hardwicke Billy Corgan Those who have been featured in RISEN are on the move. Find out where they are headed.
END NOTE 76 Al Green :: Soul Man
EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF :: Steve Beard MANAGING EDITOR :: Regina Goodman FOUNDING EDITOR :: Chris Ahrens CULTURE EDITOR :: Tyler Shields COPY EDITOR :: Dane Wilkins CONTRIBUTING WRITERS :: Jeffrey Overstreet, Owen Leimbach, Trish Teves, Jared Cohen, Jesse Duquette, Thaddeus Christian, Fayola Shakes
ART ART DIRECTOR :: Rob Springer PHOTO EDITOR :: Bob Stevens
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS :: Paul Roberts, Chapman Baehler, Lou Mora, Michael Wong, Tyler Shields, Blaine Franger
PHOTO STAFF :: Bethany Franger, David Choo, Jay Mimms, Paul Mimms ILLUSTRATION :: Zela
FASHION FASHION EDITOR :: Mona Van Cleve CONTRIBUTING STYLISTS :: Derek Van Cleve, Reza Buan, Teri Apanasewicz
PUBLISHER :: Michael Sherman ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER :: Dan Alpern ACCOUNTING :: Cynthia Beth CIRCULATION:: Helen Warmath THANK YOU :: House of Blues San Diego, Shade Hotel Manhattan Beach, Kathryne Hall of Art Department, Grace Hill Media
3 1 Jessie Duquette - Writer CD Reviews (page72)
4 Blaine Franger - Photographer KT Tunstall (page 26)
7 Fayola Shakes - Writer Scott Stapp (page20)
Jessie Duquette is the managing editor of Herbivore Magazine. In her spare time she likes to cook vegan food for cute boys.
KT Tunstall's easy-going personality made our shoot super fun and chill. I enjoyed every minute of it, especially when she got onstage. That girl is crazy talented. To see more of my work, check out my website at www.blainefranger.com and my photo blog at www.blainefranger.com/blog
The sick thing about fame is that when you screw up, you're obligated to explain your missteps. Scott Stapp was clearly uncomfortable during parts of this interview, and who wouldn't be? Asking personal questions is no fun either, but Stapp was surprisingly open about his struggles, his family life, and optimistic about his solo career. You can't help but wish him the best.
2 Thaddeus Christian - Writer CD Reviews (page 72) Thaddeus Christian enjoys long walks on the beach, howling at the moon, chasing his tail, and showing off his new collar. 3 Reza Buan - Stylest Leigh Nash (page 50) The day I styled Leigh Nash for this shoot came and went too quickly. She was so radiantly inspiring. The photographer Bob Stevens is so purely magical. I was so happy to be just along for the ride.
5 Trish Teves - Writer Zela (page 58) Zeeeelah. This French pixie is a charming bite of adventure and intrigue. How can I describe the play she calls life? She hugs the wind and smiles at mirrors… 6 Jared Cohen - Writer CD Reviews (page 72) I'm young and naïve, and I think music can save the world. In my spare time, I make an awful lot of music over at www.conceptbravery.com
14 :RISEN MAGAZINE
8 Lou Mora - Photographer Shayne and Shannon (page 38) "Working with Shayne and Shannon was a great experience. They truly live the lifestyle that we would all envy. Travel, surf, and most importantly love." www.loumora.com
RISEN Magazine is a subsidiary of RISEN Media, LLC. The views expressed by the subjects interviewed in RISEN Magazine are not necessarily those shared by the staff or publishers of RISEN Media, LLC. All interviews are recorded live and exclusively for use by RISEN Magazine. Interviews remain the sole property of RISEN Media, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of RISEN Media, LLC. PRINTED :: USA SUBSCRIPTIONS :: 858.481.5650 - risenmagazine.com $19.99 for a 1 year subscription (6 Issues) • $29.99 for a 2 year subscription. Canada and outside of the US pay $25.99 for a 1 year subscription • $41.99 for a 2 year subscription. Payment must be sent with order. Send all orders to Attn: Subscription Department. For faster service please inquire about credit card payment. AD SALES :: Advertising rates are available upon request. For more information contact Dan Alpern :: 858.481.5650. RISEN is published 6 times a year by RISEN Media, 11772 Sorrento Valley Rd., Suite 257 San Diego CA 92121. Periodical pending at San Diego CA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to RISEN Media, PO Box 469077 Escondido CA 92046-9112.
RISEN Media, LLC 11772 Sorrento Valley Rd., Suite 257 San Diego, CA 92121 Tel. 858.481.5650 • Fax: 858.481.5660 email@example.com Copyright © 2005 “RISEN” is a Trademark of RISEN Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Cover Scott Stapp :: Chapman Baehler Cover Leigh Nash :: Bob Stevens
july/august:Letter From The Editor
Four months after popping the champagne cork in the Super Bowl locker room, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was getting stitched up at Mercy Hospital after seven hours of surgery. His upper and lower jaw, as well as his nose, had been broken. Big Ben had a nine-inch laceration on the back of his head and he was missing teeth. Without being flippant, the irony here is, well, painful. When defensive end Grant Winstrom got the lone sack for the much-heralded Seattle Seahawks defense in the Super Bowl, Roethlisberger bounced right back on his feet and adjusted his shoulder pads. Yet when a 62-yearold woman in a 1996 Chrysler New Yorker pulled out in front of his motorcycle, it sent Roethlisberger flying through the air. The 24-year-old football star shattered the windshield with his helmetless head. The most well-known face in Pittsburgh became unrecognizable. “In the past few days, I have gained a new perspective on life,” Roethlisberger said several days after his accident. “By the grace of God, I am fortunate to be alive, surrounded by loved ones and lifted by the prayers and support of so many.” He pledged to wear a helmet in the future and apologized for the anxiety he caused his team, fans, and family. Depending on your worldview, Roethlisberger is either lucky or blessed. He is expected to play next season. As a Steelers fan, I’m thrilled. But I’m also mindful that he could just as well have been buried under the turf as preparing to scramble on it in a few months. From my perspective, snake eyes on a craps table in Vegas is luck, but surviving an accident like Roethlisberger’s is a blessing—a God-given shot at a second chance. In such a situation, there isn’t a person on the planet clever or talented enough to cheat death; only God can do that. I don’t pretend to understand why some die at an early age and others rob the grave and get a second go-round. 16 :RISEN MAGAZINE
I’ve found it best to simply rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. I was reminded of the difference between luck and blessing after I read our interview with premiere BMX rider Cory “Nasty” Nastazio in this issue of RISEN. His career came to a crashing halt a few years ago when he hit a tree at 70 miles per hour with no seat belt. The car was totaled and he was in a coma for two weeks. “If it wasn’t for the Lord, or my sacred angel, there’s no reason I could do what I’m doing, let alone have a brain that can actually think halfway decently,” Nastazio says. Amongst his elaborate body art are two significant tattoos that he got inked after his recovery. One is of the Mother Mary, the woman who held the lifeless body of her son before his resurrection. The second is a skull on his neck with the word “Blessed” underneath. Even though he remembers nothing else from that two-week period in the coma, he distinctly recalls a conversation between Jesus and God the Father. According to Nastazio, Jesus said, “God, Nasty’s here, what do we do with him; he hit a tree.” Apparently God replied, “He’s not ready, he’s a tough kid, put him back.” Although Nastazio says he didn’t necessarily hear the conversation word-for-word, it’s etched in his soul. “I don’t remember the accident, I don’t remember anything,” he says, “but I remember a higher power, out of my hands, discussing what they were going to do with me.” Lucky for us mortals, it doesn’t always take hitting a tree at 70 mph for us to recognize our need for a second chance. When we were kids, we called it a do-over. On the golf course it’s called a mulligan. If you’re an over-the-hill musician in need of a comeback, you call producer Rick Rubin. (It worked for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond.) Spiritually, it’s called grace. Whereas karma says we get what’s coming to us (what goes around comes around), grace says, “You screwed
up, but you get another shot”—well, in a manner of speaking. U2’s Bono expressed it this way in the recent track “Grace”: “What once was hurt/ What once was friction/ What left a mark/ No longer stings/ Because Grace makes beauty/ Out of ugly things.” I was recently in Rome and spent an afternoon walking around St. Peter’s Basilica—the sanctuary of the Vatican. It’s stunning in its beauty, pageantry, and majesty. Ironically, it is named after a liar, traitor, and coward. That’s why I’m a fan of grace. After all, Peter denied his best friend three times during his most dire and gut-wrenching hour. Judas smooched for a sack of shillings; Peter did it out of fear. Judas hung himself; Peter wept bitterly in his shame—but he took the mulligan and became what many consider the father of the Church. The first step of a second chance is the longest stride. It’s long because it’s an admission of failure and it refocuses our priorities, challenges our values, and sets our course in a new direction. Cory Nastazio believes he is riding better than ever—and with more focus. “I look at my life so much differently,” he says. “They say there’s a wall you run into at the end of your time. Well, I hit it, and God gave me another chance. I recognized it and got back on the right road.” Not every daredevil is granted a shot at redemption. But the smart and humble ones take it when it’s offered. photo: Kenny Wilson
Photo: Paul Roberts
Steve Beard Editor in Chief
Writer: Fayola Shakes Photographer: Chapman Baehler
he skeletons in Scott Stapp’s closet started rattling in 2002 when his drinking and drug use contributed to the breakup of his platinum-selling band, Creed. By Thanksgiving 2005, they’d broken down the door and sauntered out in a succession of events that mocked his then futile attempts to stay sober: the fight with members of punk rock outfit 311; the drunken appearance on Spike TV’s Casino Cinema days later; getting arrested at Los Angeles International Airport the day after his wedding to Miss New York 2004, Jaclyn Nesheiwat; and a 1999 sex tape that distributors threatened to release. They are things Stapp could have easily said he wouldn’t discuss, but tour publicist Chuck Randall says Stapp is anything but tight-lipped. “You shouldn’t have any problem once he gets going,” he says. “He can talk.” Stapp and his new backing band, former Creed opener Gone Blind, were supporting J.D. Fortune and INXS on a leg of their North American tour. Assistant in tow, Stapp arrives wearing jeans, a beanie pulled low, and a splint on his right hand. Later, on stage, he’ll remove the splint to shake hands with the receptive crowd gathered in front of the stage during his 45-minute set. “It was broken and it didn’t heal right, so I had to have surgery and get a pin put in,” he says. “It’s been a long healing process.” The same could be said of Stapp’s life over the past four years. If he’s nervous about discussing the lowlights of years past, he doesn’t show it, save for a band of sweat that forms about his upper lip. It’s one of the few times during our conversation that he avoided eye contact. Conversely, when discussing his wife and son, Jagger, age 8, his eyes light up as any proud papa’s would. During our hour-long interview, Stapp candidly discusses the spiritual struggle he’s had since childhood, the pressure to define his spirituality, why he entered rehab, and why he believes his life is finally coming together. Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine at the Palace Theater in Cleveland. RISEN Magazine: So the lyrics of The Great Divide read like a diary of the past few years. It’s like you’re chronicling your spiritual journey. Scott Stapp: It’s the emotional journey, the roller coaster, so to speak. I can’t run from the spirituality, I can’t hide from it. It’s in me. RM: Your spirituality has been a major issue throughout your career. People of faith have wanted to claim you JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 21
as their own, while others reject that. Do you feel pressure to have to define yourself spiritually? SS: Well, it’s not about that. I never had an agenda to try to make anybody believe what I believe, and I’ve never tried to push any specific religion on anyone. Starting with My Own Prison, I dealt with a lot of the things I was raised to feel. I tried to figure out if I believe in it or if I don’t, and then I tried to figure out if I was going to have spirituality and faith in my life. It’s something that I’m just starting to find peace with. I’m just starting to figure out what my beliefs are. I think the misunderstanding was that I had it all figured out and I was trying to tell people about it. That’s not what I was doing at all. I was questioning. But even amidst all that doubt and struggle, I knew I believed in God. My problem was only turning to him when I was on my back. I’m just really honest in my songs. I talk about what goes on in my life, what really goes on in my head. I don’t know anybody that hasn’t cried out for something, or asked for something because they were in a place where they had no place to look for help but up. That’s typically when I make references to God in my music. It’s usually out of desperation, out of having nowhere else to turn.
it all over again. He used red ink and the whole nine yards, like he was a teacher. And then I found out when I was about 14 that he was using my notes to teach Bible classes.
