If you haven’t seen it already, it won’t be long until a video of the band Sonseed performing their track “Jesus Is My Friend” hits your instant messaging client or friend’s Tumblr. There’s certainly an easy appeal… ’70s apparel, incredible sincerity, a ridiculous ska track about the merits of Jesus. But is is the clip for real? The video, and an explanation, after the jump.
The man behind the pop culture blog Dougspoitation has supposedly held on to this particular retro-Christian pop gem for decades. However, it seems like he started to oversell his find at some point–at least, according to “Endue,” who posts at Zombie Pirate Ninja Monkey.
Look at the logo for Sonseed that he links to on the dougsploitation site, and which was supposedly the one that they were putting on t-shirts between the late 70s and 1983, when they supposedly broke up. Despite the fact that this would undoubtedly have had to be scanned, zooming in gives some obvious compression artifacts, and absolutely perfect white away from the lettering.
The supposed poster for the show struck me as a bit suspicious, too, after looking at the detailing around the top and bottom of the lettering compared to the rest of the poster, which had obvious off-vertical artifacts on it. The lettering, however, had absolutely perfect horizontal lines, top and bottom. As in, every single pixel was perfect on the horizontal plane of the log, top and bottom. No other image with the lettering existed outside of the dougsploitation site. Looking around, I found the picture which the wording had been added to. The white lettering against a white background also looked like nothing a professional designer would do, while the style was about seven or eight years out. Um, so he dug up the real name of a late eighties religious affairs program where the host is already dead. The host is seen, but muted while the sound begins immediately after he supposedly introduces the band.
The program was a serious magazine discussion of religious affairs, which in the last year that Sonseed supposedly existed (1983) booked “Mother Teresa, Bishop Tutu and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama”. The idea that they were, on that day, running music (try and find any other references to them doing that) and booking a puppet-show called “Punch and Judaism” doesn’t hang together.
What seems most off to me about the video is how pristine the recording itself is. The quality is awfully good for a VHS tape, especially one that’s been watched at all over the past few days. Plus, the production values seem a little too obviously retro to be for real. Still, Dougspoitation insists the entire Sonseed saga is for real, and has even posted an “interview” with the act’s lead singer. Time will tell, especially since each new aspect of the story opens up new loose ends.
However, the bigger question is: Why mock possibly fake Christian ska when there’s plenty of real Christian ska from the mid to late ’90s? The outfits aren’t quite as amusing, but there’s still some laughs to be had. I’m as much for mocking the ridiculousness of Christian culture as anyone, but why try so hard?
The Insyderz – “He Has Made Me Glad” (the tempo on this song is really disconcerting to me, for some reason)
The O.C. Supertones – “The Supertones Strike Back”
Five Iron Frenzy – “Handbook For The Sellout” (admittedly, I really liked these guys)