Going from punk rock to the priesthood is not a common progression. Then again, Georgia band Luxury never followed the rules.
A new film called Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury follows the Toccoa and Athens group through their brush with death and, eventually, three members becoming Eastern Orthodox priests. The documentary feature makes its Georgia premiere at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta on Wednesday, June 19 and at Ciné in Athens on Thursday, June 20.
Three members of the band joined On Second Thought to share the band's story.
That includes Father David from St. John of Damascus in Tyler, Texas (also known as lead singer Lee Bozeman), Father Christopher of Holy Cross Orthodox Church in High Point, North Carolina (also known as bass player Chris Foley), and guitarist and filmmaker Matt Hinton.
The band is still playing and recording together, and the group's latest album, called Trophies, is due out Friday.
Check out a special lyric video for Luxury's song and the namesake of the film, "Parallel Love":
Matt Hinton on how idea for the film began
It was sort of one thing piled on top of the next and so it's like, ‘Okay, that wreck was interesting,’ and then eventually when we made this most recent record Trophies, which is going to be coming out soon — as we started to make that I thought, ‘Well I'm sure that that's interesting.’
This is our first record that we had made with three guys as priests, which it would be one thing if one person was a priest in the band, but three seemed too interesting to ignore. So, I had made a film before and sort of knew how to do it. And so that got me there.
Father Christopher on how the band formed
Well I started (as a student at Toccoa Falls College) in the fall of 1990. Jamie was already a student there as well as our future drummer Glenn. So, Lee and I came in the same year as freshmen and, you know, looking for musicians desperately since I had been playing bass for a number of years. All the musicians found each other, and so we quickly started playing together, writing music together and formed the band.
Father David aka Lee Bozeman on how he discovered punk rock
I grew up really in a number of different places, but we ended up in Toledo briefly. I didn't really get into punk rock music as you call it really until college after meeting Father Chris. Before that it was more of the standard '80s alternative sort of bands. But Father Chris was able to introduce me to the other side of things. So that was sort of the opening to all of that.
Matt Hinton on what it was like to film the accident scenes
Yeah, several people recently actually asked me if that was sort of emotional making that part of the film. When you're editing, you just have a job to do and there's not necessarily that emotional content about it. And really it wasn't until I saw the film for the first time with other people that it sort of dawned on me the emotional impact that that had on me. I mean, certainly I knew it at the time, you know, 20 plus years ago, but that was when it had that impact and I kind of recognized what it was in the film. So yeah, I mean it was a crazy day.
On signing with Tooth and Nail Records circa 1994
Matt Hinton: You know the early ‘90s was a time when a lot was changing and certainly Christian rock. I think it had the reputation, and still kind of does, of being very middle-of-the-road, not particularly interesting music. And I think that Tooth and Nail was a label that was trying to do something that was reflective of what was going on broadly in the culture and doing more kind of edgier type of things. And at that point, I mean at the point that the band signed with Tooth and Nail which I wasn't in the band yet, but the way that it's been communicated to me is that Tooth and Nail didn't really see itself as a Christian label at that point. They had sort of a foot in both worlds and Luxury was one of the first bands to sign to the label. So, the identity of the label hadn't really formed yet.
Father Christopher: I think we knew that Tooth and Nail was started by, you know, Christian people, but I think what we liked about their philosophy, like Matt said, is that they felt like, ‘Well there's these two markets out there. We'll certainly market in the Christian bookstore world but really wanted to shop it to college radio and get distribution and you know local record stores.’ So, we saw it as an opportunity of something that similar to our own philosophy. So, we knew we were stepping into some kind of Christian world but not really expecting that it was gonna be exclusively that.
Father Christopher on reconciling his musicianship with priesthood
I think for me becoming Orthodox and then becoming an Orthodox priest was really the ultimate fulfillment and what I would have been desiring all along, which is this authenticity where now as a priest in our liturgy, like form and function, just come together as one. And there's a transparency. And so, what I'm reflecting on the film is that it’s not just about vocationally the priesthood. That's really about our whole life needs to be something, if we want to find meaning in it, that we can offer up to God in Thanksgiving all that we have. And we offer it up with hands raised and asking God to return it to us as something lifegiving and meaningful. So, anybody in a leadership position struggles with being in front of people and all of that. But what I appreciate is the Orthodox liturgy is constantly bringing me back and reminding me, ‘You know what. It's not about you at all.’ And so it's just it's a beautiful thing.
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