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November 11, 2006

1999: (Christian) SKA!

(Part 2: Ska+Punk Kid)

Similar to my introduction to CCM (Contemporary Christian Music), my discovery of christian and ska music was from a compilation, Seltzer 2. I bought it through one of those CD clubs, the BMG one, except this was the christian division, Sound and Spirit. That is where I bought most of my first CD's, that or Crossroads Christian Bookstore. Seltzer introduced me to, The O C Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy and Plankeye. Five Iron Frenzy instantly became my new favorite band. Now that I look back, I'm not quite sure what I liked about Ska. But, something about it stuck out. It might have been that it was so different, and weird.

Five Iron Frenzy

Ska music changed my attitude. It became me vs. them. Punks vs. Preps. I stopped wearing Abercrombie, and shopped exclusively at Value World (or Kohl's, my mom got me stuff from there). Old T-Shirts and dress slacks became my alternative uniform. The "Jocks" would tease me about my T-Shirts, but I welcomed it. I enjoyed sticking out, and receiving this new attention. My born-again uncle, however, lectured me about how as a christian, I wasn't supposed to stick out. Maybe the "alternative christian" movement is what in the end, lead me astray. It was, after all, the liberal side of christianity; the people with piercings, tattoos,mohawks and chain wallets. I loved it all.

The Supertones

I was never hardcore about the style. I just wore T-Shirts and unflattering slacks. My mother never would let me die my hair green, like my youth group friend, Caleb Palnau. He was the other "outsider" at my church. Each wednesday night, before I youth group I'd sit in my family's car, blasting Five Iron Frenzy or MxPx, then I would go into church and talk with Caleb for the first hour about what new punk and ska bands we had learned of. I miss those times. After that though, it was worship, prayer, and a lesson. I didn't enjoy that aspect of it as much. Do any of the kids? Or do they go for the pure social aspect?

Ghoti Hook

The downside to my interest in "alternative" christian music is that it got a lot less attention. The videos were rarely shown on the Inspirational Network, less magazine articles, and hardly anyone at my church even knew of the bands. But, there was an upside to that too. I was different. I had found something to make me an individual. After hearing all the christian and ska CD's that were at Crossroads or available at Spirit and Sound, I started exploring the World Wide Web. Most christian CD's contained a "Thank You" section in the booklet. Here, they thanked all their friends and other bands. I would spend hours on the internet searching those band names, seeing if I liked the or not. I found that most of bands were on Asian Man Records(They're celebrating their 10 Year Anniversary at the moment!!!!). There was a problem though, these bands were secular. Some even had the "F-Word" in their song titles. I usually ignored those bands. MU330, Less Than Jake, Skankin' Pickle and The Hippos became my new favorites.

Dan Potthast of Mu330
I still kind of like his voice. This is his solo stuff.

The Aquabats
Some of their stuff is still pretty hilarious. I would spend hours at their website.

You know, the ska stuff was really positive. With all my mail orders (I was SUPER into Mail Order), I would always get "Plea For Peace" and "Ska Against Racism" stickers and patches. Maybe that's what I helped me be more accepting than others in my family.

The more I heard secular punk and ska, the more I liked it; the more I realized it was better (This is always when I discovered that Ska music had been around since the 50's and came in three waves!!). Eventually, I found "Jesus" in music to be kind of embarassing. It just seemed cheesy to sing about God in a rock song. So, for the next 2 years, I'd go back and forth with my feelings towards christian music. If my heart was on fire for him, I'd ignore the secular stuff. If I wasn't reading my bible, I listened to stuff with the "f-word".

The Chinkees
I'm still really into Mike Park. I like his voice a lot. Good dude.

