November 2014 (e-mail)
Killing For Christ is a U.S. based heavy metal band of speed, death & thrash metal musicians who cloak themselves, partly for their own safety, in complete anonymity where even the number of members is a mystery. The only thing that is clear is their message & even that has deeper meanings. The band was formed with the shared disgust of some contemporary Christian behavior & it endeavors to teach the violent, bloody, aggressive lessons of the Bible most modern Christians pretend do not exist shuffling them under the carpet. Their debut The Hordes was released for free on their website in 2014.
I expect others will see this band & either assume Satanism or take the band at their word that they are even more Conservative than the Westboro Church at their worst, which is what I did. Considering the diversity of Christian views in America, if there's socially conscious Christian bands & Jesus Music, why shouldn't the more conservative fundamentalist radical branch of Christianity also get musically represented? Finding the extremes of music fascinating was what brought my interest to Killing For Christ. While, if their spokesman Rev. Dr. Bill Gram wants to end his e-mails with "Spattered in the Fresh Warm Blood of the Infant Messiah" then he has a right to enjoy such a blessing under the Constitution. The catch-22 is that the band has a far greater message & really is not at all the band the Radical Right will want representing them ... quite the opposite. It took me digging through their music & facebook before I realized the joke was on me & all of us. It was a pleasure to communicate with frontman Rev. Dr. Bill Gram, both in jest & seriousness.
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AJ: I'm not Christian, but for the sake of at least one reader & irregardless of my own views, let me ask the obvious 'burning' question right up front ... Do you not believe that KILLING FOR CHRIST is strongly tempting Lucifer & plotting your personal path to Hell & Eternal Damnation?
REV: It sounds like Satan has you by the balls, Aaron. We’ll pray for you & your swollen balls. Lucifer is always working on trying to lead us to Hell. We frequently find ourselves tempted with fresh liquor & not-so-fresh hookers. Sadly, we frequently wake up with hang-overs & the rancid fishy stench of poor choices past. We find ourselves wondering what happened & if Satan managed to trick us into another night of alcohol fueled debauchery. Satan is so tricky. But, we must press on & face that temptation head on. I think the more we drink & debauch, the more immune we’ll become to the temptations. That’s how immunity works, right? I mean, we can sin all we want as long as we just clear the debt with a quick prayer anyway, so what’s the harm really?
AJ: Anton LaVey, founder of the Church Of Satan, wrote that Satanism is not about the horned beast of Christian theology nor even anti-Christian, but the essence of Satanism is about individuality & following your own drummer. Thus, he once wrote the most Satanic band he knew was the BEACH BOYS. For him The BEACH BOYS were particularly Satanist doing a unique style of music with songwriter Brian Wilson being afraid of the beach & ocean. So, given that KILLING FOR CHRIST is very individualistic in its message, I have to ask the other obvious question ... Are you Satanists in disguise, twisting the name of Jesus to fool the gullible Christian?
REV: To suggest we could fool gullible Christians would be like suggesting a murderous cult leader could write a BEACH BOYS song. I mean, that would be absurd! Truthfully, we go the extra mile to keep from twisting any words at all. We use the King James 1611 Bible & Fox News as the two standards of measure for the American Christian-ness of our lyrics, just to keep it fair for those who debate us. We are prepared to cite either source in defense of our violent lyrics & Godly message. Modern Christians are not our target musical audience, but it sure is nice when they try their hand at debating religious points with us.
AJ: Your PR reads "KILLING FOR CHRIST was formed to teach the violent, bloody, aggressive lessons of the Bible most modern Christians pretend do not exist." What types of lessons are you referring to here, for example?
REV: You could toss a Bible in the air & shoot pages at random to find the lessons we are talking about. In fact, hold on ... Okay, I’m back. In a single blast, Jesus has directed my birdshot to the following lessons, to start: Exodus 22:20, Deuteronomy 17:12-13, Mark 6:11, Jude 5:1, 1 John 5:19, Philippians 2:10, Romans 16:17, 2 John 1:10, Hebrews 3:12, Deuteronomy 18:20, Exodus 22:17, Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 20:9, Chronicles 15:12-13, Zechariah 13:3, Numbers 1:48-51, 2 Kings 2:23-24, 2 Samuel 6:3-7, Isaiah 14:21, Ezekiel 9:5-7, Judges 15:14-15, 1 Samuel 15:2-3, Jeremiah 48:10 & Joshua 6:20-21. Story after story, cited above, commands followers to kill or torture others for offending God. Many of the stories quote God directly as he commands his followers to kill women & children & show no mercy. There are more violent lessons in the Bible than just these few ... shall I reload a second shot?
