Christian Hardcore Metal Band Singer Admits He Is An Atheist And Claims Most Christian Bands Are Fakes
I have for a long time had the theory that most bands who claim to be Christian in the various genres of Christian music are, more so than not, pretty fake, or using Christianity to sell records and make money. My point of view came from the punk rock and hardcore Christian scenes. When I found hardcore music, and most particularly, hardcore music that was Christian I knew I found the music for me. I remember buying a Zao album around 1996, “The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation.” I was so pumped and the lyrics were so Christian, so deep. I met other kids who liked punk, hardcore and metal. I bought other albums by Ninety Pound Wuss, Training For Utopia (who I found was only half members as Christian), and other Tooth And Nail (Solid State) Records bands. I eventually was a mail order customer for Facedown Records as well. A lot of the bands were real Christians and had very Christ centered lyrics, at least I assumed so.
Christian music artists have a huge responsibility to proclaim Christ and be responsible in their message. It if a fact that music, poetry, written expressions of beliefs and ideas are in fact teaching something. Whatever a Christian artist teaches is something that many church youth will follow. To say they are just artists or happen to be Christians in a band, and not a Christian band is irresponsible and a cop-out. They are promoting ideas and concepts and teach people things and if their message lacks biblical truth they are dangerous for people to follow. Christian bands should be considered as missionary or evangelist types who do it for God’s glory and are commissioned to do such work, but unfortunately they are not and the money speaks louder than the bible. So Christian businesses sell their stuff with tongues hanging out in anticipation because they are so desperate to look cool and make money in the world.
During the time I got into such music I would go to shows a lot and see bands. I had a friend who would book various bands and when the band members of various Christian groups involved with Christian pop punk, hardcore punk, metal etc. came to play many times the members never really reflected Christ at all. In fact, many times their behavior contradicted a life in Christ. Some even had members who would get drunk, say sexually immature jokes and totally lacked gospel centered behavior. I remember going to TOM Fest, a Christian music festival in Stevenson Washington (TOM = The Other Music), and never hearing much of anything about Jesus Christ and almost everyone who hung out at the festival were completely secular. You could buy TOM Fest tickets at Christian bookstores and buy many of the bands albums at Christian bookstores nationwide who played at the festival. So many people were smoking, hooking up, and some were getting drunk. I fond condom wrappers on the ground. No one seemed to be there for Christ, and if any were most of them were fringe groups who believed in all kinds of false teachings and lacked discernment. Many charismatic types. I heard rumors about another Christian festival called Cornerstone Festival that is even bigger and had even more of the same issues on an even larger scale. Bands use huge festivals to promote themselves and stay relevant.
Recently, the singer of one of the most popular Christian metal bands right now came out as an atheist after being convicted of attempted murder. His name is Tim Lambesis of the band As I Lay Dying. I was never a fan of As I Lay Dying and never once bought an album or even saw them at a show. I did not like their “mu metal or emo influenced-scenecore” metalcore music. They were very trendy. I never knew they were even Christian because they were even popular on MTV2’s Headbanger’s Ball and sold along with secular bands at big chain record store and their t-shirts were all over in Hot Topic stores. Most of their fans were not even Christians because they got so popular they transcended the Christian bookstore sales. But their albums were still always sold at various Christian bookstores. Christian record distributions also sold their albums as Christian. They became well accepted as a Christian band and openly confessed being Christians to everyone in interviews claiming their lyrics reflect their Christian beliefs.
Tim Lambesis plotted to have his wife murdered and wanted to hire a hit man to have her taken out. He was arrested in a string operation once word got out he was looking to have his wife killed. After the conviction he came out and admitted he was an atheist. He claimed he was an atheist practically the whole time and in the beginning of the band’s history he lost his faith a long with the rest of the band members who are all atheists now. He kept claiming Christianity anyway in order to sell music. He even claims that 9 out of 10 “Christian bands” are not real Christians. Most are faking it to sell music and remain popular. This is a theory I had long before I even knew of the band As I Lay Dying. I even called into Al Mohler’s (the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky) radio show around 2002 when they were discussing the poor quality of lyrics in popular Christian music. I called in to explain my theory that most of these bands were faking their faith in order to get popular, or at least using the Christian culture to start up and sell their music and then go secular. Christianity is a good launching point since so many people in the United States come from some sort of Christian cultural upbringing. Christian marketing is a huge industry that makes a ton of money.
So many bands start Christian and get popular through church people, especially youth groups, then sell enough records to get popular outside of Christianity and go totally secular and sign on a secular label and make tons of money. Then they can sell t both Christian and secular audiences making a double whammy of money. Without the Christian support at the beginning their band would never have become relevant and their fame and popularity would never have lasted. They would never have made the money they make. Christian bookstore sales can boost a band really fast at the beginning. Al Mohler of course didn’t think my theory was actually that valid because he obviously does not know much about the music scene and how things work. At least he let me express it and took it into consideration.
