Twinkies were a defense for a murder binge
The killer had high sugar count but now he’s on the mend
He sold his soul to the Hostess, she turned his brain to mush
The lawyer said, “Sure he killed ‘em, judge, It was just a sugar rush!”
—“Bad Indigestion,” the Lost Dogs
Not many songwriters in the bloated Christian market would work a Dan White reference into a bluegrass tune about America’s crappy dietary habits. But Terry Scott Taylor has never been your average songwriter. (White, for you young’uns, was the man who in 1978 assassinated San Francisco mayor George Moscone and the city’s gay supervisor Harvey Milk. For his crime, White was sentenced to a paltry seven years in prison, claiming that he was on a sugar high at the time.)
Since the mid-‘70s, Taylor has been churning out hilarious, profound and—above all—catchy songs from his humble casa in the OC. And when he brings his current band, the Lost Dogs, to San Bernardino Community Church Saturday, it’s certain that as many eyebrows as worshiping hands will be raised. Taylor has never feared using worldly references to send his messages home. The scruffy guitar prophet knows how to touch people where they live, like it or not, which has made him one of the most respected (and reviled) songsters in contemporary Christian music. He’s also got a deep sense of the weird, which fuels his day job as musical director for Nickelodeon’s Catscratch.
As the founder and lead throat of Daniel Amos, one of Christendom’s most honored bands, Taylor torched the foundations of “godly” music with unique tunes that drew inspiration and subject matter from pop culture. In his younger days, Taylor skewered Christian Science maven Mary Baker Eddy (“We might have believed her if her teeth hadn’t fallen out”), brought the trucker-rock fad into churched homes with the Eagles-ish “Shotgun Angel,” and, in “Secret Scripts and 3-D Glasses,” poured verbal acid on preachers who acted like the Bible was too arcane for the average Joe. Thirty years later, Taylor hasn’t mellowed much. Sure, he provides plenty of accessible songs for the general Christian audience to wrap their ears and hearts around, but he’s as ready as ever to stir things up.
In the Lost Dogs, Taylor is one of four dynamite guys from the CCM genre. There’s also Mike Roe, whose usual band, the 77’s, broke into the mainstream in the early ‘80s thanks to some then-open minds at A&M Records. Derri Daugherty and Steve Hindalong’s band, the Choir, was one of SoCal’s biggest draws before they went to Nashville to be über-producers for the Christian fringe. Drummer Hindalong is actually the pack’s newest Dog, filling the hole left by Gene Eugene’s untimely passing from a brain aneurysm in 2000.
Eugene, leader of Adam Again and producer of choice for the Christian Left, contributed some of the Dogs’ most acerbic songs. His tune “Jimmy” was an ode to a friend dying of AIDS. “Bush League,” which tore Daddy Bush’s administration a new one before it was fashionable, was tucked into the Dogs’ debut album. It gave notice that this band was unafraid of controversy, something that anyone who had ever heard their other bands already knew. “That’s Where Jesus Is,” from the Dogs’ new disc, The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees, whizzes on Dubya’s relationship with the Christian Right:
He’s not sittin’ up in the White House
Not subject to your big debate
Keeps His hands completely off Wall Street
Don’t own stocks, bonds or real estate
He ain’t up droppin’ bombs on people
Or workin’ on a college degree
He tunes out all them radio blowhards
Can’t stand the networks and religious TV
The band’s ideology falls in line with the Sojourners movement, pointing out that the GOP doesn’t hold a monopoly on people of faith, and that taking care of widows and orphans—and unmasking false prophets—are Biblical ideals, not gouging the public, killing Arabs and grabbing the goods while you can. This San Berdoo show will be the only chance this year for IE residents to get blessed by these inconvenient truths.
The Lost Dogs perform with Curt Phillips at San Bernardino Community Church, 2372 E. Lynwood Dr. (at Arden), San Bernardino, (909) 881-3333; www.myspace.com/thelostdogsmusic. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $15-$18. Tickets at iTickets.com and local Christian bookstores.