On March 29th, Superchic[k] officially released their newest CD "Beauty From Pain", an album whose songs have personal meaning for many members of the band because of their experiences as teenagers and difficult times within the past couple of years. The songs were also inspired by the many stories that teens have shared with them concerning issues of remaining chaste prior to marriage, dealing with low self esteem to the point of suicidal tendencies, and the issues associated with being bullied by others. In this, the first of a three part series, some of the members of Superchic[k] talk about their teenage years and how they impacted songs such as "Pure" a single from the new CD and already climbing the charts in North America, England, and Australia.
The problem of dealing with low self esteem is an issue that the band members hear repeatedly from their fans following concerts. The lyrics to the song "Pure" speak to that, "This is my brand new day starting now/I let go the things that weigh me down/And rob me of the beauty that's to be found/In life all around."
Some deep guitar grooves by Melissa and Tricia Brock accentuate the message in "Barlow Girls" from the album "Regeneration". The song contains lyrics that might make your grandma or uncle Jake turn white but they speak the language that "kids" today understand and the band members are of the belief that if they are going to reach today's youth that is one of the ways to do it. In "Barlow Girls" you hear, "They don't rate with the guys that score/cause they don't flaunt what the boys want more/" and later in the song, "They might feel unloved when all the girls around them are hooking up/But I know for sure it's never popular to be pure/ And while some guys might be passing them by/ I think they've caught someone's eye/ Dress to impress can be oh so tempting/You get noticed with your body/Sexual hypnosis by being a hottie you might/Feel like public property/You might you might you shouldn't be/no girl should feel /she has to trade her body/For love or be an old maid/and yes there are guys who are willing to wait /Ask a Barlow girl on her wedding day."
Lead vocalist and guitarist Tricia Brock remembers the pressures during her teenage years and how she handled them, "I was just really confident in God. It wasn't just in me. It was just knowing that I deserved better and waiting was better and God had so much more for me and so I think that anybody who puts themselves in the wrong position too many times or often, nobody is so strong that in the wrong place they cannot cave."
Noted youth speaker Josh McDowell says of the band, "Not only do they absolutely rock the stage, they are, more importantly, people of substance that powerfully minister to young people."
The song "Princes and Frogs" features some dynamite guitar riffs and is a song that sends a message to guys to take responsibility for their actions, says Brandon Estelle, the drummer and newest member of the band. "Our song 'Princes and Frogs' talks about guys needing to be gentlemen and treating ladies with respect. Pillar even has a song off their new album called 'Dirty Little Secret' and that's geared towards guys like hey you've got to stop what you're doing and whether or not it's the whole internet pornography scene or whether it's just plain right out lusting after women." He says there is a need to "fall in love with Jesus before I feel the need to fall in love with a girl."
Speaking to more general issues that teenagers face, Matt Dally the bassist for Superchick says, "I think sometimes, as Christians, we want to know how far can I go and still be righteous but still have some fun here and there and the funny thing is God doesn't say find sin take one step back, draw a line and that's how far you go. He says you need to flee from it. You need to run from it. I'm not going to say I am a perfect guy and I don't sin. We all need to remember that sin is horrible and sin is bad and it is not the right thing to mess around with and we need to flee from it regardless of what it is whether it's lust, whether it's lying, whether it's stealing. No matter what in your life it is, you need to flee from it at all costs, no matter what it is or how weird it is. Even if it is sitting down by your girlfriend and saying okay I need to leave right now and God will bless you for that for being put in those situations and fleeing. So many times we try to toy with it. I do too. It's like okay how far can I go and still be able to sleep at night. That's completely wrong. As Christians we need to realize that because God knows what is best for us. We think sin is so much fun, but the consequences of it are horrible. God isn't trying to not let us have any fun, He's just saying look, there is a time and place for certain things and right now is not it and trust me you need to just chill out and you will be blessed by it."
