We recently uncovered the original email message that inspired us to launch Glorious Noise. Back in the day, we had it showcased as a feature, but it somehow got lost in the shuffle of redesigns and content management system switches. We’re happy to bring it back. —Jake
Subject: At The Barbershop
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001
I had my hair trimmed today at Supercuts. As I was the only patron, and dislike conversing with my barber, I was an audience of one for Pilar’s polite humming to the super sounds of KISS-FM on the hi-fi. As we sat in the silence of an empty Supercuts, she hummed along absentmindedly to “all the hits on one station,” and seemed downright happy about doing it. After the requisite R & B power ballad and a few minutes of radio station nonsense, the opening chords of a familiar rocker filled the room.
Ladies and gentlemen, Creed.
The elegiac guitar riff that heralds the arrival of “Higher” is a memorable mixture of two themes. Its ascending, almost plaintive beginning notes crumble like sandstone into the distorted switchbacks that drive the song’s bottom end. And herein lies the dualism of Creed. On one hand, you have your ‘local boys make good’ story, right down to their IROC-driving Tallahassee, FL roots. Presumably this accounts for the Marshall stack, chest-bumping side of their music. But it’s that introspective opening to “Higher” that illustrates the other side of the band, the lyrical soul-searching of mouthpiece Scott Stapp.
Stapp’s Pentecostal upbringing is no secret; indeed, it’s become his calling card, much like Jewel’s vaunted hippie existence before him. What’s funny about his claim-to-Christian-fame is that, too often, his proselytizing arrives in watered down form. After all, “What’s This Life For?” and “My Own Prison” aren’t exactly ground-breaking statements of faith. They sound more like song and album titles pulled out of the “Let’s Start A Rock Band!” manual in last month’s Highlights. Nevertheless, Creed’s honking riffs and grave vocals have helped millions of disciples see the light. Then again, so did those good Christians in The Baja Men.
And that’s the bottom line: It’s all about the ROCK, baby. Just like for Shaggy, it’s all about the bump n’ grind, and, sometimes, it’s all about asking who let the dogs out. Whatever message Stapp and his apostles might claim to bring to the masses, it might not be flowing intact from the pulpit to the people. When “Higher”‘s chorus hits, with its extremely deep, Damn Yankees-esqe message about taking people higher, you can grab your girl, hi-five your buddy, AND drink a beer, all at the same time. Sure, there’s some moaning in the verses about “appreciating all this pain,” but that lead singer sure is cute, you know? In this age of uniting, not dividing, “Higher” gives the mullet gods something to pump their fists to, and Pilar down at Supercuts a nice melody to hum along with.
They’ll know we are Christians by our album sales.
[By the way, this was the email note that I received from Johnny that kicked me in the ass to create Glorious Noise. — Jake]
Glorious Noise recently celebrated its eighth anniversary. Be sure to check out Stephen Macaulay and Derek Phillip’s reminiscences on eight years of GLONO: Eight Years After, and It started with emails…, respectively.