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Boysetsfire - a two-man-comedy-show

Chad Ivestan (guitar) and Nathan Gray (vocals) tell us why there’s no porn in the tour bus and who really killed Kennedy.

We have to confess that this is a translation. The journalist was unfortunately unable to deliver us the original version. The editors

The story of Boysetsfire begins in 1994 in the US-state Delaware - not really the stronghold for hardcore like e.g. Boston. Slowly but surely they played their way up and called attention in 1997 with “The Day The Sun Went Out”. They got really known with their 2000 milestone “After the Eulogy”, an album by which they will always be measured and which split their fans into old hardcore fans and the ones who now assign Boysetsfire to the mainstream - accompanied by their change to the major label Sony/Wind Up on which they published “Tomorrow Come Today” in 2003. But does mainstream always mean “bad”? A question that is rather asked by the fans than the band. They always do their thing and this consequence is seen in their parting with Wind Up. Without a record company and their sickened guitarist Josh they brave all adverseness and played on German stages after one and a half years again. At the kick-off to their Deconstruction Tour 2005 we met Chad Ivestan and Nathan Gray for an interview.

Nathan tells that Josh is feeling better; he’s still in hospital, though, but will probably be released in the next couple of days and would directly come to Europe to play the rest of the Deconstruction tour. In the meantime tour manager Gordon played guitar for Josh Latshaw and Nathan quipped that those were probably the worst shows ever. Actually the whole interview was virtually a 2-men-comedy show with Nathan and Chad.

You parted with your label Wind Up. How did it come about; are you talking with other labels and when can we expect a new album?
Chad: Yeah, that’s right. We parted with Wind Up and we are talking with other labels at the moment. But, there’s nothing definite. There are a lot of new songs and they are even already recorded as demo versions but can’t be published like that. If we find a label we only have to record them in a studio and then the album is out in no time.

But what exactly was the problem with Wind Up?
Chad: There was this pressure to do things that we didn’t want to do. We are no band that produces radio hits; which doesn’t mean that we condemn bands who do that; but that’s not what we are about! We want to make music in context to our lyrics, just like we have always done! It was our decision to cancel the contract with Wind Up. There was no bad blood, quite the contrary - Wind Up was very co-operative.

Do you consider going back to Victory?
Nathan (laughs): No, absolutely not!

How about founding your own label?
Nathan: Hell no, we are way too lazy for that!

Are there any bad habits that drive you mad about each other?
Chad: Nathan is chewing his toes. That’s really disgusting.
Nathan: Yeah and Chad leaves his porn mags around everywhere, this really sucks!

To be honest, I actually expected that a porn film would be on. That’s rock n roll, isn’t it? Drugs, booze and porn…
Nathan: You really expected that a porn film is on?
Chad: Honestly, we don’t take drugs, we have only a few beers here and I personally don’t own any porn movies. We don’t watch them we live them! (big laughter)

I have to chip in a serious question now…
Nathan: Oh yes, please! Your readers must think that we don’t have anything important to say…

Were you disappointed that Bush was re-elected?
Nathan: No, I even voted for him!

Not really...
Nathan: No, of course not!

So, was it a disappointment? On the other hand, if he hadn’t been re-elected wouldn’t you have lost some kind of bogeyman?
Nathan: That’s a good point! We are called a political band but our political spectrum is more based on a revolutionary ground, which has nothing to do with any party. Democrats or Republicans, whoever is in the Oval Office, we would find enough reasons to be pissed off anyhow.
Chad: Even if John Kerry had become president, we would still be at war with Iraq, our health system would still be lousy and the same goes for our educational system and we would still be the assholes of the world!
Nathan: Maybe we wouldn’t be that big assholes anymore but we would still be!
Chad: We would still think that we have to set our stamp on the world. Those things never change!! And these are exactly the things that we talk about and that we want to change. Bush is a wanker and he’s president and this isn’t really funny but there will always be a lot of discussions. It’s one thing to talk about American politics but it’s another thing to think about the American lifestyle.

What do you think about the Terri Schiavo issue?
Chad: I say pull the damn plug! And this shows once again how much Christians influence our political system…
Nathan: And it nicely distracts from realising that our next generation is killed in stupid wars! Iraq is no threat and North Korea either.

Do you think that by Michael Moore’s documentary more Americans started to question Bush and his politics?
Chad: It has, at least, caused a lot of trouble but in return the Republicans have published a documentary about Bush’s life and there was a scene where you can see George W. Bush walk in his typical way, hands behind his back; and at the same time in the split screen Jesus walking over water!! No joke!!

And who killed John F. Kennedy then?
Nathan: Chad did it! (laughter) I had to keep it a secret all the years but now I can’t do it anymore…
Chad: That is really funny because this is exactly the question that eventually made me give a shit about politics. But I don’t know who it was.
Nathan: Doesn’t matter who it was, if it was Lee Harvey Oswald or if there was a conspiracy; in the end all governments are corrupt somehow and all of them have their skeletons in the closet.

Do you sometimes feel like preaching to the converted when you proclaim your opinions at your shows because most of your fans probably share your views otherwise they wouldn’t be there…
Nathan: No, absolutely not! And even if it is only one who has never heard our opinion; we are retelling it. Even at the risk of annoying the others.
Chad: I think it is important to explain where we get the inspiration for our lyrics from and what is their background. Everyone is interpreting lyrics for themselves; I do the same; but it can be as important to get another perspective and with that the understanding of the lyrics delves and/or expands. I don’t tell other what to think but I want them to understand where our aggressions come from, why this or that text has come up, why I scream with heart and soul to that song…
Nathan: There are so many bands that are aggressive and scream onstage but I don’t know why. They don’t tell me why they are so pissed off that’s why we try to explain it.

So, the serious part is now over, let’s continue with the amusing one. I ask you either-or-questions, 2 things and you have to decide for one. Ready?
Nathan: Sure!

Day or night?
Nathan: Night.
Chad: Yeah, night; absolutely!

This is more of a rhetorical question but I ask it anyway: Tattoo or piercing?
Chad: Tattoo.
Nathan: Tattoo. Somehow I was never lucky with piercings, they always got inflamed.

Jay Leno or Conan O’Brien?
Nathan: Conan O’Brien! C’mon what a fucking question is that?
Chad: What was the question?
Nathan: Jay Leno or Conan O’Brien?
Chad: Conan! Jesus fuckin’ Christ, of course!

Budweiser or Miller?
Nathan: Bud.
Chad: I drink both but I decide for Miller.

Thrice or Thursday?
Nathan: Thrice.
Chad: Thrice. I like Thursday, they are great guys but their music is not so much down my alley.

Dogs or cats?
Nathan: Dogs, without question.
Chad: In any case dogs! Cats are annoying, sneaky bastards! If you want to cuddle them they will scratch you and besides, I’m allergic to them.

Okay, last question and please use your fantasy! What would you do if you could be Britney Spears for a day?
Chad: I would get laid with Nathan! And I would have sex with Justin Timberlake.
Nathan: At first I would play with my tits and then I would buy a house for Chad, a new car and new gear. And then I would let him fuck me!

Author: Natali Mozanic, Photos: Christoph Köhler, Translation: Kathleen Gransalke
Date: 2005-09-23

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