John Roderick, right, seen here with his worship team band the Long Winters.
The following is a taste of John Roderick's upcoming column in Wednesday's edition of Reverb Monthly, Seattle Weekly's new music magazine.
Q: I was at a show recently and I thought I had been magically transplanted into Mars Hill. It's not the music. It's the vibe. And all the people who really love Jesus. Am I the only one to notice that part of Seattle's local music scene is beginning to look decidedly Christian?
Roderick: There are several forces at work here. On the one hand, Evangelical Christians realized a few years ago that their strategy of condemning rock 'n' roll as "Satan's Negro Jungle Rape Music" wasn't really filling the pews with young people. Suddenly, those same "taboo rhythms" were deemed appropriate church music, as long as the lyrics were ambiguously about Jesus rather than ambiguously about teens humping in cars.
During this same period, rock music was assailed from the other direction by Antioch feminist-studies majors and Olympia punk-rock white knights who decreed that ambiguous lyrics about teens humping in cars were sexist and hurtful and colonialist. Somewhere along the line, the two schools of thought crossed paths.
Now rock musicians all have comb-overs, dress like youth pastors, and gently remind each other in soft voices not to use prejudicial or suggestive words, while hard-core Christians are covered in tattoos and denim and grind against their amplifiers while cursing and screaming gibberish. If the show you attended felt like a sweet-natured praise circle, it was probably a completely secular rock show by one of Seattle's edgiest indie bands. If you were at a Christian show, it would have felt more like Jane's Addiction.