Those ideas are centered in Bazan's deep-rooted
faith and distinctly dark view of everyday life. It doesn't get much darker than
Achilles Heel. On the song "Transcontinental," for example, Bazan
cheerfully tells the story of a man whose lower legs have been severed by a train.
"Lying back on shoulder blades / Cargo rushing past / Missing limbs beneath
the cars / Twitching on the tracks." While slowly bleeding to death,
the accident victim recalls the story of a lumberjack who chopped his own legs
off above the knee to free himself from a fallen evergreen, and realizes that
he doesn't have the strength to pull off similar heroics even though he's been
given "the luxury of having been spared the hard part."
Swinging" we meet a man who, after a night of heavy consumption, wakes up
in hotel bed in a stew of his own body fluids. He feels guilty about leaving such
a mess, but in the end concludes "She's a maid, I guess that's what she gets
Bazan and Walsh hold nothing back with their bleak vision
of everyday life filled with disappointment and disillusionment. Whether it's
a downtrodden gambler leaving his wife ("Start Without Me") or a factory
worker on the verge of committing suicide ("A Simple Plan"), their characters
struggle to do the right thing, but more often then not, don't.
the gloom, these modern-day fables sung in Bazan's drowsy, sad-sack voice are
hidden beneath a layer of irresistible, upbeat, hook-filled guitar rock. But don't
Certainly Walsh isn't. Though he says he doesn't share Bazan's
faith, he has been inspired by it. "The only thing Dave tries to do is get
people to think, as opposed to ingesting propaganda," Walsh said. "We're
firm believers in giving people something to think about so they can come to their
own conclusions. I can confirm that Dave doesn't consider Pedro the Lion to be
a Christian band."
The songs' heavy messages don't bring Walsh down,
despite that fact that there was a time in his life when he struggled with depression.
"Art can't be blamed for anybody's misery," he said. "I think there
was a point where it would have been a bit depressing to play these songs every
night. I'm much healthier mentally and prepared to think about these things without
them dragging me down. It's helping me develop as a person."
said he and Bazan's partnership will continue to strengthen as the two form a
second band that will focus more on songs he's written. "We'll enter the
studio after the Pedro tour in October and will release the debut next spring
on Suicide Squeeze records," Walsh said. "The new band will tour late
next spring and early summer between Pedro tours."
in The Omaha Reader June 30, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.