Granted Saviour Machine was ostracised and practically banned from "good" "wholesome" Christian book/music stores due to their song "Legion" and the "offensive" content in the lyrics, (why quoting scripture offends Christians is a mystery to me) but The Wedding Party and The Violet Burning really should have made it in the Christian music scene.
The singer Eric Clayton from Saviour Machine had a powerful baritone voice and it was that voice that made me envision all sorts of things as a young man eager for spiritual understanding. He was always respectful of those of us who wrote to him and voiced our support of his band's work. William Knight and Jamie McCavanagh from The Wedding Party would keep in touch with me and discuss things. Libby, another member of the band actually offered to put me up in her place and show me around their studio if ever i visited Nashville. Their connection to those who admired their work was something else and realistically it really only happens with smaller bands, but their kindness really showed me that they were standing by what they were trying to say in their music and lyrics. It was the passion in the music that inspired me most of all though. The Wedding Party's No More Night or Saviour Machine's Carnival of Souls had a profound impact on me and i remember even back then wondering why Christian bookstores would boycott what to me was music that was more in line with the idea of Christianity. To me, their music represented the the equivalent of The Hollies' song "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother".
Getting back to my point. Alot of good art and good music is destined to remain hidden like gems in the mire. YET, despite the fact that they are hidden, they exude excellence, craftmanship and soul stirring emotion that while may be rarely appreciated, can never degrade as throwaway music...which is completely ironic, considering that popular art and music (especially with pop music) often has short lived fame. You can be a flavour of the month, or reach super stardom for a few years and go down in flames rather quickly. You might create a classic, or you may not. What creates a classic? I guess it could be any number of things, but i feel that what sticks with me is something in the art that is universal...namely mood. How does it make you feel? I make no secret of it that art inspires me, in the same way that music does. To me, i would rather look at a Privat Livemont over a Van Gogh, or a Mucha over a Picasso. I suppose they are all respected artists in their own right, but the average man on the street will have heard of Van Gogh or Da Vinci, not because those artists are any better, but because they have been absorbed into popular culture. I think also, we feed the popular culture by embracing something that the majority of people already love (often because they themselves buy into the very fact that it is popular culture, not necessarily because they enjoy it or even "get it"). Nowadays the word for it is "trending"...not a word i particularly like, but that, i feel, is essentially the gist of it.
The Violet Burning's I See Stars paints an audible picture of some kind of love which i feel could rival the lyrics of any pop song
"Hold me close, and never let me go." - I love it when you talk that way.
And throw your arms around my neck,
I love you, I love you, please stay.
Heaven holds my heart, and I feel it; The palm of your hand against mine.
"And I never, never, I never wanted more than this.
I promise, I promise, I promise, this time will be alright.
Yeah, I see stars every time we kiss."
So i learned more and more the importance of putting your best work out there...regardless of the uncertainty of financial or cultural success. If you can inspire even one person with what you do, as in my youth these bands did for me, then I think this is the thing that really matters.