Affiance isn’t into tour partying. The metal quintet from Cleveland is getting ready to hit the road again, today actually, in Omaha.
“Our live show is probably the best thing (about us),” vocalist Dennis Tvrdik told me before a recent show in Tupelo, Miss. “We’re all talented and we take our craft very seriously. You won’t see us get wasted or anything before we play. We know that people pay to see us perform. They want to hear me sing my best.”
Tvrdik is an intriguing guy. Had they not had to go on shortly after our chat, we may still be there talking. I dove into Christianity with him and he has some thought-provoking takes.
Affiance had just toured with Miss May I (Tvrdik was wearing an MMI shirt). Not long before we talked, I had the same sort of conversation with MMI vocalist Levi Benton, about why rock music gets labeled “Christian” or “secular,” while other forms of entertainment don’t.
“It’s not fair,” Tvrdik said. “And it’s dying. And it should be, because what happened is somewhere along the line, the music industry learned that they can make a lot of money off of things that are labeled Christian. In this country and in our society, there is a market of people who will only let their kids listen to faith-based music or won’t let them watch Rated R movies, very sheltering, over-bearing parents.”
Tvrdik says the industry figured out that many parents would give their kids money to buy something labeled “Christian” over rock or punk labeled “secular.”
“What went from sincere Christian musicians making music they’re passionate about, you started getting bands that were like, ‘We’re Christian,’ and then you find out that either they aren’t or you get a band of 17 and 18-year old Christians straight out of youth group and they live a little bit and their views change. And unfortunately it changes radically.
“I’ve met a lot of bands who were raised in very evangelical, youth group, black and white, this is right, this is wrong and then they tour the tour and now they’re atheists. You’re just going from one extreme to the other. Neither is right. There’s a balance in there. The world isn’t all cotton candy, but it’s also not meaningless either.”
Talking Jesus With Rock Stars: Affiance Vocalist Dennis Tvrdik
“I guess you could call me a Christian, as well. Most Americans would probably consider me not a Christian, just because my core beliefs are fundamentally different than most Christians. The world’s complicated. It’s not black and white. Everybody loves to compartmentalize everything. The more I travel, the more I tend to agree with Socrates. The more I learn, the more I realize I know nothing.”
“The Jesus that I envision and believe in today is very different that the Jesus that I believed in 10 years ago, very different.”
Who is Jesus?
“Interesting (question). I don’t fully know. Um, and I’m not going to pretend to know. I believe that He is who He said he was and He came here with a message and intention. In a nutshell, what I believe is that His life and what He stood for and everything that He lived by is our example for freedom.”
On the church
“I believe that over centuries, the church turned that into more of a “join our membership or you die” type thing, which is human nature. It’s throughout all religions, all policies. For example, when you go to school, do your parents or teachers say, ‘If you study really hard, you’ll be more successful and happier?’ or do they say, ‘If you don’t study, you’ll fail.’ We rule by fear and negativity and the church does too. So generally, we’re told, if you don’t believe in Jesus, you won’t be saved and go to Hell. I don’t believe that. But I’m not going to sit here and tell you I do have the answer, it’s this. All I know is, this man came and represented peace and love and happiness and a real guide to how we can have those things in our lives and share them with others. I think that His whole life offers salvation. To be Christ-like is thrown around a lot, there it is. Be Christ-like. The less Christ-like you are, the more unhappy you’re going to be, the more troubled you’re going to be. I guess you could just say I’m a little bit more of a philosophical Christian, a little bit more metaphorical.”
On Jesus’ style
“Jesus spoke in parables, so if He’s my dude and that’s the guy I’m going to for guidance, then I’m going to interpret the Bible more like an allegory and a parable than like ‘There’s seven horns floating in the sky above us.’ Science and religion, that’s me. They’re both trying to do the same thing. I want to work together. It’s discovery and getting answers and things we don’t understand. They’re both valid.”
I don’t agree with everything my guy thinks, for example I know Jesus is the answer in fulfilled life and is the difference between Heaven and Hell, but Tvrdik was as interesting an interview as I’ve done and makes very valid and intriguing points on a lot of topics.
Plus, his band is making big strides onto the national seen. Go see them and if you do, talk with Dennis. You won’t be disappointed.