[img_assist|nid=297|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=167|height=250]For the last couple weeks I've been reading Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock by Andrew Beaujon. A couple months ago I blogged about it, and thanks to a roommate and the Public Library, I got to give it a read.
First of all, Beaujon does a good job of getting the facts of Christian rock music. But this is no boring regurgitation of history. Beaujon chronicles the history as it intersects and influences his journey on finding what makes Christian rock music tick. Of course, there seems to be a number of things that make it tick, depending on who you ask and what part of the industry you're looking at. It's an engaging read, mostly, although I got a bit bored with his 30-page sidetrip about Rock for Life and abortion.
Possibly the best part of the book, as far as I was concerned, was the interviews with all the artists that are currently making waves today. He starts out talking with Switchfoot to find out why they're so sheepish of their Christianity. He ends the book talking with Mute Math and mewithoutYou. The other great part is interviewing some of the most influential people behind the scenes, from HM's Doug Van Pelt to CCM's Jay Swartzendruber to Steve Taylor and more.
The non-Christian perspective of Andrew Beaujon was very interesting. He often quickly and easily identified and was annoyed by the many small things that divide the church and the industry. He was often turned down for interviews because many publicists were very worried that someone who wrote for Spin and other non-Christian publications would put the person in a bad light. This was referred to by him as "not doing their job", which I agree should be to get the band publicity, not just easy, good publicity. Also, only once does he mention that, in the year or so he was researching for this book, does he get preached at. And that act consisted of handing him a couple tracts.
My favorite quote from the book is, "By the third day of Cornerstone [Festival], I'd already seen more decent metal and hardcore punk bands - and more god-awful singer/songwriters - than I could count."