Dear Record Executives

A big fat thanks to record execs

Thank you for fighting the good fight against Internet MP3 file-swapping. Because of you, millions of kids will stop wasting time listening to new music and seeking out new bands. No more spreading the word to complete strangers about your artists. No more harmful exposure to thousands of bands via Internet radio either. With any luck they won’t talk about music at all. You probably knew you’d make millions by embracing the technology. After all, the kids swapping were like ten times more likely to buy CD’s, making your cause all the more admirable. It must have cost a bundle in future revenue, but don’t worry—computers are just a fad anyway, and the Internet is just plain stupid.

Rolling Stone

Goodbye, Farewell

Larry Norman died on Sunday.

To me he was one of those real, principled, flawed, human people that you revere not because they’re perfect, but because they’re all too aware of their imperfections, and haven’t justified them nor succumbed to despair about them.

I wish I’d known Larry better. I just know that he was one of the most influential musicians of his generation, influencing U2, John Mellencamp, The Pixies… not to mention the entire Contemporary Christian Music industry.

He spent a lot of time dying. He nearly died in airplane accident in the late ’70s, he nearly died of heart failure in the early ’90s, and has been on the verge of death ever since. And yet he inspired countless musicians in deep ways. Chris Willman, senior music writer for Entertainment Weekly, said:

His influence outweighed his sales so much that it’s comical. He certainly had a heart for evangelism — almost to his detriment, I might say. He really could’ve been a star if he were singing about something other than Jesus.”
Christianity Today

This fact gives me hope that the transcendent power of Jesus when transmitted through his followers can still dramatically influence this planet.

Certainly his influence on me personally and musically has been profound. I will never forget taking up the offering for him in Edmonton in 1994, or handing out handbills advertising his concert at a DC Talk show and answering “Who is Larry Norman” in five seconds or less over and over again.

Who is Larry Norman? He’s the Godfather of Christian Rock, man. He’s the reason you’re here, because the people you’re listening to are who and what and where they are because he paved the way for them.

Goodbye, Larry. We’ll meet again.

Christmas Music

I just love walking into the grocery store in November and hearing Christmas music. There’s just something inherently cool about it.

I know it drives some people crazy. Maybe it’s an association with commercialism. So, it’s okay to buy nothing for Christmas. Maybe it’s the huge array of cheesy Christmas music. Listen, there’s tonnes of Christmas music out there; I guarantee there’s something in your taste.

To me, maybe it’s just the fact that people who have no real emotional or ideological attachment to Christianity are hearing, over and over, somewhere under the squeak of shopping carts and beeps and dings of cash registers, something like:

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King”

That’s so cool.