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Earnestness is a Virtue

To the average person, being a teenager in a third-tier rock band may be a chance for an early initiation into the life of sex, drugs and rock n' roll before getting to college. But there's not a hint of that in youthful pretty boy and ministers' son Jason Wade of radio-rock band Lifehouse. The wide-eyed Wade spoke to us before his band hits the Triangle as the opening act for Everclear and Matchbox 20 April 16 in Raleigh. Maybe the super-friendly frontboy just says no to the temptations of deviant sex and binge drinking, but judging by his interview with next year's Recess Editor Tim Perzyk, being the lead singer of a rock band these days is a not-so-rock-n-roll experience.

I've read that both of your parents were ministers. Did you guys get your start playing church gigs?

Yeah, actually, me and Sergio, we were playing at the church youth group for about three years until we finally started getting into the studio and making other kinds of music.

Have you seen the Tom Hanks flick That Thing You Do? Do you ever worry about being a one-hit wonder?

That's actually one of my favorite movies. Obviously the thought has crossed my mind. I'm not really worried about it, because I didn't expect to get here so fast. I'm just enjoying every moment as it comes, but if it all ends tomorrow, that's cool too.

On one of the tracks on No Name Face, you sing, "I haven't memorized all the cute things to say, but I'm working on it." Ever forgotten any lyrics during a performance?

Yeah, I actually forgot some of the lyrics to a song called "Everything" the other day, 'cause I was so, like, enraptured with the music. I kinda lost my mind really. Sometimes that happens. You get so into it, your mind shuts off.

The original name of your group was Blyss. What motivated the change to Lifehouse? It seems like a lot of people are confused. A lot of people calling in to radio stations seem to think the name is Lighthouse or Firehouse.

Yeah, we get that a lot. The main reason we couldn't get it [Blyss] was because someone else had it. We couldn't legally get it. Lifehouse was one of the names that we chose that we could clear. We all felt like that was a good name for us.

As you're getting more airplay on lots of different formats, do you notice your fan base changing? Any lunchboxes or McDonald's tie-ins on the horizon?

No, no, not at all. You know it's funny. I feel like we're still the same band as when we started off on alternative radio. The thing is, too, that we're not coming on some crusade to like be all tough to prove we're alternative because we never did that in the beginning. We're just kinda making our music and letting it fall wherever it falls.

You mentioned that a lot of your influences were singer/songwriter types of people. What's the most interesting story behind something on No Name Face?

Probably the lyric you said in that song you mentioned earlier. That song is an interesting story, because I consider it my first song that I wrote, when I was 15. We actually tracked it when I was 15, and I had to do my vocal to it later on, because my voice actually changed from 15 to 18. So we kept the same music, and I had to put another vocal on it. So it's funny that that song actually lasted five years on the same music.

What most annoys you about interviews, the press and critics? Feel free to be vicious.

Maybe it's because I'm new at it, but nothing really. I feel like every part of the job, the interviews, the radio stations, is still exciting. I feel like every little bit helps, so anything I can do to help it out is a pleasure.

Any crazed fans yet?

Not yet. It seems like all the stories you hear from back in the day, maybe it was because they were all on drugs or something. Everyone's pretty mellow.

You get a lot of the face time in the video. How do your bandmates feel about that?

They tease me all the time. It's one of those things where luckily my personality is more about spreading the love and not taking attention but getting it off myself, 'cause I'm not into it a lot. But they still tease me, 'cause fans always seem to gravitate toward the lead singer. I try to go out of my way to make them feel like they're not out of the picture.

What are some of your favorite celebrities among the ones you have met?

Rob Thomas has been amazing. I feel like he's been the example of what's it like to be so successful and still be a kind, humble person. I feel like he's really done that. He's just a great, honest, genuine person. He's kinda like my role model right now. If I ever get that much success, that's what I wanna be like.

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