Jesus Sound Explosion

Mark Curtis Anderson

A preacher's kid looks back on a childhood bounded by Godspell and the Moral Majority

Reviews

"Mark Anderson has magically brought together two only apparently opposing worlds—a passion for pop music and his boyhood as an evangelical preacher's son—in this winning memoir. What a beauty it is, by turns searching and hilarious. "
—Patricia Hampl, author of I Could Tell You Stories

"Jesus Sound Explosion is an affectionate, sometimes hilarious portrait of growing up evangelical. Anderson depicts the allure of salvation on the one hand, and sex, drugs, and rock and roll on the other. A great read."
—Julie Schumacher, author of The Body Is Water


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Description
Mention the record album Jesus Sound Explosion to a typical child of the 1970s and that person is likely to picture one of those collections that used to be shown on TV (Call now! Not available in stores!). When Mark Curtis Anderson spied a copy in a junk store a few years ago, he knew just what he'd found, and the memories of growing up in a Baptist minister's family came flooding forth.

The title of Anderson's memoir is a nod to the live concert album from Explo '72, a kind of evangelical Woodstock emceed by Billy Graham. Explo's crowds of 100,000-plus signaled that enterprising evangelicals were discovering how to use rock and roll in the marketplace of conversion. Anderson was eleven that year, too young to be at Explo but old enough to wish he was. Other preachers' kids may have gazed out at the wider world and craved its movies, clothes, or toys, but he wanted its music. And not just the Jesus-rocker fare of Explo's Armageddon Experience or Children of Truth, but the real stuff, too.

Jesus Sound Explosion recalls Anderson's quest for worldliness-through-rock as he came of age under the gaze, he often sensed, of his father's entire congregation. All of the backsliding and revival, idealism and disillusionment one would expect is here, told with delightfully understated humor and set against the sounds of The Guess Who, Yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bruce Springsteen. Here is a knowing look back on a time when Jesus Christ Superstar climbed the pop charts, The Cross and the Switchblade hit the big screen, and anxious parents played their kids' records backwards in search of hidden messages from Satan.

Series/imprint:
Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction

Page count: 288 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5

 

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Cloth
List price:
978-0-8203-2554-5
09/01/2003
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Paper
List price:
978-0-8203-3012-9
9/1/2007
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Mark Curtis Anderson teaches writing at the University of Minnesota and lives in St. Paul with his wife, Patricia.