They’re a regular Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, these four Honest Men. Though they may never go to the fiery furnace or lion’s den, the band is as serious about faith and, well, honesty as its spiritual forebears.
Honest Men first performed a year ago at Student Union’s Battle of the Bands, where they played Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and took first despite never having played together before. Now, a year later, Waco sophomore Seth Findley, the band’s frontman; guitarist Brooks Whitehurst, a Baylor graduate; drummer Zach Solomon, also a Baylor graduate; and Killeen sophomore Nathan Wallace, the bassist, are showing how they’ve gotten better over the last year in a show at 8 p.m. Friday at Common Grounds.
“I think when we started, we were kind of all over the place,” Whitehurst said. “We’ve learned simplicity meets the goal, rather than trying to do all these crazy things all at once.”
From the beginning, however, simplicity was one of the band’s goals. Findley and Solomon rejected several competing band names, including Captain Nathaniel Flint and Floodland East, before settling on the apt moniker Honest Men.
“We decided on Honest Men because it’s positive and encouraging, like K-Love, you know,” Solomon said.
Christian radio comparisons aside, Findley said the band strives to make music that’s more than just music, music that has some meaning that’s bigger than the people writing it. Wallace cited Mutemath and Colony House (but not K-Love standards like Jeremy Camp and Chris Tomlin) as the groups that have most influenced Honest Men’s music.
Findley said the band’s newest songs are primarily inspired by the book of Daniel, however. The band has raised money to go to Nashville this summer to record half those songs, which it will perform at its show Friday.
“These songs are telling the story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, King Nebuchadnezzar, all the characters in this book, and showing that there’s so much of it that relates to my own life and our own lives,” Findley said. “Even though it happened thousands of years ago, the themes, the messages and the lessons they’re learning still apply to us today.”
Beyond the spiritual lessons in Honest Men’s music, the band has learned a few personal lessons during its time together as well. After graduating from Baylor, Solomon considered dropping the band and leaving Waco to move to Nepal. Solomon told his bandmates he was considering leaving them behind, and they thought he was done with Honest Men for good.
“All the sudden, I stop hearing from them. Stuff from Honest Men keeps popping up and I just think, ‘Well, that’s really cool,'” Solomon said.
Solomon only figured out something was wrong when Findley asked him whether he would still be coming to Nashville to record, even though he’d quit the band.
Despite some issues with miscommunication, Findley said the band is closer than it’s ever been. Even when Solomon’s car broke down at a show last week in Austin, Honest Men came out of the furnace stronger than before.
“A lot of things went wrong, but there was a lot of beauty in the things that went wrong because it brought us closer together,” Wallace said.