My ska phase really lead me into the person I am today. I still listen to the "weirder", "outsider" music. I still like rebeling (somewhat) from the mainstream. All the undergroud stuff eventually lead me to bands like Pavement, Death Cab For Cutie, Pedro The Lion and Bright Eyes. I still listen to all those bands, 6 years later (Holy Crap, I have been listening to Death Cab for 6 years). While, I don't skank quite as much as I used to, but every now and then, in the privacy of my room, I'll close my eyes and skank away.

Posted by cory at 10:57 PM


The 1950's

Sam Cooke & Jackie Wilson


The Supremes

The Temptations

Otis Redding


Al Green

Marvin Gaye


Kool and The Gang


The 1990's

Boys 2 Men

Toni Braxton

Posted by cory at 5:27 PM

November 9, 2006

1998: The Year I Discovered (Christian) Music Vol. 1

(Part 1: Mainstream Christian)

1998, you feel so long ago. I was a 6th Grader, and it was one of my most awkward years (6th Grade Wins). This was the year I wanted to be "popular". I bought Airwalks, and tried to get my parents to buy me baggy JNCO's (You should have seen the look on my stepdad's face that christmas when I got a baggy pair of jeans). It was also a year after we had started going to Calvary Bible Church(Which, by the way, many people in the area consider a cult. Most of the original members have left. I WAS A MEMBER OF A CULT, SWEET, RGHT?). I'm pretty sure I was a born again christian at this point. It's awfully hard to be a kid, and not be born again after a few visits. Hell, after all, is terrible place! Since we were christians, my mother purchased WOW 1999: The Year's 30 Top Christian Artists & Songs from Target. I remember finding everything about it so intriguing. It's most likely because it was the first CD in my parents music collection that didn't feature a person wearing a cowboy hat.

After my mother bought it, I would come home everyday to an empty house (Everyone else was at work, or elementary school. Freedom) and blast WOW 1999, or try to watch Channel 15 (Scrambled Porn). I guess it depended on if God or hormones was on the top of my mind. I would sing along, in my best voice, to DC Talk, The Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, and a few other bangers. That was the first time I think I had sung in my entire life. Well, other than kids stuff. It was the first time I was serious about it. I tried recording my voice on a tape recorder somedays, you know, to see if I was good.

The Newsboys - Entertaining Angels

One day, while channel surfing, I suddenly heard my favorite song on WOW 1999, "Entertaining Angels" by The Newsboys coming from the TV. What is this?! It was the Inspirational Network, Channel 51, and at 5:30 every weekday I could sit back and enjoy Christian Videos from The Hottest Christian Artists. I discovered quite a few bands here. The following videos are a few of my first favorites:

DC Talk
Yes, Jesus Freak was awesome. I loved it. DC Talk was one of my favorite bands, as they were for every christian. "Colored People" was another great song on the album, Jesus Freak. This was a few years before my time, but it's a classic

Audio Adrenaline - Big House
I really didn't like this video. But, I can't find my favorite AA video, "Some Kind Of Zombie". This one is hilarious though. It was too outdated for me. By 98 plaid wasn't that cool anymore. But, all the cool older teens at youth group loved this track! THE CHORUS: It's a Big Big House/With Lots and Lots of Room/A Big Big Table/With Lots and Lots of Food/And A Big Big Yard/Where We Can Play Football/It's A Big Big House/It's My Father House

The Newsboys - Take Me To Your Leader
An older Newsboys video. Back when they had a 2nd bald singer, who sucked in my opinion. The whole "Take Me Your Leader" album was pretty bad. But, Aliens! Best Lyric:"This Just In/Justin's had enough of cure-alls/gonna quiz the neighbor kid with the fish on his car"

Deep Worship Band. One of their songs made me "feel" God. I cried alone, or with God, in my room one night. I listened to it over and over, I wanted to be as "clean as snow".

Switchfoot - A New Way To Be Human
YEAH! I LIKED SWITCHFOOT A LONG LONG TIME AGO! I bought their first CD, Legend Of Chin. I loved their video for "Chem 6A", but all that's on YouTube is Buffy Clips, put to the song. This song was great too, but it's from the 2nd album. This band always confused me, I never understood what their lyrics were about, and if they were really "Christian".