Brock talks about how she dealt with the pressures as a teenager and how she handles them now, "I've always said I think purity starts in your heart and if we turn from God a little bit here and sin a little bit [it's okay]. Sometimes it's just little things and Satan lets it build up and we're already feeling guilty and we're not feeling God and not hearing from God and then the bigger sins start feeling not so big. I feel like what kept me safe was just my desire to please God more than anything else." She then adds, "He wants me to wait upon these things because it is best for me. I think if anything, purity is in your heart because I don't think it is little steps that you take. I don't think you can say holding hands is wrong, kissing is wrong. I don't think necessarily you can make a line. I think it's just in general. I think if you want to toe the line I think you have to ask yourself where is my heart? I really believe in God and I want to please Him and I just want to leave these things for the right time."
The group has encountered many teenagers following their concerts who have told them certain songs have provided them with hope when they were discouraged and were battling low self esteem. One song that seems to have drawn a lot of attention is "Hero" which was first released in 2002 on their self titled album. Brock says after hearing the song people have said to her, "I heard it at this really hard point in life and a lot of them say they just didn't want to go on, then when they heard it, it gave them hope and made them want to make the right decision."
When the song "Hero" was being penned, lyricist and band member, Max Hsu, encouraged each of them to remember different incidents in their lives and it served as the inspiration for the words to "Hero." Brock recalls one situation when she reached out to a particular girl and started befriending her. It wasn't until years later when they met once again that Brock discovered the girl "still had letters that I had given her and she said that I was really what kept her from committing suicide in high school."
Dally also addressed the simple issue of many teenagers simply thinking that it is not cool to go to church. He says, "When you are a kid it's not that big a deal to go to church. A lot of kids go to church because they have to. Then you get to junior high and it starts getting "uncool" being a Christian living this life and you're a dork if you are doing this or that." Dally says he led a double life for a few years. He said at school he would act one way and at church he would behave completely different. He says," people at church had no clue because I'm a pastor's kid. I could quote you scripture like no other. They would look at me and think now that's a sharp kid and the night before I was doing drugs and trying to hook up with chicks all night." He said when people started driving and everyone started showing up at parties they would ask him, "what are you doing here? I thought you were the good kid." He said his double life started crumbling even more quickly when he became the youth leader at his church. He had to wrestle with telling others they shouldn't be engaging in certain types of activities and then he would run into them while he was doing the very things he had warned them about. It was then he made the decision to put an end to his double life and he put his life back on track.
When asked if groups like Superchic[k] can make a difference in terms of turning lives around or being a voice that speaks out in favor of Christian values, they replied in unison and without hesitation with yes. "I think the main way you can do it is just by being honest. A lot of artists I know weren't always saved and maybe they can be honest and say they messed up and that's why they know there's a second chance always, or a third chance or a fourth chance. God never gives up on us," says Brock. She says she is always reminded of verses like Jeremiah 31:34 or Hebrews 8:12 where God says, "I will never again remember their sins." Brock adds," I know Audio Adrenaline wrote a song about that [Ocean Floor]." She says she is particularly struck by "the concept of our sins being at the bottom of the ocean."
Brock says songs like "Hero" and some of the new songs on the "Beauty From Pain" album are particularly important to her as she has watched her best friend battle depression the past two years or as she recalls the bullying of one particular student in her high school. She said the girl would go away and cry. Finally Brock confronted the students doing the bullying. She says, "How do you treat another human being like that? I've seen it. When kids tell me I know that it is real because I remember."
The diversity of genres that Superchic[k] incorporates into their musical repertoire also contributes to their popularity. The band plays a mix of hip hop, ska, pop, rock, and garage music just to name a few.
Superchic[k] has song credits in more than forty movies and television programs. A Current Disney release "The Ice Princess", features Superchic[k]'s "Get Up". A new Playstation 2 game by Steel Lancers Arena International will feature the song "Anthem" from the album "Beauty From Pain".
In Part Two of this series we will talk about why they have been embraced by mainstream movie, television, and video game producers.
Writer: Joe Montague