Crypto-Christian freak folk: Danielson Famile & Soul Junk spread the word at Speak In Tongues

July 15, 1998 was an uplifting night of music at Speak In Tongues, captured by ace photographer Scott Badovick, for U.S. Rocker magazine.

You know that old saying—”What a long strange trip it’s been”? I know that was coined to describe the ’60s Dead-type shit but, man… I feel like it’s applicable to the 1990s which started with New Jack Swing, self-immolated with Grunge, cooled out with West Coast Hip Hop and, briefly, rose again as Christian Alt Rock (!!??) before ascending as Nü Metal.

Now that’s a strange trip.

For those of us who had to live through this musical (de-)evolution? Well, it’s no wonder we’re messed up.

US Rocker Dave HickeyBands like San Diego’s Soul-Junk, which featured a former Truman’s Water dude (Glen Galloway), and Danielson Famile (or simply ‘Danielson’—brain child of born-again art naïf Daniel Smith) were purportedly Xtian but were really just full-on yammering, stammering, falsetto-ing freaks. And we loved them! What incredible showmen.

They were literally speaking in tongues at Speak In Tongues.

Managing Editor Eden Gauteron wrote a great feature/interview piece, “Puzzles & Pottymouth,” with Daniel Smith for U.S. Rocker that was one of our cover stories for the month. Eden quizzed the dude about Christian rockers, Stryper (!).

Read the whole thing here for free

Was anyone saved? Meh. Did this whole Christian movement encourage supposed-Christian musicians to get way freaky? Yes—otherwise they went mainstream like MxPx. Ick.

Is it horrifying to look back now (from the 21st century) and see that this whole Xtian thing was likely a manufactured movement? Yes. Although as someone who was active as a concert promoter in the early 2000s, these bands—if anything—probably brought more Christians to weird music than weirdos to the Jesus. (See the Danielson at Cornerstone video at the bottom of this post… what’s Cornerstone? Apparently a massive Xtian music fest that went on for decades and drew a gazillion people that I never once heard of.)

I dunno.

Has anyone made a documentary about the Xtian takeover of ’90s music? Can you point me in the right direction here?

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In the end, Daniel Smith told us in Eden’s article that: “I believe we are called by God to make music for people and not put it into this category of Christian music. So Danielson is certainly not Christian music in that tainted forum.” Amen.

Here are Scott Badovick’s wonderful photos. Below that are contemporaneous videos of both bands that give you the flavor of what this night was like.

Glen “Galaxy” Galloway and Soul-Junk speak in tongues at Speak In Tongues in Cleveland, Ohio, 1998. All photos: Scott Badovick, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Daniel Smith and his Danielson Famile performing at Speak In Tongues in Cleveland, Ohio, 1998. All photos: Scott Badovick, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Watch Danielson Famile at Cornerstone 1998—they are doing the same set, wearing the same clothes they wore at Speak In Tongues. (Which brings up an interesting point—if they were so free why were they so programmatic and regimented? Similar to organized religion?)

Watch here

This Soul-Junk performance recorded in their hometown of San Diego also mirrors their SIT set. Kinda interminable. DEFINITELY weird.

Check it:

Can you help me with details about these other SIT photos?

Here’s everything I’ve posted about Speak In Tongues

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U.S. Rocker chronicled SIT bands, happenings & people—download for free

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