I hate fads. Especially music fads. There, I said it. I feel better. In a lot of cases the Christian Music Industry is no different than any other industry. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery there's a whole lot of flattery in the world. As a former DJ I know whereof I speak. The funny thing is, though everything is a copy of something else, everyone thinks they're an original.
A few years back we had a rap fad, where everyone was a rapper. Things have calmed down and the good ones remain, and the bad, well, they've gone on to obscurity (no one really goes away). The mid 90's gave us the Creed Craze, with everyone in Christian Rock sounding like Scott Stapp. Notable among the entries of that time were Kutless and Jeremy Camp. Kutless has since ditched the Creed sound, and has achieved success.
The late 90's and turn of the century gave us the Ska Craze, a sub-point of this post. Ska is basically Rock with Horns, with a bit of Rap thrown in for good measure. The OC Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy, The W's, Flight 180, and The Insyderz (The Grammatically Challenged subject of this post). They all thought they were trailblazing a new musical style, but horns and pop music go way back. I'm not talking Classical here, but Swing. Most of the Swing bands of the 40's and 50's in a way made Ska possible, as well as Swing/Big Band Revival Acts like Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. The 80's brought about a Pop Band with Brass Orchestra by the name of Truth, and when I came upon one of their albums I thought "this is so cool" Truth later went on to Pop/Rock/AC band status and dropped the Orchestra. It was during this phase that Natalie Grant was a part. Right no we're in a string craze, with everybody adding strings to their act. This and the horns are two fads I hope survive. Just like synthesizers, they just make good music that much better. Let me toss out a few names: Skillet, Apocalyptica, Mannheim Steamroller, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Let me toss out a few that you may not know, but should Annie Moses Band, Reilly.
Up here in the northeast we didn't get to see Insyderz much, kind of strange since they are from Detroit. Instead, we just got a steady stream of Five Iron Frenzy and The Supertones. Personally I still like the Insyderz better. More rock, less rap. Their "Worship Album"/Remix Album The Insyderz Present Skalleluia (1998). Like most good remix/remake albums, any resemblance to the original song is purely accidental.
Since Ska seemed to be more fad based than say, traditional rock, as interest cooled, the bands did too, beginning with the W's and the second tier, followed by FIF and finally the Insyderz and Supertones. Now, several years later, many bands are realizing that if they are a ministry, they just can't retire, and so, to borrow the title of the Supertones latest, they Reunite.
The Insyderz have tentatively titled their release The Sinners Songbook. They have decided to go without a major studio backer and launch a fan based Kickstarter campaign. You can read all about it
here, as well as find a link that you can use to help contribute to the effort.
Welcome back to two of Ska's biggest Christian Bands. You never can have too many horns in Christian Music, in my opinion. We shall see if the people agree.