RM: Bono often says music that gets him going is music that is either running to God or running away from God. SS: Bono is one of the biggest, most influential artists in my life, and I think Joshua Tree was a huge influence on how I write music today. When that album came out, I thought, “Oh my God, there’s someone else out there that thinks like I do, that’s having these doubts, these fears, these concerns.” I hope that someday, someone will say the same thing about me. I think I went from the hospital to the church nursery. I’ve spent a good 95 percent of my life either in church or trying to figure out if I believe what they teach me in church.
to believe in God, I don’t want to die and go to hell and burn. That’s a
RM: I read that you started having a spiritual struggle at age 9. What happened? SS: I went to a church where they believe in a lot of spiritual gifts— speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healings—stuff like that. For some reason, no matter how much I prayed and talked to God, it would never happen to me, so I thought there was something wrong with me. I would pray and I would cry about it like, “God, what’s wrong with me? Do you not love me? Do you not care about me? Can you make my lamp turn off?” I guess I was just searching to find out if he was real. I started talking to God and said, I guess I’m not going to get this—whatever. But can you make me smart like King Solomon? I was just pleading with God to give me something. I wanted proof, I guess. My father was making me read the Bible at the time. I would have to write commentaries on each chapter and what they meant to me and then he would grade it on spelling and grammar. If there were any mistakes, there wasn’t a computer, so I had to go back and write 22 :RISEN MAGAZINE
RM: How did you feel about that? SS: At the time, I was flattered by it. I was like, my Dad’s teaching my stuff, and I’m only 10! But I think my father saw as a young child, I was questioning. I could never take everything and just believe in it without questioning. Having been on this Earth for 30 years, it’s finally starting to make some sense to me. I think maybe it’s starting to move 12 inches from my head to my heart. It’s been in my head my whole life but there’s always been this doubt. I’m finally starting to figure out what I’m going to take from it, what I’m choosing, and how I’m going to live my life. I had to make a lot of mistakes and learn things the hard way in order to come to a place where I’m finally starting to feel at peace with my personal life, my emotional life, my family life, and my spiritual life. They’re all starting to sync up. I didn’t want to lay all the heavy stuff on my son that I had laid on me: worry about hell, the devil, fire, and all this stuff that I was so in fear of when I was younger. It forced me as a kid to say of course I’m going
lot of heavy stuff to have as a kid. I talk about that on “Broken.” When I wrote the chorus to that song, I was sitting at the pool with my son and his friends. They were singing, I was playing guitar and watching them, and for some reason I got this heaviness in my heart and the lyrics just came out of me. I was like, OK kids, Daddy’s going to pray. I always pray before I write songs. And after it came out, one of my son’s friends was like, “Do you always pray? Do you always thank God?” And I said, “Yeah, I do.” As someone who thinks creatively, you write things down and you don’t know where they came from. Some people liken it to the subconscious. For me, and maybe it was part of how I was raised, I want to liken it to something bigger than myself. The purity in my son’s little journey in faith right now is that no one’s pushing it on him. He’s made a choice in his little mind as a 7-year-old to believe in God. He comes to me and asks me questions but I’ve never made him go to church. RM: Do people question you about whether you go to church or not? SS: It’s kind of hard for me to go to church so I really haven’t gone. People ask me for my autograph in the middle of the sermon. I can hardly go to funerals. It’s really hard. In the Bible it says where two or more are gathered in God’s name, he’s there and that’s church. So we let my son come to it whenever he wanted to and we’re always there to talk about any questions he has and he’s just been drawn to it. RM: There’s been a lot of criticism about your putting your beliefs in your lyrics. Didn’t that also cause friction within Creed? SS: I really don’t worry about it. It is what it is. In the Christian
community, with things that have happened to me over the past year, they’ve been really judgmental and that’s exactly why I didn’t want my son in the church. That’s exactly why I didn’t go to church. I didn’t want to be around the judgment. I saw that when I was growing up, with people in the church. My father was not a very judgmental guy. He was like, hey, we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that’s part of the journey. And you know, that is one thing I did take from my Dad. He wasn’t a judgmental man. He was like, hey, things happen in your life and it’s all part of the growing process as a Christian. Some of us are further along on our journey in faith than other people, so you don’t want to cause someone else to quit or to fail. RM: Was your father different with you? SS: He was a little tougher with me but as he’s gotten older, when I’ve had tough times, he’s extended a hand and opened up to me. I never
knew that my Dad had certain issues in his life cuz he kept them away from us. As I’ve gotten older he’s said, “You know, I’ve been through this, you just didn’t know cuz I kept it away from you.” And that’s what I was doing in my life. I’ve been dealing with things over the past couple years my son never saw. It was something that I did away from home. But, it started getting a little close to home, in terms of some things that were made public. One of the things happened almost ten years ago, but it was as if things started coming up out of the blue. And I was little inebriated on [Casino Cinema], because that’s what I’d do when I played poker—I’d drink. That was actually a good thing that it happened to me because I got to see myself that way and I didn’t like it. Also, that was too close to home for me. My son could see this. My wife sat me down as was like, Honey, I love you and I want to be by your side and stand by you. We gotta make some changes. JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 23
I’m glad I have someone in my life that is straight up with me, who tells it to me like it is. She’s my biggest cheerleader, support, and rock, but she’s also [the one who] will sit me down and say, We’re not having this. I’m so hard on myself, especially when I make a mistake. I’ll lie in bed sick and depressed for three days like, what am I going to do? I’ll call people and say, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I’m really hard on myself and my wife knows that. But the fact that it was getting to a point where it could affect them and their lives, I didn’t want that to happen. And it got close enough and so I had to put a stop to it. RM: How did you meet your wife? SS: We were introduced briefly in Miami through a friend. It was a hibye thing. Then I went to a charity event in New York, and I didn’t know this but she was the reigning Miss New York at the time in 2004. She was there. I said, “Oh, I ran into you before.” I used that as an in to talk to her. We ended up sitting at the same table during the event and then she got up and spoke and I said, that’s the woman I’m going to marry right there, she just doesn’t know it yet. She’s Jordanian and there is a cultural difference in terms of how they date and get to know people. I had to talk to her family and get permission [to date her] and it had to be structured. RM: What was that like? SS: Well, I knew she was the one so I didn’t think it was tough. It was what I was supposed to do to be with the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. After about six months of us being together, she started feeling the same way. We fell in love. The thought of losing her because of stupid mistakes... Her putting it into perspective...that was enough of a scare for me to know that my son might see that TV show or even hear something from someone at school. I wish that nothing was made public, but it
seems I’m the type of person who has to learn things the hard way in order for it to really sink in. About the tape thing, what hurt me the most about that was someone I trusted from my past stole that from my safe. I trusted them with the code to my safe because of the position they had working for me. They had to have that code to have access to certain things that were in that safe. That someone would decide to profit off that and then align their profits with trying to take advantage of one of the happiest days in my life, marrying my wife...someone trying to capitalize on our wedding with an indiscretion in my past, it really hurt. [My wife and I] have nothing to hide from each other. I was very honest about things I had done in my past. I didn’t want her to hear it from somebody else or to run into somebody who was going to tell her a story. I’d rather just say hey, this is what you’re marrying and I want you to know everything. In her closet were like, two things: I think she kissed a guy in like 12th grade or something without her brother finding out. [Laughs] 24 :RISEN MAGAZINE
photo: Michael Wong
Her mother is an amazing woman. They have an amazing family. I really found a diamond in the rough and hopefully, after everything that’s happened, her mother sees a diamond in the rough with me. All my skeletons are out, so they’re not skeletons anymore.
RM: How would you describe your career now and where do you see it going? SS: You know how I feel? I feel like I did in 1997 and 1998, like the ball’s starting to roll again. I feel like I’m out paying my dues again, and I’m starting to feel this excitement coming back. Almost everyone I’ve talked to thinks [The Great Divide] is my best work to date and they actually like it better than anything I’ve done previously. It captures a time in my life. Every time I listen to it, for the rest of my life, I’ll remember that time because of how [the album] sounds. It makes it personal. Even the mixing and producing becomes a personal reflection of the artist. I look at it as a really raw album that, hopefully, we got as true to a live sound as we could. Hopefully people can feel it because that’s what it’s all about for me—feeling the music.
Scott Stapp’s new album, The Great Divide (Wind-Up Records), is currently available online and in record stores.
l l a t s Tun
Like being a successful tramp
feel like I’m eavesdropping on a baby shower, where gifts are rated on a scale from cute to adorable. Instead, I am eavesdropping on two female fans in line at the House of Blues in San Diego. Referring to the performer they’re here to see, one starts, “She’s cute.” To which the other replies, “She’s so cute.” Until she is trumped by the superlative, “She’s adorable.” Baby-shower speak, to be sure, but I’m glad they said it, because cute is a nearly unprintable word in this age of cynicism, even though it’s absolutely true. Still, cute hardly sums up KT Tunstall, the singer/songwriter whose good foot-stomping combination of rock, folk, jazz, and punk is providing something of a heartbeat for the British Isles. And there’s something else. Something you can’t touch. Something entertainers like Beck, Rickie Lee Jones, and David Bowie have. KT Tunstall has the x-factor. During her concert, you get the feeling you’re in a friend’s living room, communicating with someone who cares about you, a good honest friend, the type who lets you know when your zipper’s down, or when you have broccoli in your teeth. So there’s that, that honesty thing that never quite sticks if it’s just a marketing ploy. Rock stars, career politicians, lawyers, and realtors all try, but you can’t fake truth day-in-day-out. KT Tunstall is no rock star, and she probably couldn’t be forced into that role anyway. Here’s why. Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine at the San Diego House of Blues. All words by KT Tunstall spoken with a Scottish accent. RISEN Magazine: Do you think subtlety is wasted on American audiences? KT Tunstall: No, I’m inspired by, possibly, more American acts than British acts. I wasn’t privy to the Jam and the Clash and the Sex Pistols. Strangely, I grew up in a family that didn’t have a stereo and didn’t listen to music. The British punk scene and the acoustic scene—there was Elvis Costello, The Smiths, a lot of great music was being made in Britain, but it was American music that first hit home. The first American singer I heard that hit home was Michelle Shocked. Then one CD leads you to another. I listened to Bonnie Prince Billy. I listened to Micah P. Hinson, who sometimes tours with us. I listened to Feist. There’s beautiful nuance music everywhere. I don’t think there’s any way of
Writer: Chris Ahrens Photographer: Blaine Franger Makeup: Mona Van Cleve for Stila Hair: Derek Van Cleve for Bumble & bumble
stopping that; I don’t think a s—t government can stop the music. A crappy music industry can certainly dampen the spirits of more subtle music. RM: So often we’ll see a woman performer who’s doing something subtle, and the next thing you know, she’s in lace panties, set up as the next Madonna. They turn the person into a commodity. Women especially seem to get commoditized. KT: I think that will always be attempted on female artists. Our impression of beauty in Western culture is, undoubtedly, female. Name me one famous male model: if there is it’s usually a film star or a footballer. It’s completely acceptable for a woman to be acceptable for her looks, and nothing else. I think there’s always going to be, from a business point of view, acceptance for that act, because of how women look, because people buy magazines because of the way women look. As a generalization, people don’t really buy magazines for the way men look. The record industry is not only there to sell music, but to sell units, and anything to help. What’s amazing now, the good thing for me is that it’s a perfectly acceptable route to take, to become a musician as a living. To my parents, that was the most ridiculous thing they ever heard, because you just didn’t do that. The other thing that’s different is the volume of people following that path, with whatever reasons drive them. RM: When MTV first hit, I thought it was killing the voice, something that had stood alone for decades. Then I realized that music videos really made music more like live music, the way it had been before radio, where someone’s presence mattered as much as the sound. KT: It’s my opinion that a video can exacerbate the lie. For any artists that you love and respect, they will be involved in the extension of their art. You hope that their videos will be extensions of who they are. My trajectory has been so fast and steep. Because of that, it’s been very difficult for me to ensure that the videos get the same respect as the music. RM: So many musicians come out with a great first album, and the next one is a letdown. KT: People get burnt out to hell. They’re away from home and family, touring. There’s not the same intensity, and they don’t have that joy of their first albums. Fortunately that hasn’t happened to me, because I was old enough to realize that it could happen, and I’ve surrounded myself with people I love. JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 27
RM: When did you get your first music player? KT: I must have been 10 or 11. We had a tape player in the house and I would listen to stories on it. I was listening to some Harvard mathematician singing about the table of elements in a Gilbert and Sullivan style, while everyone else was listening to Marvin Gaye. [Laughter] I was given the old cassette player and my brother got this new one. He would play his Def Leppard, Van Halen, Dire Straits in his room, and I would record it from the other side of the door onto my tapes. So it would be this dreadfulsounding mess of whatever was going on in the house, mixed with some Def Leppard, interjected with my brother telling me now and again to get away from his door, and I’d be like, “No, I don’t want that on my tape.” And they’re all good formulaic pop songs, so I was skipping to school, singing “Animal” and “Pour
exactly the same place. I went through a very had time, cuz I listened to Beck, Flaming Lips, Velvet Underground, Tom Waits—all this stuff—and what I listen to and what really touches me and moves me are, for the most part, much more experimental than stuff I write myself. And I went through a difficult period of having to accept that I don’t write stuff like that at the moment. I’m willing to let it change, but I’m not going to make it change to be cool. So it was a really strange time, where I wanted to be bashing boxes and be the person who was
s y a w l a e I’v g n i h t e m o s s i s. i e h t m a g f n i f u o s r pu ide s n i e , v r i e s n u r r t o c e h t The in n i g n i rk u l s a w n know S o m e Sugar On Me.” Then I got a little into dance music, but nothing grabbed me. I was much more into playing instruments.
RM: You weren’t allowed much TV as a kid. Why? KT: Mom and Dad are very academic, so they treated popular culture with suspicion. They’re very liberal people. I was off traveling around Europe at 16. I was always allowed to stay at my boyfriend’s house; there was never any problem with that. My mom and dad would drop me off at bars when I was 15, cuz they wanted to know where I was. They’d lived in France, where there was no age limit, just an educated approach to drinking. In that respect, they kept me on a long leash and I don’t think there’s any coincidence that I’m doing what I’m doing, because of that. With the television and the music thing, they were actually totally disinterested; they found it dumb. Not educational programs, but watching cartoons, and Dallas, and The Dukes of Hazzard were slightly dodgy. RM: In a way that may be an advantage. We’re so inundated by pop culture, that we find it, at least initially, quaint when someone isn’t infected by it. KT: Yeah, I like to think that it’s very subjective; amazing people come from awful situations. RM: Where do you think good music comes from? KT: It’s a generalization, but I think it comes from an honesty. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. RM: You can tell when a song is written because someone had something to get out, or if it was written just to sell records. KT: Yeah, and the funny thing for me is that my music is naturally very accessible. And I’ve had that levied at me in Web sites or articles where someone will say, “Yeah, it’s a good album except for this song or this song, which is obviously just a cash-in.” I’m like, this is so crazy, cuz they’re [the songs] all coming from 28 :RISEN MAGAZINE
building something, I wanted to go mad, I wanted to be mad, but it’s not where I’m at. This is what I’m writing and it’s traditional and accessible, and there’s no point in fighting it, cuz it would be a lie otherwise.