So many bands who start out Christian, bands like Zao, get popular and water down their lyrics to where Christianity is totally devoid of anything they sing about. Yet, Christian bookstores will still sell their music. For the longest time at FYE Music stores (A secular ad corporate owned mainstream record store) Zao was listed under “Christian/Gospel” and not “Heavy Metal” like As I Lay Dying was. Finally they put Zao into the heavy metal section. I saw Zao around 2004 in Louisville, Kentucky and their behavior lacked anything Christian. All of the band members were practically drunk and a few of them saying the F word a lot and even acting like divas yelling at the sound man. I talked to singer Dan about his lyrics for the “A Funeral of God” album and he was drunk telling me how he saw visions and had dreams and saw angels and the end of the world etc. and he wrote about it. Very bizarre concept that album was, and knowing its origin I feel sad.
Over time I just quit caring about music or going to shows, especially not caring about the Christian music scene that pretends it cares about the gospel and evangelizing and witnessing God to people. Around 2011 I created a gospel tract made specifically for people into punk rock, hardcore, and metal music called “Hello Mr. Hardcore!” I had the intention of passing this on to punks and hardcore kids I might came across. I heard that As I Lay Dying was coming to town and I thought that would be a good place to pass off some of these gospel tracts. I went downtown to Birmingham, Alabama where I lived in my car. I came to the venue early and saw their trailer show up as i drove past. I saw the band members and turned around the block. I came back and slowly drove by and saw one of the band members, possibly Tim Lambesis himself, but I am not sure who it was since I never cared about this band and did not know what each member looked like. It was some guy with long hair and he was on his cell phone outside on the sidewalk. As I drove by I rolled down my window and said, “Hey! hey! Hey man!” and he looked at me all cautiously like he thought I was weird. He looked slightly nervous and then I threw him a gospel tract and drove off. I looked back and saw that he casually walked over t it on the ground and picked it up while still talking on his cell phone. So whoever he was in the band, he got the tract. Hopefully he showed it to others. I bet he was offended after reading it. After that I drove to and waited around at a Starbucks. I also went to a local record store for a bit to look at music. I decided it was nearing the time of the show and was going to walk up to the kids in line for the show or at least stand outside the venue to pass out tracts. As I was walking some random girl smoking a cigarette saw me and asked if I am into music. I said yeah. She wanted to know if I was going to the show. I said no, I don’t care about that band. She wanted to sell me a ticket for some reason like she had an extra one she did not want. She said her boyfriend was friends with the band or something. I asked if they were a Christian band and that people said they were some Christian band. She said, “Nooo.” And rolled her eyes. She said yeah they claim it but they are not actually Christians at all. As in she assumed they are not and don’t actually care. Anyway I said no thanks about the ticket and kept walking to the venue. Since i was early I saw all the kids lined up to go to the show and as I walked down the line I gave out all of my “Hello Mr. Hardcore!” gospel tracts and left. All of the scene kids took them.
Months later another big “Christian metal” show came to town and was at some huge church. I went to that show and got in line to pretend I am going to buy a ticket but instead passed out all my gospel tracts and left. I tell you most of the fans waiting around in line were anything but Christians and the show was simply just for entertainment and not much to do with Christ. This show was huge and thousands of people were in line to get in. Big named scenecore-metalcore bands came including some Facedown Records bands. I really forgot the name of all the bands because I was briefly aware of this show. I tell you though scene kids don’t really like gospel tracts.
Anyway Tim Lambesis is not the first fake Christian metal artist to come out as an atheist. One of the first and biggest was Roger Martinez of the 80’s thrash metal band Vengeance Rising. He came out as an atheist in 1997 and declared an all out war on Christianity. but he never plotted to have anyone murdered like Lambesis did. All though Martinez did make death threats, yet were not seeming to be absolutely serious.
The point is more often than people want to admit most of the bands claiming to be Christian which are making money and getting popular are actually fakes. The problem is the church culture, especially youth group kids totally lack discernment and this postmodern-“do not ever judge anyone for any reason whatsoever” church culture allows such bands to thrive who use the name of Christ to make money and keep an audience while later rejecting the church and going secular. I suspect that in the future many bands who thrives off of Christianity, including “worship” will come out as atheists or at least totally liberal who will deny the absolute infallibility of Scripture. Do not be surprised. Pretty soon you will be saying, “Hey you know that one band? They are not Christian anymore.” But still many will not openly reject Christ, but will not make anything they produce have to do with Him which in itself is rejection all though not a verbal or written conformation. Do not put your faith in a band, but on God and His Word.