Staff Blog - Brandon Jones: The Forgotten Classics

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Today’s blog is mostly about those long forgotten “Classics”, the bands and/or albums that have been largely overlooked by a new generation (and those that follow). I made a post about this on my facebook page and I figured i’d elaborate on the subject here. Here is what was said: Even though some bands have enjoyed recent reunions (and success), there are numerous others that have been virtually forgotten. Our society moves at such a quick pace that some truly inspirational and innovative bands have been left in the dust. Why is it that the “industry” hardly looks back at what makes current music so great? I know that in the Christian market, there is barely any room for “Classics” and the trend is to keep progressing forward to the point that we forget where we came from. Every decade has some winners and losers but let’s embrace the past and remember the “once greats” for then we’ll know what makes us so great.

Eric P. said it best: “I think the Christian market has a tendency to forget and even push aside the classics because for the first thirty years or so, Christian rock was dominated by the mindset of using modern music to reach the lost.” We are constantly in the pursuit of what’s “NEW”, “HIP”, “TRENDY”, that we often cast aside the hard working artists who have gone on to inspire entire generations of Christian youth. I don’t speak specifically of the 90’s scene, even though that’s when I grew up the most during the time period, I speak for all generations and Christian artists who have made their mark during their particular decade. Think about your favorite bands for a minute, who do you think inspired them to pick up their guitars, basses, drums, and mics, and in turn who inspired those that inspired them?

Now with the loss of print magazines, the shuttering of “Christian” stores, the slowly closing margin on what’s left of the “Christian market”, who will be left to raise a flag for the “legends”, the “critically acclaimed”, the hit makers, the losers, the outcasts, the downtrodden, and those inspirational artists you first fell in love with years ago? I know from a business stand point, these classics aren’t exactly money makers any more but that doesn’t mean future generations shouldn’t enjoy them or look back on their impact. I mean look at what is happening with new generations and bands like At the Drive In, Refused, Quicksand, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Dinosaur Jr., The Police, heck even Van Halen has had a resurgence as of late. Why shouldn’t the “Christian” market enjoy that same nostalgia and past fondness?

I would like to say that I personally try to throw out names every once in awhile of bands that left a mark on my heart with hopes that it would inspire the younger generation to seek out those “classic” albums but I do know that it sometimes fall on deaf ears. My advice, to drop what’s “new” for a few days each week and instead jam out to some “classics” that the youth before you might have enjoyed and study up on the history of Christian rock and what lead to explosion of the “scene” the past 30 years or so. It’s quite a saddening thought to consider the loss of so many great albums over the years to the long dreaded “out of print” status that is so prevalent among Christian market bands. Just like the bands who disappeared over the years, so to did the labels that signed the bands and pressed their albums. I have a number of albums in my collection that are probably out of print now and mostly forgotten. Why is a piece of music that cost thousands to create, often left in the dust and forgotten over period of years? What albums do you have that are now out of print?

We are coming up on the 20th anniversary of the famed (and mostly forgotten) “Bow” album by Focused. I know that Tooth & Nail has mostly been in the running for keeping things hip and current, that they haven’t exactly done a whole lot of big re-release collections so I assume that not much is going to be done for their 20th anniversary albums next year but I could be wrong. The band members of Focused in fact haven’t heard of anything being done for the anniversary and that’s quite sad considering the impact Focused had and how they single handedly penned the “Spirit Filled Hardcore” term and used it much during their hey day. What about those other albums nearing their 20th anniversaries on the T&N roster? The Blamed, Mxpx, Unashamed, Plankeye, Starflyer 59 (Silver re-release DID happen a few years ago), Blenderhead, etc.? I would hope that some big news is about to emerge from the Seattle offices of our beloved label and maybe i’ll be proven wrong by some big re-release information including Vinyl collections, etc. but my hopes aren’t up.

Remember folks, the power of the internet rests in your hands. You are free to write your favorite labels, bands, etc. and request coverage for some of these long forgotten classics. We can each make an impact, a mark on the collective heart of the music industry. You don’t have to be a media darling, publicist, manager, band member, writer, etc. to make your point known. You just have to express your thoughts through written word and let those around you feel it by sharing with them.

Lastly, what music touched your heart the first time you heard it? What artists have inspired you and left a permanent mark on your soul? What “classics” do you still enjoy to this day?

This concludes my blog for today. Feel free to discuss your favorite releases of yesteryear and what bands made the biggest impact in your walk as a believer. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads and soon to be Dads out there. May you have a blessed day and an incredible time with your families. Peace.

-Brandon Jones
Indie Vision Music