RM: Are you ever encouraged to write things that are different from what you feel? KT: The only thing I’m encouraged to do is write with other people. At first I didn’t like that at all, but now I’m keeping that channel open. You know, the ego is a very fragile thing. RM: Did you grow up in a small town? KT: Yeah, it was about ten or eleven thousand when I grew up. RM: You can still walk down the street without being mobbed. At this level, fame must be fun, and I don’t imagine it’s intrusive yet. Are you ready for the possibility of that changing? KT: Yeah, it’s not intrusive at the moment, as a rule. That sort of fame doesn’t excite me in any way. The intrusive side of fame is something I’ve always known was lurking in the corner, in pursuing this. So no, I don’t look forward to it at all. RM: Do you think fame’s addicting? If you woke up and were just another kid in your little town, would you suffer withdrawals? KT: Fame and success are different things. I would be very disappointed to go back to having to ring up everyone I knew to make a show work. I did that for years and years. When I was gigging six or seven years ago, nobody had the Internet. I can’t believe I’ll be telling my kids we didn’t have Internet. I would be copying tape to tape to give out free tapes to people with my cell phone number on it, so I could take addresses for gigs. It was all really great fun, but it took up a lot of energy that could have been used more creatively. RM: Do you consider yourself a good friend? KT: Not at the moment. The one painful thing about success is that I feel this low-level guilt about not communicating with friends. They read my Web site diary and probably know more about what’s going on than I tell them, because I don’t have time
to call. On the whole, my friends are such old and good friends... You know, I’ve always been about my friends; that’s a huge part of my life. They were there when I was writing my first songs and buying me beer and persuading the people I didn’t know to come to a show. They’re all having this success. They’re all totally over the moon, and now they don’t want to tell people they know me, cuz they get interviewed. [Laughter] It was always a conscious effort to nurture my friendships, well before now. RM: Do you feel differently about yourself than you did five years ago? KT: Yeah, definitely. Fundamentally I’m the same person, but I’m happier, much happier. I haven’t been sick for almost two years now, and I would g e t
was I doing touching it; I could have been killed. I love the dream, cuz it makes me feel affirmation that I’m not scared, I suppose. RM: Have you interpreted that dream? KT: I’m not really sold on interpreting dreams, but I think there’s huge potential as to what they mean to you. From an imaginative and creative point of view… The other night I was having a dream about a shark trying to get this little boy and these two women were holding it, batting it away. I was next to some rocks. Because I had been watching this little boy play, it comes around and comes at me. RM: What bad habit do you like least in yourself? KT: I’ve always been so late for everything, partly because I get incredibly distracted. My report card at school would say, “Has potential, but is easily distracted.” That’s me, all over, and I know how selfish it is being late. But I still can’t come to terms with the fact that five minutes isn’t enough time to stick
The one p ainful thing low-level a guilt about bout success is tha t I feel this not comm unicating w ith friends . colds and viruses and stomach problems. I didn’t know I was capable of being this busy. I maybe have one day a week where I get up and go to bed in the same place. It’s like being a successful tramp. [Laughter] I’ve always been fascinated by gypsy lifestyles. As a kid I was really into Eskimos. It’s always stayed with me. I love the idea of going around and building a house somewhere. I’ve always loved the idea of being outside, and being nomadic. I’ve never had a gang. I have totally random friends, all over the place. To that end, I’m a little envious of Micah [musician Micah P. Hinson]. He’s touring with us and driving everywhere. Luke, my partner, he’s the drummer, has been reading about Gypsies of the Balkans, saying, “Wouldn’t it be great to join in.” RM: Do you watch much TV in your spare time? KT: I don’t have a television, not that I don’t think there’s anything worth while on it, but I would find myself watching something educational for half an hour and then watching some reality TV show where somebody’s sleeping for three hours. I don’t want to spend my life watching someone sleeping, in the hope they wake up. Maybe they were right in the ’50s when they said TV makes you dumb.
little crystals on the eyes of an elephant [made of ceramic], which I did the other day. But sometimes it’s much more selfish than that.
RM: Were you ever diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder? KT: That doesn’t exist in the UK. It’s a very, very new thing there. My first encounter with ADD was in school in America, and all the kids diagnosed with ADD were opening these capsules and snorting them. The medicine is speed. I mean, what the hell is going on? You don’t give kids drugs. RM: What would you do if you were at 30,000 feet and the last engine fails? KT: Sit tight and close my eyes and think, God, that was great. [Laughter] RM: Where do you see yourself in 10,000 years? KT: Spread out. [Laughter] Going into the ground is an honor, to be a part of everything again.
RM: We’ve become a society of observers, rather than participants. KT: We watched a movie last night in a hotel, and the commercials were so aggressive. When you don’t have a television, it makes you really angry, and you’re repelled. RM: Do you have any recurring dreams? KT: I have a recurring dream about a tiger I’m hoping to see again. I have this dream where I’m touching it, or I’m next to it. Then it will suddenly change, where I’m behind some protective glass panel or door. Then I have this desperate fear, like, What
KT Tunstall's new album, Eye to the Telescope (EMI), is currently available online and in record stores. JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 31
Writer: Chris Ahrens Photographer: Tyler Shields
hris?” John Hensley politely wonders, extending his right hand for me to shake post confirmation that I am really me. We are in Hollywood’s oldest restaurant, Musso and Frank Grill established in 1919. John possesses an old-school politeness, while he himself seems out of context in this late show venue where Chaplain clowned, Faulkner scribbled, and Veronica Lake, no doubt, made all those red-vested waiters drool while taking her order. You can almost taste Bogart’s non-filtered exhaust decades later, now that we have outlawed the freedom to kill ourselves through our vice of choice. Hensley has imposed his own ban on carcinogens, aided by his ever ready nicotine gum stash. “I’m on day four,” he says, shaking his head, revealing disgust for the habit that has kept him hostage for fifteen years. But it’s not the gum or the cell phone that separate him from the ghosts in the room; it’s that John Hensley doesn’t remind me of any other actor, living or dead. Prior to this meeting, I had only seen him on FX’s Nip/Tuck, where he plays Matt McNamara, the highly addictive and explosive teenager. Hensley provides a harsh catalyst for what would otherwise be a rebel without a cause cliché. In the show he is spoiled, dependent, and somehow self-reliant. In person, he is warm, pensive, and extremely open about his less than perfect life. His appearance both cinematically and personally can simulate a Tibetan monk at first light or the tough and confident wrangler he was for three years, leading hikers and hunters deep into the woods of Wyoming. There is also a hint of unresolved anger, not the disruptive variety, but a hot wire, running current in wait of those moments when Matt McNamara or any other unstable character played by Hensley feels the need to break out.
John sips coffee as we speak and orders a medium rare steak sandwich, French fries, and stewed tomatoes. He proves to be a brilliant backyard philosopher and makes observations on life that you wouldn’t expect from a Hollywood punk. Well, maybe that’s because he isn’t one; or if he is, he’s more than that. Exclusively interviewed for RISEN Magazine at Musso and Frank Grill in Hollywood, California. RISEN Magazine: Is Hollywood different than you envisioned it? John Hensley: I was very resistant in moving to Los Angeles. I lived in New York for over four years. New York has a strong identity and it’s not going to change for you. Thus far, I’ve found Los Angeles pretty much a blank slate. It will become whatever you bring to it. It is as flaky or as normal as you are. There’s something about that blank canvas I like. Thus far, I’ve found it a normal, docile place to live. RM: What keeps you true to yourself? JH: I don’t know if I can really break that down. I have moments of endowing things with more honor than they deserve, quite frankly. I’ve run into people that do what I do for a living, that place a certain amount of significance on things that I don’t quite connect with. I’m grateful for this, but I’m a bit of an outsider. I’m not from here. I’ve done other things in my life. I try to allow myself the freedom to acknowledge that life is a process, not a product. It’s not necessarily about arriving anywhere. I don’t think I could have done as well in New York as I did had I not spent the time in Wyoming wrangling horses. It requires a phenomenal amount of discipline. You have to adapt or get out of the way. It was my
JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 33
job to get people into the mountains and out safely. If something goes horribly wrong, the only way you’re gonna get out is on your feet, on the back of a horse, or by helicopter. RM: What keeps a TV star grounded? JH: One of the things I studied in New York with this group called the Barrow Group was that it’s none of your business what an audience thinks. It’s not about you; it’s never about you. Also, I could really care less about how what I do is perceived by others. When I’m fortunate enough to get involved with something I feel is good, I don’t think about its success or failure or what people might think. The only things you leave behind are the contributions you made to those closest to you, and, as grandiose as this may sound, the world around you. RM: I’ve only seen you in Nip/Tuck; if I was 16 years old, I would have a warped idea of who you are. JH: Sure, you could argue that my character is not the most stable guy; that maybe he takes actions that wouldn’t be considered even remotely healthy. I’ve even heard people say it was a dark character. That being said, most people who have
seen the show have no trouble coming up and putting an arm around me. I think it’s because I’ve been in their homes. They chose to turn you on or off. If they choose to turn you on, you’ve kinda been invited into their houses. I’ve got to be honest with you, man, I kinda like that. I love that there’s no separation. I’ve been extremely fortunate that I get to do what I do for a living. Do I have bad days? Absolutely. But you know what, man? It’s acting. I can get wrapped up in self-importance and think what I’m doing is vital, but at the end of the day it’s not rocket science. I get to play for a living. [Laughs] RM: What scares you? JH: Not a lot; letting people down. Is it a fear I walk around with? No. If someone asks something of me and I come up short, it’s a terrible feeling, especially when it’s well in your capability to be of service to that person. Maybe that’s shame and not fear, I don’t know. RM: It seems you’ve spent a lot of time getting to know yourself. JH: Truth be told, there was a time in my life when I did a lot of self-destructive things as well as hurt people that were very close to me. I think of life as a current, not to reside in a realm of inaction, but to do so in a current that I believe flows around and through us. I probably sound like a total a— saying all this. [Laughs] RM: What would you say is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? JH: It’s not to categorize such a thing. I try my best during a day to do what is right. Some days I do alright. RM: Do you hold any spiritual beliefs; anything you’re a part of? JH: Nothing I’m a part of. There are things I feel. If those things fall in line with an established body out there that proclaims to 34 :RISEN MAGAZINE
believe something others don’t, I’m unaware of that connection. But it doesn’t take much to realize there are many things in our world greater than us. Right here on this fork is a piece of steak that I’m about to eat. I don’t get to eat this steak because I’m the stronger. It doesn’t take much to realize that we are truly not the ones who hold the key to it all. When I was about 17 and thinking about changing my life, this guy asked me what I thought God was. I looked outside and saw the wind blowing through the grass and I thought, I’m not making that wind blow and I sure as s—t aint makin’ the grass grow. Call it God, call it Allah, call it whatever you want. Looking back I have made decisions on feelings. What are those feelings? I try to be open, try to wake up every day and know that I don’t know. There’s a lot that escapes me. I’m talkin’ so much rubbish, you’re gonna have a helluva time making sense of this. RM: Do you pray? JH: Um hmm, I try to take the time in the morning to be thankful, to embrace the opportunities I’ve had. I don’t know what happens when we die. While I’m here, every day is an
opportunity. I squander many days, I squander many opportunities, regularly. On the days when I don’t squander those opportunities, it tends to be a pretty good day. My father died suddenly at 51. He actually died in the mountains of Wyoming, where I used to work. He was out there hunting. It was very sudden and out of nowhere. I realized then that many things in my life that were important didn’t mean a damn thing and many things that were unimportant became suddenly phenomenally important. I realized that I didn’t want to end my life wondering, What if? I suddenly realized that at 21, I could basically be middle-aged. It hit me that the greatest risk is in taking no risk. There’s no risk in taking risks, bro. The idea of being crushed is an illusion, I believe. That’s not to say I don’t buy into that illusion from time to time, cuz I’m a human being, with flaws galore. But on a good day, having a conversation like this, you have a moment of thinking, Yeah, that’s right, I forgot that. You know what I mean? RM: What do your tattoos symbolize? JH: [Lifts left arm] This is where I’m from. It says “dark and bloody ground,” the translation for Kentucky. A lot of people think that’s a really dark thing to put on your body, but to me a lot of good things come from dark and bloody ground. We wouldn’t be half of who we are, if it weren’t for the shadows of who we are. [Lifts other arm to reveal tattoo that says “faith.”] I’ve been based more in faith. RM: You don’t seem too similar to Matt, the character you play in the show. JH: He does things I didn’t do as a teenager, but when I was a teenager my life was primarily ruled by fear and anger and insecurity, and I’d be willing to bet Matt’s life was very much the
same. As a young person I always thought I was on the outside looking in and every person was watching the lives of others as opposed to being engaged in any kind of life themselves. On that level, I think Matt’s life and mine are similar, even though the details are quite different.
JH: I don’t need my friends to all be quote-unquote liberal or
RM: How did you get over your insecurities? JH: I don’t know that you always do. We’ve all got our bags; we’ve all got our kits. For me, I had to be destroyed, taken back to zero before I could be rebuilt. It was a very painful thing, but I wouldn’t trade a day of that period of my life for anything. Had it not been for that time, I wouldn’t be whatever I happen to be today. I had to get knocked down and rebuilt and cast a lot of my old ideas and deceptions entirely away. I put up a fight. [Laughs]
things than through that medium? I don’t know s—t, but I see
RM: Were you strung out on something? JH: Yeah, just about anything you got. I really attacked substance with a passion, cuz one thing I didn’t want to be was here, wherever here was, and I did anything I could to inspire indifference in myself.
RM: Are you a writer? JH: Yeah, I wrote a script with a production company here in town. They’re trying to get a director attached.
