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People are turned off by the word Christian

The hard-rock band Flyleaf has toured with the likes of Korn, Staind, Saliva and the Deftones, and has earned acclaim in the pages of Metal Hammer and Metal Edge magazines.

Flyleaf's music is brooding, edgy, explosive and given distinction by the whisper-to-a-scream vocals of Lacey Mosley. Its songs explore abuse, dysfunction, neglect and addiction.

It is not the type of band you'd expect to find at a Christian music festival. In fact, the band bio on the Flyleaf Web site contains not a single Christian reference.

Nonetheless, Flyleaf will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the main stage at Alive 2007 (Event Details on RepBuzz). It is one of the festival's buzz bands this year, not surprising given the 394,764 friends on Flyleaf's MySpace page.

Recently, I chatted with Flyleaf's affable guitarist Jared Hartmann, who phoned from the House of Blues in San Diego.

Your music is so dynamic. What kind of message are you hoping to put across?

Lacey writes almost all the lyrics. She likes to tell stories about herself and people she's met, and to give people love and share hope and tell people about Jesus.

Do you consider yourselves a Christian band?

We don't really like to label ourselves because of the impression it gives to people. A lot of people are turned off by the word "Christian."

Do you play many Christian festivals?

We've played a few. We usually play Cornerstone, we've played Acquire the Fire and the Creation Festival. We mainly do mainstream things, but it's really refreshing when we get to do a Christian festival. It's good to be around believers.

The Family Values Tour you did with Korn and the Deftones must have been the exact opposite of a festival like Alive.

It was a totally different crowd, but both are special. Those bands are different than you might expect. The guys in Korn like to barbecue and go camping on their days off. They were all really nice to us.

I've seen your music described as "screamo." Is that accurate?

If there's any genre to us, I'd just say hard rock.

Do you follow the Christian music scene much?

I've always liked edgier music. I've never listened to many Christian bands. Secular music is what I really liked.

How does your live show compare to your CD?

The sound is a lot harder, more in-your-face. It sounds a bit more polished on the album.

You have almost 400,000 on your MySpace page. I'm impressed.

We're up to that many? MySpace is a great way to promote your band. Everyone is on there. My parents are. I think it's great.

Do you get lots of fan mail?

We get a whole bunch of MySpace messages. We have 4,000 pages of them, which is 40,000 messages. At first, we tried to read through them and e-mail back, but it's gotten so overwhelming. We have to be selective.

Do fans tell you compelling things?

We get a lot of people who say they wanted to kill themselves and they haven't, which is great.

You and the other band members are all from small Texas towns. How did you come together?

I kind of knew everyone in the band from bands they were in before. There was not a lot else to do around there. I never planned on doing this for a living. I never thought it would be possible. I feel really blessed.


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