Meaningless, maybe, but I share Matthew Perpetua’s chagrin that Andrew Beaujon’s eye-opening book on Christian rock, Body Piercing Saved My Life, is being consigned to pulp or hamster cages or whatever it means to “partially reduce” a book’s stock. When the essay collection came out in 2006, it seemed like the first of many revelations to come about one of America’s most bizarre subcultures. (I forget whether Body Piercing inspired me to attend a Third Day concert or vice versa, but evidently I was of the opinion that worship music was “this decade’s punk rock” for at least three solid months, in large part thanks to Beaujon.) Two years later, Beaujon writes, “Body Piercing Saved My Life and I have reached the end of our rainbow,” a fact rammed home by the curious and heretofore unheard of “negative” royalty statement the author received from his publisher.
I can still vividly recall the verbal contortions Beaujon solicited from mid-crossover bands like Switchfoot and P.O.D.; Sufjan, gratifyingly, came off like a secretive liar, too. Best was his ear for the supposed discrimination these bands claimed, often in religious terms, that they were the victims of—people ribbing them for their faith, or not playing them on MTV, or whatever it was that was preventing them from being successful (hint: their music was terrible). I ended my Pitchfork review at the time by quoting Beaujon’s enough-is-enough response to the standard worship music persecution story: “Sorry, dude, but a drunken idiot shouting ‘Satan rules’ when you play in a bar isn’t quite the same thing as being nailed to a tree.”
Highly recommended, remaindered or no.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 6, 2008