Brandon Ryan interviews Tony Byroads from The Undivided
Once again, I have been given the opportunity to interview someone from a band I grew up with. He goes by the name of Tony Byroads, he was originally from the band Crossfade. In this interview tony tells about his old life and his new life, and new band The Undivided. Tony is an awesome dude, let this be a testimony to the never ending love God has for us.
Enoch Magazine ) Tony, I was reading through your bio, and it mentioned that you went in and out of foster homes. Can you talk about what that was like? And has that shaped you a person?
Tony ) Well, at age 6 I had been taken to a boys home. This was after a lot of things had happened to me. I had been hit by a car that almost killed me, had boiling water poured on my skin, hot forks purposely put on me and melt my skin, I’d been thrown across the room and my skull cracked open… this is just a few. My mom had dropped me off there and said she was coming back to get me, well… she never came back. I spent most of my time thinking she was coming back and just waiting and looking out a window. It’s amazing what solid truth a child thinks the words of his parents are. Kind of like believing in Santa and the Easter bunny I guess.
The boys home was called Baker Hall, it was in Lackawanna, NY. We had house parents who took care of the kids and eventually if we were adopted by foster parents got to go live with them and their family. I went in and out of several foster homes and lived with a few different families. Some were ok but some not so good either, I had been beaten almost to death by one lady for losing my retainer. But, I moved around like this until I was 18 and then let go to be on my own. It did make an impact on who I am today. Really, your growing years as a child ends up teaching you so much, I don’t think many people realize how much of an impact those learning years have. It forms so much about a person and their personality that will carry forward into their adult years. Luckily there were also counselors at the home that helped with dealing with what went on mentally afterwards. I think they helped a lot, I could have ended up thinking that was all normal and okay. My nature is to be a people pleaser. I think that came from early years. There was always that fear that I’d be beat or tortured somehow if I wasn’t. I am however very passionate about wanting to help with others that have suffered abuse. I can’t stand to see guys hit women. It takes me back to things I experienced as a child and just really hate seeing anyone treated badly.
Enoch Magazine ) Were you raised in a Christian home? And if so has faith in God always stuck with you?
Tony ) Well Baker Hall was run by the Basilica in Lackawanna, NY which is a catholic church. All the kids attended the Basilica on Sundays. It was like you had to do it, it wasn’t something that stayed with me though, you know? None of the foster homes I had gone to were Christian homes, none of them were a believing home in any way. Really, it wasn’t until I came out of the home and was told to go be on my own did I realize that God was more real than I gave him credit for. I had tried to get to my moms house on the bus with a couple bucks I had, and when I got there she peeked out the door and said “what are you doing here? You can’t stay here!” so I ended up spending the night sleeping in a goodwill box in Buffalo in the middle of February. I thank God I didn’t die of freezing to death!
I ended up coming to a restaurant looking for food and warmth and crazy enough my uncle just so happened to be sitting there. He ended up taking me to my Aunts house and she in turn drug me to a revival at her church…you cant tell me God wasn’t working in all of this. At the revival, there was this preacher, well a traveling evangelist. His name was Ed Hollingsworth. He came up to me and said he’d been praying and knew I had been going through some troubles and asked if I would want to go with him to South Carolina where a family would give me room and board and a job. That’s kind of where I realized God was there. When I moved in with the family, they were a Christian home, they would go to church every Sunday, and expected me to go also, so it grew me a little from there. It’s like God was there the whole time and at this moment tapping me on the shoulder saying “Hello, I’m here.” But at that point I think it was still something that didn’t sink in completely.
Enoch Magazine ) When the driver of the tour bus said to you: “This isn’t where God wants you” it seemed as though a light bulb just went off in your head. What was it like telling the rest of the Crossfade members that you needed to exit the band? How did they respond?
Tony ) I should probably give some background first, there was a lot of turmoil going on in the band already when I had left. I had been with the band for years before we were signed to Columbia Records. I had actually found the band while I was living with that family in South Carolina. The rest of the guys from Crossfade and I were all really cool with each other, great friends. Actually Ed and I spent a lot of time together goofing off and hanging out, he was a really sweet guy, Id say, my best friend.
It takes time for things to start up rolling when you get signed, so amidst the label doing what they needed to, there were some unfortunate personal things happening in Ed’s life and he and I ended up hanging out even more. We started touring and the band had jumped to being one of the biggest groups and headlining our own tour in like a year, I think it went to everyone’s heads. You know, that Nickelback song, I wanna be a rockstar? Well , its all true stuff. I started seeing the rest of the band, the roadies and managers, all of them, get caught up in some things they shouldn’t have. Ed and I almost got into a few fist fights, things between everyone just started unraveling. I ended up distancing myself from them sometimes because of my choosing, sometimes by theirs. We would get to a town where we’d be playing that night and Id just take off walking. I got to where I was kind of there in body, but that was it. I was there for the show and then I’d be back on the bus in my bunk or out walking by myself.
Luckily, I met the love of my life while on tour and in the middle of all this and while everyone would be out partying and doing whatever, Id be on the phone with her. She got to hear all my frustrations, but basically she was that shoulder I needed. I was that kind of person where if you told me something and it was a lie, I’ believe it, no questions asked. I couldn’t catch it when people would roll their eyes or blow me off. She started telling me to watch for more detail. That’s when the bus driver, who are never on the bus after shows, caught me on the bus one night. He said he’d been praying for me and that God told him this isn’t where I was supposed to be. So, yea, it was kind of like a light bulb. I started putting it all together and watching, and praying. I asked God if he’d just give me a sign. He did, and I knew I had to leave.
