April Sixth: Good Clean Rock & Roll
An interview with Christopher Wade
Having just wrapped up in the studio completing their album on Elektra Records, April Sixth is buzzing with fledgling anticipation. Consisting of Christopher Wade on lead vocals, Robert Geiser on lead guitar, Brian Marquez on rhythm guitar, Joey Caligiuri on bass guitar, and Evan Kilbourne, formerly of the band Save Ferris, on drums the April Sixth guys are raring to hit the road in support of their inaugural release.
"We've just finished up our debut album and we're trying to get back into the rhythm of shows and stuff like that." Says April Sixth's Christopher Wade, who also goes by 'Snaps.' "We're doing a few shows here and there before we go on tour. We're kind of rusty right now," the 20-year-old laughs.
With only performing sporadically during the month and a half worth of time spent in the studio recording, Wade explains, "It makes you really lazy. When you go back to play a show you're trying to breathe on stage."
"Even like one show a week is really good because it keeps your body in shape. Our show is like a Tae Bo workout; it's a hard-core workout for us. I mean, I go in the mosh-pit and then I have to jump back on stage and start singing."
Despite their current subdued flexibility, it won't take long for these guys to find their way back to their exuberant and frolicsome stage personas. This energy combined with solid song writing ability is what lead them down the road towards their record deal in the first place.
"Will Westfall, this A & R guys from Island Records, had our stuff and wanted to get us signed to Island and he always would come to our shows every Sunday. Then I guess he and Dan Estrin [guitarist of the band Hoobastank] were hanging out one day and driving in his car and listening to our demo."
Estrin then passed a CD of April Sixth's material on to Howard Benson of Elektra Records, and the rest is proverbial rock & roll history. Ever grateful to Westfall's support and friendship, Wade affirms, "He is the sweetest, nicest guy out there!"
Having produced for other bands that appeal to both Christian and secular audiences like P.O.D. and Blindside, Benson was the perfect choice to work with April Sixth. But already being labeled as 'Christian band' is a little concerning to Wade though it seems to be a natural dichotomy when writing some songs that are Christian based and some that are not.
"I'm a Christian in the band, you know, Robert and Brian and Evan don't go to church. We really aren't [a Christian band] as a whole. I'm a Christian, yeah, and there's like two songs about God but other than that everyone is just like everyone else in the world. I mean, they're the coolest guys but they're not Christians."
"We don't really push the Christian thing [to audiences]. I really don't think the best way to do it is to attack it onstage. The best way to do it is to have a great show - don't cuss and just have a good clean, fun show. Afterward I get people coming up to me and going, 'Are you guys a Christian band?' Then that's the time I attack it, I take it off stage when it's just one on one."
When asked how Wade goes about talking about his beliefs to fans, he explains: "It's a little story telling about each other's life and how their religion is. I always like to give my two-cents and see what they think about it. Like [the belief that] faith only saves you. I don't believe in that. You have to have faith, you have to be baptized, you have to live a Christian life, you have to do everything, and you can't just do one thing."
Unlike some other Christian rockers who've warned fans to be careful of whom else they're listening to, or been selective about what other bands they were sharing a bill with, Wade insists there's no band around that he would have any issues touring with.
"If God's going to send me over on a tour maybe it's for a reason. Maybe if it's Marilyn Manson maybe I'm the only person that he'll ever listen to about God's word. There's always a reason for whatever you're going to do."
"They're just people too, and they're acting a way that they shouldn't. If no one's going to go to be a good example then what's going to happen to them?"
Though April Sixth's mission might be subtle, the name is even a little less evident. "No, it's not obvious," chuckles Wade. "It was just like supposed to be our first big show in front of everyone we were all stoked and getting ready but we hadn't come up with a cool band name yet. I wrote 'April 6th' on top of a piece of paper because we were writing down everything we would need [and that was the date of the show]. That was the thing that we were telling everyone, 'April 6th,' 'Can't wait for April 6th!' The show ended up being cancelled, but we thought about [April Sixth] and thought it kind of sounds cool, and who's really going to have a date as a name? So we felt safe with that."
"Our radio [debut] is supposed to be on April 6th of this year. So we're trying to get all of our stuff situated right now. The whole band and myself, we all like [the song] 'Roses' [as a single], we think it captures our sound. But we don't get to pick our single like the president of our label does."
Wade and I then laughed about the idea of sending some roses from the band to the president of Elektra - kind of as a 'little hint.'
Check out April Sixth website for more information on their debut release and upcoming tour.
April Sixth press photo courtesy of Elektra Entertainment
April Sixth Official Web Site
Sass's Web Site