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Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  292 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Body Piercing Saved My Life is the first in-depth journalistic investigation into a subculture so large that it's erroneous to even call it a subculture: Christian rock. Christian rock culture is booming, not only with bands but with extreme teen Bibles, skateboarding ministries, Christian tattoo parlors, paintball parks, coffeehouses, and nightclubs, encouraging kids to f ...more
Paperback, 291 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Da Capo Press (first published April 18th 2006)
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Dec 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
I tried really hard to get into this book. Honestly, I just could NOT. I have made numerous attempts over the last couple of months, and I did manage to make my way (almost) through several chapters, but it really just did not hold my interest.

I think the big problem (aside from the Greil-Marcus-meets-Raymond-Chandler style of writing) was that it's written by an outsider. Everything that Beaujon knows about Christian culture, and can explain about it, we already understand. I think it's imposs
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Beaujon is not a Christian. The most important thing about that comment is that it is what makes this book so terrific. If any Christian musician or writer had set out to do a year-long project researching a book about Christian rock, you would have ended up with something completely different. Beaujon’s neutral standpoint—just looking at the music for the music’s sake, from the point of view of a writer for the magazine Spin—has a great deal to teach us about Christian music, and even mo ...more
Jan 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Very interesting read. It raised a lot of great questions and Beaujon introduces a lot of figures in Christian rock that I've never heard of. I think he maybe bit off more than he could chew. I was also really disappointed that, while he criticizes the church for being racist, he interviews one, maybe two women, in the whole book. The only woman I remember him interviewing works for a Christian record label. There are female Christian rockers out there! I guess if they all turned him down for an ...more
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An insightful and interesting look into a music scene I didn't really know much about. The expanse of Christian rock is intriguing, as well as the struggles it has with itself. Some parts were hard to read, especially when he is speaking the anti-choice people, but it was an engaging and well written peek into this scene and music style. Although they do talk about U2 an awful lot.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I remember reading this book when it VERY first came out in 2006, and I definitely connected with many of the artists he profiled in the book. 13 years later, after finishing the first draft of my memoir, I relate more to the author as he compared and contrasted what "Christian Music" claims to be and what it seems to really be. It's exactly what I needed to read as I start heavy edits of my book.
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book not really sure what to expect, particularly since the author states that he is not a Christian. He doesn't have a hostile tone at all, and is very positive where it is deserved. As a music writer, he critiques inferior and mediocre music, but readily praises quality artists. It was interesting to hear familiar Christian beliefs explained by a non-Christian author to possibly non-Christian readers. Having listened to a lot of Christian rock at some points in life, and ...more
Aug 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish it. It was just so dry and not interesting that I just couldn't do it. And that is saying something. This is the first book that I've stopped reading in the middle because I just couldn't do it.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beaujon captured a broad snapshot of Evangelical subculture with this book. He interviewed a range of important people in Christian Rock -- band members, promoters, record executives, fans, and magazine editors. He attended big events like Cornerstone and the Gospel Music Awards. He reviewed Christian music as an outsider. He revealed the inner workings of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). And ultimately, he presented the story of Christian Rock.

I'm a fan doing my own research on a slice of CC
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
The author doesn't seem to be a fan of the subject material; he complains about not landing interviews with more of the artists but can you really blame them? So the end result is a book that isn't much of an 'inside look' on multiple levels. It feels like an exposé assignment that fell flat. But having said that, I appreciate the author's honesty and efforts. And I also enjoyed how many familiar Christian bands/personalities that you get a glimpse of throughout the book.
The Rudie Librarian (Brian)
I didn’t fully know what to expect of this book. The part of me that grew up in this culture wanted this book to be an ode to a life I loved. But it was more honest and at times cynical than that. I still enjoyed it.
Neil R. Coulter
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, worship

I just loved this book. I started reading it as part of my background reading for a book chapter I'm writing, but once I'd started I could hardly put it down. Though I don't think the title or the subtitle are particularly helpful, the actual content is really fascinating. Andrew Beaujon (writer for Spin magazine) presents more of an outsider's view of Christian rock, since he is not himself not a Christian, and he didn't know much about Christian rock at all before starting this major project.

C. J. Scurria
Jan 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: utter-nonsense
This is one of the VERY few books where I could not exactly finish it.

The strangest thing is the book's description versus what the writer felt about the subject.

Look at this:

Body Piercing Saved My Life is the first in-depth journalistic investigation into a subculture so large that it's erroneous to even call it a subculture: Christian rock. Christian rock culture is booming, not only with bands but with extreme teen Bibles, skateboarding ministries, Christian tattoo parlors, paintball parks, c
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
The title of this book is somewhat deceptive since the author is not inside the phenomenon of Christian rock. He's an outsider, trying to understand something he's not a part of and doesn't believe. He frequently complains that he is unable to get interviews, is frustrated that no one returns his emails, and frets about his lack of access. But he never addresses how those problems influenced the book he ultimately did write. Did they end up mattering at all?

The author also comes to this (fascina
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone curious about the bizarre animal that is American Christian pop culture
I read this directly after finishing Daniel Radosh's riveting "Rapture Ready," and while I felt this effort wasn't quite as deft as that book (perhaps in part because the author had trouble getting many subjects to talk to him), it was still a compelling read. Where Radosh covers pretty much the whole landscape of American evangelical pop culture, Beaujon focuses almost entirely on the music industry. His detailed history of the development of "Christian rock" and its variants is enlivened by hi ...more
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: music-o-philes
Andrew Beaujon writes a historical/ blog-style/ tourist guide to Christian music. An incredible compilation, he spits out more names and artists and record labels than I could keep up with, and I found myself wanting to look up a bunch of the bands he interviewed. It's fun to read the conversations he's having while driving with musicians to their next gig, or from behind the scenes at concerts, or while walking around at music festivals or college campuses, at Christian music awards, or while ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
An "outsider"'s perspective on the contemporary Christian music industry and some of its most notable artists. Beaujon's sense of humor, along with his willingness to listen to those with different perspectives than his own, make this book a worthwhile read. His mostly accurate forays into the history of American evangelicalism also display a quality rarely found among mainstream journalists such as himself.

