by Adam Gold
Last week I reminded any of the Cream's bed-wetting, asymmetrically-coiffed readers out there that their local after-school emo haunt Rocketown won't be going anywhere. Turns out I might have been wrong. If I'm reading this next news item correctly, it looks like RCKTWN may be going straight to hell. A Christian music blog called Gospel Soundcheck posted an article titled Christian Club Rocketown Plays Host to Night of 'Satanic' Rock, in which a writer by the name of Joanne Brokaw calls our and Sean Hannity's favorite youth center into question for booking the "hardcore satanic metal" bands The Black Dahlia Murder, Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust and Trap Them to play on Oct. 27.
Brokaw feels that lyrics like, "Join us! Black valor's on our side / Striking with satanic force we'll crust their fabled Christ / We march upon the enemy with hate, with hate / On this day of victory Christian blood will soak these battlefields"--taken from Toxic Holocaust's "Black Valor"--fly in the face of the club's mission to share "Christ's love with youth through creative programs and mentoring relationships that are culturally relevant and eternally significant...." Brokaw ponders whether or not RCKTWN should feel obligated to make it abundantly clear, via disclaimers on their website, that the club books non-Christian acts while "asking for donations from Christians to support the ministry."
Personally, I hope this is a sign of things to come. Perhaps RCKTWN will move further towards secular adult thinking and put a goddamn bar in that place. That way people can start bringing guns in there to keep the kids who just wanna have fun "safe" from the ones who get a little too jiggy to the sounds of 3OH!3.
I kid, of course. I don't want any little dweebs to get hurt. I just want them to get really into The Clash before it's too late, and bands like this aren't helping. At least bands like The Black Dahlia Murder might piss off their parents.
In a followup article titled Rocketown and Secular Bands: Some Thoughts From the Other Side of the Issue," Brokaw quotes the Cream's own Tracy Moore's 2007 Scene cover story in explaining the club's rationale for their secularly oriented booking practices:
"Christian bands are not going to bring the kids we want to minister to," says Ben Cissell, pastor at Rocketown and former drummer for Audio Adrenaline, in the 2007 article. "We're called to do shows and minister to kids that churches can't reach ... We bring in those bands so we can show these kids what Rocketown is, show them our programs, and build relationships with these kids. So sometimes we cross that boundary.
Brokaw goes on to quote an email sent to her by Moore in which she talks about how, in spending time there, she "realized that not only is it an overwhelmingly decent place, that it makes sense to reach out to kids on their terms, in their world, with the challenges they really face. Anything else is going to be a kind of antiseptic facsimile." I'm using quotes from our own writers taken from other sites. Holy shit, that's meta as fuck.
Brokaw concludes her article by urging readers to "judge for [themselves] whether or not Rocketown's ministry allows them to reach out to kids who might slip through the cracks otherwise," before reminding them that it's important they "pray for ministries where God may not have called [them], but also hold each other accountable." Sounds great! In the meantime I'll just pray that RCKTWN's patrons get hip to The Clash real soon so they stop starting bands that sound like this. They even have wholesome lyrics.