Recently I was able to attend a performance by horror punk band, Grave Robber. Their songs have deep spiritual meanings embedded in imagery of horror, gore, shock value and other things you might find in a Romero flick. The lead singer and “shovel bearer,” Wretched, was nice enough to give me the pleasure of an interview.
So how did Grave Robber come to be?
Well, we were all big fans of the Misfits, big fans of that sound but yet we always hoped that there would be a Christian band that did that sound and that style of music. We didn’t really intend on being that band. Basically what happened is one night we were all sitting in church at an evening service and our pastor started talking about Romans 6 which speaks about being dead to the world and dead to sin, and we being the “mature” adults that we are started nudging each other and giggling about being zombies and saying, “Oh great we’re dead guys.” And afterwards we took communion which is a symbolic way of eating flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus. And one of my favorite songs from the band Petra is called, “Grave Robber,” and we thought it was a really good name for a band that ultimately talked about life but used a horror context and a gore context that was really aggressive, so we just went with that name.
Is there a back story to the costumes or is that just a theatrical part of the performance?
There’s definitely a symbolism to it. The costumes are covered in blood which symbolizes being covered by the atoning blood of Jesus on the cross. As far as what the costumes are, it just kind of happened organically. You know, we were just looking for something that would be inexpensive and yet visually dynamic.
Other than Misfits what are some of your other musical influences?
We love bands like Motorhead and The Ramones; I grew up listening to bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. The Ramones have a lot of bubblegum influence in it and catchy melodies and hooky songs you can sing along to, which is good to throw in. More punk rock than anything.
Would you classify Grave Robber as a Christian band?
I would say it depends on how you define it. Some people would define a Christian band as a band that works within the Christian scene, and occasionally we step our toes into that scene but, for the most part ,we don’t play in the Christian scene, so, in that regard, no, we’re not a Christian band. But we are all Christians and we like to sing about our faith so in that regard we are a Christian band. It just depends on how you look at it. Some people would even call us a Goth band because of the imagery and moodiness of some of the songs. So punk, Goth, Christian (laughs) it’s kind of all that rolled into it, I guess.
Have you received harsh criticism from other Christians?
Occasionally, but that’s few and far in between, really. I think the Christians that don’t like us or get what we do just kind of ignore us and that’s fine. Our goal is not to be good Christian entertainment, our goal is to be good witnesses for Christ and to be the best band that we can be, to write the best songs we can and to go out and love people that the church doesn’t even know exist.
Random Question: What’s your favorite horror movie?
I don’t know if I can pick just one, but my favorite era of horror movies is probably the old Universal monster flicks. I like some of the Troma stuff and I think the 80s had some of the best horror movies ever made.
That’s probably the hardest part. I would just say that if anybody’s reading this, we’re definitely not trying to push religion and not trying to shove anything down anybody’s throats but we would encourage people to at least look into it for real and don’t take the word of social media on who Jesus is; look into for yourself, study it for yourself, look into the Bible for yourself and find the reality of it rather than hearsay or someone else’s opinion.
Additional Image Credit: Banner Image courtesy of Rottweiler Records.