He's Up And Gone

Three years ago Larson Hicks and I had a little talk about David Bazan of Pedro the Lion fame. You can find my post rolling off that conversation here (just ctrl+F "pedro"). Many of you know who he is. And he was well-beloved by many of the hip Christian kids I knew in college (moi aussi), playing shows in festivals like Cornerstone but always being ambiguous about his faith, even as "faith" permeated his music.

Larson and I both thought that the album Winners Never Quit had set the stage for a redemptive album, since it had brought the main character in the album's story so low and so far from God (had he ever known God?). Then Control came out, a great album, but as I recall from my conversations with Larson, we had both been surprised that the loss and sorrow and sin had just continued, going off in other directions and even getting worse.

The lyrics of Priests and Paramedics, the penultimate song on Control, showed priests and paramedics, both lying to those they succoured to make them believe they weren't about to die.

So I asked Larson, "what's up? Looks like this guy's ready to hang up the cleats of faith," or words to that effect. Larson had a chance to speak to David Bazan twice after/during shows, and he gave me Bazan's promise: redemption would come.

Then Achilles' Heel came out. The whole album was available online for free for a while. I listened. I never bought it. Bazan had lost the spark that drove him. Or he had a different spark (same thing).

I think he tried to finish the story. I think he tried twice, once with Control, and once with Achilles' Heel. He couldn't close the deal. See, it's only a story if it has and end (a goal), and it ended up not having a goal. Brer Rabbit ended up stuck in the tar for eternity; Cinderella never got out of the ash-heap; Jack's beans were ordinary. There's no story there; there's not even a decent news article. But Bazan couldn't help himself: I think his own story got stuck in the dungeon, with no hope of rescue.

Since then, Pedro the Lion has "broken up." David Bazan is now "David Bazan." Or he works with his new band, Headphones. Take a gander at Bazan's first EP, Fewer Moving Parts. Bazan's gone, and he didn't even finish his work with Pedro.

I feel let down.

I feel let down, and Bazan knows it.
man i could have, had a big sound
but i love to let my friends down

if you were moving parts there'd be fewer broken pieces
and every other start requires a brand new thesis

one good friend remarks with a rightfully angry jesus, do none of us know what to do with you?
i in my pride responded i got news for you, none of you have to cos...

i still run the show
and dont you forget it
so i had to let some go
dont think i dont regret it
because i do
and i dont think im better off alone
(from Fewer Broken Pieces)
Off he goes, being true to himself. So here's a toast to a well-beloved one, who ate at our table, and has left it. He was an ambiguous man, and his ambiguity hunted him and found him alone, in the dark.