Christian bands are firmly part of the post-hardcore, post-punk, modern rock world. The presence of popular, Christian-turned-mainstream groups such as Anberlin, Underoath and Flyleaf cements this trend.
Gwen Stacy is one more to add to that list. The Indianapolis-based metal-core band is on a mission to serve Christ. But they're not going to shove it down anyone's throat.
"We believe there's a certain respect everyone deserves, and we don't think less of anyone who thinks differently than us," drummer T.J. Sego said, chatting from a recent gig in Nashville.
"We're not ashamed of our faith and we definitely talk about it, but we share the stage with people who don't always agree with our views.
"Our values are a huge part of why we do what we do, but as far as being pushy, we flat-out think that's wrong."
Of course, not everyone plays the politically-correct card so well, and Gwen Stacy has taken some heat for their beliefs. Hey, nobody ever said standing up for what you believe in is easy.
"We had a tour last year where at half of the shows we were played, we were getting things shouted at us from the crowd," Sego said.
Not that he sweats it.
"As long as people are listening to us, whether they respond positively or negatively, I'd rather have kids saying something bad than nothing at all," he said.
What's a little more frustrating is that some in the Christian community have criticized Gwen Stacy for being too accepting of non-Christians.
Again, that doesn't ruffle the band.
"We've gotten some negative feedback from Christians, but in general, people seem to like that they can go to a show and see a Christian band that isn't going to tell them what to do," Sego said.
"A lot of our message is that even though we're Christians, we can relate to you. What we write is really for everybody, because we write about a lot of different things."
Gwen Stacy is currently headlining the Holiday Havoc 2009 tour. Playing live is everything to them. It's a chance to show off their creative blend of growing vocals, tumultuous guitars and hauntingly dark airs. It's also a chance to earn more fans.
"With bands like us who don't get radio exposure, the only way to get fans is to work for them," Sego said. "You do that through touring."
When Sego, vocalist Geoff Jenkins, guitar player Patrick Meadows and bass player Brent Schindler have any time off, they usually spend it hanging out with their close friends.
And, of course, there's always more work to do.
"I spend a lot of my personal time writing, because if I don't have anything to do for a while, I go crazy," said Sego, who co-writes the band's lyrics with Schindler.
"Our faith and beliefs are the foundation of our band, and that's definitely reflected in our lyrics," he added. "We want people to walk away with a group of different emotions and reactions, and also to walk away clear about what we believe."
By Anne Erickson(Originally published in NOISE)