Bradley Hathaway is a Manly Man
AARON ROBERTSON: So, this is your first interview. How does it feel?
BRADLEY HATHAWAY: Feels weird.
A: Yeah? Does it feel cool?
B: Yeah. What’s that movie?… Notting Hill? When he kept going to all those different… he kept pretending to be the horse people or whatever. It feels like that.
B: I’m not nervous, but it’s just that it’s going to get written down. It’s kind of different. But Blindside’s bread is making it ok… Hahaha…
A: So, first off… er, second off I guess, is this the first time that you’ve done your act in front of a church, to a bunch of young kids?
B: Actually the first time I ever did poetry was in front of a hundred and eighty or two hundred junior high kids, but they were from the ghetto, so they kind of thought I was trying to be Eminem. So they didn’t really get it… I forgot about that until just now actually. So it was a different vibe, cause they were like ‘thugged out’ kids. I didn’t have The Boobie Poem then so I wasn’t worried about anything. This is the first time I’ve done The Boobie Poem in front of… well this other one was a Christian concert, but it was on a college campus, so I wasn’t as weirded out about it. This was the first time in front of a full on church show. I was a little uncomfortable. I felt a little weird.
A: Can you explain what The Boobie Poem is all about?……
A: So just to let the readers know, we took a break cause Bradley just got tasered by a police officer for the fun of it. Tell me how the experience of being tasered went.
B: Dude, it was pretty cool. No, it wasn’t… to me the tongue thing felt worse, but that was still shocking, cause it was a taser gun.
A: The tongue thing?
B: Like when you stick a battery on your tongue. That feels worse, but um, that was just really funny.
A: That was a good time, I mean, how many times has someone done that after a show?
B: I wish somebody would have taken it up the rear.
A: I wish someone would have taken it for like twenty seconds.
B: No, it was tough. It was cool. I felt tough.
A: Now on to my previous question, I want to talk about your boobie poem. Can you explain the meaning behind that?
B: Yeah. The Boobie Poem is just about… well the context it was written was in the poetry scene where there’s very erotica stuff, always talking very sexual about a lot of things. I wanted to present about how I’m a virgin, and that’s what came out. It’s just what I think about sex and how awesome it’s going to be with my wife one day and how I’m saving myself. I’m just hoping to encourage kids that you can be 22 and you don’t have to be weird. And it’s not because I have a little wiener (reference to a line in the poem) or anything like that. It’s because I think sex is special between two people.
A: A lot of people would say that you write that just for the shock value. What would you say to that?
B: That’s a good point, and I think about that too. Cause sometimes stuff comes out and I think, “Is this just to be shocking?” But that’s just how I talk. I say ‘boobies’, the ‘blowing on my whistle’ thing (another reference to a line in the poem), like, what is appropriate to say? Anal sex? You know? I say ‘back door’. That’s how I talk. I could see how people would think that, but that’s not my intent. There’s another poem right now, that there’s a pretty gnarly line in it, but it has to be there. It’s not for the sake of being shocking. It’s just the way it is.
A: Give us a brief history about yourself and how you came to write and recite poems for a living. How did you get into that?
B: I booked shows for three years in my hometown almost two years ago…
A: Where are you from?
B: Arkansas. I knew a guy named Clayton that did poetry, and I heard a lot about him. I put him in between bands at shows. I was blown away by what he said. It was just simple, funny stuff, but then it got serious and I was like, “Wow.” I made a joke about writing but I never thought I would actually do it, and then two months later coming home from church one day I had a poem in my head. I pulled over, wrote it down, then I got a notebook and started writing. That’s pretty much it. I got sort-of involved in the poetry scene in Fayetteville, I was on the poetry team in school, but I ended up quitting. I don’t really like that environment of like, a competition first of all, but also like a coffee shop full of writers there not to hear what you have to say, but how you say it. It’s not as free, or fun, or cool to me. I just love doing it at rock shows. So, yeah, I just started writing, I just started doing it at my venue all the time, every few weeks. Then I just started asking around if I could do poetry with certain bands at certain shows and it worked out.
A: Have you gone to school at all?
B: Yeah, I have a year left for a Philosophy degree at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. But I decided to go on the road now. I wanted to last December, but it wasn’t right. Then all these doors just opened up right now. So I’m going to go through those for at least a year.
A: Explain what it’s like to be on the road with a bunch of bands. Is it crazy? Is it as crazy as everyone says it is? Being a poet, is it a little different?
B: Well, it’s not crazy. These bands are all normal dudes. A couple of the crew aren’t Christians, but overall everyone is a Christian. But there’s no crazy like… I even asked Blindside about some of their tours, I was just like, “Dude, are there just like naked girls backstage?” Cause that’s what you think of when you watch TV, they’re just throwing ‘ham’ on them and stuff. And he (Christian) said that some bands are like that, but not really. So, it’s not crazy at all. It is kind of odd being the poet. Certain things are odd, like I just felt like I wasn’t always welcome, sometimes. I felt odd, cause it was just different. I felt everyone wasn’t totally excited to have me there. When Namur came on I felt really refreshed, I had like three days off.
A: How does the audience usually respond?
B: Usually they listen to the first ones, cause they’re more funny and interactive. And then when I get up there and do the second ones they don’t listen as well. Like if there’s four hundred people there, probably one hundred, maybe two hundred won’t listen to the next ones. That’s fine, I wouldn’t figure they would. I want to show that life isn’t all funny. Or not just life, but I’m not just up here talking about boobies and being funny. And even those have serious parts when you think about it. Those poems are more for people who are hurting, not the funny ones, but the ones that are more serious. In Pomona there were 850 people there they laughed at the funny parts and they were completely silent during the serious parts. It’s been amazing, I’ve been doing really, really well.
A: At the end of the show, what do you want the audience to get out of it?
B: I want them to just think about things. Like, we did Budweiser fest and those dudes had no idea they were about to hear poetry first of all and second of all, much less about God. And I just want them to hear truth through what I’m saying and I want God to move through my words, like when David played the harp for Saul. The evil spirits left him, they said he felt better. That’s what I want to happen. For tonight’s show, I wanted the junior high kids that were slipping through the cracks to know that there’s real art out there and to encourage people to think more. Basically I just wanted to get people thinking, thinking about the Lord. And hopefully the seeds that I planted will grow into fruit later on.
A: What do you say in response to a Christian kid’s parents who may have heard your poetry tonight?
B: I would just apologize to him/her. Say, “I’m sorry that you felt that way. I don’t feel the same way. I feel like this is ok for me to do, I feel like these poems are from the Lord.” And then I would probably get to pointing the finger, which isn’t good. I probably wouldn’t say this, but this is what I would think in my heart, “Yeah, but you probably have cable TV and every sitcom… you probably work your schedule around TV shows.” Which a lot of people do. And me saying “boobies” and “blowing on my whistle,” I mean, listen to the whole thing. And if you have a problem with me saying some of those things, some people can’t say “crap” or “suck”. It’s just one of those things that ten years from now it’s not going to be a big deal. I would just apologize and keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve learned that you can’t make everybody happy. There were even people there complaining that I wasn’t graphic enough. Some people were saying that you need to be completely clean and wholesome or be more vulgar. That I need to say “titties” and not “boobies,” and that’s just too much for me. I’m just like, “No man, that’s not funny. That’s just dirty.” So, it’s like no matter what I do, people are weird. One dude was like, “Man, you’re offending both Christians and non-Christians, that’s awesome.” But again, it just comes down to me, I’m just talking… just trying to talk. I’d just apologize. Sorry.