Battle of the Bands: A chat

me: okay, apropos of nothing
who rocks more – mormons in bands, or evangelicals?

Bridget Jack Meyers: you mean like, secular bands?

me: we’ve got brandon flowers
you’ve got lifehouse, switchfoot, and onerepublic. and the fray
i think you guys probably win
we do have jimmy eat world, but they’re all inactive

Bridget: I think so too. but there are a lot more of us.
what about maroon 5?

me: are they mormon?
mormon 5?

Bridget: lead singer is.
his parents are byu professors

me: really? nice!

Bridget: plus you have jewel. sort of.

me: yep
but you get sixpence

Bridget: and scott stapp.

me: yeah, i think we’re outnumbered
hey, at least we don’t have to claim stryper :P

Bridget: and flyleaf is pretty cool borderline christian/secular group

me: i’ll have to take a look at them
oh, you guys have paramore too, i think

Bridget: is she christian? didn’t know that

me: i thought she was
and, what’s the deal with evanescence? are they anything in particular?

Bridget: ben moody was christian
but he hasn’t been part of the band for a long time

me: ahh

Bridget: we have jordan sparks. and who’s the guy who just won AI?
he’s evangelical too

me: hey, wait, we have the runner up

Bridget: “Battlefield” is a total knock-off of “Our God is an Awesome God”
that’s true. though I haven’t heard any of his stuff on the radio yet.

me: yeah, me neither
any other AI? isn’t Daughtry something?

Bridget: well, Clay Aiken and RJ Helms were evangelical…
doubt they still are
I’m not sure on Daughtry

me: we do have the New York Dolls (well, kind of). and Gladys Knight.
and Donnie and Marie
ooh, and the Jets

Bridget: heh. donnie and marie.

me: yeah, we have no chance, do we?

Bridget: nope

probably helps that evangelicals use such upbeat music in worship in the first place
and there’s the whole Christian music scene which some people transition to or from. Phil Stacey from AI has been getting played on Christian stations.

me: right, and didn’t some other mainstream bands start out with Christian station exposure?

Bridget: Jessica Simpson started on the Christian music circuit, believe it or not

me: i think i remember reading that the fray or onerepublic did. or something like that
hah! that’s right
and didn’t katy perry start there too?

Bridget: she claimed she got a lot of hell for being big-busted
maybe. dunno about her.

me: hah! she totally did
(just checked wikipedia)

Bridget: Fantasia Barrino is Christian, too. though I also haven’t heard any of her stuff on the radio.

me: hmm – this would make an interesting blog post

Bridget: Is that a hint?

me: heh :)

Bridget: I have meant to do one final post and note I was leaving, just got wrapped up in the move

me: no worries
i was considering being lazy and just copying the chat into a post

Bridget: I say go for it. Lazy is good. I’m watching Quarantine at the same time right now.

me: i don’t think either of us said anything embarrassing or problematic
okay, i’ll copy it and post it as “a discussion on music” or something of the sort

Bridget: No, don’t show them the part where I sent you all my porn links

me: i’ll edit that part out

32 comments for “Battle of the Bands: A chat

  1. I should note that Jack then said, “It’d probably be good to say that I don’t know if all these people are currently active, practicing, believing traditional Christians or Mormons. Just that they were at one point.”

  2. Low are the coolest of them all. Just having them gives us the win. And they probably have the most seriously Mormon songs of anybody mentioned. But they’re also the most obscure and not very mainstream Mormon-friendly.

    BTW, I think it’s the Maroon 5 guitarist, not the singer, whose family is Mormon. And they suck.

  3. Never heard of ’em. I’m certainly no expert on this subject.

    And as for Maroon 5 sucking, I never said these were good artists and bands.

    I did leave out my personal favorite though: Kristin Chenoweth, best known as the original Glinda in Wicked, who describes herself as a “non-judgmental, liberal Christian.” But she’s not exactly an act you’ll hear on the radio.

  4. SHeDAISY are totally Mormon. I saw them in Chattanooga, TN in 1992 when they were “The Osborns.” I was 12. Somehow the Elders got permission to go the concert with us (!!) and they kept trying to get me to go talk to the youngest Osborn who was 15 at the time! They signed autographs after the show and I totally got a picture of the 3 of them autographed. In case you’re wondering, I never got up the guts to talk to the 15-year old (it’s probably for the best). But I still have the autographed picture tucked away somewhere!

  5. “Everyone knows that all the best bands are affiliated with Satan.”
    -Bart Simpson

    I’m not sure on this, but I think we have more good bands per-capita than Evangelicals. Also, I can’t believe that Bridget didn’t mention Dustin Kensrue.

  6. In Hawaii there is a Ska band with mostly LDS guys named, Upstanding Youth. They have won a lot of local awards and have a good sized following.

  7. I just realized that the coolness of Low is rivaled on the Evangelical side by Sufjan Stevens, who is great and totally Jesus-y. So we’ll call it a draw.