RM: Did you have a lot of remorse as a teenager? JH: That was my life. More than once I’d be sitting in the back of a police cruiser, saying to myself, “I don’t know how this happened. I don’t want to do this ever again.” Then, literally after getting picked up from jail, I went right back to do what I had sworn off two hours earlier. I ran a good game for awhile; at least I thought I did. I’m extremely thankful it caught up with me at a young age. RM: It seems that things like alcohol and drugs don’t make people wild, but tame them. JH: You act exactly how you’re supposed to act when you’re scared and under the influence. RM: Did you have a good upbringing? JH: I’m grateful to have been raised by parents that showed me what it was to be a man and all the flaws that come with it. It’s interesting to see a world where people walk with no sense of purpose, and I don’t necessarily mean conscious purpose— people who just consume and buy what they’re told to buy and eat what they’re told to eat. I was back in Kentucky over the holidays and…there’s something about the vanity of New York and LA that helps people. In other places they’re staying fat and docile. If you want to control people, keep ’em scared and well fed. If I want to control this room, all I have to do is convince these people that if they walk outside, they will be gassed and they will die. You want to know what’s going on outside, let me throw the shadows on the wall and show you. RM: Are you comfortable discussing controversial subjects with friends? 36 :RISEN MAGAZINE
conservative. I don’t really care; but have a point of view, have a passion. Show me where I’m wrong; I’ll sit and talk to you. That goes back to storytelling. Right now in my life that’s the torch I have in order to burn it down. What better way than to express things that disturb me. I feel it’s better to honor that disturbance and address it and do it in a valuable way. Again, I don’t care about being right. I’d rather be happy than right. I’m happy to be wrong. Some of the best friends I have call me on my bulls—t. Sometimes at the moment I hate ‘em for it, but, hopefully, I come around.
RM: Are you going to act in it? JH: I don’t know if I will or not. If me acting in it means that it won’t get made, then I won’t act in it. I’ve been fortunate in television, but I’m unproven in box office. You may mean something in television, but not in film. RM: Would you ever consider doing the Zach Braff—write, direct, act in… JH: I love Garden State and I think Zach Braff did a phenomenal job. I saw it twice in the theaters, and that’s rare for me. I really found it inspiring. RM: Then there’s the Orson Wells curse, where he never got beyond Citizen Kane. JH: I think it would be horrible to say this is my personal best and I don’t know if I can meet even this. On a very small level I had that feeling after the last fade out. My father used to say that at the end of the day, you have to be able to look in the mirror. That’s the biggest challenge I have on any given day, but there are people in this country and even in this room who have much bigger challenges than the person staring back at them. So I’m aware of how blessed I am. In writing and acting, you have an opportunity to really embrace your shadow, but in a creative positive way. To allow your shadow to rule things for a while. RM: Where do you see yourself in 10,000 years? JH: Ten thousand years? [Laughs] I really can’t speak for two weeks from now, much less 10,000 years. But for some reason, I saw space.
John Hensley can be seen regularly on the FX TV show NIP/Tuck.
Writer: Chris Ahrens Photographer: Lou Mora
In his classic surf movie, The Endless Summer, Bruce Brown postulated that with enough time and money, a surfer could continue traveling the world and experience summer every day. Most of us settle for a colder world, gradually peeling out of wetsuits until the warm season arrives again. But Shannon, Shayne, and Banyan McIntyre are having none of it, wandering from surf spot to surf spot in pursuit of empty waves, warm water, exotic cultures, and a summer that just keeps getting warmer. In their pursuits, they bring waves of goodness and compassion to rarely surfed regions like Oman, India, Korea, and Taiwan. It can be risky out there, but the rewards, so far, have been worth it. I first met Shayne and Shannon three years ago, on a little finger of land in San Diego’s Point Loma, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in a small house planted amid a few eucalyptus trees, patches of dirt, grass, and wild fennel. Since our first meeting, the McIntyres have launched On Surfari, a surf travel show for Fuel TV. They have recently returned to the aforementioned house in San Diego, nothing but a shack by yuppie reckonings, about which the only remarkable feature is that it exists at all. For here, on some of the most overpriced coastline in the world, is a series of unremarkable walls that once served as the permanent residence of the McIntyres. Now, on sabbatical from their new home in Puerto Rico, the couple has come back with 19-monthold Banyan, to visit family and see old friends. The house has been vacated by the new tenants and the McIntryres have settled back in for two weeks. Seeing them there, in that setting, it quickly occurs to me that they are not so unlike this house, in that it is remarkable to discover that such qualities exist in people at all. The house will soon be torn down, but the occupants have moved on. Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine in San Diego, California. RISEN Magazine: How is On Surfari going? Shayne McIntyre: We’re on our third season. It’s our own show that we produce and do everything from A to Z. I love that. RM: Did you guys intentionally turn your backs on conventional life?
Shannon McIntyre: It was never a conscious decision. It was just how we were the most comfortable living. Shayne: I don’t think I ever comprehended how to do anything else, other than follow whatever your ideas are when you wake up. Shannon: We’re not very structured and sometimes I feel that’s been a flaw. Shayne: Lack of structure has been our best and worst thing. It gave Shannon the ability to wake up one morning in 1997 and start a surfboard company, and to become one of the first women surfboard shapers. As for the TV show, we’ll have an idea and try it. RM: It seems like you just make up a position to go with the mood, like I’m going to go model clothes today. Shayne and Shannon: [Laughter] Shayne: I don’t do that so much anymore. Shannon: The Lord just kind of leads you. You have to have enough faith to go where the door is opened the widest. RM: Does traveling increase your faith? Shannon: Yeah. Shayne: Oh yeah. Whenever you get stressed out, you need to remember that God has you there for a reason. I always get nervous during turbulence on airplanes. I hate that part of travel. We don’t know what’s going to happen when we get where we’re going. I woke up one morning and had a dream about teaching surfing in Mozambique. [This was scheduled to be the next On Surfari show, but complications with taking a child there have changed their plans.] We hope to do more than just teach kids to surf—someone might need a roof on a church or schoolbooks and we hope to provide that. The way we tend to look at every day is that God plans the day and it’s up to us to figure out what that plan is. Shannon: [Laughs] Shayne: What’s good about travel is there’s no baggage, very little. We have Banyan and a few backpacks and a couple surfboards, but you don’t have the house and cars and all that. The lighter you travel, the more efficient you are and the more experiences you seem to have. When we were younger we used to collect more stuff, but it gets hard lugging that stuff around. JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 39
RM: Do you ever feel there will be a time when you don’t travel so much and you will just be home? Shannon: I kind of hope so. RM: How long have you been on the road now? Shannon: Pretty consistently since I’ve met Shayne, so nearly 13 years. RM: Is Banyan a good traveler? Shannon: He’s a really good traveler, but recently I’ve been missing having structure and I’ve been missing my family. But that may just be the way I feel today. Shayne: Yeah, be careful what you say. [Laughs] RM: How do you raise your son? Shayne: [Long pause] Uh… [Laughter all around]
Shayne: I think it’s definitely shown in your presence and the vibe you give off to people. We do our best to be mellow. We’re always open to make friends and we like being polite. People see that we don’t have any agenda when we travel. They won’t see any Americans for months or years in certain places. A lot of time we share our faith when people share their faith with us. They want to tell you what they believe. RM: Believers seem almost apologetic about sharing their faith sometimes. Shayne: Absolutely. You have to be brave. Shannon and I have known the Lord for a long time. Shannon: Faith in the U.S. is not politically correct. It’s like a negative thing, which is really sad. A lot of countries where we’ve been, faith is all they have.
Faith in the U.S. is not politically correct. It’s like a negative thing, which is really sad. A lot of countries where we’ve been, faith is all they have. Shannon: It’s the same thing, by faith generally. There’s a school of thought that you should have a lot of structure, but that’s been really impossible. The one thing I try to be consistent with is praying for him and praying with him, teaching him values and letting him be free to explore. He’s a really good boy and really happy. RM: Will you homeschool him? Shannon: We’ve thought about it. Shayne: I want him to go to school, get in a few fights… [Laughs] Shannon: No, he’s a friendly little guy, and I think he needs that social time with children. Shayne: I think we raise Banyan like most people raise their kids; whether you like it or not, you get cues from your parents, magazines, books, and what friends say. You throw in the type of kid you have—for example, mine doesn’t eat broccoli [Laughs]— and you balance all that out. Shannon: You don’t automatically learn to become a parent; it’s the thing I learned the least about before I became a parent. Shayne: Our plan was just to keep him alive. [Laughter] Shannon: Keep him happy and healthy. RM: I think the goal of parenting is to teach children independence, but mostly we teach dependence. Shannon: It’s true. RM: Does Banyan react differently to different cultures? Shannon: When we’re in Puerto Rico he gets tons of attention. Shayne: Well, anywhere in the world. He’s a bit of a golden child when he’s traveling to these different places. In Korea, we had a mom come over and take Banyan out of his chair to her table. They wanted to love him and hang out with him. He loves everybody. We’ve told him that we all came off the ark and all these people around the world—we’re all related, we’re all family. He’s learning to respect all cultures, regardless of how they view us. RM: How do you express your faith when you can’t speak the language? 40 :RISEN MAGAZINE
Shayne: God’s everything in places like India, South America, Indonesia, Oman. People live and breathe God. God is on the tip of their tongues and I kind of prefer that. RM: Has it ever been dangerous? Shannon: No. Shayne: We’ll pray for protection and other people will pray for us and that’s powerful. When you travel and have all that going in your favor…Still, there are those who love the Lord and were murdered for their faith. Shannon and I are pretty quick to spot those who don’t have good intentions. Plus, our kindness can put someone with bad intentions off balance a little bit. Shannon: I’ve never felt threatened in any way. RM: Have you ever shared Christianity in Muslim countries? Shannon: In Oman and Indonesia. Shayne: They may assume we’re Christian because we’re American. A lot of what we were able to share in other countries was very basic. Shannon: In India we would tell people that Jesus was our God and they would say, “Yes, so-and-so is my God”…We’ve never really passed out Bibles in Arabic or anything. RM: Both travelers and surfers are known to be accepting of a lot of different cultures. Now Christianity says there are not thousands of gods; is that difficult? Shayne: No, God has been our rock, and having knowledge and discernment of the Bible has helped us in our travels. Shannon: Being Christians has given us a lot of freedom. We’re not under the Old Testament law. It’s a lot more flexible. Shayne: And God’s taught us to love people. When you’re traveling, you immediately become so close to people. Shannon: You have family wherever you go. Shayne: You have family, Christian or not, and people just take you in. We were in Taiwan and we had finished surfing and we’re
Photo courtesy of the McIntyres
*McIntyres and friend Taiwan Photo courtesy of the McIntyres
Photo courtesy of the McIntyres
*Shannon in Korea with last generation of pearl divers
*McIntyres Taiwan JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 41
Photo courtesy of the McIntyres
*Shayne Taiwan walking back up this river valley and there are aboriginals, the original inhabitants of Taiwan. They had this barbecue and this dance and these bamboo boats. We just went up and hung out with them and were right in the middle of it. They were immediately all over Banyan and loving him. RM: Do you think it’s a sad world? Shayne: No, and while there’s a lot of sadness in it, for every sad thing, I can show you a beautiful, happy thing. Some things can be overwhelming. God can give you peace in that and show you that it’s not just about this little spinning ball of dirt and the sufferings that happen to you. There is an eternal future. Shannon: If you watch the nightly news, you get sucked into stuff like that. If not, you realize there is so much love and beauty. RM: Shannon, did you have to wear a burka when you were in Oman? 42 :RISEN MAGAZINE
Photo courtesy of the McIntyres
Shannon: I didn’t have to; in some places I chose to in order to be respectful. One time a girl had made a little burka mask and she was excited for me to put it on, kind of like having a girl here, in the United States, who had a cute top and wanted you to try it on. Shayne: There are pretty sparkles on them… Shannon: It was a neat experience. I never felt oppressed. Oman is considered like the Switzerland of their area. Shayne: It felt very safe, but that was before the war. We still get emails from Omani people thanking us and asking us to come back. They tell us we have a very fair view of them. RM: Are people the same everywhere? Shannon: Yes, everybody wants to live in peace, for the most part. Shayne: The big differences are between city people and country people. They could live five miles away but be worlds apart. One area in Taiwan will be tripped out motor scooters, hip hop; the other may live five miles away and be barefoot, fishing. RM: What have been the most joyful times you’ve had? Shayne: Hanging out with Banyan. It’s ultimate joy when he comes up to you and puckers his lips to give you a kiss. I’ve had some great joy in surfing too. Shannon: I was looking at photos of people hanging out with him and I’ve seen how he makes people light up and smile. RM: How do you make a living? Shayne: On Surfari, the TV show, is our main source of income. Shannon’s artwork provides quite a bit as well. I surf for
The two great commandments are to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor. Quiksilver’s Silver Edition, and I’ve stepped back from modeling a bit. Shannon’s going to be teaching an art class in Puerto Rico. That’s about it for now. RM: Some people in the world will look at a perfect surfing wave for 40 years and see it as nothing but a hindrance. Shayne: [Laughs] Exactly, they can’t get their boat through there when the surf’s up. But people get really excited when they see surfing for the first time. We had a kid get so excited in Oman that he ran out there in his dish-dasha [long robe worn by Omani men] and his sandals. The kid was nearly drowning, but he wanted to ride a wave so badly. I don’t think the ultimate purpose in life is teaching people to surf, but for us it’s been a great place to pass time while seeing the world. RM: Do you have any lasting regrets? Shayne: Every single sin I ever committed; I wish I didn’t commit any of them, unless it caused me to meet Shannon. [Laughter all around] Maybe I’ll keep that little sin of lust that caused the initial attraction. [More laughter] Shannon: I guess I regret not spending more time with my family, but other than that…God puts you in every situation for a certain purpose. RM: Do you think that love is the greatest of all? Shannon: Yeah, but we’re not perfect people, so we’re not always loving. The two great commandments are to love God
with all your heart and love your neighbor. Shayne: God loved us enough to give us free will. God has so much love for us He even allows us to walk away from Him. Without love we’d be worship robots. RM: Do you guys ever feel like you live better lives than most people? Shannon: We’re supernaturally spoiled. [Laughter all around] RM: But the average person can do what you’re doing. Shannon: We are average people. Shayne: We just believe that we have a Creator that helps us out a little bit. Average people who have a Creator that helps them cheat. [Laughs] Not cheating, really. Just have faith and follow through. If you really believed everything the Bible said, you’d be capable of anything, if it glorified God. What we do is just a shadow of what we can do. The only explanation for all the good that’s happened to us is God. Shannon: Five years ago I had no idea what I’d be doing and five years from now I have no idea what I’ll be doing. [Banyan takes a piece of cut fruit, walks over, and puts it into my hand, proving that the fruit has indeed not fallen far from the tree.] Shayne, Shannon and Banyan McIntyre will be touring Baja California this June to record the next episode of On Surfari for Fuel TV. JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 43
Writer: Chris Ahrens Photographer: Paul Roberts
he jury’s out as to whether the nickname “Nasty” fits BMX legend Cory Nastazio. Even Nasty himself is unsure, shrugging his wide shoulders and asking a friend sitting in his garage what he thinks. The friend also shrugs, leaving the matter undecided for the moment. But Nasty’s appearance sure shouts Nasty—cut, tattooed, a battle-ready veteran revealing a combination of wild, risky, and yeah, nasty. Like Jean-Claude Van Damme on a bicycle that looks like a kid’s toy but is, in fact, an extreme machine capable of pulling g-forces along with double backflips. The Nasty handle seems obvious until you contrast the aforementioned traits with the gentle father who rushes home, runs up the stairs, kisses his girlfriend hello, and holds his 7-month-old son as if he were the most precious thing in the world, which to Cory he is. Contrast Nasty with the polite gentleman, Cory, quickly comfortable with people like me, who are paid to vacuum up all the dirt that’s fit to flick. Not that I went looking under the Nasty family’s carpet to see what was lurking there. Why bother, when someone is an open book of wounds , healings, and victories? Sitting behind a card table in his garage, Cory considers each question carefully, measuring his words so they deliver the desired impact. He has lived hard and died hard, gone to an indescribably peaceful place after hitting a tree at 70 miles per hour. He is a showman, but his thoughts are not only on his paradoxical personas. They rest with his family, his friends, and the kids he hopes will grow up to be better than him and maybe not skid out and fall too hard along the way. Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine in Cory Nastazio’s home near Riverside, California. RISEN Magazine: What scares you, Nasty? Cory Nastazio: What scares me as a man, or what scares me as a trick? RM: In general, what scares you? CN: As far as being scared, Nasty the fearless guy is scared of Californi a earthquakes. I have no control over them. Anything I put myself into, I have enough grasp of what it is to know what to expect. As far as natural major catastrophes like floods and hurrican es and earthquakes… I know we’re due for a big one here soon, that scares me. I’ve been in car accidents, I’ve been in comas for two weeks at a time, I’ve had collapsed lungs, broken all my bones, I’ve had a brain hemorrhage and had to go to Los Angeles for neuro treatment for six months, where I had to learn my ABC’s and to turn the remote up on the TV. Now that I have a 7-month-old boy, life scares me, for him. Having a child definitely makes you think before you do stuff. When you’re an athlete there’s a lot of weight on your shoulders. But my son gives me the extra time and preparation to put myself on edge, to be able to handle it when it comes time. When I woke up in the hospital, it was because I was young, crazy, and had “raditude” or whatever. Now with a baby… JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 45
RM: Will you let him do what you do? CN: Yeah, I’ll let him do what I do, but I don’t know if my girl will. I don’t want him having tattoos, I don’t want him partying; I don’t want him doing drugs. I want him to get a good education; but there’re a lot of things that, as a father, I hope to keep him away from. Whatever career he chooses, I’ll be his biggest fan, biggest trainer, biggest everything.
