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I noticed the different kids were always put down by other people and it would cause them to become almost violent with themselves. It's not really necessary; there's a way to find strength in yourself, and for me it was writing. That was sort of my release and my escape, so the term 'Knives and Pens' to me was like a choice. You can either create, or become violent, and maybe go down a dark road.
Life isn't about how popular you are What girl or boy you are dating or who you know. Life is about always being true to who you are or what you believe in. Never let anyone convince you that their way is better than your way. In the end all we have is our hearts.. and our minds. This is the reason we sing.. this is the reason we cry this is why we live.
Our shows have always been sort of an all-generations thing, people from 6 to 60. The other night, we played a show and we had a woman who was probably 70 to 75 years old, and she was there alone and she was singing every song. On the other end of the spectrum, there was a 7-year-old on his dad's shoulders and the dad is singing along.
I don't think we ever sat down in the early days and said "hey lets be a band that wears make up". I think it was just natural for us. We grew up loving stuff like Alice Cooper, Kiss, The Misfits, and the more theatrical stuff. I always loved rock stars. I loved David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and these people that were larger than life and iconic. I think that is what we always wanted to do.
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We are a band that stylistically crosses a lot of barriers and generational gaps. The heavier portion of the band, the modern music elements, the visual part of the band appeal to a younger audience. For an older audience, we have chops and great songs that are reminiscent of the things that were great about rock and roll when they enjoyed it. We're the kind of band that can cross those lines.
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I guess I just sorta figured out early on that most of what people feared was based on things they had heard or read, rather than what they had seen or touched. That being said I do fear that dark in the sort of spooky illustrative sense, that whole idea of "not knowing" whats there. I had really bad problems with the spooks when I was young, but not for fear of aliens.
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I don't want to paint myself as some villain - I was never a bad guy doing horrible things, but I got too caught up in wanting a very specific thing to happen to the band. Ultimately, I had to find the ability in myself to get over that and stop being so stringent and learn to laugh a little bit more.
I think the biggest faults that bands tend to have in terms of drama or breaking up is bands don't learn people's personalities. When you spend as much time with people obviously it's going to rub off, and you are going to get to know the way people are. You can make sure day to day people are accommodated to and people feel positive about the experience, then you can stay together as a band, at least that is my opinion.
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As we grow up we learn that even the person that wasnt supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it gets harder every time. Youll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. Youll fight with your best friend. Youll blame a new love for things an old one did. Youll cry because time is passing too fast, and youll eventually lose someone you love, so take many pictures, laugh too much and love like youve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is one minute of happiness youll never get back.
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I encourage all of you to find strength within yourself, no matter what. Be proud of who you are and never let anyone or anything take that away from you. Inner Strength is something that we are all born with. However, I've learned that it requires patience and perseverance to fully achieve it. I promise you, though, that as long as you know in your heart who you are and what you want from this world, nothing is gonna stop you.
Growing up, I went to the Warped Tour a lot, and I got to see bands like Rancid and AFI and Dropkick Murphys and these bands that meant so much to me when I was a kid - all in succession on these stages, so to get to play that same stage that I watched those bands play is a huge thing for me.