And now, this can become a mainstream idea in the Christian bubble. There is NOTHING Christians love more than when a legit celebrity that has made their success on actual talent (as opposed to where if you say you are a Christian band, you are entitled to success because you are ON A MISSION) comes out and comments on Christian culture. Like if Leo (DiCaprio duh) came out tomorrow saying he is an evangelical Christian, Facebook would be overrun with memes and mom posts about how great it is to see a celebrity follow Jesus. Nevermind the fact that Leo is probably fucking a super model somewhere, out of wedlock, and working on his next roll which involves him snorting cocaine out of a girl's ass...AGAIN. The Christians will LOVE LEO. Praise him oh Lord for the work he does for the Kingdom! Meanwhile, don't dare be a worship leader and get caught smoking a cigarette drinking a Budweiser in your backyard while grilling. You will be fucking excommunicated you sinning degenerate. Cigars and craft beer are ok though...cause like moderation and shit.
In this article on Huffington Post, Bono basically said he thinks there is a lot of dishonesty in modern Christian music. Bono fucking nailed it. Of course he isn't the first to say it. There has been under ground "Christian music" for years that attempts to maintain artistic integrity while also connecting on a spiritual level. Tooth and Nail Records put out a generation's worth of music that sought out to accomplish this. Because amazingly, being Christian doesn't mean you have to fucking suck at making music. What is "Christian" music anyways? You know who owns all the big Christian labels? All the big Devil music labels. Jesus money trickles up baby. There is an executive in Los Angeles right now fucking porn stars and snorting blow thinking about how much he loves Christian music because it makes him so much money. He's probably listening to Marilyn Manson. There is no "mission" in Christian music on the macro level other than to make money. There is a market for "safe" music. Tooth and Nail bands were able to do what they do because nobody was trying to get their song played on "The Fish 94.7 FM: Safe, Shitty Music for the Whole Family!" The soccer mom needs something to make her feel good about life. The millennial needs a rip off of a U2/Coldplay/Mumford and Sons song to sing on Sunday mornings so they can "connect" and "engage".
So when Bono comes out and criticizes the modern Christian music industry for lacking depth and being dishonest, people are going to latch on to that and the executives in LA and Nashville will notice. In fact, I am willing to bet that on Monday morning there will be a meeting somewhere with some suits that ask this question -
Who do we have on the roster that we can market as "honest and real?"
If they think that's what Christians want to buy, they will make it so. Which hey, that's the free market man. That's what I would do. But don't for one second fool yourself into thinking that it is about anything other than money. The industry does not care about you. Maybe David Crowder cares about you. But the collective of everyone working in Christian music is there for the paycheck. Many musicians playing in the Christian bands probably hate the music. But it's a paycheck. The sound guys and the merch guys and the guitar techs...you really think that many grown women and men are like DOWN with Toby Mac and Newsboys? Of course not.
I have a lot of friends and acquaintances that work in Christian music and many of them would rather not. Either it was a good way to get a career going and they ended up getting stuck, or they participate unashamedly just for the paycheck. I would. I would go play drums for any Christian artist for a relatively low amount of money. Because playing drums - even for a shitty Christian artist - is a whole hell of lot better than driving fucking Uber. SIGN ME UP. At least you will know I am only doing it for the money. At least I am honest.
I will hear the same old, tired, criticisms for this blog post. The cursing, the obnoxious writing, the whiny baby and the "dude you sound angry". Well...
Fuck those people.
I am angry. I'm angry that being a Christian has become synonymous with being a joke in the realm of art and creativity. I'm angry that being a Christian is a free pass to make shitty art and still make a living, because churches will pay abhorrent money for you to play a youth conference where you feed bullshit like "True Love Waits" down the throats of horny teenagers. I'm angry that quality, meaningful art isn't a priority for the church. That we don't demand it as a culture. That we accept "Over the mountains and the seas, your river runs with love for me" as good enough. I'm angry that we even have to have a separate market for the safe music. That we have pigeon holed ourselves into a bubble that we dare not venture out of lest we actually hear somebody say something real.
I don't need the outlier examples of the "Christian singers that are actually pretty cool"...You know what the fuck I am talking about, and it can't be disputed. There is a machine at work, and boy I wish I could stop it. I think the world would be a better place. Maybe me and Bono can go on a mission to bankrupt the Christian music industry and make people listen to U2 exclusively on Sunday mornings. In which case Bono would get even more rich, because the people that write those songs you sing on Sunday morning make shit tons of money in publishing royalties. I bet maybe, just maybe some of those people were even DRUNK or HIGH when they wrote them, because that's what music people do sometimes. You know...get the creative juices flowing. Now if the "creative" part actually became a reality...
BTW I am a massive hypocrite because my band As Cities Burn got a massive royalty check from "CAPITOL MUSIC GROUP: CHRISTIAN DIVISION" last week. Go fucking figure.