There are a few artists who have dropped a Pynchon reference or two in their music over the years. But post-hardcore frontmen who also cite C.S. Lewis and Martin Luther as influences? We’re pretty sure there’s only one guy who fits that bill: Dustin Kensrue, who’ll be leading the worship at the Easter Celebration at Qwest in less than three short weeks.
For many of you, though, Dustin needs no introduction. For over a decade, he has been the lead singer and songwriter for the acclaimed band Thrice, which he formed with three friends in Irvine in 1998. The band worked local shows until their 2000 album Identity Crisis started giving them regional traction, and follow-up albums The Illusion of Safety (2002) and Artist in the Ambulance (2003) cemented their reputation on a national and international level.
The band released 8 full-length studio albums over 14 years. They played at Coachella in 2005 (ironically, two days after headlining a day at the Anti-Coachella festival on the other side of the country in New Jersey) and on Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel’s late night shows, among many other performances.
Dustin’s lyrics for Thrice’s songs are often heavy, complex, and even soul-rending. “I try to be an artist who aspires to find hope even in dark places: If I’m down, I don’t want to bring people down to that place with me. I’m looking for a way out,” he says. While Thrice has never been considered a “Christian band,” Dustin is open about his faith, and the lyrics show it.
But the blind lead the blind into bottomless pits,
Still we smile and deny that we’re cursed.
But of all our iniquities ignorance may be the worst.
from “All the World Is Mad,” off Beggars
In 2007, Dustin released his first solo album, followed by a second one, a Christmas album, last year. The solo work has allowed him to explore a sparser, simpler, and folk-sound, one that would not have fit into Thrice’s repertoire. He’s since played on Letterman and Leno’s shows … and as of April 24, for Mars Hill Church and Seattle.
For more from Dustin, check out his and Thrice’s discography, below:
Dustin Kensrue discography
This Good Night Is Still Everywhere (Vagrant, 2010)
Please Come Home (Equal Vision, 2007)
Beggars (Vagrant, 2009)
Live at the House of Blues (Vagrant, 2008)
Alchemy Index, Vol. III & IV (Vagrant, 2008)
Alchemy Index, Vol. I & II (Vagrant, 2007)
Vheissu (Island, 2005)
If Only We Could See Us Now (Island, 2005)
Artist in the Ambulance (Island, 2003)
The Illusion of Safety (Sub City, 2002)
Identity Crisis (Sub City, 2000)
First Impressions EP (self-released, 1998/9)