Since this is CityBeat's special issue on local music, I'd like to take the opportunity to explore a San Diego music phenomenon: What's with all the local Contemporary Christian rock bands? What with Switchfoot and P.O.D., This Holiday Life and Noise Ratchet, Nickel Creek and Dryve, I just can't figure how San Diego suddenly became the Vatican of Christian Rock Music.
I do know one thing, however: these young, liberal, Christian, rocker, whippersnappers are really exasperating the older, hard-core, ultra-conservative, Christian fundamentalists with all this rock 'n' roll business. And I'll be damned-it turns out that I actually have something in common with the older, conservative Christian Fundamentalists.
Rock 'n' roll is Satan's music, fer crissake. Everybody knows that. What with its history of narcotics and adultery, cross-dressing and lip-syncing-can anyone doubt that Satan is the conductor of that genre?
Even the term “rock 'n' roll” is of a sinful origin.
Rock 'n' roll was coined by noted disc jockey Alan Freed in 1951. Until then, the tunes were called “race records” because they were made by blacks and ultimately marketed to white kids-which scared the snot out of parents who just couldn't stomach the idea of their teenage daughters undulating to a music made by the Negro jungle devils. Indeed, before Alan Freed adopted the name rock 'n' roll, it was a black colloquialism for blistering, uninhibited sexplay and the church elders held the position that that robust, thumping beat-well, that's Satan's kick drum-and by God for once I agree with the church elders. Rock 'n' roll is Satan's domain and being in a Christian rock band is akin to attending Sunday service at Our Lady of a Thousand Abortions.
To be honest, I think the majority of this San Diego Christian music is pretty good. Just don't call it rock. P.O.D wouldn't be so annoying if their name wasn't an acronym for “Payable On Death.” The 1997 debut album from Dryve, Thrifty Mr. Kickstar, saw me through the most devastating break up of my life. And Switchfoot has some excellent tunes if: 1) you just imagine the blubbering lyrical devotion to Christ to be a devotion to groupies or whiskey or speedballs instead, and 2) if you ignore their website message board, which carries posts like, “God rocks and so does Switchfoot!” and “Heavenly father, we pray for the guys as they prepare for the start of the tour tomorrow,” and the now infamous post from Joy.
As reported by CityBeat's “Locals Only” staff, on March 1, a woman named Joy was run over by a truck during a Switchfoot video shoot. After they wrapped for the day, the band held an hour of group prayer asking for her quick recovery. On March 6, she wrote on the message board, “My recovery is truly a miracle. God's hand was in the whole thing.”
Naturally, I was pleased to learn that the group prayer had worked and God found the time to help Joy recover faster than usual, but you gotta admit: there is something about Christian prayer groups that suck the life right out of rock 'n' roll. And really, it's just much better to reject Christ altogether-like AC/DC, Black Sabbath and John Denver did-because man, rock 'n' roll never rocks harder than when Satan's crotch-sweat is dripping all over it.
Regarding songwriting: You know how you always hear Christian songwriters say they aren't writing the songs; rather, that the Lord Thy God is writing the songs through them? Well it's true. God has a background in music. Most people don't know this, but He and Lucifer were in a hugely successful band together. It was back in the day, before the first war in Heaven-before Lucifer was banished from Heaven and they still tolerated each other. The Lord Thy God was a pretty-boy lead singer, and Lucifer was scab-addled, cigarette-smoking, bad-boy, junky drummer. They bickered constantly, as shown in this obscure verse from the Book of Revelations, Chapter 20: 2.5
... And the Lord Thy God did come unto the devil and say, “Hey Lucifer, I wrote a new song. It's called, ‘Blessed Are the Children.'” And Lucifer listened to his holy song and did make to say, “It's OK, man. We should probably change the third stanza though. Right after the line, ‘The children are the lambs of God so love them,' we should insert, ‘Kill the children, kill, kill!' and then repeat it three times and return to the chorus.”
“I can't sing that you idiot!” spake The Lord Thy God.
“Well, can we at least backwards-mask it then?” did suggest the Old Horny.
“Jesus Christ, God, you are such a pussy.”
At that, the Lord Thy God charged at Satan, who responded by stabbing The Lord Thy God in the eye with a drumstick. And the Lord Thy God did make to cry out, “My Eye, my eye! Damn you, Lucifer! Damn you to Hell, my eye!”
And that's the real reason Satan got banished from Heaven.
Sadly, without each other they fizzled. Satan was relegated to opening for has-been goth-rockers in the dive bars of Erebus, and God just couldn't get any press (despite his signature eye patch) playing the coffee houses of Heaven. Although they abandoned their music careers many centuries ago, they both still manage to take a break from their embittered, epic turf war over the Universe to write ditties for uninspired musicians here on Earth.E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and editor@ SDcitybeat.com.