It's Time For Christian Music Artists To Step Up Their Creative Game

Billy Corgan

I grew up in a Christian home, deeply immersed in my faith. We were a churchgoing family - and still are, even though all us kids are grown. Part of my Christian upbringing involved listening to a lot of Christian music. Most of it was derivative, predictable and artistically sub-par, though I recall a few exceptions - artists like Amy Grant bringing themes of everyday life into her music, DC Talk offering up an eclectic take on hip-hop, Third Day tearing up the stage with meaty Southern rock and a heck of a stage show, and Charlie Peacock mixing alternative, funk, and world beat into an intriguing stew.

These days I can't turn on Christian radio without turning it off almost as quickly. Christian radio fills the airwaves with cliche after cliche - vapid Jesus cheer leading and bland scripture reading put to poor quality music. Again, we can find a few exceptions, but for the most part, the Christian music industry produces substandard art.

A few weeks ago, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins gave an interview with CNN. In it, the he discusses his belief that God is the future of music:

"There's a long-established concept that gets bandied about, which is misery makes for great art," Corgan said during the Aug. 23 interview. "If you were asking a Shinto monk, I think they would laugh at this idea. You're basically saying suffering is good for business, and I don't think suffering is good for business. Crazy's good for business, suffering isn't."

When asked what he was now exploring in his music, Corgan, 46, said bluntly, "God."

The Illinois native said he believes God is the future of rock and roll, although that concept might not be readily welcomed.

"You're not supposed to talk about God, even though most of the world believes in God. It's sort of like 'don't go there,'" Corgan said, relating a comment he made to a magazine that failed to print his remarks. "I think God is the most unexplored territory in rock and roll music."

The interviewer asks him, "Well what would you say to Christian rockers, then?" His reply:

"Make better music," he said. "Personally, I think Jesus would like better bands."