Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christian Music, Girl Drummers and Skillet

I've mentioned that my brother is my music dealer, right? Okay, so here's a story for you: About six years ago, I traveled with my family from New York to Tennessee for my cousin's wedding. While we were traveling, my brother Justin loaned me a couple of CDs to listen to while we drove. I was riding with my grandfather, I should mention, who was very cool about listening to these bands that had to be grating on his nerves. The first CD was Mortal or their later incarnation Fold Zandura, not sure which, but neither I nor my grandfather could take more than a few songs of the CD at a time. And then I slipped in the second CD -- Skillet's Alien Youth.

Instant love.

It's difficult to find Christian music -- actual Christian music with worshipful content and outspoken artists -- that rock. Take my word on this. Skillet has been good for that. Alien Youth marked the beginning of my crush on this band. The subsequent album, Collide, released about that time, and my crush deepened.

After Collide, Skillet released Comatose. Elijah loves Comatose. My infatuation cooled, however. The music is good, but it's not as hard, not as edgy. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly; it feels watered down, not the message, just their sound.

Last year, Skillet released their latest album, Awake. I didn't bother to buy it. The singles are very catchy, but they're also obviously derivative of other bands, primarily secular bands. "Monster" in particular sounds startlingly like Three Days Grace's "Animal I Have Become."

I have no patience for this kind of borrowing, especially from Christian artists. We don't take enough criticism simply playing rock music, but then we have to make ourselves sound like mimics and thieves of secular artists? It's not right.

To make a rather abrupt segue: Skillet has the distinction of having a female drummer. An amazing, absolutely rockin' female drummer. Actually, no, let me make a further distinction: Skillet had an amazing, absolutely rockin' drummer named Lori Peters. In 2007, she retired.

featuring drummer Lori Peters

However, when Lori Peters retired, Skillet acquired their second amazing, absolutely rockin' female drummer, Jen Ledger.  Jen Ledger is also a vocalist, which is pretty awesome.

featuring drummer Jen Ledger

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, proof that girls can rock the drums just as hard as the guys.

Which brings me to Drum Research Lesson Five, as demonstrated above by both Lori & Jen:

If your hair isn't flying in your face, you're obviously not doing it right.

(Check out Skillet's single "Hero," to listen to Jen Ledger singing. It's highly enjoyable.)

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