For local interest, he does mention several Philadelphia-based artists such as Mewithouty
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock is a great book. It is humorous, informative, and well-written. Andrew Beaujon is one of the editors of Spin magazine, and tells the reader of Body Piercing… early on that he is not by any stretch of the imagination a Christian. This makes for extremely interesting reading. I learned a great deal about Christian music from this book, as well as about the musicians themselves and those who listen to them. Beaujon makes many good ...more
Apr 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
I've tried for ages to finish this book, and maybe some day I will. But I honestly think that day will be far from now, because I'd rather use my time and brain power on something else. While it is very interesting to see how someone who is not a Christian views the Christian rock scene, I felt like Beaujon's insights were more intriguing for those who knew nothing about it. The concept of Christian rock is one that is being fought and judged on many different layers. Beaujon notices this, and p ...more
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this look at Christian music. The author isn't Christian, which makes me feel like I can trust him more- that make sense? Beaujon might actually may have been more forgiving than I would have been if I did this. He goes through the history of the genre thoroughly and studies modern groups and attends festivals and such. The book makes the executive of Tooth and Nail look like a bastard, which isn't surprising- he is a record executive after all. He seemed too obsessed with image. Beauj ...more
Nora Alfaham
May 15, 2007 rated it liked it
I had to read this book for a class last semester. It looks at Christian rock as a subculture, not necessarily through a religous lens. It is well-written book, and the author, Andrew Beaujon, does a good job of being that annoying journalist and prying into everything to give a real feel to readers not familiar with Christian Rock and Christians in general, in America.

From a Muslim point of view, this could be lent to the growing Muslim entertainment industry to use as lessons in the formation
Claire Johnson
Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: most everyone
a book on christian music written by a non-christian. very journalistic. brutally honest. i was really excited about reading this book, getting a detailed, honest "outsider's" view on christian music. and for the most part he did a decent job at just reporting facts. but every once in a while he would go off on some subject and be complete jerk. most of the time when he did this he gave his opinion in a way that sounded like he was giving factual information when he wasn't. but there are some gr ...more
I found it interesting that the author was not a christian so it kind of made his thoughts based more on the quality of music and performance then just approving of a band because they believe in Christ and having an obligation to support christian rock regardless if it's quality.

It got me really thinking about quality christian music. I mean for the most part christian rock at best is a 2nd rate copy to what is already there. (plus 1 for NSYNC, Jaci valasquez and staci orico for christina agula
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Given the long and tangled debate over Christian pop and rock music, Beaujon's task as a secular reporter is unenviable and seemingly impossible. He pulls it off with admirable grace and courtesy, though, leavened with an outsider's sense of healthy skepticism and a reporter's flair for flexible honesty. He stumbles a bit when he awkwardly launches into a discussion of Christian conservative politics, but he rallies nicely when he talks to the bands themselves. Some of his nicely-diverse intervi ...more
Taylor Franks
I read this in one day because it really hit on a lot things that deeply interest me. There are great interviews with artists I have grown to love. Dave Bazan has a great interview, Aaron Weiss(MewithoutYou) is sincere and weird as ever. The history of CCM is actually interesting, and seeing how Nashville came to be it's headquarters. What makes this book so good is the writing. The author is a non christian(who writes for SPIN) and is very generous with all the things he encounters. My only com ...more
Oct 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Music Lovers and Christians
This is a biting book, that leaves a person with a sense of understanding and self-reflection. At least it did with me. I can relate to this book, both with the author and those he interviewed. I grew in a Christian home and had boundaries set for lots of things. My older sister rebelled; I took note. I know the Christian scene and the music that belongs with it. What I enjoyed about the author was his insight, his conclusion, and his friendships he made along the way.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Author Andrew Beaujon's patience and tenderness toward his culturally bizarre subject, Christian Rock, is quite an achievement. I would say that he was actually far more forgiving and accepting than I would have been with a similar topic. Perhaps it's the amount of baggage that I, who have been too close to much of this, carry.

This is no masterpiece of reporting, but it's a fair, enjoyable, gracious look at one strange, multifaceted movement.
Kristi Elker
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, nonfiction
Very interesting journalistic account of the Christian rock music industry and phenomenon. I was surprised by his mostly non-judgmental perspective. A book for Christians with open minds. Some of it really got bogged down--slow, but it was fun to read about the some of the old, beginning bands that I grew up listening to and reading about artists I've never heard of--and I've heard of a lot living with a music-crazed husband!
Jun 15, 2007 rated it liked it
This is an interesting book, especially if you are familar with Christian Music. It talks a lot about the upcoming popularity in the 80's and 90's. A lot of talk about Cornerstone Music Festival. It isn't really a negative review of the scene, but an interesting look into how it works and how it started.
Nov 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Hannah
This book is fantastic if you grew up in the middle of the rise of Christian rock. I don't know how it would be for other people. But Beaujon touches on every artist I wanted him to and gives such an understanding evaluation of Christianity in general. Great book all around.
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Really interesting, especially for someone who used to be seriously entrenched in the Christian music scene. Not the most well-written book, but it certainly gave me pause to reflect on how completely I'd written off anything sold in a Christian bookstore.

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