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Monday, April 07, 2008

CCM on the WWW but not Paper

(CCM Final Cover)

So, after 29.75 years, Christian Music’s attempt at a Rolling Stone for the churched culture is not going to be printing magazines anymore. Rather, they are going to a totally online format.

I have mixed emotions about this. Not that I am a huge CCM Magazine fan now (though I ate it up as a kid), but there is something sad to me about digitizing this magazine. There is something to be said for paper magazines. All online? I don’t know.

It may sound like I am talking out both sides of my mouth so I will explain myself fast.

Of course, anyone who knows me knows I love technology. It is hard to have a conversation with me without me dropping words like Jott, Twitter, HTML, code, blog, 2.0, wiki, Google, Stumble, OSX, Evernote, mac, and any other various sundry terms. Just ask my wife.

But, anyone who also knows me knows I am addicted to books and magazines. Reading. All the time. I read fast and I read often.

Books are not about “information” for me. Sometimes they are, but they are more about an experience. I like getting lost in a book. I can take a book anywhere and let it take me anywhere.

I love shopping for books. For hours. I love the way they smell. The way they feel. I like good paper. I get mad when books have “bad” paper. I have bought books simply because they feel right. I buy hardcover as often as possible.

So, my first huge hiccup for CCM going digital is all about experience. Some would say it is a digital world and we need to get used to it. I agree and disagree.

100 years from now, people will still be reading paper books.

Paper is a “different” experience than the computer screen. Not superior, but different. And yes, in some cases, superior.

Part of me wants a Kindle so I can take tons of books on a flight and not have to check in multiple bags. Part of me is resisting the urge because it won’t feel the same. I like to lay by the pool on vacation and get suntan lotion all over my book as I scribble in it.

Okay, back to CCM.

CCM, I think I understand your move but I am kinda bummed.

I remember getting my CCM in 1986 with Steve Taylor (my hero at the time) on the cover and getting all giddy. Nearly my entire life, there has been a CCM on the shelf at my local bookstore. Sure, I am not a huge fan of a lot of the bands CCM wrote about but SOME were VERY special to me.

CCM is where I turned to read about 77’s, Vector, Poor Old Lu, Crumbacher, Adam Again, Tonio K, Mark Heard, Larry Norman, Rez Band, Petra, AD, Altar Boys, Undercover, Stryper, Leslie (Sam) Phillips, Steve Taylor, Audio Adrenaline, Phil Keaggy, Third Day, Caedmon’s Call, Big Tent Revival, Daniel Band, Servant, Randy Stonehill, The Choir, Sweet Comfort Band, LSU/Lifesavors and the list goes on. I turned here because, once upon a time, no one else was writing about Christian music.

As a 14 year-old boy I read an article on a band I had started following after hearing a song called “I Will Follow.” I heard that the members were Christ followers but nobody was really writing much about their faith. This band would go on to become the biggest influence on my life outside of The Beatles. The band’s name? U2. To read the original article I read as a young boy go here.

CCM magazine is an icon. If you were a Christian artist and you made it in an issue of CCM, you were cool, or the bomb, or rad, or the shiznit, or awesome, or bitchin’, or . . . whatever term described CCM in your generation.

Haven’t bought an issue in years though. Maybe I contributed to its downfall.

The Wittenburg Door did this same thing to me and made me mad (though The Door and CCM reside in two different zip codes). P.S. I am a regular subscriber to The Door online. But, I miss holding the magazine. I miss their crazy covers. The Madonna holding Barney anyone?

I had some favorite CCM covers over the years but I have to say my most favorite was probably the brave Nichole Nordeman cover where she showed her untouched face side by side with the airbrushed final.

Then, I loved the Steve Taylor cover when I was a senior in High School. It wasn't "shocking" or "cool" necessarily but, I love the guy.

CCM’s last cover is kinda weird for me. Matching outfits is a little creepy but, I understand.

So let’s talk about the cover for the finale : : :

I think Smitty and Amy HAD to be on the cover no matter what. They have represented Christian music for almost all of CCM’s history. Like them or not.

(P.S. I got to meet Amy two years ago at a private engagement and got a pic with her (this picture also makes me sad because the only pic I will ever have of me and Amy is when I packed on 30 pounds and sported a dumb full- beard—why didn’t someone slap me?)

Aaron Gillespie was an interesting choice. Indeed, Underoath has made a scene and caught our attention. So, I guess his presence upstaging everyone is some kind of “the shape of things to come.” Good choice.

Toby Mac had to be there for sure. Good choice.

Steven Curtis. Yep.

CeCe? Hmmm.

Okay. Mark Hall—the Casting Crowns dude? Why? P.S. Does anyone else think he looks like a 1980’s/early 90's era Bob Hartman ala Petra?

People that should have been on the cover (Google them if you don’t know them). P.S. these are not ALL in my collection, but they have to some degree defined Christian music over the years : : :
  • Steve Taylor.
  • Bob Hartman.
  • Glenn Kaiser.
  • Michael Sweet or other Stryper boys.
  • Mark Stuart.
  • Nichole Nordeman.
  • Dan Haseltine.
  • Bryan Duncan.
  • MXPX.
  • Third Day.
  • Mike Roe.
  • Undercover.
  • Randy Stonehill
  • Mylon LeFevre
  • DeGarmo and Key
To name a few. Too bad Larry Norman died. They could have just put him on the cover and called it good.

It must have been hard for them to put the cover together. I would have been happier with one of those Rolling Stone-esque multi-cover covers where they show great covers from over the years.

Better Yet, why didn’t they just wait until July (their 30th anniversary) and put out a huge 30 Year Anniversary cover and celebrate? That is so weird! Especially because they did a big 20 Year cover.

Oh, well. CCM, thanks for 29.75 great years. I have loved you and hated you. But, you have continued to look professional in a very non-professional looking industry at times. You have definitely made a mark. Yeah, Legacy is a good word.

Se you on the web.


Paul J. said...

I was on a CCM cover...I have it framed in my basement. :-)

Tim M said...

I saw Randy Stonehill in concert with my dad when I was 13ish. It was a fun show.

John In Colorado said...

gillespie is the rage now - for his side project, the almost. huge hit with teens. there is a nice write up/obit/tribute to larry norman inside. (my 16 year old, long hair, guitar playing son subscribes)
it's a nice last issue. and the only one i've ever read.