Woodbury resident Kevin Schuyler doesn’t like what he hears from modern music.
“We’re sick of it,” he said. “The new stuff just seems vulgar.”
Schuyler, 47, a longtime musician, recently started a new band.
It’s called From Ordinary. They play Christian rock.
Patch sat down with Schuyler and band mate Tom Hipps to talk about the group and the challenges associated with playing Christian rock. They view their endeavor as a kind of experiment—to see how their brand of music will be received at area bars and clubs.
“It’s a professional attempt that we admit might fail,” Schuyler said. “But there’s nothing oxymoronic about Christians having a beer and dancing.”
While only three months old, From Ordinary is already slated to play the 2012 Minneapalooza, set for June 9. (They were among 40 bands chosen of the 129 that wanted to play the event.)
Schuyler, who attends with fellow band member Lorne Streiff, said the group simply plays rock and roll with a positive message. They cover songs from popular Christian rock bands and also transition in and out old favorites—such as California Dreamin’ and Don’t Fear the Reaper—within their songs.
“It’s not just Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” Schuyler said.
The only difference between From Ordinary’s music and that of secular rock bands is the lyrics, Hipps said. The group’s songs focus on maintaining relationships and loving one woman, for example.
“It’s a shame that we even have to think about failing because our lyrics are about Christ,” Schulyer said.
When they’re out booking gigs, the band is up front about its Christianity.
“We’ve decided to wear it on our sleeves,” Schuyler said.
There’s too much one-upmanship in modern music, Hipps said, and it often comes across as negative, if not outright angry. And the acknowledgement of something greater is lost, he said.
“It’s like, ‘I’m my own god,’ almost,” Hipps said of some contemporary bands.
Both Schuyler and Hipps said they understand it’s an uphill battle, but they also believe bar owners would be surprised at the turnout for a Christian rock group.
“They aren’t even given the chance,” Schuyler said. “They cannot go to a club and hear church music.”
While Schuyler said he uses his faith as a “touchstone” in his daily life, the band members are “just normal people.”
“We have a beer at practice and we can be vulgar or lustful,” he said.
Added Hipps: “It’s hard to live in this world and be completely pure.”
The plan now is to create enough songs for an album, said Hipps, whose songs have gotten radio airplay and whose previous albums have been sold at . Christian rock music has come a long way, he said.
“It did used to be pretty lame,” Hipps said.
From Ordinary is hoping to change that—and the perception that people won’t enjoy music with a positive message.
“We want to be The Beatles of Christian music,” Schuyler said.