RM: Can you recall one thing in your life that turned you to your current profession? CN: Yeah, family problems. Not really family problems, family experiences. My family would always act like they wanna act, do what they’re gonna do, deal with it. You put it in my face, let’s do it, you know, [snaps fingers] quick to pull the trigger. Where I’m from [Flushing Queens, New York], loving was reaction. I lived for reactions. Whatever I can do to keep the reactions flowing… most of the time if I’m having a bad day and not riding good, I will throw something down that is memorable.
RM: Have you ever been in the middle of a trick and realized you launched wrong and were going to end up in the hospital? CN: No, because everything’s so split-second. Everything happens so fast, your adrenaline’s running at a million miles an
RM: Are you good at most things you do? CN: If I like what I’m doing, I tend to do it well. I have ADD, and I know a lot of people have that, but if I don’t like something I have a hard time paying attention. If I like it, you can’t beat me; if I don’t like it, I don’t care about it. If I like what you’re saying, I’m gonna
hour and you could probably snap your leg in half and not even
realize it until you’re done with your run. With guys like me, anybody in professional sports on their A game, your adrenaline makes you un-human, and at that point you’re a robot. You’re only human after the commotion is all settled. When I go into an arena or a contest or a stunt, or a pressurized situation, it’s all mechanics. I never feel pain till I get home. The next day when you wake up, it all sets in, but I’m not scared. RM: Do you think adrenaline’s the heaviest drug? CN: I’m anti drugs now, but I’ve had my fair share of experiences and I can tell you there’s no drug in the world that can electrify you as much as adrenaline can. When your body gets a tingle and there’s an unnatural feeling that takes over…I was at a boxing match for the first time and I was kind of shy and retiring, at first. But when the first punch was thrown it didn’t matter if you were 80 years old, you were up, out of your seat like a light switch. It was the power, the electricity of the people. [Makes whooshing sound] When you pull a certain trick, there’s nothing so powerful in the world. It’s something you can’t control. If I was in that ring, I wouldn’t have heard one sound. When you land a trick and it’s over, and you know your day’s done, then you can [exhales] breathe the crowd and everything comes out. RM: A lot of performers say they actually feel the electricity of the crowd; do you feel that? CN: That depends; if I’m doing a show, yes. If I’m in a contest, my state of mind is zoned on me only and I don’t hear anybody. You’ll never know what I’m talking about until you’re actually in the other seat. As far as adrenaline from the crowd, there’s probably more adrenaline in the crowd itself, than in the athlete. The people are appreciating what’s going on, but the guy is just trying to get it done. When it’s over, you’re awarded with the electricity of the crowd and you know you’ve done something good. As far as adrenaline, I get more adrenaline watching a boxing match with 6,000 people than I do being on the main stage. 46 :RISEN MAGAZINE
take it all in and use it. If I don’t like what you’re saying, it’s gonna go in one ear and out the other. RM: Were you scrappy as a kid? CN: No, I have a good heart. I’m not a bully and I never tried to prove anything by being a troublemaker, or trying to be a bada— , or trying to make someone else feel out of place in order to make myself feel better. Even as a young kid I believed in karma, so anything I could do to help someone, or show some love, I would. When I was young and a kid was getting beat up at school, I would help the kid getting beat up. Never a troublemaker, never vandalized anything. And I would live as a slave to pay for mine before I would ever steal from anybody. God knows I have a good heart and He sees that. Anyone who tries to be a bully will get theirs, and will get it really bad and I feel sorry for them. What goes around comes around. For me, all my energy, from negative to positive, flows through riding. RM: One person jumps from a plane, the other person is scared getting on a ladder. What do you think that is? CN: It’s natural; you either have it or you don’t. You’ve gotta have heart and be willing to sacrifice. If you don’t have enough heart, you’re not gonna succeed. RM: Do your tattoos have any significance? CN: Yeah, this is Mother Mary [points out tattoo]. I was never too religious. I’ve always had the Lord that I talk to in my life, but I don’t believe in the same guy everybody’s talking about. Maybe it is the same guy but I don’t go to church and I kind of have a personal one-on-one with Him. He respects that, and we understand each other. Back to that, Mother Mary got put on me after I hit a tree. The tattoo on my neck also came after I hit a tree and it says “Blessed.” I hit that tree at 70, no seatbelt, car crushed like a Coke can. I was in a coma for two weeks. If it wasn’t for the Lord, or my sacred angel, there’s no reason I could
do what I’m doing, let alone have a brain that can actually think halfway decently. That was taken away from me. After my sister passed a few years ago, I got her name. I got this, the Statue of Liberty, [points to tattoo and hits table with finger for emphasis] holding a Molotov cocktail, standing in flames, at midnight on September 11th, before the bombs fell. I was out all night, came home at six in the morning, and turned on the TV. While my arm was still bloody from this thing, my manager, Kimber, and I were in the hotel, sighing. As the buildings were falling, there’s this crazy smoke. The newspaper took a picture of it. Dude, it’s him! [points to tattoo] It’s his f—ing face with no hair. The New York Times got a picture of it. I’ve got chills down my back right now. The other tattoos, I’ve got my name, Nasty, on my back and all the other ones are just cool guy… RM: When you were in a coma, were you… CN: Nope, lost it. Talk about an out-of-body experience. Talk about a memory and a feeling. It was two weeks in my life that I will never know what happened. It’s a piece of my life is gone. God and Jesus had a conversation. Jesus said, “God, Nasty’s here, what do we do with him; he hit a tree.” And God said, “He’s not
ready, he’s a tough kid, put him back.” I didn’t hear that conversation word-for-word, but I will tell you this, I don’t remember the accident, I don’t remember anything, but I remember a higher power, out of my hands, discussing what they were going to do with me. RM: You sensed that, or you heard it? CN: It was in my blood. It’s like somebody telling you what happened, without hearing it. I mean, that’s what happened. RM: Did you feel at peace? CN: Yeah, I felt it and nobody will know what I’m talkin’ about unless they’ve been there themselves. It’s so remarkable, there’s nothing… Now it’s just a memory. Two years later I’m riding better than I ever have, got my head on my shoulders, more focused than ever. It put me in my spot, and helped me see that I’m privileged to carry on my career after that nearly fatal incident. They called my accident fatal, done, he’s dead. I look at my life so much differently. Now my baby’s here. I wouldn’t have had a kid, nothing would have fallen into place. They say there’s a wall you run into at the end of your time. Well, I hit it, and God gave me another chance. I recognized it and got back on the right road. That’s what happened, bro. RM: What do you feel your ultimate purpose in life is? CN: To be a good role model, a good father, an honest person. RM: If you could choose final words to impart to your son, what would they be? CN: Stay strong, do what’s right, listen to your heart, and have fun with whatever you do. RM: What would you have put on your headstone? 48 :RISEN MAGAZINE
CN: Nasty Dog chillin’. [Laughter] RM: Is “Nasty” an appropriate name for you? CN: Still tryin’ to figure that out. There’s Cory James and there’s Nasty, the actual character riding the machine. When I come home, it’s just Cory. RM: What brings out the different characters? CN: It’s like a stage name for a stripper. It’s who they are and their personality. I got stuck with Nasty cuz my last name’s Nastazio, so it kind of works, and it stuck with me. It started off as a joke when I was 12 years old, and now on game day, I get nasty. RM: Does that character take over on game day? CN: No, no, no, no, nothing like that. It’s not a game. RM: Do you have any recurring dreams? CN: Plane crashes, always crashing in a plane. RM: Are you scared of flying? CN: Terrified; it’s something I have no control over. Flying is probably my worst fear. And the plane I get on the next day, is the same one in the dream. When I get about a half hour from
landing, I thank my Lord. I get that every time and I travel like twice a month. It’s almost like it’s gonna happen, like La Bamba. Knock on wood. [Knocks on wood] It would be a real s—t to survive a car accident I should have died in and then die in a plane. RM: Do you remember the happiest day of your life? CN: I forget all that when it’s about me. The happiest day of my life was seeing my son come out of my girl, cuz then, it wasn’t about me. I’m already gifted, I’m blessed, and for me it’s all good. My best days are seeing my mom’s expression when I surprise her with something good. The best day of my life is when I can make someone else’s memory. RM: Would you go to war for any reason? CN: Two years ago, yes. Now, yes. I only hesitate because of my kid. If we’re getting bombed and there’s a need, I’d go. RM: Would you be a good soldier? CN: I know I can shoot the hell out of a gun. RM: Anything else? CN: If it wasn’t for my sponsors taking me seriously, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and God bless America. RM: Where do you see yourself in 10,000 years? CN: Dead and reborn about ten-hundred million times.
Cory "Nasty" Nastazio continues to be one of the top BMX riders, most recently winning at Vegas' Extreme Thing this past April. For more info on Cory, visit www.corynastazio.net.
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ix years ago, I was provocatively reminded of the pervasiveness of American culture while I was walking around an outdoor market in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. Amongst the tables full of trinkets and indigenous crafts, I spotted a Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken joint and heard the megahit “Kiss Me” from Sixpence None the Richer over a transistor radio. The setting seemed almost surreal. There in the center of that Muslim capital city, Malaysians were scarfing down poultry under the grinning face of Kenny Rogers and singing a simple love song along with the angelic and innocent voice of Leigh Nash. The song’s appearance on a playlist on the other side of the globe is not totally surprising. It was a huge hit. While some would dismiss it as syrupy, the rest of the world sang along with the universal longing for a simple kiss. The tune became the mostplayed song in nearly a dozen countries, landed Sixpence on the late night shows, and found its way onto TV and movie soundtracks. Leigh Nash and Matt Slocum formed Sixpence None the Richer (a reference from C.S. Lewis) when she was only 14 and he only a few years older. “Kiss Me” was a gratifying reward for the two of them, who had traveled on the road with their band for so many years before their big break. That hit was followed by the band’s cover version of “There She Goes.” Yet, as suddenly a as the flame of fame had been fanned, the politics of the music industry extinguished the inferno. Rather than capitalizing on their successful hits, Sixpence’s record label left them dangling in an artistic purgatory. The band’s next album was released without fanfare—with only long-time fans even knowing it was being released. Sixpence amicably disbanded in 2004. Shortly thereafter, Leigh and her husband, Mark, became the proud parents of Henry. With Leigh cutting her teeth on motherhood after 13 years on the road with her male bandmates, her life became a completely new adventure. The record label machinations left her hog-tied, frustrated, and slightly vengeful.
