Pop Culture 101 for Pastors–The History of Rock & Roll Part 8

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Punk disappeared from the music scene as quickly as it rose to prominence.  It exposed disco for its shallow emptiness and then folded in on itself in a self-destructive binge of drugs and anger. 

Many bands inspired by punk were more polished than their predecessors.  They couldn’t really help it.  If one plays every day then one is bound to be better and want to play with more style. 

Punk’s children, New Wave and what would become known as Hair Metal (as well as certain strands of thrash metal), tried to capture the essence of punk with outrageous style and/or darker themes.  One of these bands was Motley Crue who took the DIY and us against the world attitude and combined it with leather and KISS style pyrotechnics. 

Motley Crue’s 1st two albums were in-your-face metal but by their third album they had traded in leather for spandex and darker themes for tongue-in-cheek rebellion.  What happened?

Motley Crue noticed that Hollywood Strip bands more influenced by the ’70’s glam movement like Poison, L.A. Guns and Warrant were attracting large crowds filled with beautiful young girls.  So, the Crue ditched their black leather and chainsaw metal licks for make-up and pop melodies. 

The lure of bigger and more diverse crowds (who spent more money) was too much for Vince, Mick, Nikki and Tommy to resist.  The ’80’s metal scene (my favorite, btw), was quickly transformed from punk and pyro to ballads and Bon-Jovi smiles.

What can pastors learn from the unholy seduction of awesome metal bands to sell out and become pop groups that produced forgettable albums?  Hugh Halty and Matt Smay write that whatever you give your time to will produce.  Our goal as pastors is to make disciples who look more and more like Jesus but we feel the lure to put all of our time and attention toward an excellent Sunday service that fills seats.  We start out just want to do something eternally sweet like the early metal bands just wanted to rock but we end up more concerned attendance.  It is a deadly lure that we should resist with all of our might. 

Today, Motley Crue’s 1st two albums are considered classics even if they were only largely bought at the time by working class dudes.  Their next few albums have all but been forgotten except by those seeking a little ’80’s nostalgia.  Do you want to be remembered eternally for doing something real or be liked today for being something trendy?

The church can learn a lot from Motley Crue.

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