One of our trusty JfH staff, Sandrene Matthews ventured to Reynoldsburg, Ohio where she caught Five Iron Frenzy's
live performance. FiF's lead singer Reese Roper also heads up brave Sain Saturn as a side project
with other FiF members Keith Hoerig and Dennis Culp. So S.G. took the opportunity to quiz Reese on some BSS-related material
for an exclusive JfH interview.
This interview took place on: 2/4/01.
Jesus freak Hideout (Sandrene Matthews): The band was originally called "the Astronauts," is that right?
It was called "Astronaut." Is this recording?
JFH (Sandrene): When and why did you change it to "Brave Saint Saturn"?
We changed it, gosh, I guess while we were recording the album. And we didn’t have a name for the
band because our label did research on the name and they were like... You know, we put out songs
on samplers as 'Astronaut' and they looked at me like "Oh, there’s five other bands with that name."
So we picked Brave Saint Saturn really, because Saturn is like... all the planets are assigned names by Roman gods.
Saturn is the name of the Roman god for the underworld. Not that we’re trying to tap into Roman mythology
or anything, but it’s just that like, um, that Saturn as a planet and stuff is always used to represent loneliness
and broken-hearted-ness and, I don’t know, so we thought it would be really cool to do to that just so people could think we were tapping
into Roman mythology and put Saint Saturn on it. Brave Saint Saturn because it’s cool to have a band name
with three words. All the other bands do it!
JFH (Sandrene): Is there some sort of deep meaning to the NASA/space references in the songs and mood (of the album)?
Well, because when it originally started, we were Astronaut, and
I wanted it to have something to do with space. Because it’s good to use as metaphors, I guess.
Like on our first album the metaphor is for being alone. You know, because, like, to be in space you’re
pretty much all by yourself. So we used that metaphor. And for the stuff I’m writing for the second
album the metaphor is being lost. The first record talks about how the crew of the space craft
loses contact with mission control on January of 2001. So they’re lost in space somewhere. So a lot of songs follow that theme.
JFH (Sandrene): There have been a plethora of descriptions for your music: space pop, astro rock. What's your official say on the style of music that you play?
JFH (Sandrene): And that wasn’t supposed to rhyme, but it did anyway…
Reese: No, that’s cool. I don’t know. I think we came up with the name astro
rock. It doesn’t matter. I mean, it’s pop. It’s pretty... It’s kinda experimental, just because there’s
other sounds and lots of stuff we can’t do live so we have to play some tracks. *laughs*
JFH (Sandrene): I know a lot of the songs are really personal to you. Do you find it difficult to perform some of them, or to reveal so much of yourself to the audience?
Yeah, there’s a part of me that wants to write the songs because you want people to be able to relate
to you emotionally and because that’s good art. Like if you can convey how you feel in whatever
you’re doing-- if you’re painting a picture. If you can make people like you feel in that
picture, then that’s good art. And so I wanted people to know that, the whole album is about
people not being alone. You know, like not only do I experience rejection and lonliness, but Jesus
Christ experienced it, He experienced it a hundred fold what we go through, so I wanted to get
that across. But it’s one thing to do that out of intention and then another thing to have to answer
to all these kids who are like “You broke up with your fiance? What? Tell me all about it!”
You know? And there are people who get it and are like “Wow, you know, that happened to me.”
Or “that’s really tough, it’s cool that God brought you through” but then there’s this entire
segment of people that it’s like a National Enquirer article and they’re just like
“Tell me more! And can I take a picture?” And so that’s kind of a bummer. But it’s cool
because it does minister to people and it’s cool because they realize that they’re not alone
and that people go through hard stuff just like them.
JFH (Sandrene): You said your mother was a little wary about you putting "Under Bridges" on the album. What made you decide to do it anyway, and how do you think the public has reacted to it?
Well, I had changed the words around. Like at first it was about the homeless guy that is talked
about in the first verse, there was a verse about his breath smelling like Jack and Coke,
I think, or something like that. Just because, I really wanted to get across that
there’re people that we think are vile and disgusting, Jesus told us to take care of,
and that He said when you do that for the least of these people that you’ve done it for Him.
And so I really wanted to get that across. And it kinda offended my mom. She saw… she was offended
at first because she was like “Jesus would not get drunk on Jack and Coke and pee his pants!”
*laughs* So I changed the words and said “Mom, now think about this...” And she listened to
the song and she liked it so we decided to put it on.
JFH (Sandrene): What was the inspiration for "Shadow of Def"?
Reese: Um, *laughs* We were in New Zealand, and I was making… *laughs*
whenever there was a guitar around I’d pick it up and I’d make up songs about Micah.
*laughs* So I was sitting there making up songs about Micah and somehow this, like I…
cause Micah listens to a lot of hip hop and stuff… So this really acoustic sounding song,
this folksy sounding song… (Five Iron song "Where Zero Meets 15" comes on stereo outside)
What is this? Um, but because he likes a lot of hip hop I was putting all these hip hop
words in it, and so I thought it would be really funny to do a song like that.
So I did, and then two months later this band called Dynamite Hack
did the same thing, they did a cover of DWA “Boys in the Hood.” I don’t know. It’s good.