Leigh Nash, however, was not going to go away quietly in the night. She spent last November in Montreal with Pierre Marchand (Sarah McLachlan’s producer/collaborator), working on her first indie solo album. She seems ready for this chapter in her life. When we met at Fido’s Coffeehouse in Nashville, Leigh didn’t strike me as a mommy rocker. She’s unpretentious, charmingly Southern, and fetchingly adorable. She even bought my coffee. A week after our lengthy conversation, I met up again with her in New York, where she was singing at the hipster hangout Arlene’s Grocery in Soho. Hearing her in that intimate setting, I was reminded why I fell in love with her voice so many years ago. As we were chatting after the show, a young woman introduced herself to Leigh and said how much Sixpence None the Richer meant to her as she was growing up. When she was 16 years old, she would steal her dad’s car and drive around for hours listening to Leigh’s melodic vocals. There was sweet relief on the young woman’s face. Leigh’s back. Finally. Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine at Fido’s Coffeehouse in Nashville, Tennessee. RISEN Magazine: Have you ever been tempted to sing “Kiss Me” in a karaoke bar? Leigh Nash: [Laughs] Yes, I have. I have actually done that. I only did it once. It was a dare. RM: No one made the connection that you were actually the one singing your huge hit? LN: Nope, no one knew. RM: How did you begin singing in public? LN: I was really, really shy as a child. But for some reason I really wanted to be on stage and I found myself completely captivated by old country songs like “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 51
Man”—a Loretta Lynn song—and anything sung by Patsy Cline, George Jones, and Charlie Pride. I called this local dancehall in New Braunfels, Texas, and asked the band that played there on the weekends—they were called the County Line—if I could join them during their set on just a couple songs. They were kind enough to let me. I was about 13 years old. I am sure they thought it was funny or cute. I showed up with my little bolo tie and my painted-on red pants. My parents were always there. They were always very supportive, but they never pushed. I don’t think they could believe it. I was the daughter who could not even speak to people without blushing. RM: Was this a honky tonk? LN: It was a honky tonk—exactly. And on Sunday nights they didn’t serve alcohol.
RM: Do you have any lasting memories of that experience? LN: I remember that a group of bikers came in one of those Sunday nights. They were all tattooed up. My dad and I were about to leave and one of the guys kind of punched me on the arm and said, “You’re going to make it, baby.” My dad and I laughed about that for years. We thought that was so funny. I was only 13 years old. At the time, I was terrified—out of ignorance—of anyone who rode a motorcycle. Being punched on the shoulder and given encouragement like that was amazing. [Laughs] RM: When did you begin collaborating with Matt Slocum? LN: I met him in church. I don’t remember exactly the first time he heard me sing, but there were a few times that I sang a Sandi Patty song in front of the whole congregation. He had been listening to the Innocence Mission, the Sundays, 10,000 Maniacs, Crowded House, and all this really cool stuff, and he wanted to start a band. He took me away from all of that country and got me into the kind of music that I had never heard. It was a whole new education for me. RM: How old were you at the time? LN: I was 14 when we recorded our first demo. Matt had written a song called “Trust.” He was only 17 or 18 at the time. Musically, we were bonded at that point and were going to do stuff together from that point on. RM: He carted you all around Texas at that age without your parents? LN: Yep, in his little black Toyota truck. We went up and down 35— the north-south highway between New Braunfels and Dallas—almost every week at one point. We were playing at a really cool club down in Deep Ellum called Club Dada. I was about 15. We never got much interest from clubs in Austin—which would have only been about 45 minutes away—but Dallas was four hours away. So, of course, that was where we had to go. 52 :RISEN MAGAZINE
RM: Was there ever a romantic connection between you two? LN: Nope. None whatsoever. RM: You spent more than 15 years on the road with all guys. Describe the weirdness of all that. LN: It was weird, but that is all I had ever known. It felt completely normal to me because I was 14, and as I got older, the more touring we did in vans and cars. I was used to being around dudes. By the time that my husband, Mark, came along, I was a pretty seasoned van traveler with all these boys. My best friends were boys. It just seemed to be totally normal to me. I think it became normal to Mark. It never bothered him. He knew the freaks I was out on the road with and that they were friends material and that no one was after me.
RM: What is it like to be an artist trapped in a bad contract? LN: It felt like your arms and legs tied behind your back. It felt awful. It seemed like it happened over and over again. Our wings were continuously clipped. If we were still together, I could say, “It made us stronger. Look at us now.” But in the end, it did not work out like that. I like to believe that things work out like they are supposed to. I wish it could have been one of those situations where we were together for 25 years and still best friends at the end of it all—we still are all really good friends—but we lasted a good long time. I wanted it to last longer, but now that I have made my own record and have some independence I am really thankful and I think it was the right thing. RM: You sound like you’ve dealt with it, but surely this was good cause for depression. LN: It was frustration about not being able to get answers. At the time, our manager was doing a great job and was trying to get it worked out. It was not his fault. They kept saying, “You should hear something this week.” It was always six months away. It was never that week. I was just mad at the process. It was always like, we are waiting to hear this. We are waiting to hear that. Just another week, another week, another week. That’s what drove me insane. I think that if somebody would have said, You guys are screwed and its going be two years, I could have made better use of my time. It always seems that way in this business. You are just waiting on some jacka— to make a decision. It is ridiculous. RM: What percentage of your new album is revenge at the record label and what percentage is your need to create? LN: I would say revenge is two percent—really and truly. It’s in there. I want it to go super well without a record label. The rest is wanting people to hear this music and find a connection with it and love it. I want to be heard three or four times a day on a pop hits radio station. I wanna be like Rod Stewart!
RM: Your faith is pretty well-known. Where did you see God in the midst of that fiasco? Were you mad at Him? LN: No, not at all. The picture in my head is of a young colt jumping and writhing around in a little pen, but if it were to get out it would hurt itself. The pen is there for a reason and the owner is standing there. What can you do? The colt can calm down, have some water, try to learn to read [Laughs]—get some other skills. I was just fighting and fighting and fighting. I think that you either have to grow from something like this or destroy yourself. I think I probably did something in between. Hopefully, I grew from it as much as possible. I didn’t fall into any destructive behaviors as a result of that anger. So I guess I did grow from that, so that is good. You learn patience. Eventually, you have to sit still and learn to observe what is going on around you. In those years, I made some of the best friends that I have had in my life. I learned to not hold on to what I want so hard that God can’t still mold me and I have to have my hands open so that he can give me stuff. If you are
RM: Was music an escape for you? LN: Yeah, definitely. Matt and his music and definitely it was God’s hand that brought the two of us together. It was my savior. Well, I mean, Jesus is my Savior. But it saved me from…I don’t know what. But it was definitely a miracle.
clinching what you want so bad, He can’t get your hand open. You have to open your hands. I am still learning to do that. It is really hard.
it. But I’m this typical, you know, victim, and I’m just going to take it from him. I love him that much. He’s old now, and he’s got other things on his mind. But if he was smart he’d wise up and give me a call.
RM: Compare motherhood and creating a new album. LN: I think there’s similarities in that you don’t go into it knowing exactly what you’re doing; it’s just instinctual. I think Mark and I together are doing a really beautiful job with our son, just following our instincts and just trying to be good to him and to be good parents. Making a record is kind of the same thing. You go into it, and I was never that hands-on. In Sixpence I was always in the studio, but I was very intimidated by the process of recording and I had never played any instruments on a record, because I’m not a good enough guitar player. So that kind of removes you, too. So when I went into this, I’m really thankful I got to work with [celebrated producer] Pierre [Marchand]. He’s a master at making a record sound beautiful. And he certainly did that with mine. But, with this too, the writing, the record, the whole thing, I just followed my instincts, just like with my son, Henry. And hopefully the payoff will be as beautiful as my child is. RM: What is the one thing that you have the desire to teach Henry? LN: Whether we end up in a trailer down by the river or we do well, I want him to be proud of who he comes from and where he comes from. And I want him to have a good sense of himself. RM: What was your home life like as a kid? LN: We were stressed out. But there was a lot of love and a lot of support and a whole house full of grace. So it wasn’t all bad. But it definitely was not…hmm…. It was stressful.
RM: Are faith and creativity at war with one another, or do they walk hand-in-hand? LN: At this point in my life I guess I don’t really know. I mean, I think that my faith makes me who I am. And so whatever I do, that’s what I walk with. It’s this amazing faith and this belief that is stronger at some times than others. But I still carry it with me and it changes who you are. I mean, it’s everything. So I think they walk hand-in-hand, absolutely. RM: I read on your blog that you consider Leonard Cohen your boyfriend. LN: Leonard Cohen has put a stake into my heart. And I’m so sick of
RM: What album are you currently listening to? LN: Neil Diamond’s new record is amazing. And one of my favorite songs, I don’t actually know what that song is called, but the lyrics from it that I love so much are: “If your goldmine comes up empty, I’ll be there to work the claims; If you’re captain of a shipwreck, I’ll be first mate to your shame.” That just gives me chills. RM: You are also a Golden Girls fan. Why? LN: Oh my gosh, yes! I totally love The Golden Girls! The show is awesome because it makes you feel safe. It’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen in my life. Those ladies have the best timing, and some of the best writing ever was done for that show. RM: You have a song on your new album that deals with Heaven. What actually is your view of heaven? LN: Heaven to me would be knowing everyone that I know here and recognizing them, and being able to talk about the stuff that’s gone on and laugh about it, and tell stories. It’d just basically be like Earth, but without the pain and the suffering and all the bad stuff. Because God did a great job with us. And I hope we’ve all got our faculties about us and we can still be funny or smart or whatever our gifts were here that we could just share them with each other up there without all the weird stuff. Leigh Nash’s new album, Blue on Blue, is available August 15. JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Feature: 55
Cayman Daydreaming Zela Lobb Writer: Trish Teves
The day Rolling Stone called Zela with an offer, she was between Montreal and her hometown of Toronto. “I had to rush back to Toronto because I left my laptop at home! I never left home without it after that phone call.” Zela seems to live her life in a world of splendid chaos. She has lived in many different countries, learning French first and English second. Her household is splendidly chaotic, a daydreamer’s delight. “At one point, my husband and I were both freelancing and went weeks without doing anything but work from dusk till dawn.” Although Zela has been smiling lately—she is recently married, has lots of work, and just relocated to the Cayman Islands—she claims she didn’t always wear a smile. “I wore a frown for the first two years of my life and have the pictures to prove it. But I seem to have gotten it out of my system. I am an extremely happy person now.” And why shouldn’t she be? With people standing in line to pay for her brushstrokes, she is no longer the starving artist her mother predicted she would be. “I do remember the moment, at the age of 7, when I decided I would be an artist. I kept that idea despite my mother saying I would be poor all my life. For many years I was, but she was supportive and would drop by with food. Now, she is my biggest fan and has admitted that I am living her dream.” It’s a dream that many artists aspire to but few attain. Full-time work. Six years ago, Zela risked it all and took a leap of faith. “I ran a business in Montreal, painting commercial murals, windows, and signs—all self-taught. But I needed a challenge and change of pace. So I left it all and went back to school in 2000 for three years to specialize in illustration. I have been doing it ever since and haven’t regretted a single minute.” And thank goodness for the rest of us. Her art has graced the pages of the most recognizable publications, including Rolling Stone, Forbes, Spin, and of course, RISEN. This daydreamer does not rest in the thought that she has made it. Her wish list of potential work reaches far beyond the ordinary. “I would love to produce wallpaper, or work for a Victoria’s Secret catalog. I’d like to animate a movie—do surfboard designs or patterns for bathing suits.” With an eyebrowraising concoction of aspirations, Zela no longer has anything to prove. “My dream is to draw every day. So, by working in this field I tend to accomplish just that. But if I were to do anything else, I would be a dancer or a fashion designer. Two fields that require 100 percent devotion to get anywhere. Naturally, I would go with modern dance. I don’t like to be told how to interpret anything.” 58 :RISEN MAGAZINE
An illustrator whose art has appeared on fabrics, snowboards, packaging, bus shelters, and CD covers, she is one of those rare beings that is driven and creative. Or rather, driven by creativity. “I am often called a workaholic but I find I am most inspired when I am just playing around. As a kid I was a definite dreamer. All my report cards said that I was a good student but daydreamed a lot. It was so common for me to see that on my report card that I assumed they said that to everybody.” Zela, however, is anything but common. Even the sound of her name rolls off the tongue like a catchy foreign word. Zeeelah. This is a girl who once slept in the kitchen because she was using her bedroom as a tattoo parlor; she later slept in her closet to have more studio space to paint. “I went years without a bed because I have no problem falling asleep anywhere and would find it easier to get up in the morning.” The mornings must seem much brighter these days since her move to the Cayman Islands. Incorrigibly vague when asked how long they will stay there, she claims that only time will tell. As a newlywed, the tropical honeymoon has just begun. “I never get bored with my husband. He doesn’t mind me drawing all day long.” As for her inspiration, she’s taking in her new exotic environment: “I think women in bikinis are in order…”
You can learn more about Zela at www.zelazela.com. 60 :RISEN MAGAZINE
JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Department: 61
Writer: Chris Ahrens Photographer: Robert Maxwell
When our own Aaron Chang was profiled for this section of RISEN, he had only one request: “I’d like my portrait to be done by Robert Maxwell.” Chang, who is at the top of his field, elaborated only by saying, “He’s one of the best photographers I’ve ever seen.” Maxwell humbly bats the compliment back into Chang’s court, before adding that it was he, Chang, who convinced him to drop everything else fifteen years ago, pack his bags, head to France, and pursue a full-time photography career. The move seems to have worked out, since Maxwell has worked for many major publications, including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Mademoiselle, W, Elle, Interview, and The New York Times Magazine. In the last decade and a half, he has shot everyone from Presidential candidate John Kerry to actor Johnny Depp. So how does a La Jolla surfer and high school dropout surpass most of his college-graduated peers and click with so many objects, both animate and inanimate, and people, both famous and unknown? It’s obviously more complicated than this, but Maxwell’s reply is simple—that he values honesty above all else in his subject matter. “There’s an honesty about a human being that I look for, trying to photograph the average decent person when they look the most beautiful.” Realizing such beauty can appear, peak, and fade in less than 1/500th of a second, the job becomes one of a skilled technician, an artist, and a highly perceptive detective, learning the subtleties of a subject almost immediately, drawing out the desired mood in each individual, while contemplating their most pleasing or interesting angles. It’s a lot more than pushing a button on a camera; Maxwell considers it “an extension of the mind.” When asked about his biggest challenge in achieving an honest photograph, he chuckles and mentions a shoot he did with a BMX rider along with a lion. Without him saying so, I would guess the rider was the most difficult part of the equation, since, being human, he probably tried to fool the camera at first. The lion, I assume, appeared perfectly honest most of the time. Robert Maxwell’s book, Robert Maxwell: Photographs, can be purchased online at Amazon.com. Learn more about his body of work by visiting www.art-dept.com/artists/maxwell.
