Where Are the Christian Punk Rockers? March 6, 2009

Where Are the Christian Punk Rockers?

At American River Community College in Sacramento, CA, the student council is trying to raise money. So they’re thinking about holding a punk rock concert with a couple popular bands:

Former student council member Chuck Stevens has been working for a year and a half on a vision: A punk show on the community college campus that would raise tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships and textbooks. He’s hoping to book some big-name bands — including one called Flogging Molly.

“The bands I’ve mentioned will bring in a large revenue for us,” Stevens said. “In budget crisis time, this is a perfect event for us to be having.”

What’s the problem?

Those damn punk rockers will promote immoral behavior with their drugs and booze and sex and curse words.

At least that’s what another council member is saying:

“In terms of business, it’s not responsible,” [council member Viktor] Choban said. “Plus, on top of that, I don’t like the band. They curse, they swear, they drink on the stage. They’re fine with drugs.”

Stevens says the show would be free of drugs and alcohol. As for cursing, he said, “Sorry, but most rock and roll bands curse.”

Choban says they should then invite a Christian band to balance out the evilness. (Thus defeating the purpose of everything.)

I’m sure a Christian band on the roster would thrill the punk rock fans who would pay money to see the show…

Actually… I’m curious… What sort of lyrics does this despicable band sing?

lookin down through tide of no return,
is a field where the crops no longer grow.
parched is the land, strangled and bedamned,
there, for the grace of God go I.

down beside where the riverbed sleeps,
is a man not knowing what he should feel.
mocked by the wave that beats the water’s edge,
there, for the grace of God
there, for the grace of God
there, for the grace of God go I.

if i ever harked another like thee again,
i would drown myself beneath your name.
lost was the child we all once did hide,
there, for the grace of God
there, for the grace of God
there, for the grace of God go I.

Those evil sons of bitches…

Stevens is hopeful the council will vote in favor of holding the concert:

“This is not a religious school. It is not a Christian school. It is a public school,” he said.

“I didn’t put any Christian bands on there because this is not a Christian show. I didn’t put any reggae bands on there because this is not a reggae show. This is a punk slash rock and roll show.”

If you’re going to hold a concert, give the customers what they want. If some students want to bring Christian bands to the school, by all means, let them do it. But to vote no to a concert because a band might swear or follow morals different from your own is an awful argument to make at a college. Let students decide who they want to listen to — and pay for.

If you’re worried about immorality, feel free to take a walk around campus and preach to students personally. Stopping a band from playing won’t prevent whatever you think is the problem.

(Thanks to Kriss for the link!)

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  • Flogging Molly played at Notre Dame a while ago without any complaint that I heard of- catholic university much? Of course, to be fair, they’ve also got lyrics like

    “To hell we must sail
    To the shores of sweet Barbados
    Where the sugarcane grows taller than
    The God we once believed in”

    And I’ve always gotten the impression that their frontman, while raised a good irish catholic boy, had “fallen off the catholic wagon” (his words). So maybe that adds to the objection- yeah there’s the drinking and the cursing (which seems to be something not just punk rockers but a vast chunk of humanity does), but there’s also a good dose of respect for religion as a cultural force, not an unalienable truth, and we can’t have that.

  • They sing Irish folk songs and new songs in that tradition but punked out. There’s a huge tradition of Jig-punk in the Northeast US. It’s especially popular in… be ready to be shocked… predominantly Catholic regions!

  • JJGorndt

    I met a girl from American River once before. She was a stripper. Somehow I doubt people drinking on stage are going to corrupt her.

  • It seems a lot has changed since Chuck was on the Student Council:

    College sells gays down the American River


    They were also mentioned in the NY Times yesterday as they sent a delegation to support Prop 8 in front of the Cali Supreme Court.

  • “They curse, they swear…”

    For one this is redundant. Also, if they are educating their students properly, it shouldn’t be a concern. I would expect the students to understand the value or lack of value of swearing that it’s fuction is more then often, a type of form, especially in rock n roll. They have educated their students though right, so what’s the problem?

