Worship music underwent a radical change in the thirteen years I was away from church. “Just Over in the Glory Land” has given way to a Les Paul jacked up through a Marshall. Some worship services are just rock concerts without the beer and smokes.

Church folks simply love getting upset over the little things, and the migration of the music is one of them.

When it comes to this particular issue I stand proudly on the fence.

I love Rock n Roll. I love that my amp is louder than yours. I love smoke machines. I love laser lights. We know this. So it would seem that I’d be fully in favor of the modern approach to worship music – which I am – I think – sort of – I guess. But I was raised on the old stuff, and it rocks too. In fact, I would argue that in many cases the old stuff actually rocks harder if it is done stylistically accurate. I mean, put any old run-of-the-mill rockabilly band up against – uhhh – Creed for example. I don’t even need to type it. You get the point.

If I had to choose between the best of the Old Time Gospel Hour stuff and the best of the modern stuff I would have to say that I’d probably pick the old stuff. I think it’s more fun and more challenging to play, and in general I think it’s more well written. But then again I think it’s a total blast to play the new stuff too. I’m just glad to be playing.

But for some (maybe most) people this is a big issue, and I see their point. If you walk into your local retirement bar you won’t hear Fallout Boy on the jukebox. And if you walk into a dance club they’re not going to have Hank on the jukebox. They don’t even have a jukebox, Einstein! Now take these two crowds and smash them together, put longer skirts on the girls, put Jesus in their hearts and you’ve got a church. So what’s a poor jukebox to do?

No seriously. I’m actually asking.

But wait, before you answer, the plot thickens. The jukebox has an opinion of its own.

Back when I was in The Drew Johnson Band I would often ask which song the crowd wanted us to end the show with. We can either play song A or song B, you pick. I always wanted to play song A and the crowd always wanted to hear song B. This is the other problem. The proverbial jukebox has Fallout Boy and Hank, but the jukebox wants to play The Zombies.

Here’s what I know. There are, in my mind, two different kinds of bands (Rock bands, I’m not talking about worship bands). There are bands that you go to listen to and bands that you go to dance to. If you want people to stop and stare you play War Pigs. If you want them to dance you play Mustang Sally. The Drew Johnson Band played War Pigs. I think that this sort of logic should be applied to a worship service. Play Mustang Sally!!! Play some Skynyrd!!! But whatever you do, don’t play 2112.

The trick is finding out what your church’s version of Mustang Sally is and finding out what their 2112 is.