It doesn't seem very often that rock stars who grace the cover of trendy rock magazines take the time to contemplate philosophical issues, like the nature of art and the human condition. Some might be too busy drinking and screwing to care. But hidden somewhere amidst the glam rockers living out their indulgent lifestyles, there exist a rare breed that actually do, like singer Anthony Green from the popular Philadelphia alternative band Circa Survive.
Green is the poster boy of self-empowerment. He believes that human potential is limitless and encourages individuals to break out of that downward spiral of self-hatred many of us fall into.
"There's no right or wrong way to be, [you] just have to be," says Green. "I think that everyone is always making such an effort and that's where the problem is. You don't have to try, you just are. We're already okay, no matter what happens, everything is fine. Everybody in their life everyday has the capability of being anything, of changing anything, like changing anything about themselves that they don't like. You just have to believe that you can do it, and actually do it."
Green actively lives this philosophy and praises its effectiveness. He tells a success story about a friend of his that was madly in love with a girl but was too shy to talk to her. He would dream about her and think about her all the time, and sure enough, when the friend got the courage to ask her out, the two hit off. To his knowledge, both are still dating today.
Green himself is a success story in a way. It was from his own will power that he escaped a potentially abusive crisis early in his life that could have ended his musical career. Rather than self-medicating and relying on drugs, it was art and his passion for music that offered him the escape and focus to leave it all behind.
"When you're a junkie, that's all your life is," says Green. "Getting drunk, getting out of reality and getting spaced out. I found something I really liked to do and I knew I couldn't do it fucked up. It just wouldn't work."
Green's band, Circa Survive released their second album in May, On Letting Go. The new record casts the band in a more artistic light then ever before. Critics will, like always, find it nearly impossible to pigeonhole Circa Survive into any music genre. The songs are creative and unconventional. There aren't any three-chord song progressions and the lyrics are as approachable as quantum physics, if taken literally. The album is, without a doubt, something the collaborative minds of Circa Survive invested a lot of energy into and evidently care about.
"I would be really bummed if I found out everybody really hated the record but I really like it and I'm just really happy for it to be out," says Green. "I haven't really heard bad things. So I think it has been good. My mom and dad really like it and everyone in my family has said it sounded really good. The things that I've heard from my circle of friends have also been really positive. But I don't really know what the public thinks."
The album peaked at number 24 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album's success and creativity is partly due to the band's philosophy and appreciation for art. The members are all individually very talented artists that believe in not only art's beauty, but also of its power.
"I think art is all around us and it is unmistakable," says Green. "It's everywhere. It's not just in conventional forms like music, painting and writing. Art is in life. It is in the way you treat people. It's in the way you treat yourself."
The members of Circa Survive are strong supporters of artistic freedom. So it is no surprise that the band also openly supports downloading music. Last month on the band's website, guitarist Brendan Eckstrom posted a blog that encouraged the fans that couldn't afford the CD to download it.
"Art and music--it's free," says Green. "There's always been the option of downloading, like even with records there was bootlegging. People will always find a way. [Music] should be free anyway. You make your money off of touring. I mean selling records is cool, and its definitely cool for all that materialistic shower bullshit. We really don't care. No matter what happens we all have to care about each other and love each other, and that's it."