19 episodes

Rock That Doesn’t Roll looks at how Christian music shaped the world we're living in now by telling individual stories from the peak era of the contemporary Christian music industry. In the 80s, 90s and early 2000s CCM grew into a billion dollar business that affected millions of evangelical young people. Through interviews with artists, industry players and average fans we trace the long-lasting personal, cultural and political impact of sometimes cringe-worthy music. Expect hilarious moments and heartfelt yearning, purity culture and conservative politics- all in equal measure. Whether you’ve deconstructed, come out or renegotiated your faith, we hope you feel seen. If you’ve never given Christian music any thought beyond a punchline, we hope you’ll gain a deeper understanding of a subculture that’s shaping the world around us now.

Rock That Doesn't Roll: The Story of Christian Music Andrew Gill and Leah Payne

    • Music
    • 4.8 • 117 Ratings

Rock That Doesn’t Roll looks at how Christian music shaped the world we're living in now by telling individual stories from the peak era of the contemporary Christian music industry. In the 80s, 90s and early 2000s CCM grew into a billion dollar business that affected millions of evangelical young people. Through interviews with artists, industry players and average fans we trace the long-lasting personal, cultural and political impact of sometimes cringe-worthy music. Expect hilarious moments and heartfelt yearning, purity culture and conservative politics- all in equal measure. Whether you’ve deconstructed, come out or renegotiated your faith, we hope you feel seen. If you’ve never given Christian music any thought beyond a punchline, we hope you’ll gain a deeper understanding of a subculture that’s shaping the world around us now.

    Fictional Christian Music (ft. Righteous Gemstones' Joseph Stephens, Daniel Smith and Chris White)

    Fictional Christian Music (ft. Righteous Gemstones' Joseph Stephens, Daniel Smith and Chris White)

    How do you make fake Contemporary Christian Music? Creating fictional Christian music that feels authentic without crossing the line into parody or pastiche is a tricky artistic challenge. But we found the creators up to the task. Joseph Stephens, composer for HBO's The Righteous Gemstones, a crime-comedy about a family of musical televangelists, and composer Daniel Smith (Danielson) and filmmaker Chris White of Electric Jesus, an independent film about an aspiring 80s Christian metal band, pay homage to Christian music makers of the past and create catchy Christian music that's feels and sounds an awful lot like the real thing. On this episode of Rock that Doesn't Roll, music journalist Andrew Gill (Sound Opinions), and historian Leah Payne (God Gave Rock and Roll to You: a History of Contemporary Christian Music), immerse themselves in the Southern Gospel strains of The Righteous Gemstones and glam-band anthems of Electric Jesus, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the artistry, craftsmanship, and heart involved in creating convincing fake CCM songs for the screen.Do you have a Christian rock story to tell? Leave us a message at (629) 777-6336.If you want more seasons of Rock That Doesn’t Roll, you can support us on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/rtdrYou can connect with us on Instagram or by emailing RTDRpod@gmail.comSign up for our Substack to keep up with show developments.Buy RTDR merch here.

    • 40 min
    The Paradox

    The Paradox

    KUOW's podcast Let The Kids Dance! is the story of Seattle's Teen Dance Ordinance in a seven-part docuseries chronicling an untold chapter of pop-culture history. It’s a story about moral panic, grassroots activism and an unstoppable music community that fought for its freedom, created and hosted by Jonathan Zwickel.The TDO made it impossible for venue owners to turn a profit while hosting all-ages shows. But the law contained a few exceptions, allowing concerts at nonprofit spaces and religious institutions. Savvy promoters take full advantage. In the latter half of the 90s, two all-ages venues sent a lifeline to the all-ages community by hosting unforgettable shows, leading to dramatically different results. One of those venues was Mars Hill's The Paradox. It was one of Mark Driscoll's early footholds in Seattle and hosted all ages concerts by secular and Christian bands- as well as worship services.Listen to the official Let the Kids Dance! playlist on Spotify. Do you have a Christian rock story to tell? Leave RTDR a message at (629) 777-6336.If you want more seasons of Rock That Doesn’t Roll, you can support us on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/rtdrYou can connect with us on Instagram or by emailing RTDRpod@gmail.comSign up for our Substack to keep up with show developments.Buy RTDR merch here.

    • 45 min
    The DC Talk Test (ft. Jason Kirk and Kevin T. Porter)

    The DC Talk Test (ft. Jason Kirk and Kevin T. Porter)

    What happened to the kids raised during the peak era of Christian rock? For insight into the state of Christian rock's late 1990s-early aughts evangelicalism you need not look any further than members of DC Talk, the pinnacle of youth group music. Their trajectory as artists and public figures roughly maps on to the trajectories of the millions of teens raised in American evangelicalism. In this episode,  journalist and producer Andrew Gill (Sound Opinions) surprises historian Leah Payne (God Gave Rock and Roll to You: a History of Contemporary Christian Music) with a fan-made quiz that asks: are you a Toby Mac, a Michael Tait, or a Kevin Max? Together with two Christian rock aficionados, journalist Jason Kirk (author of Hell Is a World Without You) and comedian Kevin T. Porter (co-host of Good Christian Fun), Rock That Doesn't Roll explores the aftermath of the peak youth group band era.Take the quiz for yourself!Listen to the Hell Is a World Without You playlist on Spotify.Do you have a Christian rock story to tell? Leave us a message at (629) 777-6336.If you want more seasons of Rock That Doesn’t Roll, you can support us on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/rtdrYou can connect with us on Instagram or by emailing RTDRpod@gmail.comSign up for our Substack to keep up with show developments.Buy RTDR merch here.

