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Rock of Ages

Popular wisdom has long dictated that the devil has all the best tunes. Flyleaf bassist Pat Seals begs to differ. His openly Christian screamo rock band have some pretty good ones, too and they all come from upstairs, not down.

But that’s not to say that Seals is unappreciative of the other side. Last October, Flyleaf were coaxed away from their little Texan hometown and asked on the Family Values Tour at the request of none other than Korn themselves.

Talk about ideological differences! You might think that’s the same kind of deal as Hitler asking Gandhi to accompany him on a little jaunt into Poland circa 1939, but Seals has nothing but positive memories of the tour. 

“They were very hospitable and unbelievably cool,” he says. “I’ve liked Korn ever since I was, like, 15, and I looked up to them and appreciated their music. Getting to see them live every night was a real treat, too they really slammed it. It’s like meeting a comic-book character in real life!”

Aren’t Korn, however, famed for their anti-Christian rhetoric? Hasn’t Jonathon Davis repeatedly railed against the Christian right having all the power, and Brian ‘Head’ Welch leaving the band because of his newfound devotion to Jesus sitting ill with all things metal?

“I guess Korn and the rest of the world have a lot in common, as opposed to us,” Seals says. “We’re not trying to shove what we’re saying down people’s throats. It is what it is. The message of Jesus is about love, really we try and show these bands love and they show it back to us. But one night on tour our drummer [James Culpepper] and I watched a DVD of a really early Korn gig. Seeing those guys as kids, and then spending time on tour with them as rock legends all of the members are growing and finding themselves in a new light, I think.”

Quite philosophical but then, Seals has been described by Flyleaf’s petite singer Lacey Mosley as the intellectual of the band. It was he who suggested the band’s bookish name and in discussing things literary, talk turns inexorably towards the written word. It turns out that Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Kurt Vonnegut’s Hocus Pocus and Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 have recently formed the staple of Seals’ light reading while on the tour bus.

“I love CS Lewis, as well. Especially a couple of his adult works; his The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity are great reads.”

And, of course, it transpires Seals was weaned on Narnia books, and how often does one get the chance to ask a rock star his opinion of a kids’ movie? So, Time Off grasps the opportunity.

“Yeah, it came off rather well,” Seals says of the recent film adaptation. “They had to add some action to make it palatable for the screen, but they did a very good job; very well-thought-out, very clear. That’s the point of it, though to give all these abstract concepts and biblical allusions meaning in a child’s mind. That’s the reason I fell in love with Lewis.”

Proof positive, surely, of Seals’ status as the brains of the operation?

“I guess I’m more of an idiot savant without the savant part,” the bassist says with a self-deprecating chuckle. “I was playing darts with a few friends the other day and I just couldn’t add my score! I guess rock’n’roll has taken a toll on me. All the knowledge I gained from elementary school has disappeared.”


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