Yesterday Five Iron Frenzy, (one of my favorite bands of all time) announced that they were going to record a new album and start performing live shows again. This is great news, and not just because I can’t stand the Stepford Wives style carbon copies of “cool” and “alternative” bands being forced at me on Christian radio. Well, it’s part of it… but not all of it. Five Iron Frenzy for me wasn’t just about flailing about in a mud pit in front of the stage at Cornerstone ’98 in Bushnell, Illinois. It was the lyrics, man. This band came out and performed with such angst and emotion that the lyrics would just brand themselves into my mind.
For me it went far beyond the music. The band was not real covert about the fact that they were a collection of flawed individuals. Maybe that is what has been so endearing to people for so long. I’ve been to a lot of concerts in my day. But nothing was quite as world changing for me as a Five Iron show at a college in Western New York. I watched Reese Roper end a concert by apologizing to his band members for being a jerk (especially towards the drummer, apparently) and leading the crowd in an a Capella version of “As The Deer” that really freaked us all out. Maybe they ended every concert on that tour the same way, and maybe they didn’t. But the fact is, that was the first time I ever saw humility from a Christian “celebrity” and it stung. Because I knew that not only was I just as screwed us as THOSE guys, but that Jesus and His Gospel were still working in them… and me. That was refreshing.
I’m so glad that Five Iron is back. Finally, there’s going to be someone out there as imperfect as me again.
Five Iron never sang flowery songs about a “perfect” church world; they were too busy reacting to the world we actually live in, and the grace of Jesus that makes it possible for us to survive in it. I’ve become so disappointed with “Christian” pop culture that sometimes I wish the entire industry would float away on the East River. Or maybe some lava. That’s because I am a sinful, sometimes angry guy. That’s why music with passion resonates with me. That’s why crappy pop music doesn’t.
I’m so glad that Five Iron is back. Finally, there’s going to be someone out there as imperfect as me again. Finally.
“Night came and I broke my stride,
I swallowed hard, but never cried.
When grace was easy to forget,
I’d denounce the hypocrites,
casting first stones, killing my own.
You would unscale my blind eyes,
and I stood battered, but more wise,
fighting to accelerate,
shaking free from crippling weight.
With resilience unsurpassed,
I clawed my way to You at last.
And on my knees, I wept at Your feet,
I finally believed, that You still loved me.”