Christian heavy hardcore rock music.
But then again, everything about Canadian rockers One Cross is unique.
One Cross has made a name for themselves in the States and across Canada not only for their unique blend of rap core, punk and rock, but also for their strong, powerful stage presence and mature lyrics.
The band, hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, is made up of brothers Shawn (16; lead vocals, drums) and Michael (17; guitar, vocals) Cavallo, their classmate Dave Coulas (16; bass guitar), and their dad, Mike Cavallo (keyboards).
Yup, their dad.
One Cross has been a family thing ever since the band formed. The band originally included three Cavallo brothers, with middle brother Robert on bass guitar.
“When we were kids,” Michael explains, “we jammed all the time. We’d go into the living room and play our little church songs.” Over time the kids got bigger equipment and more guitars and just kept jamming with their dad. Then a promoter from Toronto heard them and invited them to play a set at a club on Yonge Street. From there more industry people and promoters heard about the band, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Our father being in the band was just our thing, it was a cool thing. That’s what One Cross was,” Michael adds.
But that’s not the most unique thing about One Cross anymore, especially now that non-family member Dave Coulas had replaced Robert on bass. Robert left the band last year to pursue a more normal teen life. “He just wanted to do his own thing,” Michael says. “His heart wasn?t in it.”
Since then, the group has been trying to get people to look past the ‘family band’ image and see One Cross as a talented group of musicians committed to Christ and to serving a lost generation.
When the Cavallo kids were young – around 9, 10 and 11 years old – they won free studio time and recorded a CD with their dad. They did a couple of shows and got a little radio play and learned a lot about recording a CD.
But One Cross’s career really took off in 1999, when they won the Talent Showcase at the Kingdom Bound Christian music festival, held each year at Six Flags Darien Lake in upstate NY. The judges loved the family angle, and commended the band on their experienced stage presence. That win, along with their second CD, Clearly Distorted, showcased their talent and made them a crowd favorite at Kingdom Bound. In fact, they’re one of the only independent bands asked back to the festival.
Most of the songs from Clearly Distorted were written by Shawn and Michael, who were 13 and 14 at the time. Now, they’re in the studio recording their third CD, due out in May.
“Our sound has really matured since our second album,” says Michael. “Shawn’s voice has really matured and grown up, and even still we’re developing. You see that with every band. You don’t stop developing, you always improve.”
Add that maturity to their unique blend of super heavy rock, funk and rap core, and you’ve got a lot to look forward to with their third indie CD, slated to be released in mid-May. And despite the whole secular/Christian hard rock debate, One Cross sees their music as a ministry to a lost generation.
“There’s a lot of stereotypes about this type of music,” begins Shawn.
“I think it’s God’s music, and this is just a style,” finishes Michael.
“God listens to hard rock, too,” adds Shawn.
In fact, the band members do like to listen to secular bands and analyze their arrangements and production – minus the lyrics, of course.
Because make no mistake – these guys are committed to serving Christ. All of the band members serve in their local church and take their role in the public eye seriously. They consider their every day lives as individual ministries, and always try to represent Christ, even at shows in secular venues.
“We not really, like, a Bible-thumping band,” Michael explains. Instead, they let their lyrics and music speak for themselves. “We’re Christians, we do our show, and we’re not backing down from what we believe. I think people respect that. Backing down is not cool.”
In fact, the band was asked to perform on a local TV station in their native Canada on the condition that they “leave out the Jesus stuff.” The band refused.
“I think what we do is pretty cool,” Shawn explains. “We can bring the Good News to others and have fun doing it. Why would we want to change that?”
And that’s the best thing about One Cross – the fun. Just spend a few minutes with this group and you’ll feel like you’re part of the family. They trade friendly insults, talk over one another and crack jokes at each other’s expense.
Just another family, having fun doing what they do best. And the fans love it.
In fact, the band recently did a photo shoot without Mike in the pictures, and got a surprise response from their fans.
“It’s funny,” Michael says. “We just thought we’d have the young kids up front, and you wouldn’t believe all the emails we got. ‘What are you guys doing’ Where’s your dad? Put your dad back.’ So I guess it works. He’s still in the photos, he’s still in the band, the kids are loving it.”
One Cross is “a good message of how families can work things out,” he adds. “We find this really unites the family and we work great together.”
So maybe the family image will always be the defining characteristic of One Cross.
A hyper heavy rapcore Christian band.
Nah, One Cross is pretty unique already.
Having Dad in the band is just an added bonus.
Visit One Cross on the web at onecross
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