    • 40 min
    Purity Bros (ft. Joshua Harris)

    Purity Bros (ft. Joshua Harris)

    Purity culture wasn’t just for youth group “purity girls.” “Purity bros” were also a part of the project! No one knows that more than Joshua Harris, a CCM fan who helped turn purity culture into an extreme sport. Together with his friend, Christian music superstar Rebecca St. James, they created media that inspired a generation of evangelicals to say no to sex outside of marriage, but also to things like dating, kissing, holding hands, and a lot of other things. In this episode, journalist and producer Andrew Gill (Sound Opinions), and historian Leah Payne (God Gave Rock and Roll to You: a History of Contemporary Christian Music) follow the story of Josh Harris, one-time icon of purity culture. Josh found that the X-games of evangelicalism included the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and eventually, a life beyond the world of purity bros and purity girls.  Do you have a Christian rock story to tell? Leave us a message at (629) 777-6336.RSVP for our virtual event June 11th at 6pm Central time. If you want more seasons of Rock That Doesn’t Roll, you can support us on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/rtdrYou can connect with us on Instagram or by emailing RTDRpod@gmail.comSign up for our Substack to keep up with show developments.Buy RTDR merch here.

    • 38 min
    Purity Girls (ft. Nikki Leonti)

    Purity Girls (ft. Nikki Leonti)

    In 2001, teen singing sensation Nikki Leonti was on her way to a promising Christian music career. She had two hit CCM records, and - as a pop princess who swore to refrain from premarital sex - the support of big evangelical media organizations like James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. But then, at age 18, the “purity girl” Leonti announced she was pregnant, and lost it all. With insight from author and podcaster Devi Abraham, journalist and producer Andrew Gill (Sound Opinions), and historian Leah Payne (God Gave Rock and Roll to You: a History of Contemporary Christian Music) explore how Christian music purity icons like Nikki Leonti, along with their fans, walked the tightrope of purity culture, lost their balance, and learned to put their lives back together again after they fell.   Do you have a Christian rock story to tell? Leave us a message at (629) 777-6336.If you want more seasons of Rock That Doesn’t Roll, you can support us on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/rtdrYou can connect with us on Instagram or by emailing RTDRpod@gmail.comSign up for our Substack to keep up with show developments.Buy RTDR merch here.

    • 39 min
    Holy Hip Hop (ft. Soup The Chemist)

    Holy Hip Hop (ft. Soup The Chemist)

    In the 1990s, music critics argue that hip hop was in its golden age. Mainstream Top 40 charts were filled with hits from The Notorious B.I.G, Tupac Shakur, and Dr. Dre. But the Contemporary Christian charts lagged far, far behind. What took so long for holy hip hop to take off? With insight from Dr. Jonathan Calvillo (author of In the Time of Sky-Rhyming: How Hip Hop Resonated in Brown Los Angeles), journalist and producer Andrew Gill (Sound Opinions), and historian Leah Payne (God Gave Rock and Roll to You: a History of Contemporary Christian Music) follow the story of Christopher J. Cooper, aka Soup the Chemist, aka Super C, a groundbreaking figure in the Christian hip hop movement. It wasn’t easy, but as Soup the Chemist worked to carve out a place for Christian hip hop to thrive, he laid the foundation for future Christian hip hop artists like Propaganda and Lecrae.

    Do you have a Christian music story to tell? Leave us a message at (629) 777-6336.

    If you want more seasons of Rock That Doesn’t Roll, you can support us on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/rtdr

    You can connect with us on Instagram or by emailing RTDRpod@gmail.com

    Sign up for our Substack to keep up with show developments.

    Buy RTDR merch here.

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
117 Ratings

117 Ratings

Maebe the cat (male) ,

I don’t care if I’m punk or ska or hardcore enough

What a great podcast! Now I feel like I’m not alone. There are dozens of us!!! Seriously though, I have really enjoyed revisiting Christian bookstore days and the evangelical bubble. I’m surprised to hear so many voices with similar experiences. This podcast explores the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all and the profound ways that it shaped us. If you grew up in a household (and church culture) that cautiously endorsed Christian music and tried to protect your teenage years from the evils of secular rock, this a podcast for you!

ColGreens ,

Just What I Needed

Growing up a Christian kid in the eighties listening to Christian rock/pop/metal/punk, this podcast is right up my alley.

mrmccown ,

It felt like coming home

As a former Evangelical and a former “book store guy,” it was therapeutic to hear this podcast talk about experiences that I thought I was all alone in!

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