28 Aug 2012

Mission for Christ

Originally posted December 5, 2009
“Experimental punk, No Trend meet Blight at a Nuclear Crayons gig… some traces of the NY no wave sound, too. Interesting but a bit too artsy for my taste. B side has same music but vocals in dub reggae style (taped-delayed voice fragments).” Burkhard Järisch

“As the harDCore promoter, I ‘discovered’ the noise band No Trend and ran their label — releasing their first four discs (7", 12" and two LPs), and a single by John Gibson’s fucked-funk band, Mission For Christ.” Steven Blush

“Centered around bassist John Gibson (aka JC Agnatha), MFC featured a rotating cast that was equally well-versed in full-throttle punk, go-go funk, and art-damaged junk. Active when DC was too often portrayed as an urban wasteland split by racial and geographical divides, this loose-knit project flaunted an absurd, topical, and gleefully bizarre mesh of styles that recklessly disregarded subcultures, colors, and easy definitions. Its personnel casually bridged the disparate scenes that boiled over in their backyards, using dissonance, dub, and Dadaist nonsense to aesthetically fit in with the varied likes of Bad Brains, Scream, Void, 9353, Half Japanese, Outrage, the Psychotics, Trouble Funk, Rare Essence, and anonymous street-corner percussion ensembles.” Jordan N. Mamone

Trouble Funk, Minor Threat (last show) and Big Boys @ Lansburgh’s, September 23, 1983
“The personnel in MFC were a diverse lot with diverse tastes. The band was kind of a mash-up of all those influences shoehorned into a punk format.” John Gibson

“Mission for Christ might not have been as confrontational as No Trend, but its mix of sounds certainly challenges notions of hardcore’s orthodoxy: It excitedly combines elements of dub, dance, noise, art rock, and, most interestingly, unmistakable go-go beats. Perhaps that stylistic line-crossing was a political statement, but the band seems less interested in any radical message than a radically open musical sensibility. That’s evident by its name, which was neither a spiritual call to arms nor a sarcastic dig at religion, but simply a tribute to a musical inspiration: the in-house band at a church called Mission for Christ.” Marc Masters

Noise-A-Thon '83" @ Lansburgh's, October 30, 1983. Mission For Christ as the opening band
“The original version of the band was a side-project of my band the Psychotics a funk-reggae-rock band and the Static Disruptors, later to become Outrage, a Go-Go-Rock band. We figured let’s do a punk band, and that’s what came out. The second version of the band was some college buddies of mine and I having a good time. But in both cases, the aesthetic was ecclectic and indeed not tied to any punk orthodoxy. A good example is the time we played a gig in Stamford Ct., and pulled up to the venue blasting Miles Davis on the car stereo. The punks looked on with WTF expressions on their faces.” John Gibson

“In the annals of East Coast hardcore, Mission for Christ is a largely forgotten footnote consigned to the memories of erudite collectors and No Trend obsessives. Frantic Google searches yield scant revelations save for an impressive array of Lutheran churches. This is a pity because the group's unselfconscious style-smelting and boundary-breaching still stounds necessary in the balkanized, tidily categorized tonal landscape of the present, where factions, cliques, and fashions abide despite the alleged democratization of music afforded by technology. But such is human nature. As a result of this CD retrospective, one can only hope that a disenfranchised punk or an enterprising DJ might concot a freaky cover or remix of ‘Pennies from Hell’. Perhaps they may feel compelled to join forces for the occasion, then utlimately opt to make their own glorious mess together instead.” Jordan N. Mamone

Mission for Christ – Pennies from Hell

Great news! Ektro Records has released Mission for Christ: The Complete Sessions, a CD that reprises MFC's nine-song 1983 demo cassette and adds six previously unheard compositions dating from 1984.

You can also listen to their song “Nancy Reagan” from the 2 Jews, a Black, a Woman and a Cripple 1983 demo cassette here.