Christian Music - forgetting the past

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Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by bjorn agin on Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:34 am

It has always amazed me how the Christian music industry has been a scene that has been quick to forget the past. I remember even back in the day. You would see an album come in to the Christian book store and then a year later it's on the clearance rack and then -boom- it's gone.. "out of print".

It's still true in similar ways even today. Even with the "big" bands. There's people who are listening to what is playing on the Christian radio station now who probably have never heard of bands like Petra or maybe even Amy Grant.  I wonder if Chris Tomlin or Matthew West stopped music today if in 5-10 years people wouldn't even know who they are?

Christian hard/alternative had such a creative period during the late 80's and 90's that I think is in danger of fading into obscurity. That's so hard to imagine given we had entire record labels full of music (stuff like the Frontline, Intense or Pakaderm catalogs) that people who listen to Christian music now are totally unaware of. It's such a shame. That would be like people saying "Led Zeppelin who?" 

Granted people remember bands based on how popular they were. Even today the general public might say "Stryper? Oh yeah they had that song 'To Hell With The Devil' back in the 80's".

There has got to be a way to keep Christian music alive. (I'm just not sure how besides enjoying the music that was made).

-stepping off of soap box-
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by ThomasEversole on Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:58 pm

(random thought, had no idea you were in Illinois like myself)

Good topic. This is actually a complicated issue. There are the bands who abandon their music to something else, whether newer music or something else entirely. Having had a plethora of releases I've done myself, I have a few that I've left to the wayside and forgotten.

There are the fans/listeners who are too quiet. I've been guilty of this too, where some of my favorite music is no longer available, but all I do is just quietly be disappointed its out of print. Yet I think if EVERYONE didn't just be quiet, but was public (so the internet could see) or personal (contacted the band) we'd be less likely to see music fade away like this. The artist would gauge the interest and do something about it.

My example, 13 years after I did GRIM - Scepter of Blood, I had a influx of people contact me seemingly out of nowhere, wanting more GRIM music. ...so 14 years after the debut, I made a sophomore album.

Then there's another aspect, something I see quite a bit on the Christian black metal forum I attend. Rare = more valuable, more sought after, way cooler if no one else has it. I speculate that some of the rare releases really sought after, wouldn't be desired AT ALL if they were readily available for sale.

2001, I recorded an EP of Christian technical death metal. The record label dropped the ball on CD distribution, so very few people actually have the CD. Every once in a while, I'd see a CD show up on Amazon - the highest price someone was selling 1 CD for over two grand. (Obviously, its not still on Amazon for that price, but I printed that page out and kept it for the lols. When I asked the seller "why that price?", his response - "no one else has this CD!")

The last aspect is digital distribution. Depending on how you look at it, they outright KILL CD sales, destroying any demand for future pressings, or, its the only thing that keeps the music alive after physical distribution has stopped. The aforementioned album of Christian technical death metal, I made the CDs essentially worthless when I posted MP3s of the album here.
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by deathisgain on Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:03 pm

I think there has been some change over the years to facilitate this.

1. When Christian Metal was new, most fans didn't listen to secular music. They were Christian music only. The pickings were slim, so you had to listen to whatever was out there, AND to non metal stuff.

2. Because of this, most of the musicians also listened to whatever were out there and acknowledge the older stuff.

3. In the current day and age, people listen to secular and Christian. Because of this there is a lack of knowledge of the older musicians. They grew up on secular artists and when they came to the Lord, there was no reason to listen to what was out there. As well as that there was nothing really out there. I know quite a few musicians that don't know any of the 80's/90's bands. I laughed one day when I read a fan state that they heard a Tourniquet influence on certain artists new album, knowing that that artist probably didn't even know who the heck they were.
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by ThomasEversole on Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:12 pm

ThomasEversole wrote:I made the CDs essentially worthless when I posted MP3s

I should clarify that I made the CDs monetarily worthless.
If the listener interprets something as good music, it has worth to them.
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by strangerhoncho on Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:57 pm

Everybody who has posted so far has excellent points.  All true.

I've noticed the lack of historical knowledge about older Christian bands too.  I think due in part to a lack of journalistic support, marketing, and community (festivals like Cornerstone or TOMfest were key to linking older and newer bands and fans, and they're no more).

I'm starting a webzine soon, which will hopefully become a professional print magazine by next summer, which will try to correct some of that.  We'll be focusing a lot on the history of bands and the subculture, while also covering what's good and current.  We've got scene veterans involved, from bands and magazines of the past.  Keep your eyes out for BEHOLD!

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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by Hardcore Christian on Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:15 pm

strangerhoncho wrote:I think due in part to a lack of journalistic support, marketing, and community (festivals like Cornerstone or TOMfest were key to linking older and newer bands and fans, and they're no more).
I agree festivals like that brought a lotnof different ages of Christian Metal together. Man I miss TOMfest  Sad
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by eatbugs on Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:02 pm

Let's face it we're a niche/cult market.  There are only so many of us who would buy a Christian metal CD (vinyl/download).  Once that round of purchases ends there's not enough market left to keep pressing physical copies.  I have no idea how iTunes works from an artist's perspective but if anything digital ought to keep oop stuff "in print" forever.

