This guitarist is so metal, he set himself on fire

Chris Sawicki has this burning desire to light up a room.


Miles Klee

Internet Culture

Published Mar 18, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 6:54 am CDT

They don’t call it death metal for nothing. Indianapolis four-piece band Church Tongue had a penchant for setting guitarist Chris Sawicki on fire in the middle of some heavy riffs.

Music blogs have called the stunt “dangerous” and “dumb,” which is to say quite gnarly and cool, with Axl Rosenberg of Metal Sucks declaring that Church Tongue—who also “blow,” by the way—will only achieve minor notoriety as “‘That band with that dude who set himself on fire’ and then will be called nothing because everyone will have forgotten about them.”

The band itself, which currently has more press materials than music videos, used their online exposure to drum up publicity for their friends’ projects. (You can listen to one of their own brutalizing songs, “Eyecon,” over on MediaFire.)

Strangely, Sawicki is no longer listed as a member in Church Tongue’s Twitter or Facebook bios. That’s just how fast the music industry moves in the midwest, folks: One minute you’re in flames, the next you’re going solo.

Sawicki was ambivalent about the whole thing, tweeting at critics and diehard fans alike.

Just the sort of schisms and infighting you’d expect from any hardcore rock niche, but let’s not forget what really matters at the end of the day: an all-consuming sense of nihilism.

Hot take, bro.

Photo via Peter Sheik/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Mar 18, 2015, 1:49 pm CDT