Seattle's Tooth and Nail Records has released a new Starflyer 59 album, Everybody Makes Mistakes. When I first listened to it—before playing it on the air— I thought, What a wonderful, charming pop album this is. OK, no one but a record reviewer would use the word "charming," but nonetheless, I thought this record sounded perfect. As I cued it up for airplay, I noticed the Tooth and Nail logo on the back and thought, Isn't that the label that puts out Christian rock? This must be another freak Christian band; maybe I should wait to hear the lyrics and make sure they aren't too positive. Aren't too positive?! When did I start thinking this way? I've played gangster rap, death metal, songs about murder. I've played offensive songs, dirty songs, and songs that would make a truck driver blush. Why wouldn't I jump at the chance to play something with meaning, with a positive message to pass along to the tired masses? I think it's because of the image I have of God-Rock. I see two things: those ugly bastards from Stryper, and that woman with bright purple hair on the religious channel, sitting in her $25,000 gold chair and singing about the fact that she needs $50 million for God's satellite network because without it no one is getting into heaven. Oh, and I nearly forgot about the born-again ex-member of Black Sabbath, who trumpeted to young rockers that it wasn't until he'd slept with 4,000 groupies, made millions of dollars, toured the world, and snorted enough cocaine to choke an elephant that he saw the light and got saved. (You only get saved after the groupies. . . .) Prejudices are prejudices no matter which way they lean. It's not right for me to judge a band by its religious beliefs, just as it's not right for those bands to beg me to find God. Starflyer 59 made a great album, and everybody makes mistakes.
You can be saved by John in the Morning! Just tune into 90.3 FM or online at www.kcmu.org Monday through Friday from 6 to 10am. He has Sunday off.