At this point, the rest of the guys and I weren’t really speaking to each other at all. So, I came to the show at the time we were supposed to go on, played the set, and when the show was over, the guys walked their way, and I walked mine, I just didn’t show up to the next show. They didn’t respond, they didn’t call, anything. But I can say that after leaving, it was like a huge feeling of relief. I did find out in a few media posts later on that they stated I left to get married. I guess they were trying to keep everything cool.
Enoch Magazine ) So, you have a new band now, called The Undivided. What the process like finding people to join in on the new band?
Tony ) Well it’s been both easy and tough, you want the magic of talented musicians that makes the music great, but at the same time you have to find someone that wants to ultimately put in their efforts and time for the same reasons. As you can see from pictures the bands changed a little, we have new members, but we are good now. I don’t think some are cut out for all the things it takes to really dedicate to being a full time musician. It takes a lot of work. I’m really happy with what we’ve got going on right now and I think that’s the across the board with all of us. It has been an eye opener coming across all sorts of people, it’s been interesting.
Enoch Magazine ) Have you always felt drawn to creating music?
Tony ) Always. When I was in Baker Hall, they had a choir director that taught me how to use my voice, I just immersed myself in it. That’s how I dealt with all the pain from my childhood. That was my comfort blanket, I could just get lost in it. Of course it’s just a part of me now, that’s who I am.
Enoch Magazine ) I like the sound of The Undivided man, it kinda sound like trapt with a small dose of MudVayne all in one. What has been the response from people at live shows?
Tony ) Thanks man. The response has just been awesome! We’ve gotten a lot of really nice compliments and requests back. From where we’ve started from earlier last year though, I think we were still finding out what we wanted the sound to be like. We had a lot of creativeness and ideas on the table; there was a lot of experimenting going on. The full length that we are working on now will be a little different. I just hope we get the same response. We’re really trying to focus on how we want to say what we’ve got inside and mix it with a great sound. It’ll still be rockin’ but just a bit more alternative rock than aggressive/metal.
Enoch Magazine ) What bands are you listening to now ah days man?
Tony ) Actually, a lot of country. I love to warm my voice up with it. They do a lot of loops that are great and it strengthens the voice. But the radio station gets switched around all the time.
Enoch Magazine ) What would you say to someone who felt like they didn’t belong or felt welcomed in the Church?
Tony ) I have honestly been through a lot of that myself. It wasn’t easy trying to get serious about my relationship with God. You know when I first started really trying to put effort into it, I smoked, I cursed, I had bad habits. I came across some people in the church that when they saw those things. They said I wasn’t a true Christian or wasn’t Christian enough to be associated with them. What’s worse is they used bits and pieces of scripture to justify themselves in telling me off. How is one supposed to be perfect in the beginning? It’s not like poof! You wake up and all of a sudden you’re perfect. It takes time, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the perfect mark, but that’s why we’re all working on ourselves right?
That’s where being kind and loving other people comes in. You never know where a person is at in their life. Never assume anything about anyone. I had been told I had too many tattoos, I needed to wear a suit and take off my hat, then cover up the tattoos, take out my earrings, one time I even had a guy, that heard of my background in Crossfade, said that I was a rockstar so I didn’t need to be at church. He didn’t know me. But people don’t realize, comments and things like that don’t show the love of God. Isn’t that what it’s about? You don’t have to be perfect, God takes you as you are, and, He will use you where you’re at! It’s hard to want to keep pursuing anything after going through things like that.
The hardest part of it is – Don’t quit. It’s not about what others say or do or think. The real heart of the matter is about your own relationship with God. Talk to God. Whether it’s in your car, in the shower, He is that invisible person with you everywhere you go, but He IS there. Try to attend church even when you don’t feel like it. Yes, sometimes it is easier to say well I don’t go to church because…. but in the bible it says you should. It will grow you and mature you. You will end up being the bigger person and walk amongst all of them with your head high for all the right reasons and all that stuff will end up bothering you less and less.
That goes along with the don’t quit part. If you have to switch churches, okay, but try to eventually get your feet to stick in one place.. that’s when you see results. Otherwise, there are many people that can keep you away and the situations will keep coming. I would encourage people to read the bible. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to read but it’s really key to understanding better what God is saying. Don’t always take someone’s word for things, if you read it for yourself you will know if what others are saying is true or not. Let the Spirit work in everything you do… you can’t put God in a box, He’s always working in different ways, which is so cool. Scripture is there for a reason, but the Holy Spirit is doing the working. Don’t put limits on it. Mainly, don’t focus on people, just God.
Enoch Magazine ) Do you have any tattoos, if so what of?
Tony ) Yeah, a few. When I was with Crossfade we did a show with Dimebag and Vinny Paul and Vinny Paul pointed at this sun/lion sort of thing at the parlor and said “yea man get that one” so I did, Its on my forearm. I had Crossfade tattood on my other forearm when we first went out on tour, it’s in the middle of a cross with talons. I’ve got another on my shoulder that is from back in the boys home where we made our own tattoo gun, it’s of a wizard looking guy, but he’s faded a lot now. I’ve got a flame up the back of my right arm with Corissa (my wife’s name) in cursive inside of it. I kind of surprised her with that one.
Enoch Magazine ) What do you have planned for the new year?
Tony ) Hopefully a whole bunch, man. We’ve been writing like crazy and are trying to get it all recorded. So far we’ve booked a few festivals, and were really excited. We are playing at a huge motorcycle rally in Virginia along with Dokken and Great White and then we get to share the stage with The Newsboys in Alabama. We’re just taking things as they come. Thanks for talking with me.