It’s better than ours. It’s better than us…
JFH (Sandrene): Do you prefer doing double duty of guitarist and vocalist in Brave Saint Saturn or focusing on singing as you do in Five Iron?
Reese: When I picture myself, I wanna play guitar and sing and be good at it,
but I’m really not a very good guitar player. And I don’t have enough time to practice so
it’s tough. And it’s a challenge. I enjoy the challenge of it, but I don’t know.
I wish I was much better.
JFH (Sandrene): What sort of vocal preparation do you do to enable you to sing so high?
Reese: *shakes his head* I don’t know. I think it’s genetic. I don’t know. I sing really high. I have a girl voice.
JFH (Sandrene): Can we expect a future with Brave Saint Saturn, or was this more of a one time thing?
Reese: Yeah, there will be more. Right now the idea is that we’re going to do
a trilogy, there’ll be three different albums. The first one is about being lonely and the
second one is about being lost and the third one is going to be about coming home.
So they’re all metaphors. Like using this idea about being lost in space and then coming home.
And you know, it’s going to be metaphors for our walk with Christ through life.
JFH (Sandrene): Have you ever thought about getting some sort of famous person to do a duet with you on one of your albums?
Reese: *laughs* We wanted Michael W. Smith to be on “Rocketown” on our first album. I don’t know what happened. He probably heard it and it s*cked, so… *laughs*
JFH (Sandrene): What do you think about the website that’s dedicated to girls who love you?
Reese: I haven’t seen it! What’s it called? I wasn’t really aware that girls liked me… That’s pretty cool!
JFH (Sandrene): Do you eat the Oreo whole or twist the top off?
Reese: Both. I do both. Actually, I put it in the milk, and I let it go
until it’s about to sink and then it turns this way before it goes down and then you grab it,
then you eat the whole thing and it’s soggy and it’s rad.
JFH (Sandrene): Reese's cup or Reese's pieces?
Reese: Reese’s cup
JFH (Sandrene): Matlock or Melrose Place?
JFH (Sandrene): Do you watch Melrose Place at all?
Reese: *laughs* no. no!
JFH (Sandrene): You had to think about it so I was just wondering…
Reese: No. Matlock! I’m wholesome! I watch Matlock.
JFH (Sandrene): Do you like cheese?
Reese: Do I like Keith?
JFH (Sandrene): Do you like cheese?
Reese: Cheese? Yes, yes, I love cheese.
JFH (Sandrene): Do you like Keith?
Reese: Yeah, he’s alright.
JFH (Sandrene): Sometimes?
Reese: Um, no, all the time. He’s cool.
JFH (Sandrene): Handmade cards or storebought cards?
JFH (Sandrene): Do you make a lot of cards?
Reese: No. *laughs* I don’t send a lot of cards. I don’t have a lot of friends. I don’t send very many cards.
JFH (Sandrene): This will be online and then everyone will want to be your friend now, and you’ll have to send lots of cards.
Reese: You see, that’s the thing. That’s why I don’t have a lot of friends
because I wouldn’t send cards. I forget a lot of the time. Sometimes this lady comes to our shows
and she’s like “Reese, how come you haven’t called me back? Reese!!” And she keeps bugging me
and I’m like “Lady, get off me!” and Keith is like “Reese, how come you’re so mean to your mom?”
And then I remember, “Oh, that one! That lady! That’s my mom!!” And then… *laughs* Yeah.
JFH (Sandrene): Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
Reese: Yes… two. I sleep with baby Grover and baby Ernie.
JFH (Sandrene): I don’t think I saw baby Grover.
Reese: Oh, he’s new. He’s a new addition.
JFH (Sandrene): Your family’s growing.
Reese: I know. I know. And I’m so proud of them. I’m like,
“Those are my boys!” And they do things, like jump off the bed, and fall, and they lay there.
I’m so proud of them!
JFH (Sandrene): Are you not a big soda drinker?
Reese: I like Mountain Dew. But if I drink too much I feel like crud.
JFH (Sandrene): Do you talk/walk in your sleep?
Reese: I talk.
JFH (Sandrene): Any stories you’d like to share?
Reese: Every once in awhile I wake myself up… Hey but last night, Sonnie,
he like started talking in his sleep really loud, he was like “uuuuhhh, eeegggh!” and he gets
up really fast. And I thought he’d just woken himself up. But he jumps out of bed and he’s throwing
the covers off and he’s jumping and he’s moving around the room feeling and then all of a sudden
he just stops. And then he’s quiet. Then all of a sudden he goes to the bathroom,
so I figured he woke up right then. This morning he told me he thought he was in a pyramid!
He was like, I don’t know. He thought he was in a pyramid and it was dark and he had to get
JFH (Sandrene): That’s all I have, unless you’d like to add anything else.
Reese: Um, don’t eat yellow snow. That’s all. Um, cheese is good, cheese is great, I like cheese when it’s on my plate. Good.
JFH (Sandrene): Oh, actually, I have one more. Are the rumours true that you’re going to quit Five Iron and Brave Saint Saturn to do the voice for Brak (on Space Ghost Coast to Coast)?