In 1986 hair metal was king. Bands like Bon Jovi, Poison, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Motley Crüe, and Ratt ruled the airwaves...and spawned a thousand copycat bands and millions of head-banging teenage fans. At the same time, evangelical Christians—in an attempt to distance themselves from the hedonistic subculture of metal and preach the Gospel—promoted a cottage industry of Christian metal bands. 1986 was the peak of this push. While super-group Stryper found fame outside of Evangelical circles, dozens of “white metal” bands thrived within the wholesome Christian youth group culture of sprawling suburban America. ELECTRIC JESUS is about one of those bands.
The award-winning screenplay by writer-director Chris White shoots Summer of 2018...Lord willing and Jesus tarries. In the meantime, keep track of our progress by joining the Jeez Team!
I listened to a lot of so-called “contemporary Christian music” when I was a teenager. My mother was actually a DJ at a Christian radio station...which is, you know, about as cool as it sounds.
I remember bringing home a vinyl copy of U2’s The Joshua Tree when I was sixteen years old...listening to it over and over. U2 wasn’t “Christian” rock, but several of the guys in the band were Christians—like me. And that was cool.
That record...the poetry of Bono’s lyrics and the amazing songwriting and production—nothing sounded like The Joshua Tree in 1987, Christian or otherwise—it was something completely new for me. And the record became my rock and roll gateway drug. I converted to “real” music almost overnight.
ELECTRIC JESUS captures a similar moment of musical and spiritual innocence—which is what all great rock-and-roll movies are about: the loss of innocence, a coming of age. ALMOST FAMOUS, THAT THING YOU DO!, THE COMMITMENTS, SING STREET, even THIS IS SPINAL TAP—they’re all about growing up...and, of course, the power of music.
I’ve been asked if the screenplay is Christian; “faith-based” as it were. No, ELECTRIC JESUS is not a Christian movie. I don’t have a religious objective with it, not have I imposed a pro-Christian agenda on it. It’s a PG-13, hairband music-comedy, a rock and roll road trip, a summer coming-of-age story... That only wants to save you from wasting your time and money on some big dumb Hollywood tent-pole.
We’ve all been young. We’ve all had plans and dreams and loves that didn’t work out the way we’d hoped. And from time to time, we think about it. We remember. ELECTRIC JESUS is about redemption, but not in a strictly theological sense. It’s about redeeming your memories and making peace with your past.