Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury’ by director Matt Hinton - AmNews Curtain Raiser

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury’ by director Matt Hinton

 

Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxuryby director Matt Hinton — we ask — Why didnt Luxury make it, did the Christians kill them? 

In the mountains of Northeast Georgia, a sound was created that most music critics feel was ahead of its time. That sound came from the ragtag post-punk band called Luxury and heres the twist, all of the members eventually became Orthodox priests. So the question is asked in earnest — “why didnt Luxury make it, did the Christians kill them?”

In the new documentary 'Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxuryby director Matt Hinton, we follow the bands' story as each member weighs in on how it all started. On bass, Chris Foley; on guitar, Jamey Bozerman; on drums, Glenn Black, and on vocals, Lee Bozeman. But all eyes turned to Lee, the sexually ambiguous lead singer with a presence that mesmerized his audience. 

We want to be the biggest band in the world, “ confesses a young Lee Bozeman. That didnt happen but why?

Heres how it started. In the beginning, a group of misfits” were searching for a place where they felt comfortable — musically — in a small town, nestled in the mountains of Northeast Georgia. The challenge became the proverbial elephant in the room since each member, on the surface, possessed musical styles that seemed incompatible. There are obvious, built-in challenges when you are trying to fit a square inside a circle. The square here is the blending of an aggressive post-punk musical attack into the circle, which is the deeply melodic, almost feminine vocals.  

No one should be singing this prettily over guitars that are lunging at me,in this way.” J. Edwards Keyes — Music Critic, Vice. Music critics were quick to point out the comparisons of Luxurys sound with that of Fugazi and to The Smiths. What excited the listeners and the critics was the strong, provocative lyrics, which boldly addressed taboo topics like gender and sexuality and they courted controversy at every turn. In the beginning, they played wherever they could, skate parks, and book stores and often playing to an audience of five, or less. But that did not stop the band from going full throttle, giving it their all with wild abandon. There were many shows when no one showed up but the band played on. 

Eventually, the band rented out a small venue for a whopping $150 a month and started playing which attracted the teenage Georgia crowd which consisted of kids who grew up listening to clean Christian” music. The experience blew their minds especially with Lee, the lead singer, confusing the audience (deliberately) on the issue of his sexuality. 

They were dirt poor and most of the band members had day jobs, in construction, building houses. Their luck turned when they got an opportunity to play at a Corner Stone, a massive Christian music festival. It was in the 1980s when Christian music developed as a market, separate from the mainstream music industry. The response was to build up the Christian rock genre. Then the music label — Tooth & Nail stepped into their lives. A label, its important to note, that never considered themselves a Christian label. Could this be a good fit, since Luxury never thought of themselves as a Christian rock band?

After playing at the CornerStone festival they were offered a deal with Tooth & Nail on the spot. 

Lyrically they walked into controversy sparking speculations about their sexuality and with the release of their first record, Luxury was poised for success. 

Lee had a style and grace that everyone wanted and he was a rock star, by definition. Lyrically he placed himself as an object of desire. They were racy but not vulgar. When the Christian book stores started returning their albums, they knew they were doing something, right. In their minds, art should be disruptive, if not, its just propaganda. 

They returned to play live at the Corner Stone music festival but they suffered a devastating touring wreck, on their way back, their van flipping over and over again on the freeway. We dont stand a chance against the machinery,” says one band member in reliving the ordeal, I was flopping around like a shirt in a dryer.” It was a horrible accident. Lee was under the van. They pushed the van up and pulled Lee out from under it. His face was covered with blood, he had bones sticking out in odd places. They didnt know if he would live, it was that critical. His pelvis had been flattened and broken in four places. He had two punctured lungs. His bladder burst. Glen broke his neck. Their manager, Reed, broke his neck, Gabe broke his neck but no one died— it was a miracle, the date was July 2, 1995. 

But the band members' bodies healed but the impact still remains with them, and their loved ones. They understood how fragile life is and they began to re-think their lives, asking the big questions, what do I do with my faith? Most people assumed that the band would stop, and the music would be over. But heres what happened — after a year of recovery Luxury regrouped to record with music producer, Dave Barbe, in Athens, Georgia, in 1996. Their second album is filled with songs about gratitude and love, mature lyrics that reflect the gravity of their past experience. 

Their relationship with their record label, Tooth & Nail fizzled, and they signed with BulletProof Records. Co-owner, David Vanderpoel considers their next album one of the best things that theyve ever put out, calling it gold.” But the market did not respond. The question is asked — again — why didnt Luxury make it? Did the Christians kill them? 

Life is stranger than fiction. Three of the Luxury band members went on to become Eastern Orthodox priests.

'Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxuryby director Matt Hinton is a well-made film with a heart and soul. Clearly, if you are a fan of Christian rock music and the evangelical indie rock scene of the 1990s while taking a deep dive into a story about underdogs that triumph after a tragedy that almost left them for dead, then this is the documentary for you. 

Reviewed July 11, 20201


Directed, Written, and Edited by
 Matt Hinton

Executive Producers
Brett Morgan
Michael Dunaway
David Huffman
Eric Keith

Produced by

Matt Hinton


Music by LUXURY


Featuring:

Lee Bozeman

Jamey Bozeman

Glenn Black

Chris Foley

Matt Hinton


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