MxPx - I'm Ok, You're Ok
This was the video that got me interested in the "Underground" christian music. At the end of 7th Grade, I began musical interests shifted to Ska and Punk. MxPx was awesome. They were my favorite band until 9th Grade. I was looking for the video, "Move to Bremerton", but no luck.

Tomorrow, Or Sometime, I will write about how Punk I became, my beef with "preps", and my dabbling into secular music (Yes, I did it!).

Posted by cory at 8:46 PM

Where Bad Design Comes From: Design 2000 Inc.

I recently started emailing companies about internships for this summer. The majority of the websites are very clean, bold, and well, really good. All except one, Design 2000, Inc. I should have known by the name. Anyhow, I checked out a little bit of their "work".

Product Packaging & Display Materials

Next time I'm at the store, and I see an awful package. I don't have to wonder, who thought this looked good?, now I know. The answer is Design 2000 Inc, of Canton, MI.

Posted by cory at 1:32 PM

November 2, 2006

The Greatest Christmas Song Of All Time

Christmas song? Yes, I have been listening to christmas music for the past 2 weeks. Ever since that first snow, I have been in a winter mood. I always hated winter, until last year. Maybe it was because it was the first time I had experienced freezing, or the the first time I had experienced the winter beast alone, and one. I'm not sure. But, something about last winter made me fall in love with the season. So, here I am, pumped about winter. I have started listening to mostly "winter music". Which is generally "warm" sounding; Sufjan, Jens Lekman, Owen (Singer Songwriter people I can imagine sitting around a fireplace). So, the best christmas song...

No, I'm not talking about the Paul McCartney jam, "Wonderful Christmastime". That's my second favorite. Vince Guaraldi Trio recorded a masterpiece, "Christmas Time Is Here", from "It's a Charlie Brown Christmas". It's so beautiful. A Children's choir, brushed snare, quiet piano; it's perfection.

Posted by cory at 4:59 PM

November 1, 2006

Devil's Night

I knew I was going to get it as soon as I overheard my roommate bring up devil's night in the other room. Of course, it had to be on a monday night. The only night I have class. I assumed I would come home to an empty room, or a hidden computer. I didn't expect them to drive all the way to Steelcase. They got me.

In the middle of class that night, my phone went off (I never turn it off, due to the fact no one calls me. Which I'm fine with. I have a Pay as You Go). I quickly turn it off, and then check my message at break.

"Happy Devil's Night, Cory"

Oh great. I sat in class for the last hour thinking about what they could have done. I quickly rushed out to my car as soon as class was done. I stared at my car from a distance. What the heck is that red thing in my window, I thought. As I got closer I realized there were balloons. Lots of them. I laughed and looked around the parking lot. No one else seemed to notice. There is no way I'm going to pop these, I thought. I hate popping balloons. So, I pushed them over and drove. As I laughed I came up with a way to get them back.

"Can you pick me up?" I ask, in a very scattered, saddened tone.
"What?", asks Karen.
"Did you put the balloons in my car?"
"Well, I thought I could drive with them. But one slipped under the gas pedal."
"What?" I could tell she was seriously concerned.
"I hit one of those fire things...what are they called...fire..."
"Oh no, Cory. I really have to come get you?"
"Yeah, my car won't work."
"Huh?" at this point she's almost crying.
"I'm on 44th street."
"Ok, I'll come get you."
"Karen! I'm kidding with you!"
"What, I'm almost crying! What? Why?"

When I got home Anne punched me in the arm. They told me it was not funny to joke about getting hurt. I never did! I joked about my car getting hurt, not me. Did I take it too far? I don't think I did. I thought it was hilarious. I almost made them come get me. When I told them I had thought that, they told me they probably wouldn't have talked to me for weeks.


Posted by cory at 2:01 PM