Monday, August 22, 2011

Chris Bavaria from Mindset and Praise

Chris Bavaria plays bass guitar for both Mindset and Praise and is a REALLY cool guy! I got to meet him when Betrayed and Praise played in San Francisco a few months ago and thought it would be really cool to interview a guy who plays in two different bands. He is also a really cool photographer. You should look at his photos!!!

PMAKid: What are your three favorite books and why?

Chris: The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac - I was living in the Bay Area at the time and instantly connected with Kerouac's writing and the way it got me excited to be alive and be adventurous.

Salad Days by Charles Romalotti - This is a great novel about growing up being a punk. It is almost scary how some of the experiences the main character has were so similar to my own. Everyone should read this!

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn - I love reading about history and this is the real deal. Find out about all the horrible stuff we've done! I guess it's kind of depressing in retrospect. They aren't teaching this stuff in your high school history class.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite songs and why?

Chris: Ahh that's a tough one. We'll say for right now it's Blitz - New Age because it is just the perfect mix of their raw punk and their later new wave stuff. I have some of the lyrics tattooed on me. Weezer - Surf Wax America because it is an awesome song that you can put on any mix tape. And finally Jawbreaker - Jinx Removing because the lyrics are so great and it was the first Jawbreaker song I ever heard.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite bands and why?

Chris: Blitz - My favorite band of all time probably. They define the punk attitude and are totally badass.

Jawbreaker - They catch you with all the right hooks. Blake's lyrics are like no other.

Grey Area - This is kind of a curve ball for some people. I just really love this band. Ernie is great and I love all of his bands. But this was the one I actually got to see a bunch when they were around.

PMAKid: You play in two bands that I know of (Mindset and Praise). Why two different bands? What do you like about each one of them?

Chris: Mindset is definitely my main focus. I love being in Mindset and have a great time with it. We have a pretty laid back attitude when it comes to doing "band stuff" and are all busy with lots of other endeavors.

Praise is a little different and I don't want to quite call it a side project, because really we do even more than Mindset does most of the time. Praise started as Andy's baby but it's grown a lot the last year. I'm really proud to be a part of Praise and we get to experiment and do things that might be weird if we did them with Mindset.

PMAKid: You are a photographer and I have seen some of the photographs you have taken. What made you get into photography? What do you like about it? Is being a photographer your job?

Chris: I've always been interested in photography from a young age. I loved taking my Father's old 35mm and he would get the prints developed for me. It really got me involved within the punk scene too, because every band wants photos of themselves! When it was time to go to college I didn't really have any interest in anything else, so I decided to go to school for it.

I currently am a freelance photographer and teach photography at a local community college. Seeing students develop a print for the first time, and seeing how excited they are is so amazing. Everyone loves looking at photos and it makes my day when I do a good job and people are stoked to show the photos I take to other people.

PMAKid: I know you are straight edge. How important is it to you to stay away from drugs and alcohol? What does being straight edge mean to you personally?

Chris: Straight edge is great in so many ways. It is the ultimate form of rebellion. Everywhere you look people are trying to shove alcohol and smoking in your face. But why? To make money off you, so you get addicted, and just keep buying their products, are totally submissive, and follow the herd?

The older you get, the more weird you are for not drinking. But it's such a ridiculous concept. I would rather spend my money on more productive things! People are too insecure to actually talk to each and engage in meaningful relationships, so they get drunk and just pretend like they are interesting.

PMAKid: I think that you are vegan. Were you always vegan? What made you want to be vegan?

Chris: I've been vegan for about 5 years. I was vegetarian for 6 years before that. Veganism just makes too much sense not to be vegan. We are killing billions of animals every year, totally destroying our environment, and making people sick with cancer and heart disease, for no reason! Because we like the taste of meat? Bottom line, it's ridiculous.

Watch this video of a Gary Yourofsky speech and you'll get it.

PMAKid: I know you play the bass guitar. What other instruments do you play? Do you help write the songs that your bands do? Do you write your own? Who writes the lyrics?

Chris: I've played guitar, bass, drums and sang in bands before. Currently I only play bass in Mindset and Praise. Usually someone will come to practice with a riff and we will all try and jam it and see where it goes. Andy and Ev write all the lyrics for each band.

PMAKid: Last year, a bunch of bands and labels (like Mindset and React Records) helped my school to raise a few thousand dollars to help pay for our school band teacher. How important is it to you that music and other stuff like art is taught to kids my age?

Chris: They are extremely important! It is sad that a lot of schools are hurting for money and that the arts are usually the first thing to go. Whether it's music, photography, painting, etc, these things are so crucial to people's lives. At my school all they cared about was football. And they need to realize not everyone loves football. You have a diverse population of young people who need outlets to express themselves and be creative. Without the arts who knows how I would have ended up!

PMAKid: My dad is a fan of the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and he told me that some of the Mindset lyrics are inspired by her books. He said he thinks that Evan wrote those lyrics and that Evan likes her books. I have not read any of her books yet, but from what I know, a lot of people either really like what she had to say or really hated it. How do you feel about her books and what she had to say?

Chris: Yeah, Evan really digs her work. I think it has a lot do with Evan as an individual. He is an architect. He loves to create. He is also very interested in how things work and how people cumulatively work together to make things better. You should definitely talk to him directly about that though.

PMAKid: We got our copies of the new Praise Two Songs EP a week or two ago and love it. Is there more coming from Praise Or Mindset?

Chris: Thank you! Both bands are working on LP's. I think the Mindset one should be done by the Spring.

PMAKid: How do you deal with family or friends or people you know who have drug or alcohol problems?

Chris: You really just need to respect them and try to get them the help they need. Never look down upon someone because of their problems. You don't know what their life is like. Just try and be there for them. It's terrible that our society somewhat forces you into using these things and then suddenly turns it's back as soon as you become addicted. I have so much respect for people like Aram and other counselors who work with addicts everyday trying to help them get through their troubles.

PMAKid: What is your favorite song to play live and why?

Chris: I really like playing Hear Me Now because the end has that really great sing along part and kids go wild!

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