AJ: Looking over the messages on your FB page it seems to me that you are pointing out what Christianity should/would look like if modern Christians actually followed the commandments of the Bible, versus picking & choosing the good stuff. Do you believe modern Christianity has perverted the messages of the old teachers like Moses &, of course, Jesus?
REV: Yes, exactly! We believe modern Christians have twisted & contorted Christianity to suit their own needs. They’re more concerned with what looks good on a church sales brochure than the actual lessons taught by the Bible, such as killing, raping, & enslaving the way God commands it. If you ask a modern Christian about any of the violent, bigoted passages of the Bible they will usually become defensive & claim such stories are all part of another time or are in some way not valid. In the same breath they will quote a friendly verse adjacent to the violent verse & claim it is more valid in some way. Why can’t they just accept the Bible as a whole? Is it not worthy of comprehensive acceptance? Ignoring God’s word will cause them to become homosexual & should be punished by death. See Romans 1:24-32. Praise Jesus!
AJ: On your facebook you cite both the Old & New Testament. Some might argue the laws of the Old Testament books don't matter now that we have Jesus who brought a new covenant with his blood. How do you respond to this theological criticism against the validity of your arguments?
REV: This “new covenant” garbage is a common way for Christians to edit the Bible to suit their own needs. The Bible never says to disregard any scripture. In fact, Jesus himself says in multiple books of the Bible that we must follow all of the Old Laws forever & that his existence in no way changes that! Just read Matthew 5:17-19, Luke 16:17, 2 Timothy 3:16. Jesus even rides someone’s ass for not killing a child the way the Old Testament teaches, Mark 7:10, & then backs up Moses’ violent rules for living in John 7:19. So, yeah, the pop-Christians with their “new covenant” nonsense can eat a salty bag of dicks. I think I can find a Jesus quote to support that one too. Where’s my shotgun?
AJ: On your facebook you often talk about Christian oppression. I've been saying for years that Christians are the current scapegoat of society. For centuries it was the Jews. Jews poison the water in Europe, for example, or are taking over the world. Many people still believe that, but I find now Jews & Christians, & often anyone whose religious, are today lumped into the same boat & blamed for the woes of society. For example, prayer meetings before U.S. Senate meetings don't seem to be bringing us back to the Middle Ages, nor doing that much harm other than offending some non-religious people, & people will always get offended, but it's portrayed as an old fashioned abomination by some critics. Is there any solution towards reconciliation between the Christian or religious person with the non-religious outsider to live peacefully together?
REV: I’m confident there is a way to reconcile the differences between the poor, oppressed Christians & non-Christians. The solution is simple. Eliminate one of the 2 groups. Those evil atheists already know this strategy & are trying to breed God out of each generation by teaching kids anti-Christian nonsense like “science” & "medicine”. Education & science lead people to not believe in magic or Jesus. How can they believe in God if they don’t believe in his magic? The Bible saw this coming, & lays out specific instructions on how to deal with apostates & ex-Christians in 2 Chronicles 15:12-13.
AJ: You have on your PR that "hate mail drives their creativity" & your FB reeks of disgust with the message you are sharing. What's the worst or most creative hate mail you've gotten?
REV: Full grown adults sometimes write us with furiously misspelled threats that we take pretty seriously. If we actually ever tour as a group, you can be sure our security will cost more than our light show. What would concern us more than our own safety at a show would be the safety of the crowd. We all agree that if we were killed at a show that would suck, but if a fan got hurt or killed because some stupid Christian decided to send people to “meet Jesus”, we’d never forgive ourselves. Here’s an excerpt from one dissatisfied Christian: “you little shits dont know what your doing your playing with fire your about to get burned!!! See you at your next gig hope you really want to meet the REAL JESUS!!!!” Here’s an excerpt from our response: “Thank you for your generous offer! We are all so excited to finally meet him! I once stood in line at a book signing to meet him, but once the wine ran out, he suddenly had to leave. The guy in line behind me pointed out that he probably wasn’t the real Jesus, but he changed his tune when he saw that the water fountain outside of the book store now only dispenses Banana Red MD 20/20. Praise the real Jesus!”
