David Bazan

On this date in 1976, indie rock singer and songwriter David Bazan was born in Seattle. Bazan grew up with a passion for music that stemmed from influential figures in his life, such as his father who was a music pastor. Consequently, he started his singer-songwriter career by performing for church youth groups. Bazan spent his childhood in Christian schools and graduated from Northwest University, a Pentecostal college in Kirkland, Wash.

Bazan began questioning the logic of his Christian experience around eighth or ninth grade, but did not truly begin to inquire into his faith until his early 20s. "Growing up, Christianity didn't feel oppressive for the most part, because it was filtered through my parents. They were and are so sincere, and I saw in them a really pure expression of unconditional love and service. Once I stepped away, I could see the oppression of it," he said in the Chicago Reader (July 30, 2009). The article was subtitled "At the Cornerstone Christian rock festival, a fallen evangelical returns to sing about why he broke up with God."

Unsatisfied with the hardcore alternative music scene in Seattle, Bazan formed his own band, Pedro the Lion, in 1995 while still attending Northwest. The music produced by the band followed a path of a struggling believer becoming a restless one, which began to attract a strong secular fan base. His debut album as a solo artist, “Curse Your Branches,” was released in 2009. The album is an autobiographical depiction of the process Bazan went through contemplating his faith. The opening song is set in the Garden of Eden.

During the summer of 2009, he returned to the Cornerstone stage to perform his new music explaining why he is unable to continue a relationship with God. His other prominent works include “Blanco” (2016), “Dark Sacred Night” (2016) and “Care” (2017). 

Bazan performing in Sweden in 2008; Håkan Henriksson photo. GNU 1.2

“One of the interesting parts about Christianity, at least the way that I experienced it, was that you are in a sense responsible for this whole system of thought and belief that you literally don’t have a chance to investigate thoroughly. When you do come in contact with certain bits of information for the first time, it’s not like, ‘Hey, check this out. See what you think. Reject it or accept it.’ It’s always that you’re discovering this system that you’ve already signed on the dotted line affirming.”

—Bazan interview on Busted Halo, a Catholic website (April 15, 2010)

Complied by Tolulope Igun

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