During my first year of Bible College I attended a couple seminars put on by one of the 4th years on Rock Music. He had slides. Talk about hip and cutting edge! He also used sound clips. I was impressed. The presentation, which you can still find variations of in your local Christian bookstore on VHS or on Youtube by searching under such creative titles as “Hells Bells”, was essentially about rock music being the devil’s great plan to corrupt our society and lead us all to hell.
During these seminars I learned about playing music backwards to hear the secret messages that had been placed on the albums. This was especially interesting if you had a date with you, the Bible College equivalent of taking a girl to a scary movie, as she’d get a little closer as the spooky back masking proclaimed all sorts of evil. Most of the time the guy doing the seminar had to explain to us exactly what was being said or we’d never have figured it out on our own. I’m still not sure how our sub-conscious could understand and absorb what our conscious mind couldn’t. I heard things, or at least I was told I heard things, like ‘hail satan’ which could have been “have satin” or possibly “have a saltine”. It didn’t matter, the important thing was that we stopped listening to it.
I learned that KISS stood for Knights In satan’s Service. This was the official word that the guy doing the seminar had read somewhere in something as reported to a guy by a friend of a friend who had heard they KISS guys actually admit it. It didn’t stop there. All of these rockers were singing about sex, drugs and disobedience. Don’t even get the seminar guy started on Black Sabbath (which I once saw graffitied on a wall in Cincinnati as ‘Black Sabith’ proving that bad spelling is also the work of the devil). AC/DC was the term used to describe bi-sexuality, swinging both ways, we were told. Blue Oyster Cult, CULT, ‘nough said. And on and on it went.
My response was to trash all my ‘secular’ albums before I was led astray. I actually tossed out Simon and Garfunkel’s, Concert In Central Park. I also wrote to my friend Michelle who’d first opened the door for me on who Jesus really was. I knew she was as hooked on Billy Joel as I was and I also knew she listened to DEVO. DEVO! Which the seminar guy proved was all about de-evolution (so bad just for having ‘evolution’ in their name though I’m not sure why we didn’t like de-evolution but they wore flower pots for hats so obviously they hated God). I wrote to her and kindly suggested she repent and burn those albums ASAP or risk falling away from Jesus and potentially facing the fiery pits of hell.
She wrote me back a nicely worded, very sweet letter (she was a Baptist) that told me, in no uncertain terms, to go stuff myself. It was the closest I think her little Baptist heart had ever come to swearing.
2 years later I was extremely thankful that I hadn’t had my Billy Joel collection at school with me. 25 years later I still miss the Concert In Central Park.