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Bad Songs and Bad Memories

8 May, 2008

When I was in my senior year of high school, I met my first girlfriend.  She was the product of a Catholic upbringing, but had been ‘born again.’  She tried very hard to convert me, to convince me to accept Jesus as my personal saviour and be born again (I thought at the time (and still do) that the first time was most likely enough for my mom).

The summer after my senior year (or maybe it was in the late spring (not sure (it was a long time ago))) she called me and asked if I wanted to go to a concert.  Sounded good, so I said yes.  She said to bring the brick (my VW Microbus was painted brick red (with a white top (looked kinda like a rectangle of Red Velvet Cake with Ermine Icing))) as ‘the gang’ (all born-agains (but good people (and (usually) fun to be with)) would be coming along.

The concert (up at the Hagerstown fairgrounds) was Petra.  There were three other bands before the headliner.  For those who don’t know, Petra was a Christian Rock Band.  The concert was, to say the least, excruciating.  The bands were three chord wonders in spandex, with the added bonus of horrible lyrics.  Songs about Gods love.  Songs about Jesus’ love.  Songs about the Bible’s love.  Luckily, when Petra was on, I couldn’t understand the lyrics (their sound boy couldn’t quite figure out that the vocals should be at least as loud as the instrumentals (and the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa of the bass was discoesque)).  Unluckily the lyrics were displayed above the stage (this was hi-tech for 1985).  Luckily I had forgotten the lyrics (until recently (when Myers posted about some Christian Rock demos)). 

As we drove away after the concert (heading for Pizza Hut), I rumaged through the cassettes (not an eight-track in this vehicle) and popped in The Wall by Pink Floyd.  Oddly, everyone in the van, all the born-agains, had the same reaction:  “Ahhhh.  Real music!”  So why the hell did we suffer through three hours of Christian Rock?

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I have nothing against religious music.  Bach’s St. John’s Passion is one of my favourite pieces, and I greatly enjoy Mozart’s Requiem.  I love Gregorian Chants (though they freak my wife out).  I even enjoy religous folk music and some gospel tunes (not so much for listening, but for playing and singing).  I do have something against bad music.

Whether it is fairground rock bands or a neophyte violinist, poorly performed music grates (and I know that everyone sounds bad, then mediocre, and then some become good as they learn more).  But even worse is bad music.  Bad music, even performed well, is just plain painful.

If any of ya’ll have the guts, go over to WFMU and listen to some of these Christian Rock Demos.  And keep in mind that they were actually trying to convinced people to record them professionally.

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7 comments

  1. Those Christian rock demos are really something. Really, really something.

    Regarding Petra, compare this with this. Both the KISS version and the Petra version suck, but the KISS version sucks less.


  2. Anxiousmofo: Welcome.

    When I lived in Arizona, one of my sister’s friends was so totally into KISS that it, basically, turned me off to the entire genre for the rest of my life.

    Last year, my daughter’s high school band did KISS songs for the field show. I had forgotten that they only ever did three songs. They may have had different titles and lyrics, but there were only three.


  3. Get in the car and start flipping your radio dial. The two most recognizable phenomena are Rush Limbaugh and Christian Rock. Unless you have a high pain threshold, keep flipping the dial.


  4. Chappie: That’s why I tend to listen to NPR (classical and (if I catch it) Car Talk) or sports radio.

    What’s really bad is when I’m at a fire in the middle of nowhere, working night shift (which means I’m trying (desperately) to stay awake at 0300 (what’s the ‘O’ stand for? Oh shit, it’s early)) and the only radio station (usually AM) is either Christian or Conservative. Makes for a long night.


  5. I always hated Kiss. Total cheese.

    The first time I ever heard of christian rock was in high school. There was a glam metal band called Stryper. I believe compared to the christian music today, they rocked. LOL

    If you haven’t seen it, check out the episode of South Park where Cartman founds a christian rock band, “Faith + 1”. Priceless.

    I have to say, Satan has WAY better music.


  6. I want my money back for listening to some of that.


  7. Philly: I have a sinking feeling that Stryper was double billed with Petra at that concert.

    The South Park episode with the Christian Rock band is actually one of the few I have seen (I was in a hotel room in Boise, Idaho, waiting for a morning flight home). I damn near fell out of my bed when Cartman sang about Jesus spraying his love in my face (or words to that effect).

    As for satan having better music? I don’t know. Are Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger followers of satan? I think they qualified as commies, but . . .

    Poodles: Sorry. Its posted (somewhere (you’ll have to find it though)) that there are no refunds or exchanges for any experience created by leaving this site — even if I provide the link. I can, however, offer you a coupon for a free visit to my blog.



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