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A Man Possessed

music_WovenhandWovenhand’s David Eugene Edwards pulls out all the punches
In the same month that a new Anthony Hopkins flick does its best impression of The Exorcist, there’s news that the Catholic Church is reporting a rise in demonic possession. Whether or not David Eugene Edwards believes in Linda Blair’s head-spinning character, he is clearly a man of faith. The former 16 Horsepower frontman’s current project, Wovenhand—dropping by the Crepe Place on Wednesday, Jan. 26—is known for its boisterous live shows, with Edwards playing with the passion of a man possessed.

“It’s beyond my control, to be honest with you,” explains Edwards regarding the disconnect between Wovenhand’s on-record pensiveness and its on-stage onslaught. “When I see certain bands, I want to be punched in the face. Basically that’s how I go about it, just to really take over the room and get everyone’s attention for as long as you can.”

In this way the more aggressive nature of Wovenhand’s live set belies the proselytizing of Edwards’ lyricism. Though with each subsequent release—up through 2010’s The Threshingfloor—he has moved further away from 16 Horsepower’s alternative country leanings toward heavier rock music (The Threshingfloor is surprisingly dark in some parts), one aspect of Edwards’ music has continued steadfast.

“People are like, ‘He sings about the same thing every time,’ and that’s exactly right,” says the 42-year-old Colorado native. “I do, I sing about the same subject all the time in every song in some form or another. It may be put together in an abstract way, but it’s always the same subject matter, which is man’s relationship with his creator.”

Many of Edwards’ lyrics require someone with a fairly Biblical vocabulary to truly deconstruct, but the message contained is fairly one dimensional, even within the construct of that cosmic relationship. Christianity is a complex thing, and rock and roll is largely a secular game, but that hasn’t deterred Edwards from successfully moving forward within his horse blinder vision.

“I’m just interested in the gospel, which to me is the only thing that’s important on the planet, and everything else is just distraction from it,” says the songwriter. “That’s all I’m interested in, that’s all I’m going to sing about. That’s all I’m going to express to other people, because to me it’s of the utmost importance and it’s the only thing that really matters.”

And perhaps that’s why Edwards has been able to continue on as a musician. When 16 Horsepower ended in 2002, many would have packed it in after a successful music career, and perhaps begun to look for more stable, long-term ventures. But leave it to someone preaching the gospel to be comfortable with a resurrection.

“[16 Horsepower] stopped playing, and we weren’t going to really restart, so I had to keep working,” explains Edwards. “I don’t really have another job, I don’t have a business or something else to support my family, so I just kept making music. I knew it wasn’t going to be called 16 Horsepower anymore, so I just called it something else and never looked back.”

In something of a measure of success, Wovenhand spent part of last summer opening arenas for Tool, an odd bill in at least three ways. Beyond Wovenhand’s relative balladry contrasting with Tool’s bombast (and the fact that the two entities were put in touch by UC Santa Cruz alum Jello Biafra—whose music couldn’t be more different than either band), it’s kind of funny to see a Christian touring with occultists. Nonetheless, the shows were well-received, and who knows—in case of emergency possession, it couldn’t hurt to have a man of God around.


Wovenhand performs at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, at the Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12. For more information, call 429-6994.

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