Holy Rock ’n’ Rollers

Head-banging bands with a Christian message unleash a powerful cultural force

| July / August 2003

IN HICKSVILLE, Long Island, on any given Sunday afternoon, pierced and tattooed teenagers in black clothing gather to watch as other kids like themselves tear their fingertips on guitar strings and scream unintelligibly into microphones. All the elements of the indie music scene announce themselves: the spiky haircuts, the leather, combat boots, the wide eyes, the acne. At one recent show, Matt Koldinski, the lead singer of the band Legacy, muddles his lyrics with screams and throws his head back in ecstasy. To those assembled, this is music in all its soul-baring transcendence.

Then, in a break between songs, Koldinski does something that would be unthinkable at most hard-core rock shows. Panting and solemn, he invites people in the crowd to come up and talk to him about their problems after the show. He has been there, he says. And he has found the answer. “The reason I’m here, that the band is here, is that we love Jesus,” he says. “So if you have any problems, come up, say God loves me, let me help you find the way.”