'Y-Yes I Can! Look at My Guitar! So Electric! So Cool! Watch, I'll Bang My Head...S-S-See?!'
'Doesn't Matter. Christians Can't Rock'
Rock-a-Bye-Bye Baby: Christian Rock is the leading cause of crib death. Can you guess which baby has already been 'rocked to sleep' by Amy Grant, aka The Courtney Love of Christian Rock?
Upon This Rock 'N' Roll
from The Coloradoan
They dream of making it big someday. Of performing for thousands of people and recording hit albums.
Rehearsing for that next big gig, Rough Draft is your typical teenage garage band - except their "garage" just happens to have a 7-foot-tall wooden cross and a pulpit.
"What is really cool is this is our opportunity to spread the gospel," Andrew Wittenauer, lead singer of the Christian rock band, said during a recent practice at Redeemer Lutheran Church.
While in the past, rock 'n' roll was seemingly inextricably linked to sin, over the years, the scene has evolved with a little help from a higher power.
Christian rock, Christian pop, even Christian rap is finding its way into the mainstream.
While artists like Amy Grant and the Newsboys openly describe themselves and their music as religious, there are a slew of bands, such as Switchfoot and Sixpence None the Richer, that blur the lines.
"It used to be people would hear 'Christian music' and think 'cheesy," said Fort Collins resident Kelly Eppel, who lists local Christian radio station 89.7 WAY FM as her favorite radio station.
And as Christian rockers become more accepted - at the height of Christian hard-rock band Creed's popularity, they could be heard on radio stations ranging from Christian to heavy metal to adult contemporary - the lines will continue to blur.
But Rough Draft bassist Adam Goetsch said he fears the lure of mainstream success will cause Christian bands to forget their roots.
In the late '90s, artists such as Amy Grant and the Newsboys began getting more mainstream attention, but some in the Christian music scene perceived their pop-oriented albums as stepping away from God and his message. Many refocused on music that left no doubt where their allegiances were.
But when the popular Goth group Evanescence was branded "Christian," band members were not loving it, quickly and very publicly denouncing the label.
"There are people hell-bent on the idea that we're a Christian band in disguise and that we have some secret message," lead singer Amy Lee was quoted as saying in a 2003 Entertainment Weekly interview. "We have no spiritual affiliation with this music. It's simply about life experience."
Whether that statement helped the band's mainstream dealings or not is unknown, but it sure didn't help among the Christian set. Shortly after Lee's comments were published, Christian music stores and radio stations yanked the band's CD, Fallen, from their shelves and playlists.
"We have to make sure that we don't sell ourselves out," said Goetsch, 16. That said, the band does mix secular songs into their sets. What Goetsch calls "draw-ins," the songs "that bring people in, and then we can tell them (about God)."
Recently the band was asked to do a show at a public event but was specifically asked to keep the music "non-religious" to avoid controversy, said Wittenauer's dad and band cheerleader, Jeff. They started the set off with Eric Clapton's "Layla" and the crowd loved it, he said. Then they went on to play their Christian songs for the rest of the night.
"It's not so much rock 'n' roll as rock 'n' worship," Newsboys bass player Phil Joel said in a recent phone interview.
Christian music is incorrectly seen by some as less technically good - musicianship-wise, noted Rough Draft drummer Pedro Quinones.
"A lot of people put down Christian music, but they don't know what it is," Wittenauer said.
"You know, Jesus is a rocker."