|Also known as||M. Reese Roper, Michael Reese Roper|
|Genres||Christian ska, punk rock, pop, astro-rock|
|Labels||Five Minute Walk, Asian Man, Tooth & Nail, Department of Biophysics|
|Associated acts||Five Iron Frenzy, Brave Saint Saturn, Guerilla Rodeo, Roper|
Michael Reese Roper is the lead singer of the third-wave ska band Five Iron Frenzy. After the band disbanded in 2003, Reese released a single album using the moniker Roper. He is also part of the band Brave Saint Saturn, who released their third album, Anti-Meridian, on September 15, 2008. In 2010 he directed, narrated, and edited the feature length documentary The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy. The documentary was released in April 2010 to critical acclaim, as a joint project of Asian Man Records and Department of Biophysics. Five Iron Frenzy regrouped in November 2011 with Roper as the lead singer.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (November 2013)|
Reese Roper is known for his quirky and satirical sense of humor, but his work is also marked with a deep interest in history, politics, and self-awareness. He has been the primary lyricist and vocalist, as well as a key musical contributor, in several bands. He is a graduate of East High School. He attended the University of Colorado at Denver throughout his time in FIF and graduated with a degree in Biology. He is a licensed pastor from the Alliance for Renewal Churches, Mansfield, Ohio, and is also a co-founder of the Scum of the Earth Church in Denver, Colorado. Currently, he is a Registered Nurse at The University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville Virginia- Surgical Trauma Burn Intensive Care Unit.
Before his ska and rock projects, Reese Roper was in the short-lived, Colorado-based, industrial metal group Exhumator. Members of that band joined with a larger cast of musicians to form the ska ensemble Five Iron Frenzy, who in 1996 signed with 5 Minute Walk recording studio. During this time Roper became known for his "vocal finesse" and, the ability to write lyrics with both a "tradition of ridiculousness" and a reverence for serious issues. The band was together until November 22, 2003, which is when they played their final show at the sold out Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, Colorado. Roper was both the lead vocalist and primary lyricist.
The concept of Brave Saint Saturn began in 1995, but it was only during the final years of Five Iron Frenzy that Reese formalized the band with FIF bandmates Dennis Culp and Keith Hoerig. BS2 is primarily a studio project and has been described by Roper as an outlet for songs that didn't fit Five Iron Frenzy's musical style. The band and some fans put forth a new term, "astro-rock", to describe the music of Brave Saint Saturn, which is fundamentally rooted in synthesizer-bathed post-punk and haunting ballads. The band also describes themselves as being the "supersonic-philharmonic", in reference to their blending of rock music, classical instruments, synthesizers, and beat loops. The third album of the "BS2 trilogy," Anti-Meridian, was released on September 15, 2008. During an interview on October 15, Roper indicated that this may not be the last album from BS2.
After Five Iron Frenzy broke up, he was initially slated to lend his vocals and synthesizer skills to Guerilla Rodeo, which had been engineered by Roper, along with another FIF alum, Sonnie Johnston; Ethan Luck from the OC Supertones; and John Warne and Josh Abbott, both from the band Ace Troubleshooter. However, after recording three songs and releasing a self-titled EP with the band, he decided not to join for organizational reasons. Roper instead, at the behest of his former label, formed another band of his own. He eventually settled on naming the band "Roper" in an attempt to gain favor with the band's record label, who encouraged the moniker in an attempt to lessen advertising costs. The band Roper released their first album, Brace Yourself for the Mediocre in late 2004, with a team of studio musicians working with Roper to create a high energy blend of post-pop-punk closer in sound to Five Iron Frenzy than Brave Saint Saturn.
Reese Roper has also published various poetry volumes in small circulation and participated in two poetry tours- one initiated by Skeleton Key Publishing, and an earlier one initiated by Mike Lewis of the band Puller. Copies of his volume More Than Paper Thin sold during the tour included a home-burned CD of spoken poetry and cover songs, entitled Where Dreams May Spark and Flicker.
Additionally, Roper has lent his vocals to two tracks of Showbread's 2004 release No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical, and their 2008 release "Nervosa" on the song The "Beginning", and he has also worked with the band Trash Oven, mastering their EP.
Roper is known not only for his faith-based lyrics, but for a social justice approach to Christianity based on his Biblical perspective on Jesus Christ and his apostles. He has never publicly affirmed a political viewpoint, but has said in a HM Magazine editorial that Christians need to abandon blind nationalism and pursue Christ instead. Additionally, the historical abuses of the United States of America (particularly against native Americans) and the Christian Church appear frequently in Roper's lyrical work, as well as self-searching for topics of personal depravity. He has also composed many songs that present scathing critiques of unbridled capitalism. The BS2 album Anti-Meridian uses a sound clip of Pat Robertson from The 700 Club, in which Robertson says that the United States should assassinate Hugo Chavez, to show a counterpoint to what he believes most Christians actually believe, but isn't seen in the media, about war and violence.
|“||I write most of the lyrics and can't be afraid to talk about what I believe, but I'm not going up there with my Bible and beating people over the head either.||”|
—Reese Roper on writing for Five Iron Frenzy in Billboard Magazine
- McCreary, David (December 2001). "Reviews / Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo". CCM Magazine 24 (6): 62–63. ISSN 1524-7848.
- "Getting Beyond the Hype". CCM New Music Guide 22: 6–8. April–May 2000/June. ISSN 1524-7848. Check date values in:
- "Reese Roper Interview". The Further Adventures Of... on KMNU Radio. October 16, 2008. Retrieved October 16, 2008.
- Roper, Reese (May–June 2001). "Megaphone to The World". HM Magazine (89): 89. ISSN 1066-6923.
- Metteer, Chris (March 8, 2002). "Third Day needs to turn it up.(Reviews)". The Register-Guard. pp. T15.
- Bessman, Jim (October 18, 1997). "5 Minute's Five Iron Frenzy Takes a Mainstream Swing". Billboard Magazine 109 (42): 14–15.