ORLANDO, FLBrad Rolen, the new bassist for Pillar Of Salt, remains oblivious to the fact that he is in a Christian rock band, sources reported Tuesday.
"Pillar's great," said Rolen, 22, who is unaware of his bandmates' devotion to Christ, despite playing on such songs as "Wade In The Water," "Eternal Life," and "Kiss Of The Betrayer." "We rock really heavy and hard, but we've got a positivity that you don't see in too many bands these days. I've only been with these guys for three months, but I feel like it's the perfect fit for me."
Rolen, who joined the Orlando-based band in March after responding to a "bassist wanted" ad in a local newspaper, said he was attracted to Pillar Of Salt for its music, which he calls "really intense and powerful," as well as its impressive stage show.
"I was between bands after Junkhorse broke up," Rolen said. "I went to check them out live and was just blown away. They had this awesome Black Sabbath-type stage set, with all these crucifixes and candles everywhere. Then, during [the song] 'False Idol,' a gold cow rose from the stage and [lead singer and songwriter] Jack [Rhineman] beat the shit out of it with his guitar. I thought, man, these guys put on a kick-ass show."
Rolen was also wowed by the range of Rhineman's music.
"Jack's amazing," Rolen said. "He writes all these super-heavy, Metallica-influenced tunes like 'My Master' and 'Blood Of My Father,' but then he'll turn around and write a killer love song like 'Thank You (For Saving Me).'"
"Actually, Jack writes a lot of songs about chicks," Rolen continued. "'Your Love,' 'When You Return,' 'I Confess'... I don't know if they're all about the same girl or lots of different ones, but one thing's for sure: Jack loves the pussy."
Rolen said he is awed by his new bandmates' encyclopedic knowledge of heavy metal and hard rock.
"At the audition, [drummer] Greg [Roberts] said Pillar Of Salt was going for a Believer-meets-Living Sacrifice sound," Rolen said. "I didn't know jack about either of those bands, but I knew I could play bass like a motherfucker, and that's what got me the gig. Afterwards, I asked Greg what Living Sacrifice sounded like, and at the first practice, he gave me a tape. It's not Slayer, but it rocks. He's given me some other stuff by Whitecross, Third Day, and Stigmata. I've always prided myself on knowing metal, but these guys put me to shame. They must really have their ears to the ground to know all this music I've never heard before."
Because Rhineman and Roberts are both in what they call "a committed relationship with someone very special," Rolen has found himself to be the only member of Pillar Of Salt open to "hot groupie action." But despite having the band's female fans all to himself, Rolen has had little success.
"A lot of hot chicks are really into Pillar Of Salt," Rolen said. "After our first few shows, I thought I'd be getting more trim than a barbershop floor, but it hasn't worked out that way. Whenever I ask them to come back to the bus with me, they say, 'I can't do thatthat's not right.' I'm like, 'Come on, this is rock 'n' roll.'"
Though he said he loves playing with Pillar Of Salt, Rolen conceded that the relationship has not been without its moments of tension. He recently became upset with his bandmates over their unwillingness to play concerts on Sunday. "We got an offer to play at the weekly Sunday Metal Spotlight down in Tampa, which would expose us to a whole new audience," Rolen said. "The guys said playing the Spotlight wasn't an option because Sunday was their 'day of rest.' Hey, I like kicking back and decompressing on Sundays, too, but we're a young band trying to establish ourselves. These guys need to get their priorities straight if they're serious about making it." Pillar Of Salt is currently preparing to embark on a U.S. tour in support of its debut album, Sanctified, to be released June 10 on the band's own Witness Records label.