Question of the Week: When Will We Get Some Fresh Blood?

Question of the Week: When Will We Get Some Fresh Blood?

We can talk about a lot of different things in the realm of the Christian music scene, but what we really can’t ever discuss is that super popular new band headlining our festivals.

Look at any festival this Summer (the ones that still exist, thanks economy) and you’ll probably see the same few names headlining:

MercyMe. Newsboys. Third Day. Switchfoot. Skillet. Tobymac. Casting Crowns.

They are headlining this year because they were headlining last year.

And the year before that.

And the year before that.

And for most of them the eight or ten or twelve years before that.

Sure, there are a few exceptions, but Owl City doesn’t generally play that scene, nor does August Burns Red or any of their metalcore brethren, because they work better with a mainstream crowd.

Everyone else seems to just be waiting for their turn to become the next headliner, playing the junior varsity role, bands like Kutless or Tenth Avenue North or Leeland.

It seems like any other music scene would get some fresh blood in there once in awhile, making sure that new faces got in the mix so that people would have something new to get excited about, but instead today’s teenagers are given the same bands to listen to that I was seeing when I was going to high school with dinosaurs (ask me about them sometime, they were really cool until they went extinct around the time that Carman retired).

So my question to you this week is what do we have to do to get some fresh blood in the mix in the Christian music scene? Is it necessary?  Who do you think could take the place of these veteran bands and still get a draw? How do we get new bands to the place that these veteran bands have gotten?

Leave your thoughts in the comment box!

About Tyler Hess

Tyler Hess has been running Christian Music Zine since he created the site in 2008. His favorite bands are Relient K, Bleach, Emery, House of Heroes, The Classic Crime, Children 18:3 and Anberlin. Twitter = @tylerscotthess More Posts

12 Comments to “Question of the Week: When Will We Get Some Fresh Blood?”

  1. I’m waiting for the rest of the world to discover what they’ve been missing in MY favorite band, Disciple. So much talent and so freaking underrated. At Big Ticket Festival in Michigan last Friday they played the “Alternative Stage” right before RED, while bands like Hawk Nelson and Bluetree were on the main stage? What’s up with that? I didn’t even stick for Chris Tomlin. TFK should be headlining festivals as well!

    • My issue with TFK has always been some lyrics I simply don’t care for. They have that hip-hop influence in the stuff, and it often leads to some nonsensical (in my opinion) lyrics, like in “Light Up the Sky.”

      I’ve never checked Disciple out much, but I remember thinking they were all right, nothing special to me (though I’m usually one to go for heavier music, so it’s different).

      That’s me, though. I’m a bit off from the majority here in what I listen to primarily, so that’s just how it’ll be in my case.

    • Disciple all the way! And Red! And TFK! And I still like Skillet! Hawk Nelson may be the most overrated.

  2. ^That is a shame about Disciple, they’re a legend of 90s and 00s Christian Rock.

    Some of those bands that have been at the top for so long are actually really good (imo) but it’s still troublesome I agree. If 10 years ago we could have newcomers like MercyMe and Casting Crowns join the ranks, why haven’t we had anyone since?

    It could just be personal bias but I feel like there’s been a lack of interest/passion since then. Mostly from fans. A lot of people that were into it when they were younger just stop caring. I’m sure money plays a large part in it too. 2009 took its toll on everybody. They probably don’t have the green to spend on promoting new artists so they stick with the ones they know work.

  3. That’s a pretty interesting question. Arguably, Anberlin and House of Heroes are a bit newer than, say, Switchfoot, but even they have been around for 10+ years.

    I think it’s part like someone mentioned elsewhere, that the Christian industry lags a bit behind the secular one. For the past few years, heavier music has gotten a lot of attention in mainstream circles (not on the radio, though). There are now quite a lot of people talking up op-punk, so maybe that’ll be the case like Children 18:3 over the next couple of years.

    As someone who mostly follows heavy music, we occasionally get new bands, like The Overseer, who has an album out today. Personally, one band I wish got more attention in that vein of non-heavy music is Wavorly. They need to get another full-length album out, because there were a lot of songs I REALLY liked on Conquering the Fear.

    I guess none of us can know when, but when you find someone new you love, spread the word. Maybe that’ll get the train rolling for new music. It also might simply take the retirement of a mainstay like Switchfoot or Tobymac to get the majority of fans to look for more music.


      • Yeah, it would be a total travesty, but it might be how people learn to support new bands. Ideally, people would just expad their horizons on their own.

  4. Loser of Greatness // June 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm // Reply

    Perhaps if the headlining spots were not taken by people who used to be in the Newsboys…(see Peter Furler with Phil Joel at Lifelight Festival)…or is that just an indication of a lack of potential headliners…

  5. Loser of Greatness // June 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm // Reply

    I tend to wonder if another reason for the limited number of headliners and slow turnover thereof is that many Christians simply don’t have an interest in having a deep exposure to Christian music. I wonder if these bands may be the “token” Christian bands on the Ipods of many Christians. As a result, the overall lack of exposure to new bands that could potentially supplant the old guard, is limited. Furthermore, the list that Tyler provided includes either bands that have had secular success (add Relient K) or bands that represent 50% or more of the playlist of your typical Christian radio station.

    • I’m the opposite of that. Almost every single band I listen to regularly is Christian. There are maybe 10 bands in my library (out of more than 150) that I really like that aren’t Christian. Probably 5 of those 10 are at least somewhat linked to Christianity though, having at least one member be a Christian and it showing through the music (such as bands We Came As Romans and Memphis May Fire).

      I can’t get into secular music when I don’t know anything about the people who make it. I don’t like the thought of investing emotionally and financially in a band, only to find out the person is an anti-Christianity jerk who treats people like garbage.

  6. I think that bands need to be different if they want to “break the mould”. So many of today’s new Christian artists sound almost identical and that is the reason why I lose interest. Switchfoot is my favourite because they are different. Needtobreathe is great because they are different. What we need is not the retirement of these bands, but the rise of bands with variety and creativity. Or else these bands that have been around for 10+ years will be pretty old by the time they retire.

  7. I think that the large bands are actually not a problem as of now. If you look at most bands such as Switchfoot, Skillet, and maybe even TobyMac, they had TONS of Albums and shows before they were headlining festivals. I mean, Switchfoot wan’t automatically huge when they released Legend of Chin, A New Way To be Human, or even Learning To Breathe. Skillet had TONS of albums before they started to take off in 2004 with Collide. Most bands, such as Hawk Nelson, TFK, The Afters, Family Force 5, only have between 3-6 albums so far, while Headliners tend to have more and have been going at it longer. HOWEVER, there are underrated bands, such as Disciple, House Of Heroes, that do not get enough credit for how long they have been working and how good they are. :)

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