    “they drink on the stage. They’re fine with drugs.”

    Hey, Rock’n Roll’n makes you thirsty! As for the drugs, again, havn’t they educated their students on the topic of drugs? If so, why the worry? Post a disclaimer that by hosting the band they do not also promote drug or alchol abuse… etc…

    They have educated their students on responsibilty have they not?

  • Frankly if the listed lyrics are an indicative sample of the rest of their output, they should be barred from performing on the grounds of encouraging bad sixth-form angst-poetry.

    down beside where the riverbed sleeps,
    is a man not knowing what he should feel

    Oh, lighten up, for fuck’s sake.

  • spudicus

    The irony is that for years there has been a significant christian punk scene that has gained mainstream acceptance. Check out Tooth and Nail Records for an example. Many of these bands take an approach toward christianity that is similar to what U2 does. They are musicians that happen to be christians, not evangelists who happen to be musicians. They play secular venues with secular bands. I suspect that many of them would be jazzed to share the stage with Flogging Molly. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of them already had.

  • Erik

    Cursing and promotion of illegal activities never stopped my alma mata from inviting bands. It’s college…whatever they are saying on stage is guaranteed to be said (and happening) in the dorms…

    Also, to echo what spudicus said, MXPX is a well known and talented punk band that made it out of the Christian subculture AND has shared a stage with Flogging Molly. I think they even collaborated on a project together.

    MXPX and Flogging Molly would be a kickass show I would definitely pay money to see that.

  • absent sway

    I love Flogging Molly live, and didn’t find them objectionable as a Christian. Tooth and Nail had some good acts, too.

  • I clearly went to the wrong schools. I never got to see anything nearly as cool as Flogging Molly at my college.

    If they find Flogging Molly objectionable they really have got to get out more. Why do I picture these people as the same type who complained about Elvis’ swivelling hips being shown on tv?

  • I went to a GWAR concert in college where the band members sodomized a priest by sledge-hammering a crucifix into his rectum.

    How’s that for wicked?

  • Wait, wait, the American River College? That rings a bell.

    I read on Halfway There that the American River College student council has been taken over by a right-wing group of Mormons and Slavic Christians. It’s a pretty interesting story, and it explains a lot.

  • Corino

    Man, they dont know what they are missing, Flogging Molly is AWESOME when they play live. I went to see them twice last time they stopped in Finland.

  • Kindra

    I attend this school and know Chuck very well. He’s a cool guy and that music festival is like his baby.

    This Student Association that opposes his completely harmless music festival is the same S.A. that passed a resolution supporting Proposition 8 and just today passed a resolution opposing the Day of Silence.

    I can say as a Christian that I’ve never felt so offended and unsafe in my life. Not because of Day of Silence. Personally I practice the Day of Silence as a day to remember all those who’ve been lost to hate crimes including Christian martyrs. In my life, I have rarely been discriminated against simply for believing in God. Until I went to this school and these same Christian council members had the audacity to play God and tell me that because I support my gay and lesbian fellow human beings, that I am not a Christian. That they have the gall to diminish and belittle the acts and bravery of true martyrs and those who are truly discriminated against, by trying to say they’re discriminated against when they shove their Bible down peoples throats when they don’t want it is, to me, a severe action against God. I don’t believe they have any right telling others that they’re sinners. No one has that right, at least not how they abuse it.

    And they make my commission a lot harder too. Sharing what I know about God makes me the bad guy, even when it’s passive and if you say you’re not interested I’ll gladly stop. And it isn’t because people are offended by God as they so wrongly think. It’s because people have a perception of God through His misguided followers who use their religion and attempt to make everything about it into law. No one wants to follow a dictating religion. Unfortunately, I’m only one person and the damage has been done to a degree that I can no longer fix.

  • J

    christian punk? house of heroes… nuff said

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