Ex-Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch's epiphany that hanging with Jesus was more important than chilling with groupies amused many familiar with that band's rather heathen endeavors. But a rocker's admission to being down with G-O-D isn't the albatross it once might have been. Just witness the burgeoning success of the Christian-rock-centric label Tooth & Nail, whose popularity stems from the quality of its music -- not the vehemence of its Bible-thumping.
One T&N band making catechism class safe for studded belts is MewithoutYou. Rising from the ashes of the Operation, the quintet -- which is anchored by brothers Aaron (vocalist) and Mike (guitarist) Weiss -- stormed out of Philadelphia in 2002 with the J. Robbins-produced, At the Drive-In-worthy A to B Life. Last year's Catch for Us the Foxes just as easily could have been released on the Philly label Jade Tree: Slashing post-punk scissor kicks and mellow grooves reminiscent of the Clash merge with some serious Interpol-goes-moshing moodiness.
Make Believe front man Tim Kinsella is one of the most divisive figures in all indie rock. On the punknews.org forum, user "Jesse" writes, "I fucking love everything Tim touches. He seriously is a musical visionary that can't be stopped." Au contraire, writes "Scott": "I just think he's one of the most pretentious art fucks I've ever encountered...He thinks he's some amazing human being and talks down to so many kids."
But be he visionary or pretentious art fuck, there's no denying Kinsella's impact on the indie rock scene. From his days fronting screamo band Cap'n Jazz, to the more textured and complex music of his post-punk band Joan of Arc, to the funk-laced punk of Make Believe, Kinsella has been dividing audiences with bewildering lyrics and puzzling music for over a decade now. And let's not forget his unusual stage antics either; he's been known to pull an audience member on stage to talk for him during song breaks or to crouch on the corner of the stage in a fetal position as the rest of the group tears through their cacophonous pop songs.