Jennifer Connolly 62 :RISEN MAGAZINE
Black Eyed Peas
Sheryl Crow JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Department: 65
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Capote (2006, available on DVD)
Bennett Miller’s Capote should encourage a resurgence of interest in Truman Capote’s writing, especially In Cold Blood. The notorious, groundbreaking “nonfiction novel” was the artful, and arguably exploitative, result of Capote’s investigation into the murders of a family of four in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959. Miller’s film examines the events leading to that volume’s publication, from the moment its author has the inkling of inspiration to the days when he paid dearly for the ethical compromises he made along the way. At first glance, the story of an artist with compassion for prisoners would seem like a story of virtue. And Capote, as played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, certainly demonstrates compassion for Perry Smith, the killer he befriends during his visits researching a story for his next book. But Miller’s film is not Dead Man Walking... not even close. We watch as Capote cozies up to Smith (compellingly played by Clifton Collins Jr.) in his death-row cell. He seduces the convict into trust and openness, and then starts drawing out the details he will use in his damning prose. “If I leave here without understanding you,” he halfwhispers, like a little red satan on “Smith's” shoulder, “the world will see you as a monster. And I don't want that.” Haunted by the nightmares of his childhood, Capote was a man who kept his troubled heart concealed. His mind was an enigma, but his talent was undeniable. Viewers will respond with conflicting feelings about the man as they watch his fascinating fluctuations between pity and pride, sympathy and selfishness. Hoffman takes on this difficult task and succeeds brilliantly, completely transforming himself into a bold and eccentric character with a voice like an infant’s whine and a hunger for the spotlight.
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(2000, available on DVD)
(2000, available on DVD)
Not for the squeamish, Three Kings provides a bold and unflinching look at the chaos of the first Gulf War. Writer/director David O. Russell (Flirting with Disaster, I Heart Huckabees) strikes a precarious balance between outrageous comedy and the stuff of classic war movies. The result is a challenging and surreal story about culture clashes and conscience. Three Kings tells the story of four (yes, four) adventuresome soldiers who have seen a treaty signed, have felt the imminent threat of “war's” chaos lift for a while, and are now looking forward to better days. Sergeant Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) can’t wait to get home to see his wife and his newborn baby. Sergeant Major Archie Gates (George Clooney) has been appointed as spokesman soldier to the media, and he's interested in doing anything but that. Then there's Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin (Ice Cube), who carries on a perpetual conversation with Jesus, and Private Conrad Vig (played by director Spike Jonze), a trigger-happy kid who really wishes he could see some action before they leave. Things take a sudden turn when these guys get their hands on a map leading to a load of pure gold that Saddam stole from the Kuwaitis. Unable to resist, they charge into unpredictable circumstances, collide with Saddam’s forces, and find a whole lot more trouble than they bargained for. As we watch these opportunists grapple with greed and conscience, Three Kings becomes much more than a caper. And the actors are up to the job, making us believe that they have what it takes to do a wrong job right. Fortunately, Russell avoids letting this devolve into a Michael Moore rant or cynical Oliver Stone conspiracy theory. Yes, he’s clearly troubled about the behavior of Americans overseas, but he’s interested in more than the blame game. He wants to prod us enough that we ask ourselves what we would do if we faced a choice between duty and compassion.
Hayao Miyazaki’s animated epic Princess Mononoke is an ambitious, awe-inspiring fantasy of Japanese mythology, in which the spirits of the forest try to defend themselves against the destructive progress of humankind. Through ambition and foolishness, human beings have awakened demons in the forest, and now those demons are coming to punish them for cutting down the trees and ruining their beautiful homes. They are fearsome, and they can only be exorcised through sacrifice, humility, and peace. Even though Disney has enhanced the film for American audiences—featuring English dubbing with the voices of Minnie Driver and Billy Bob Thornton—this is not a Disney flick for kids. Miyazaki’s imagination is populated by selfish human beings, and only a few of them rise to the occasion of nobility, heroism, and conscience. These forest creatures would strike terror in the heart of Bambi; some of them can become truly monstrous. Miyazaki’s mythology has more in common with pantheism than monotheism. But his narrative conveys the necessity of a selfless, loving savior who will put his life on the line for the redemption of the world. Princess Mononoke reflects the moral conflicts we face every day in our interactions with each other and with nature. In doing so, Miyazaki crafts richer storytelling than we’re accustomed to finding in animation. There is a lot of truth here, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. There is also a lot of love for the beauty of creation, respect for the divine, and compassion for even heartless human beings. And did I mention the glorious animation? While the central characters are rather simple figures, the world through which they move is enthralling in its detail. This forest is full of surprises, secrets, and colorful personalities. This is just one of the many feathers in Miyazaki’s cap, further evidence that he is the world’s greatest animator.
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2006, available on DVD)
Remember the chills you felt the first time Hannibal Lecter faced off with Agent Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs? Imagine what it would have been like if that intense battle of wits lasted a whole hour! While Starling and Lecter only met in a few fleeting scenes, the clash in Sophie Scholl: The Final Days between a principled heroine and a determined, malevolent villain goes on until you’re left breathless from the heat of it. In this film, a young German anti-Nazi activist (Julia Jentsch) is caught spreading pamphlets that expose Hitler’s malevolent endeavors. It’ll thrash your nerves to see what happens when she’s arrested, jailed, and interrogated. In a dimly lit room, Sophie fights for her freedom while a man behind a desk lashes her with questions. It’s as intense as anything you saw in M:I-3. Developing their movie from the actual records of Scholl’s interrogation and incarceration, director Marc Rothemund and screenwriter Fred Breinersdorfer present a feverish and fast-moving account of a six-day span in which Scholl goes from a covert freedomfighter to a prisoner. At the beginning of the film, she is an enthusiastic, appealing student with an irrepressible zeal for truth who produces and distributes pamphlets describing how the Third Reich caused the massacre at Stalingrad and forced Jews into concentration camps. After her arrest, however, her character is put to the test. The virtue and verve that Scholl demonstrated, first in deceiving her interrogators, and later in endeavoring to save her friends and family from execution, will amaze you, just as the real Sophie Scholl inspired Germans (more than 100 German schools are named after her). As cruel as Sophie’s tormentors seem to be, Rothemund has done his homework. The Nazi judge who faces Scholl in the finale really was that crazy. And Scholl? Yes, she really was a hero. Sophie Scholl was justifiably nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
In This World
Dirty Pretty Things
(2005, available on DVD)
(2004, available on DVD)
It’s a nerve-racking sequence—a young Afghan boy named Jamal (Jamal Udin Torabi) tries to escape his own dangerous, desperate conditions in a Pakistani camp so that he can find a future in a better place. London, perhaps? But first, he must secretly cross the heavily guarded border between Iran and Turkey by night in heavy snow. He peers down through the darkness, following the headlights of a patrol car. And then, shots ring out… The excruciating intensity of In This World comes from the fact that everything is too real. Jamal’s adventures are filmed up close, through a video camera, in Pakistan, where these things actually happen. Those security checkpoints with the armed guards, those are real. These people trying to smuggle themselves out of the nightmarish conditions—they’re real people. And some of their nightmares—this may be the most troubling thing of all—are fueled by the efforts of the United States to dismantle an “axis of evil.” U.S. bombings have left countless families in poverty, neglected, a “hair's” breadth away from starvation and death. Once you're taken into their world, “you'll” want to escape too. And if you are fortunate enough to make your way alive through an elaborate and dangerous network of “human smuggling,” “you'll” find that the "free world" may not be as idyllic as you hoped. Michael Winterbottom, who has made a wide variety of films (Jude, 24 Hour Party People, Code 46), put himself in some perilous situations to bring us this vital vision, to show us a story that news cameras tend to overlook. While brave American soldiers in the Middle East are making important strides, it is important for those of us visiting the rest of the world through DVDs to keep our eyes open wide, invigorate our consciences, and develop hearts of compassion for those who look at the “paradise” of the free world from afar.
Next time you stay in a hotel, take a moment to think about the people who are working there. Imagine the things they must see, the trouble they sometimes have to clean up. Take, for instance, Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a Nigerian immigrant who is working several jobs in London in order to escape the dark secrets of his past. As he attends to the customers of a swanky London hotel, dodging the gaze of the immigration police, he discovers a nasty surprise—a human heart, clogging up one of the hotel toilets. Like the young innocent who found the severed ear in Blue Velvet, Okwe follows this bloody clue into a labyrinth of evildoing. Along the way, he’ll meet other immigrants who need his unique skills. (Back home in Nigeria, he was a doctor.) And he’ll also discover that his beautiful coworker, an English-speaking Turkish immigrant named Senay (Amelie’s Audrey Tautou), is being tempted to make a horrible deal with the diabolical manager of the hotel, “Sneaky” (Sergi Lopez of With a Friend Like Harry). “Dirty” deeds happen at night, and Sneaky tells Okwe that it’s his job to make things “pretty” again. But don’t count Okwe out. “We are the people you do not see,” he declares, a humble David taking action against an arrogant Goliath. “We are the ones who drive your cabs. We clean your rooms.” He’s about to teach the proud and mighty that it pays to show respect to the people behind the scenes.
