alternative rock, alternative message

Extra Ordinary (Gotee Records)
Johnny Q. Public

By Robert Gruber

In just a few months of relentless touring, Johnny Q. Public has become Christian rock's "next big thing," and rightfully so. With strong ministry time and an incendiary live show that rivals punk in its intensity, JQP is in a prime position to bring their uncompromising gospel message to the MTV crowd in a language that is easily understood.

That Johnny Q. Public has the skills to do this is evident on Extra Ordinary, their debut release. Employing fat, grungy guitar tones, cannon-fire rhythms and'70s-style vocal harmonies, JQP ride with authority into territory currently occupied by the likes of silverchair and the Foo Fighters. As drummer Brian DuVall and bassist Ken Bassham boldly bring up the rear, guitarists Shawn Turner and Oran Thomton throw down solid rhythms and creative leads with equal parts fury and finesse.

Singer Dan Fritz uses a clear, strong voice to articulate uncluttered lyrics about our need for Christ. In "Black Ice," he sings "Holy men and governments/Even churches can corrupt/Only Jesus saves." In "Why," Fritz muses at a breakneck, Bad Brains pace, "Not much is being said by anybody in the world/About the things we get a hold of that could make/A working brain dead."

The band shows stylistic diversity by putting a unique, acoustic spin on Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody." They turn Larry Norman's "Reader's Digest" into a cool zydeco romp (complete with accordion). The simplicity of praising God is addressed in "Scream," a barn-burning rocker that declares, "I don't know how to dance/I don't know how to sing/So I'll scream...blessedly scream."

Out to revolutionize the church and the world with rock & roll and the gospel of Jesus Christ, Johnny Q. Public truly are model citizens of the Kingdom. You will hear more about therr1——for now, get them on the record.