I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
–1 Corinthians 9:22–
Like Charles Wesley, who felt the need to reclaim the catchy tavern songs of the day and turn them into Gospel tunes, so also I see the need to reclaim high quality rock music for the Gospel today. The Smashing Pumpkins, for example, were one of my favorite bands when I was a middle schooler. They were one of the foundational bands I listened to that got me into playing guitar. An additional reason was my 5th grade friend Tom was the nephew of their drummer, Jimmy Chamberlain. Yes, its true. Nirvana was another band I listened to and so was Hole. Of course, even a passing glance at the lyrics of these songs will reveal profanity, obscene themes, and gestures, and overall non-Christian thinking. Kurt Cobain, the frontman for Nirvana was even a Satanist (I found this out recently) and committed suicide. There were definitely some pretty negative and dark sides to these bands I was listening to. But that’s not why I liked it; I liked the guitar music. One of the albums that was key to my musical formation was Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins, and to this day I still like their song “Cherub Rock,” so far as the chord progressions go. Soon after moving to Marietta, Georgia a year ago, I learned that there was a recording studio nearby where this 4x Platinum album was recorded. A year after this album was recorded, the band Hole also recorded Live Through This there and Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain (who were married at the time) came here to record it just a year before he killed himself. That is an album I have never personally listened to. Collective Soul also recorded the song “She Said” here. Three high profile alternative rock grunge bands from the 90s. Out of curiosity, I looked into it, and visited it today with my family. It is no longer there, but the building is. It used to be called Triclops Sound Studios, and later Triclops Recording, and was located at 120 Interstate N Parkway E, Suite 164, Atlanta, Georgia. This place is located in a business park and is currently rented by a Muslim congregation called Ismaili Jamatkhana.
I had my picture taken outside the door despite angry glances from a few Muslims in the parking lot walking into the service. One lady said, “Can I help you?” I said, “I’m just taking a picture. Kurt Cobain recorded a CD here over 20 years ago.” She just walked in. With my Bible in hand and my acoustic guitar, I had Rebekah take my picture in front of this place. Maybe I can reclaim some of this music for God’s glory some day and record songs in a studio like this.
Book Idea: Is Christian Rock Okay?
1. John Thompson’s Raised by Wolves (ECW Press) – 4, 15 reviews – historical
2. Steven Felix-Jager’s With God On Our Side (Wipf & Stock) – 5, 2 reviews – pro-rock
3. Jay Howard’s Apostles of Rock (University Press of KY) – 4.5, 2 – 5 views of CCM
4. Shawn Young’s Gray Sabbath (Columbia University Press) – 5, 3 reviews – historical
5. Randall Stephen’s The Devil’s Music (Harvard University Press) – 5, 3 reviews – hist
5b. Michael Brown’s The Power of Music
These are the more popular books on the subject, but they lack organization. They are written in a pop format, experiences, etc. They are not very chronological or very topical.
6. Mark Joseph’s Rock Gets Religion (WND Books) – 4, 6 reviews
7. —. Faith, God, and Rock and Roll (Baker) – 4, 5 reviews
8. —. The Rock and Roll Rebellion (Broadman & Holman) – 4, 14 reviews
9. John Blanchard’s Can We Rock the Gospel? (EP Books) – 4, 20 reviews
10. Andrew Beaujon’s Body Piercing Saved My Life (De Capo Press) – 4, 18 reviews