AJ: On a more serious note ... how did KILLING FOR CHRIST get started?
REV: I am from the filthy south & was raised Southern Baptist. I have also been a heavy metal vocalist for many years. Along the way, I’ve met a lot of great people who share my distaste for modern shitty Christians with their smug asshole attitudes who refuse to accept the entire Bible at face value. A few of us decided to form a band whose mission would be to reflect true Christianity without any of the bullshit. Just pure, unfiltered Jesus-time Bible music. Christians hate it for some reason, but our lyrics come directly from their Good Book, so they usually have trouble finding an argument against us. Hopefully a light bulb will turn on for a few of them. We’ll pray for them.
AJ: Who is in the band?
REV: Nice try, Satan! We aren’t exposing ourselves to you! I rebuke you, foul demon!
AJ: Did KILLING FOR CHRIST start with the band members sharing a disgust of Christian behavior in the U.S. or did this theme come later?
REV: The disgust came first. In this line of work, disgust always comes first.
AJ: KILLING FOR CHRIST is pointing out forgotten things in the Bible ... but at the same time you are pointing out the hypocrisy of it. For example, in a recent facebook post you share of a Christian that hurt a gay man where the gay lived & the Christian went to jail, with the Christian's defense that he was following God. Few, including Christians, would probably say the gay man should be jailed & the Christian rewarded for doing God's work let run free, which is on some level what the Bible actually says. Though, this is exactly what you say on your page with: "Where is the justice in persecuting Christians while rewarding evil? Where is the justice for God?" My first view reading this was that KILLING FOR CHRIST is ultra-Christian & looking for a return of traditional Biblical Christianity. You are actually fighting for the Christ of a lost religion. Then I realized it's all a satire pushed to an extreme level that feels more true than not, which is the best satire & I love satire. It becomes more obvious on your website when you write: "support us so we don’t die of starvation in a cardboard box on the front steps of a mega-church who ignores starving people." Did I get the joke? Looking at your FB I feel like I'm in a minority though.
REV: Some would argue that we cannot be satire because our message is perfectly aligned with the Bible. If it is seen as satire to express precisely what the Christian rule book says, then the entire religion must be a joke. Blasphemy!
AJ: Are there any limits to where you won't take your satire? I see regular comparisons between ancient Christianity & Islam, which are quite thought provoking. Do you fear repercussions from Muslims, or anyone from that matter?
REV: A very wise co-performer once challenged me to never be offended by words. I have lived my life by that code for years. I think so many religious people live by the exact opposite code. If they are offended by my words, it’s their own damned fault. Yes, I fear the physical repercussions will catch up to me or us one day in the form of some dumb religious zealot who is just obeying their holy scripture. They’re not crazy, they’re just religious ... & we should respect religious beliefs, right?
AJ: Your debut album The Hordes dropped in 2014 & is available for free &/or donation on your band website. Tell me about the making of this album.
REV: We worked over the course of a few years on gear & technology brought to the table by those of us who owned it. We produced everything in house, as is becoming common these days, & were overseen by a great engineer who is also a close personal friend of ours. We used standard modern day tricks like kick replacement & tone emulation to get the sounds we wanted without having to re-create very many wheels. We didn’t break any technological ground with what we were doing, but we had a blast doing it & are working on a second album as we speak. Hopefully it will be out before the end of 2015. We’ll see!
AJ: "Put To Death" has a fascinating guitar solo of super high & super fast notes while the rhythm is so melodic it's not as heavy & distorted as I was expecting. I'm reminded more of the riffing PANTERA than the dense MAYHEM. Musically, where do you draw inspiration from?
REV: PANTERA, MAYHEM, Chuck Schuldiner [of DEATH, CONTROL DENIED], DEICIDE, CANNIBAL CORPSE, DEAD KENNEDYS, DRI, ANTHRAX, PESTILIENCE, as well as modern metal like SYLOSIS, REVOCATION & of course Brian Posehn. Brian is the baddest motherfucker on the planet. He is definitely more metal than all of us put together, including you Aaron! Don’t laugh. We’re fucking serious about The Posehn.
AJ: I have to ask about your cover art. Did you get this from some place or was it commissioned?
REV: Our art director worked with a very talented artist named Brian Allen aka Flyland Designs to create the art. I understand he was only struck by lightning twice during the creation. You can count on the next album art being done by him!