When I was in middle school, I used to go to Christian rock concerts. Lots of them. I learned to skank while listening to a band called Godrocket, and practiced at home to the Supertones. Switchfoot played regular gigs in my church’s sanctuary before going mainstream. But one of my favorite bands was Thee Spivies (“Thee” so “the” would never be pronounced with a schwa), whose album was sold under a Christian label, but who never said a word about God. They were one of the peppiest bands, reminiscent of 60s surf rock, with some 50s puppy love thrown in. They were proud geeks, with song lyrics like:
I’m a square but I guess that you like me. Duly note, I’m probably not a square in the strictest sense of the word but you know what I mean.
They were popular among the youth-groupers, but not so popular as bands like the Supertones and Five Iron Frenzy, who were impossible to book for small concerts and Christian music festivals. So when they played at Lollapaloma, the Christian version of Lollapalooza, held at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Greek Amphitheater, they were a big deal. (I would direct you to the Lollapaloma website, but apparently it doesn’t exist anymore.)
Here’s where things get a little Footloose. You see, dancing was not allowed at Point Loma Nazarene. But how could you not dance to the rockin’ rhythms of Thee Spivies? (This was 1998, during the brief swing dance revival.) There was this build-up of energy, kids sort of dancing in their seats, until finally, the kids could take it no more. We rushed the stage and danced to our little hearts’ desires. And then, after Thee Spivies, out came The W’s, a Christian swing band. So rules be darned.
Of course, most of us were from churches that allowed dancing. Mine certainly did. Encouraged it, in fact, as long as it wasn’t dirty. King David and all that. Dancing and singing to express joy. But anyway–that’s not the point.
You see, I was recently in a Christian bookstore for the first time in many years (my sister-in-law is dating a man who works there). I combed the racks for all those old familiar bands–it doesn’t matter that I own a lot of their CDs, I never see or listen to or think about most of them–and I was really hoping to find a new album by Thee Spivies. Because not too long before my visit to the Christian bookstore, I decided to put their CD on my iPod, and I’ve discovered that this long-lost, peppy music has a profound cheering effect on me. All I have to do is crank up “So Tell Me” and my spirits are lifted. It’s bright, energetic, and it hearkens back to a moment when I felt I broke free of something, even if it was in the silliest of circumstances. You see, breaking the dancing rule was major for me because I was painfully shy, especially when surrounded by my youth group peers, and taller than everyone else, and pizza-faced, and frizzled, with braces to boot. And I got up in that amphitheater, and I danced.
Forgive me if I’m getting cheesy here. But after reconnecting with my lost Spivies, I’m curious about other people’s experience with long-lost music, books, movies, and so forth. And I also want to share my uber geeky music with those of you (which is most, if not all of you) who have not had the chance to enjoy it. If you listen to it, please remember Kathryn’s post about guilty pleasures. I’m sure not guilty about this.