  8. This post would have been so much shorter if they would have stuck with good bands. Brandon Flowers and …

  9. Arcade Fire has some kind of Mormon connection. Unclear how that’s related to the lyric “Working for the Church while your family dies.”

  10. Yes, Win Butler was raised LDS:

    “Neon Bible”, Win says, “is addressing religion in a way that only someone who actually cares about it can. It’s really harsh at times, but from the perspective of someone who thinks it has value.”

    Win and his brother were raised as Mormons, and Win studied Theology at university, but Neon Bible is not a Mormon album, a Christian album or even a particularly pious one. Instead it’s a record thick with questions about fear and faith, and songs of love and disappointment directed at other human beings as much as at the Divine.”

  11. I’ve never heard of any of them.

    Our ward in Georgia has a few kids that can play a rest song in sacrament meeting. Does that count?

    The local Big Box Baptist church has a band of teenagers who cut a CD and sold a few hundred to maybe a few thousand copies, including one to my kids. It sounds as good as most of what is out there to me.

    Quantatively the evangelicals have us beat:
    Wheaton College claims theere are 70-80 million white evangelicals in US and probably 20-30 million black evangelicals in US. Maybe 100 million total?
    We have 13 million members, but half live in countries that speak Spanish and at least 70% in US are “less active.” We have 2 to 4 million active LDS in US, probably closer to the lower number.

    Since evangelicals have us outnumbered 30-50 to 1, I would expect them to have at least 30 times as many bands or more. This comparison seems like putting the BYU football program up against all the football programs in every college south of the Mason-Dixon line all at once.

    Qualitatively, I think we really have some room for improvement:
    Maybe I don’t get around much, but it seems to me that every evangelical church I have ever visited presented superbly better music in their worship meetings than the morose whaling that passes for music in most LDS wards I have attended. Some of my evangelical friends have noticed this too and wondered about it, out loud to me. With the bar so low at church for us, there is not as much motivation for youthful LDS bands to really rock unless it comes from somewhere else. Finally, many evangelical churches pay musicians good money to play in their churches. My daughter has earned more money playing a few gigs at other churches than she has ever paid in tithing by quite a bit. Market forces strongly favor evangelical musicians.

  12. I think all you have to say is “The Killers” and “Arcade Fire”. They both stand above them all.

  13. Actually, all you have to say is Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, and any number of other Motown/Stax/classic R&B singers. The Baptists (and, by extension, the evangelicals) have us killed.

    Yes, we have Gladys Knight, but her Mormonism postdates her career, and her music is certainly more informed by the Black Church than the Mormon Church.

    Add to that Bob Dylan when he was born-again and Sufjan Stevens. And Alice Cooper. Sure, the evangelicals lose points for Stryper, and we get points for the Osmonds back when they sounded like the Jackson 5, but Mr. Wicked Pickett alone would win this contest.

  14. And, of course, I forgot to mention Johnny Cash, the Carter family, Elvis Presley, etc. etc. The Catholic church may be able to compete (if told I had to choose between Bach and Motown, I’d at least have to think about it), but we lose this one.

  15. Can we at least look at bands/artists per capita? I don’t think it will make it anywhaere even close, but it might close the gap a little bit.

    Oh, I’ve also heard a rumor about Trent Reznor being raised LDS…

  16. Not sure if Randy Bachman still considers himself Mormon, but what about the Guess Who or Bachman Turner Overdrive?

  17. Rachel,
    Low is an indie band who’ve been around for about 15 years. The core of the band is Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, an LDS married couple. They’re most known for playing slow, quiet music with a lot of reverb and vocal harmony but they get loud a lot too. It seems that they’re committed members even though Alan has some WOW issues. They are somewhat well-known in indie circles, but they’ve never had any mainstream success. They don’t really make much mainstream-friendly music. Some find it boring or weird, but if you’re on the right wavelength, it’s really great.

    For the most part, their music isn’t recognizably religious, but they do have several songs with Mormon themes that only Mormons would recognize as such. They have an intense dirge-like song, called “The Lamb,” about the deaths of Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ.

  18. Ryan Shupe and The Rubber Band put out a good album a little while ago. “Dream Big” was a pretty big single for a few weeks.

  19. Next year you’ll all be talking about the Neon Trees. All four band members are LDS. They opened for the Killers in San Francisco a while back and immediately got signed by Mercury Records. 1st album is in progress.

  20. Newsboys is a Christian band with some great music. Also, Rachael Lampa and Nicole Nordeman have great music with uplifting lyrics. Check out this website and music station to hear some great Christian music:

    As far as music from LDS artists, Jenny Jordan Frogley has an amazing voice. If you haven’t heard her, take the time to listen to her, you won’t be disappointed. (go to her website and listen to “It’s a Beautiful Life”, it should play automatically when yo go to the website) Also, Mindy Gledhill has some great music:

  21. #24 Thanks Nate – Bachman Turner Overdrive and the Guess Who both had multiple billboard topping songs and should not be left out of the conversation.

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