Jul 6, 2006

On U2, Christian music, and I

From a Christian music conference U2 attended in 1981...

"I would like to think that in U2, we are a very aggressive band, we are an emotional band, we are a live band. I think that's good, I think it's good in the Lord, because...John the Baptist and Jeremiah were very loud and quite aggressive, and yet glory-full," Bono says. "I think we have a love, an emotion, without the sort of flowers in our hair. And I think we have this sort of aggression without the safety pins in our noses."

Bono mentions Isaiah 40:3 -- "this is the Scripture that the Lord has basically shown us with regards to the band" -- and then reads it to the audience: "A voice is calling, 'Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain.'"

Isaiah 40:3 is a verse of instruction for Bono, he says, and for the band's future. "I see our position as Christians as to make way, make straight a path for the Lord for a second time. In that sense we have to make the rough smooth and get involved in making the rough smooth. But before the Lord can use the band...He has to sort of make our rough ends smooth and that's what the Lord had to do," Bono says.

Bono explains on the CD that some musicians are gifted to make praise songs to God and others are gifted to make music about God for reaching out to others.

"It is very important that people don't see themselves as outreach in the music world if they are playing the Christian circuit," Bono says. "What we've got to do in the music business is destroy the image that has got through...which has [given] God almighty and Jesus Christ...an image of a weakling. A slightly effeminate image. A sort of Sunday image. A religious image. This is not the case...this is something we're trying in U2 to do something about."

About 100 people were at the retreat and heard presentations from other musicians during the day, Mellor said. But it was Bono's talk that Mellor thinks is worth releasing now.

"Bono's incredible energy and passion communicated to the seminar delegates. A number of us had a real excitement in our spirit," Mellor said. He wants a new generation of Christian musicians to capture the excitement felt in the 1981 audience.

"I now feel that the time is right for the CD to be listened to by Christians for its sheer inspirational value," Mellor said. "I feel that what they had to say in 1981 is as fresh and relevant now as it was then."

Original source material-



Amazing stuff.

A long time ago, I was bitten by the "music bug," as it were. Going to church before my teenage years, the only part of the service I enjoyed was the music/worship part. I learned many hymns during this time, and to this day I still like hymns to a certain extent. At home, I was subjected to the musical rhymes of The Beatles and other classic "oldies" groups. I saw nothing at all wrong with either group of music.

My musical desire only intensified when I was introduced to U2, and eventually the current "secular" musical landscape: rap, hiphop, rock, hard rock, soft rock, arena rock, alternative rock, jazz, etc. I distinctively remember the first few times I saw or hung out with a local band of musicians; in this case, it was the quasi-hard rock act Fastest Turbo Fire Engines.

I was introduced to FTFE by their then bass player, Mike. Mike and I worked together at Davanni's and developed a friendship. One day he invited me to come with him and the band to a gig and "tech" for them, aka carry and help set up equipment, since I couldn't tune an instrument or anything. It was my first experience seeing a live rock band in a small setting.

And I was blown away, and I still am...by them, U2, and other local and national acts. There is just something about music that is incredibly compelling. I love live music. Even if the person playing was my best friend, I would probably just sit there and stare at the guitar, bass, or drumset that they are using, and watch them go. I am sucked in to it in a way that is hard to explain.

There is this huge desire in me to work, somehow, in the music industry. I don't have to be the lead singer or backup, I don't have to play an instrument, or even be a manager; I just want to be there, in some way, helping and experiencing.

One of the ways I've considered accomplishing this is by learning how to run a soundboard. Right now, I know a lot, but not enough. My brother wants me to come and run the soundboard for some praise and worship band that he knows one of the players for. I know I'm probably not gonna get paid at all for doing this, but frankly I don't care. I just want to do it for the love of it.

Bono's comments from back in '81 put some of my thoughts into focus. Christianity and I have a hard time getting along, especially when it comes to the CCM music scene. Frankly, most of the Christian music being written today is utter crap. I have no problem working in the so-called "secular" music industry. Being a person of Christian faith in that type of environment would work wonders for the Lord and for others. Salt is not as salty when it is surrounded by salt. Salt works best on it's own where it's been placed by the person who used it.

So I'm still trying to figure life out. This blog seems to be focused mainly on music and on school/jobs. Recently I've been feeling more and more a leaning toward an audio education, as opposed to a literary or English one.

I am a good writer. I know this. And yet I am not able to just sit down and write a story, go out and find a lead, or do any reporting. Partly due to laziness, partly due to my own lack of ability. Writing is something I'm good at.

But music and audio is what I love and want to do.

Is the decision really that simple?

In the meantime, I'm still relatively unemployed, and need a job and income desperately. So...pray that God either A- provides my needs, B- gets me a job so I can pay for things, C- sends me to school this fall, or D- gets me a really good job in audio/music that also pays good enough to pay for insurance/stuff and more schooling.

I pick D. Let's see what God does...

1 comment:

hicko said...

Interesting comments Stuart. I agree in the sense that Christian music isn't all good. Some I just love and can't get enough of while others do nothing for me. Hillsong Church in Sydney is a prime example. While they are capable of amazing P&W songs they are also capable of very pedestrian stuff. I will think more about this...