Christian Floyd traded in metal guitar for acoustic years ago. Everyone stopping by the Young Bean in Clayton Friday, Nov. 5, will get a chance to hear Floyd's sound. He talked to the Post Oct. 28 about going from Metallica to Nick Drake, getting the courage to sing and more.
It’s hard to believe that acoustic musician Christian Floyd started out playing Anthrax and Metallica covers. But that was years ago. The 38-year-old has mellowed since then, focusing more on the sounds of Joshua Radin, Elliott Smith, Jack Johnson, Alexi Murdoch and others who are both folksy and intense. That’s the sound singer/songwriter Floyd is aiming for, a message that came through when he talked to the Dover Post Oct. 28.
Q You first got interested in music thanks to Anthrax. What was it about metal that appealed to you as an aspiring musician?
A I guess as a teenager just the shock value perhaps, or just the fact that it was so intense, so different than other things, that kind of appealed to me. And the fact that it made my father kind of mad. It’s always fun to make the parents mad when you’re a kid.
Q How did you get from metal to acoustic?
A The approach is so different but equally intense. When you have a metal band there are four or five of you and you’re bashing away and it’s a wall of sound, it’s very intense. When somebody makes a small mistake it can kind of be covered by the wall of sound, you have a blanket of protection.
So when I started hearing these songs that were just acoustic, the challenge appealed to me. Because when it’s just you and your voice and a guitar and you make a mistake, you can’t hide it. That was a nice challenge for me.
I’ve been playing for 20 to 30 years, but I’ve only been singing in front of people for about five. So for the longest time I didn’t have the confidence, but I just finally started singing and people liked it and I said OK, I guess I’m not horrible.
But it’s so different now because it’s all me, I’m the one interacting with the crowd, deciding the set list. If it sounds good, that’s great. If I miss a note or hit a wrong key, that’s me too. It’s challenging but exciting, you have a lot riding on you.
Q Does the heavier music of your youth still influence you?
A I have really moved away from the heavier music for many reasons, but I find now in what I listen to and what I play that it seems to be a noisy world. Everybody’s screaming at you, and my philosophy is don’t play so loud they can’t help but hear you — play so good that they can’t help but listen. When I hear things like Joshua Radin, Nick Drake ... the guy went into a studio for three days and recorded “Pink Moon” and it was brilliant. And he wasn’t yelling and screaming. The heavy stuff, I’m not impressed anymore. Been there done that.
Q What are the biggest challenges to being a musician locally?
A Getting your foot in the door is always the hardest. Getting people to even give you a chance. Everybody’s got their agenda. A bar or restaurant are trying to get people there, and if you can promise a lot they’d love to have you, but when you’re new you can’t do that. So just being able to find appearances and finding the right venue for those appearances is a challenge.
Q You’ve been playing coffeehouses like Espresso-N-Ice in Dover and the Young Bean in Clayton. How was the response been?
A It’s been good, surprising, in fact. I’ve been selling a few CDs at every show, which is phenomenal. People seem to really enjoy it. I have fans that are in their 60s and I have fans that are 18.
Q What are we going to hear from you Friday?
A I play some covers and ’80s and oldies, but especially at a place like the Young Bean I like to play a lot of my originals. A lot of time musicians will play covers so people will hire them. So I like to play songs that people know, but also songs that I’ve written.
Q What are your passions other than music?
A I’m a Bible teacher, so that’s a passion of mine and I devote a lot of time to that. But right now, music is really what is driving me. I go through phases where I might be interested in one thing or another, but it always seems to be coming back to music.
Q You started with a hand-me-down Stratocaster knock-off. What guitar do you play now?
A An Ovation guitar that was given to me by my father, Herb, that is right-handed, and we switched it to lefty. My father was the one who taught me my first few chords and he plays guitar as well.