Christian Rock…not famous for a reason?

 

Christianity, although a popular religion, is not doing as well in the music department as it once was. With rock, hip hop and pop being the most listened to genres nowadays. This popularity makes those genres the most commercially viable, racking in huge sums of money across the globe. Yet some people, even now, start Christian Rock bands and I’m intrigued as to why.

 

Sean-Pierre, a devote, slightly extreme in my opinion, Christian and member of Christian Rock band Ecclesia (called out to God) will give me insight into the mind of a Christian Rock musician. Helping me understand why he is part of this once majorly successful genre and why he’s not in another more successful one. It’s always interesting to hear the opinion of someone who is a part of the Christian Rock culture and hear the reason for their involvement. But first, a very brief introduction of Christian Rock for those who don’t know

Christian rock as a genre is a fairly new, coming into existence in the 1970’s and only really started becoming famous 10 years after that. Christian Rock peaked in the mid 80’s to early 90’s becoming extremely popular. However, like a flame which burns twice as bright it started dying out quite quickly in the mid 90’s to the level popularity it ‘enjoys’ today.

I’m not interested in why it was popular then, but rather why it’s not now as well as why someone would want to be a part of a music genre that is not popular now. The answers I got in the interview were quite strange, they were rarely about the music and each answer was like a big ideological statement. It was clear to me that the music was not the priority here, but rather the message. It was not an end but rather a means. It seems that music was just a tool for preaching .Perhaps an indicator as to why Christian Rock is not popular as the music plays second fiddle to the message. You need truly incredible music if you are going to try and pull that off e.g The Beatles

The answer I received when asked why he chose the Christian Rock genre was very interesting and although long, its inclusion is justified so you can understand what I mean by “big ideological statement”

“Choose? One does not choose to become a Christian Rock musician, it’s a calling. Whilst I play instruments, I’m a Christian first, then a musician. Today’s musicians are all about sex, drugs and temptation. They preach all that is wrong with the world. We preach the opposite, we preach something deeper, and with all the temptation out of the way we have a clear vision of life. ”

In an attempt to get a musically related answer I proceeded to ask about their gig situation. Inquiring why it’s so difficult to become a commercially successful Christian Rock band, I met the answer:

“We don’t get involved in any event which is not spiritual, our talent is for Gods wishes, not our own”

This also points out to another factor why Christian Rock is perhaps not as famous as other genres. Big record labels and the people who scout talent for them do not often look for talent at spiritual events. Therefore it’s very unlikely for them to sign for a big commercial label. Whilst there are Christian Rock labels that go to these spiritual events, those labels are still much smaller by comparison. These Christian Rock labels do not play in the really big mainstream events, thus mainstream audiences do not get exposed to the music like other genres, and this cycle continues and contributes to the lack of popularity of Christian Rock.

All and all I think that why people are Christian Rock musicians and its lack of popularity is one and the same. That is their mentality. It seems that Christian Rock band members have a certain mentality, this mentality perhaps allows them to become good Christian Rock musicians, but it also keeps them from being really popular nowadays.

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