Whether playing for 15 fans in a small-town bar or playing for an audience of millions on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Relient K is more interested in having a positive influence on its listeners than selling tons of records.
Maybe that’s why vocalist Matt Thiessen knew his band was going somewhere as he walked out of his job at Wendy’s to do Relient K’s first tour in 2000. Thiessen and guitarist Matt Hoopes grew up together near Canton and started the Christian-rock band that, like most undiscovered bands, toured close to home. But since the release of their self-titled album, Relient K found fame, fortune and gigs at the famed Filmore Auditorium in San Francisco and the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.
Relient K comes home May 3 to play at House of Blues in support of its March release, “Five Score And Seven Years Ago” and show off their revamped style to fans.
The album deviates from the band’s usual pop and punk sound. “The changes are subtle,” Thiessen says. There are hints of alternative, indie and even a little twang. “While writing, I was trying to be a little different and not make the same record twice,” he says.
The playful title alludes to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a theme picked up in tracks “Plead the Fifth” and “Deathbed” (an 11-minute finale Thiessen says was the “most fun to write and record”), which bookend the album.
The name is also a nod to this being the band’s fifth album in seven years, and to the addition of two new members, bassist John Warne and guitarist Jon Schneck, who put the band at five members.
On the road, the self-proclaimed “Mac geeks” spend time taking crazy pictures with Apple’s Photo Booth software and playing Texas Hold’em on their foldout poker table. But when they step off that tour bus for an audience, Theissen says they keep in mind that positive music has positive effects. “Being successful as a band is being a positive influence.”