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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by bodachi on Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:59 am

Who are Chris Tomlin and Matthew West?
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by Black Rider on Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:54 pm

Strangerhoncho nailed it.
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by Andreas89 on Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:42 pm

ThomasEversole wrote:[...]The aforementioned album of Christian technical death metal, I made the CDs essentially worthless when I posted MP3s of the album here.
I genuinely think you deserve a metal... medal for this. I really hate it when people ask more than 20 euros for a CD that has been available in Europe in the past. And just so you know, I have some stuff that's worth something, but I would throw up about myself if I ever sold it for prices like that. So it's not just me being irritated about the fact I can't buy Running Wild albums, for instance.
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by bjorn agin on Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:51 am

ThomasEversole wrote:(random thought, had no idea you were in Illinois like myself)

Awesome. I had no idea either. Born and raised in the south Chicago suburbs.

Hardcore Christian wrote:
strangerhoncho wrote:I think due in part to a lack of journalistic support, marketing, and community (festivals like Cornerstone or TOMfest were key to linking older and newer bands and fans, and they're no more).
I agree festivals like that brought a lotnof different ages of Christian Metal together. Man I miss TOMfest  Sad

I think you nailed it. I found out  A LOT about what was going on in the scene when I attended Cornerstone each year back in the 90's. I thought I'd heard about what was going on by reading Heaven's Metal, True Tunes News etc. but then Cornerstone would prove I only knew about a fraction of what was going on in the scene.

eatbugs wrote:Let's face it we're a niche/cult market.  There are only so many of us who would buy a Christian metal CD (vinyl/download).  Once that round of purchases ends there's not enough market left to keep pressing physical copies.  I have no idea how iTunes works from an artist's perspective but if anything digital ought to keep oop stuff "in print" forever.

Yeah we are a niche product. But it amazes me how people have mostly forgotten about even the most popular bands in CCM (Petra for example).

bodachi wrote:Who are Chris Tomlin and Matthew West?

People in the CCM scene who you won't hear anything about 10 years after they stop making records.
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by Alan TWWB on Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:41 pm

Great post.  I think there are a few things that will help, but overall I am not sure what the permanent solution is.
#1     Stop illegally downloaded music!  Many Christians do this, mostly in other countries.  If artists            cant pay for the costs of recording, they will stop making music all together.
#2     Christians need to continue to push forward with their music, not just copy music found in the            secular world.  Christian hard music used to be the tip of the spear for leading edge                            originality,  but now seems to follow the crowd, with some exceptions.
#3     Us!  We need to tell the whole world when we find good, original Christian music!  WE need to              tell people! The early days of the hard Christian movement were mainly world of mouth.  It is              still the best way to get the word out.

[url=http:/theworldwillburn.com]THE WORLD WILL BURN[/url]

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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by Soldier777 on Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:51 am

This is a cool thread. I think there is a mixed answer for this. In my local area of the East Coast of Canada, we have 2 modern pop radio stations and 2 classic pop/rock/hard rock stations. I prefer the  to the later 2 stations. The secular/mainstream word to a degree support the veteran older bands. It's time for the Christian Industry to take note and support the veteran pop/rock/hard rock and metal bands. Bands like Petra, Stryper and Whitecross are recognized today by many people but the lesser known bands and artists are often forgotten about. Artists like Angelica, Barren Cross, Bloodgood, Glen Kaiser, Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill should be recognized. The Christian Music industry should take the classic releases in rock and metal and reissue these to be made available instead of trying to find them on ebay at high prices.

Another thing is when I first got into the Christian rock and metal back in 1985, the first bands I got into were Petra, Stryper, Daniel Band, Jerusalem and Rez Band. After hearing their current albums. I would find out what else do they have out. So not only would you move forward and anticipate their next release, but you would go back in time and find their older releases and get everything you could that's available. You were discovering new music and the older music of these bands. It seems like today in Christian circles people want the hear the feel good mass produced Nashville pop praise music. On the other hand, at one of the local Christian book store you do get a lot of the praise and worship, rock, modern pop and modern metal bands. Back in the 1980's, Christian Metal was sold out of the back stock room as special order only on my area.

Also, what I find unique is on other countries the younger generation are posting covers of the classic songs like Stryper Petra and other Christian bands on you tube. These are individual people playing an instrument or a full band doing a live or studio performance. So I don't think in call cases that the classic bands are forgotten about in other countries. Here Canada and the US, we tend to be more fickle and go with modern trends and forget about the past in areas like classic and older Christian music in many cases. For example, when the grunge movement hit big in 1991/1992, North America joint the band wagon and soon for got about the Motley Crues, Ratts, Poisons, etc. Not long after the Christian Music industry jumped in and the older hard rock/hair bands stopped for a while or all together for this and other reasons. Other veteran bands went alternative like Whitecross and new alternative bands started. So not only were older bands forgotten about, but the music itself changed. However, in other countries the classic sound were still popular to a gree and accepted both the alternative and classic styles in the early 90's.


Last edited by Soldier777 on Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Christian Music - forgetting the past

Post by d@v!d on Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:49 am

A lot of good points. I enjoyed Tomfest and Cstone too.

Something to consider is that Christian rock was utterly novel from the late 60's early 70's and even still in the early 80's. The world had a very hard time wrapping it's head around Stryper. The heyday we talk about in the late 80's early 90's was the church at large had gotten over Stryper too. By the end of the 90's just about every genre had been explored. The novelty is long gone. And as mentioned the new tech has had it's toll with the proliferation of the internet and the mp3. Christians are still making music, but the labeling of 'Christian / non-Christian' isn't as an important marketing tool as it once was.

Not relating to Christian music, but thanks to the internet, people are discovering lost greats from the 60's and 70's now day. Unless you lived in the era and were very plugged in, you would have missed them too.
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