Jeffrey Overstreet’s reviews and interviews have appeared in Paste and other publications. His book about finding meaning at the movies, Through a Screen Darkly, will be out next year; the first novel in his fantasy series, Auralia’s Colors, is due in 2007. JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Department: 71
dept:Sound materialism, narcissism, and stagnancy of our culture. The questions in songs like “Hypocrisy and Entropy,” “The Realization is Devastating,” and “Gods Are Fragile Things” match the frenetic pace of the music. But don’t be put off by the political underpinnings; the lyrical inquests in no way tarnish the brassy shine of the Sweater Club sound. —Thaddeus Christian
Artist: The Long Winters Album: Putting the Days to Bed Label: Barsuk Release: July 25th A perfectly crafted pop rock record is a thing of pure beauty, and The Long Winters have come very close to achieving the mark with Putting the Days to Bed. Everything on the record meshes to create a sound that is original yet familiar all at once. No one aspect of the album takes precedent over any other, with light guitars, melodic vocals, and simple—yet perfectly executed—drums working together, rather than battling each other. Where the record really excels, though, is in its complexity. Making a pop record may not be difficult, but doing so with clever lyrics and music which is actually composed from talent is a much more difficult feat. From the lighter songs, such as “Clouds,” to the faster tempo rock songs like “Rich Wife,” The Long Winters manage to build songs with simplicity that almost seems complex in its creation. —Jared Cohen
Artist: Sweater Club Album: Five More Minutes Label: Self-Released Release: August 8th Sweater Club is a breath of fresh air. From the desperate drum beats of “Part I” to the silky smooth trumpet/trombone/sax swells of “Walk Away,” Sweater Club blend the soul of Motown, the anxious swing of Kingston reggae, and the greatest rhythmic elements of punk. Five More Minutes pushes forward with extraordinary energy. Manic basslines burn like a fuse, igniting the volatile horn section and concussive guitars. It’s a violent combustion of sound. Not only is the album a protest against formulaic music excreted by corporate masters, it’s a social commentary on the 72 :RISEN MAGAZINE
Artist: Sufjan Stevens Album: The Avalanche Label: Asthmatic Kitty Release: July 11th To all of those who thought Sufjan’s last release, Illinois, would never be topped, it turns out you were wrong. The Avalanche features 21 songs, all of which are outtakes from Illinois. Choosing the songs from Illinois must have been a daunting and nearimpossible task, because these “outtakes” are every bit as good as the tracks which made the Illinois cut. The Avalanche is not only amazing musically and lyrically, as we’ve all come to expect from Sufjan, it’s also clever, with most songs having an influential counterpart on Illinois. Since these songs were originally indented for Illinois, the subject matter is once again the famous people and places of the state of Illinois. There are also three new versions of “Chicago,” a fan favorite from Illinois. As with previous Sufjan releases, nearly every song is an orgy of horns, guitar, banjo, beautifully haunting vocal harmonies, and Sufjan’s subtle voice. If you liked Illinois, you’ll love The Avalanche. —Jared Cohen
Artist: David Bazan Album: Fewer Moving Parts Label: Jade Tree Records Release: July 27th
After years of going by the name Pedro The Lion, one of the most overlooked songwriters of the last 10 years has re-emerged using his own name. Thankfully, not much has changed aside from the name. Bright guitar tones, harmonious vocals, and the delicate marriage of electric and acoustic instrumentation—Pedro The Lion staples—are alive and well on Bazan’s first ‘solo’ record, Fewer Moving Parts. The most important carryover from Bazan’s time as Pedro The Lion is his moving lyrics. Bazan is not afraid to call out wrongdoers, wherever they hide. He’ll call out the government, he’ll call out you, and he’ll call out himself. Religious questions that have often been evident in Bazan’s work reappear in a few of the songs, and governmental/social criticism—another area where Bazan’s lyrics are particularly touching and well-thought—is the main topic of the closing track, “Backwoods Nation.” The EP features five songs, but for fans of Pedro The Lion’s acoustic work, a stripped-down, unplugged version of each song is also included. This disc just might leave you speechless. —Jared Cohen
Artist: Dashboard Confessional Album: Dusk and Summer Label: Vagrant Records Release: June 27th With the latest Dashboard Confessional release, Dusk and Summer, Chris Carrabba has done something that may confuse his fans. He has seemingly completed the evolution of the onceacoustic Dashboard Confessional into a band that sounds an awful lot like Further Seems Forever, a band that Carrabba fronted until a few years ago. While many people who were fans of Dashboard Confessional when it was Carrabba’s acoustic emotional outlet have felt pushed away by his more recent return to the full-band format, this record should be given a fair chance. It’s definitely different from the mellow Dashboard of the past, but this isn’t just a cheesy pop record. Carrabba has finally been able to recreate the sound Further Seems Forever had, while retaining the things that make Dashboard so special. The introspective
dept:Sound lyrics haven’t gone anywhere, and neither have the catchy melodies. It’s just that now they’re a bit louder. —Jared Cohen
Artist: Comfortable For You Album: My Entire Life Is a Lie Label: Loud + Clear Release: June 26th Comfortable For You carry on San Diego’s posthardcore tradition: angular guitars, fragmented rhythm structures, and a bass end that slithers like a reticulated python. But CFY has moved beyond their roots with measured songs and more thoughtful dynamics than the tired scream/whisper changes of their peers. Another often overlooked trick that CFY has figured out is crisp, clean production; the colliding textures have room to breathe, gone are the tin-squawk guitars and cardboard drums that seem to be a signature of hard indie rock. Their Web site has announced that this record will be the band’s last. It’s kind of a downer to name your last album My Entire Life Is a Lie, and from the car crash chords to the unresolved tension of the vocal delivery, an undercurrent of finality runs through the record. This sense of closure is driven home with the repeating lines of the last song, “They got shot down today… They got shut down today.” —Thaddeus Christian
simple melodies from a small stage in the front of the room. This is the scene Brisa Roché has painted with The Chase, and she’s done it magically. Maybe she’s been able to do it with such accuracy because she happens to be French, or maybe just because she’s rather creative. While there are definitely modern influences on The Chase, with electronically filtered songs like “At the Shore,” the overall feel of the record is best summed up with the album’s lone French song, “Dans le Vert de Ses Yeux.” The album is very reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg, but again, Brisa has modernized the sound surprisingly well. She radiates sensuality and romance without the slightest hint of her putting any effort into it. —Jared Cohen
Artist: Jason Webley Album: Eleven Saints Label: 11 Records Release: June 13th Jason Webley is Seattle’s accordion-slinging pied piper. He’s one of the most incredible performers around; able to woo even the toughest crowd into happy and lighthearted submission. He’ll put you
Artist: Thee Emergency Album: Can You Dig It? Label: Blue Disguise Release: June 13th Thee Emergency is the real deal. Rock ‘n’ roll, like a glowing amplifier, like smoking tires, like a pool-hall brawl. This soulful Seattle foursome slink out working-class-blues-rock riffs so sultry the speakers sweat. With the dirty and dangerous vibe of MC5 or The Stooges, it’s time to board the windows when singer Dita Vox shouts, “We’re gonna take it to the streets!” On slower tracks like “Cream,” Vox delivers steamy lyrics like warm ladles of soul stew, before pushing the needles into the red with her scotchsmooth wail. The microphone suffers when she screams, “Baby, when I walk out that door/You know you won’t be seeing me anymore/Why don’t you go with your whore!” Her voice is a crime of passion. With their throbbing rhythm, chunky hooks, and screaming fuzz-face leads, Thee Emergency embody violent love and impure obsession, the grit and gristle of naked rock. —Thaddeus Christian
through the ringer though, enticing you to riot with his gravelly caterwauling and crashing foot stomps, break your heart with raw love-lost ballads, then jerk you up by your bootstraps and hurl you into a rowdy barroom sing-along. His albums tend to be darker and more sensual than the live act, making them almost more dangerous than Webley in the flesh. But you’re safe with Eleven Saints. This three song EP on vinyl with supplementary full-length is the result of a 24 hour songwriting
Thompson and it leans heavily to the playful side.
Artist: Brisa Roché Album: The Chase Label: Metro Blue Records Release: August 15th Picture yourself in a Parisian café in the mid-60s. Relax, take a deep breath, and try (through all the smoke) to make out the beautiful woman singing
If you’re familiar with Webley, Eleven Saints will make perfect sense. But if you aren’t, I’d suggest starting with his last album, Only Just Beginning, work backwards from there, then come back ‘round to this when you’re already prepared to love all things Webley. —Jessie Duquette JULY/AUGUST 2006 - Department: 73
dept:Up to Speed Common
RISEN Magazine: So how is it being a dad and not being able to see [your daughter]? Common: Well, I can’t say I’ll get to be the best dad that I can be because so much is entailed in being
an artist, not only recording and doing videos. But it’s like everything, every aspect, is so time-consuming, that you don’t get to be the dad a regular father would be, but she still knows I love her a lot. She feels good and feels secure in who her father is and who she is.
RM: What is the goal of your charity, the Common Ground Foundation? C: The goal is just to, basically, enlighten our children. It’s based in Chicago, so it’s dealin’ with the inner
city youth in Chicago. We want to make a change with the youth in Chicago by giving ‘em information about who they are, about life, about love, about health, about hip-hop. My whole thing is I want to make a difference.
Up to Speed: Common’s sixth, full-length release, Be, is like the really attractive woman who shows up to a party without a date; captures the fancy of everyone in the room; and, yet, manages to leave, still, without a date. Be received four Grammy nominations earlier this year, but took home no wins. The hope is things will be different for Common with his next release, Finding Forever. He'll also make his acting debut later this year in the crime drama Smokin Aces, which stars Ben Affleck.
When asked how she goes about picking projects, director Catherine Hardwicke had this to say to RISEN in late 2005: “If I think it’s interesting or fascinating or difficult or challenging or some modern conundrum or paradox we’re involved in, then that’s what fascinates me to want to work on something for two years of my life. What am I here to do? May as well stir it up.”
Up to Speed: Catherine Hardwicke is directing New Line Cinema’s The Nativity Story, exploring the lives of Mary and Joseph leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. The film hosts an award-winning international cast with Oscar-nominated Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) as Mary, Oscar Isaacs (Syriana) as Joseph, and Oscar-nominated Shoreh Aghdashloo (The House of Sand and Fog) as Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. While the crew was shooting in Matera, Italy, RISEN editor Steve Beard had lunch with Hardwicke, Isaacs, and Castle-Hughes to talk about the film. “This can’t be that interesting,” Hardwicke said about the first time she read the script. “I have read this story a hundred times. I have read the Bible backward and forward—Old and New Testaments—when I was 12 and 13 years. But then I started getting so intrigued the way [screenwriter] Mike [Rich] had gotten right inside the story—right inside the heart and soul of these characters. How would it really feel if you were a teenage girl and this happened to you? If you were a man, and this happened to your betrothed? With this kind of miracle, how do you take that leap of faith? I thought it was so fascinating, interesting, just a huge challenge, and totally scary. It made me want to do it.”
RISEN Magazine: When was the last time you cried? Billy Corgan: I went to a sort of spiritual retreat to Hawaii with some friends of mine. I felt sort of
detached the first three or four days. About the fifth day, something just wore down in me, and I cried for about four days straight. It was the end of the whole retreat… we were holding hands, and my friend said something. She was sort of giving like a final end-of-the-road kind of talk. Something she said, out of the blue, triggered this mourning about the Pumpkins, my band; that I had never really mourned the death of the band. [Near tears] You know, I treated it as, like, ‘This is something that must end [snaps fingers] and then we move on.’ Out of the blue, this feeling hit me, and it was just devastating cuz I’d never properly mourned this thing that truly transformed my life.
Up to Speed: On June 21, 2005, the same day Billy Corgan released his solo album, The Future
Embrace, he took out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune announcing a reunion of Smashing Pumpkins was in the works. The reunion became official news on April 20th of this year. The band’s Web site greets visitors with a message that a new album is currently in the works, their first since 2000. Billy and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin are the only original members confirmed at this time. Melissa Auf Der Maur, the bassist who replaced D’arcy Wretzky in the Pumpkins’ last year together, is quoted as saying, “My services are always there to play my favorite songs. If D'arcy is not available, I'm always happy to be second in line.” Back issues of RISEN magazine are available for purchase while supplies last at risenmagazine.com. 74 :RISEN MAGAZINE
Writer: Steve Beard Illustration: Zela
When British musician Elvis Costello was asked if he had ever had a religious experience, he responded, “No, but I have heard Al Green.” Not a bad compliment coming from Costello, a musical legend in his own right. Al Green rose to international fame with timeless hits such as “Let’s Stay Together,” “Call Me,” “Take Me to the River,” “I’m Still in Love with You,” “Tired of Being Alone,” and “Love and Happiness.” In the early 1970s, he sold more than 20 million albums. He was the Prince of Love, the man with the trademark smile that made women swoon in near-riotous concerts as he tossed long stem red roses to adoring fans. A few years ago, Rolling Stone declared that Green is “the greatest popular singer of all time,” describing his songs as “unsurpassed in their subtlety, grace, intimacy, and invention.” His silky smooth voice was coupled with stage charisma, sex appeal, and undeniable charm. He was the consummate ladies’ man. His voice was a liquid calling card, wooing the listener into a sensuous and lush boudoir of his own creation. In the summer of 1973, he had an experience that would forever change his life. He had flown from San Francisco to Anaheim, California, for his next show. Shortly after four in the morning, he was awakened by the sounds of shouting. “I sat bolt upright in bed, frightened that some crazy fan had broken into the room,” he remembers. Green then realized that the commotion he was hearing was coming from his own mouth. “And while the words I shouted were of no earthly tongue, I immediately recognized what they meant. I was praising God…and lifting my voice to heaven with the language of angels to proclaim his majesty on high.” He laughed. He cried. He knocked on doors of the hotel, telling complete strangers what had happened to him. One woman slammed the door in his face. Someone eventually called security. Saint Paul was converted on the Road to Damascus, Al Green was made righteous off Interstate 5 near Disneyland. Green had been singing about love and happiness, but there was a war going on inside— 76 :RISEN MAGAZINE
a battle for the substance of his soul. He eventually abandoned his mainstream singing career and began pastoring Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis, Tennessee. For eight years, he sang only gospel until he sensed God give him the green light to sing his old songs. Today, the soul man still puts on the pizzazz in mainstream venues. Resplendent in his white suit and Ray Ban sunglasses, and loaded with long stem roses like a florist, he still has the magic to commandeer the human heart, making it pulse in romance or worship—our very own funky St. Valentine. “Now I am comfortable mixing everything up, and my audience has responded favorably,” he reports. “When I finished a short prayer at this gig…, people stood up and cheered. That told me that I could give audiences a little bit of the Reverend and they’d likely rejoice.” He sings “Amazing Grace” in casino showrooms in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, knowing that many of his admirers hunger for redemption just as he once had. Full Gospel Tabernacle’s unassuming geodesic sanctuary is tucked in on the side of a quiet residential road, a few miles south of Graceland, off Elvis Presley Boulevard. It has played host to a myriad of music fans who make it a part of their Memphis pilgrimage. They stick out like sore thumbs, showing up promptly at 11 a.m. for a service that will not start for another half-hour. One Sunday while I was visiting, they appeared from Ireland, Arkansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Carolina, and England. The visitors are greeted warmly. After all these years, the congregation has become very familiar with the novelty factor involved with having a musical icon behind the pulpit. Nevertheless, they are here to get down with God, not impress the guests (for example, there are none of Green’s Greatest Hits collections sold in the church lobby). The choir marches in and the B-3 Hammond organ starts to crank up the funk, while the electric guitar starts to wail. Reverend Al walks around the sanctuary fiddling with his lapel microphone, gently patting visitors on the shoulder as he glides to the back of
the sanctuary to adjust his own sound at the mixing board. Back at the pulpit, Reverend Al is feeling the “unction of the Holy Ghost,” as he calls it. He starts to bob and weave like a boxer as he delivers his sermon on faith. “Hold on, God is coming!” he shouts. “Help is on the way,” he purrs. When he calls for the assembly to give a wave offering by lifting our arms, you can see the nervousness rise in the visitors. Awkwardly, we wave our arms in the air. Who is going to refuse Reverend Al? “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus! Stop looking at Al Green,” he says. “Al Green himself came to worship God. He’s been soooo good to me,” he starts to sing as the musicians crank up the volume. When he starts singing “One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus,” you know you have been to church. “You are not here by accident,” he says. “I am the same person you heard sing all those songs, but I am not the same person,” he testifies. “I couldn’t preach for 25 years if something didn’t happen to me.” Speaking to the visitors with a winsome grin, he says, “Come and see Al, but Al doesn’t hold the key to your salvation. I can sing ‘Love and Happiness’ four times and I still will not hold your salvation.” The Reverend closes out the 11 o’clock service at 1:25 p.m. with a soul-felt version of “Gonna Sit Down on the Banks of the River” by blues legend Reverend Gary Davis. He leaves us at the banks, and the decision is ours. Shall we jump in or walk away? You can tell what Green has done. You can see it in his eyes, in his smile, in the intonations of his honey-like voice. Otis Redding died in a plane crash at 26, Sam Cooke was shot at 33, Jackie Wilson’s career was over at 41, and Marvin Gaye was killed by his father at 44. Al Green is alive—and he is grateful. Somebody shout, Amen! It is one thing to sing about love and happiness; it is an entirely different enterprise to experience it. As he grabs hold of the pulpit, festooned in his preaching robe, you can see it on his face. He arrived at the river’s edge and took a dive into faith. He looks up at us with a grin and seems to say, “Hop in. The water’s fine.”
July 2006 Issue