Typically Christian anti-rock crusaders during the “Satanic Panic” era of the 80s were coming out strong against heavy metal and sometimes punk bands. The Hell’s Bells special is one of the classics in that field—a program which was actually screened at my college in the early 90s—with most of the “very secular” audience cheering for their favorite bands.
“Satanic” bands like Venom and Slayer were always go-to bands for 80s televangelists decrying the devil’s influence on music, but in the clip below, taken from Valley of Decision, a Michigan cable access show from 1991, Mark Spaulding (author of Heartbeat of the Dragon: Occult Roots of Rock and Roll) presents the case for alternative (or “college”) rock being a force of evil in the world.
The remarkable thing about this segment is just how fucking HIP Spaulding’s record collection (of blasphemous titles) is.
In this segment, he presents albums by Tragic Mulatto, David Bowie, Christ on a Crutch, Crass, The Damned, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Birthday Party, Jesus Couldn’t Drum, Bob Mould, Crown of Thorns, Severed Heads, Psychic TV, The Cramps, Jethro Tull, Blue Hippos, Wire Train, The New Christs, and Black Sabbath—a rather eclectic batch of records with some deep cuts that would be hallmarks of cool for any super-hip 80s music geek’s collection.
Like, WHERE did this guy hear about The Birthday Party and Psychic TV?
“This is a band called The Damned—which is pretty accurate if you ask me!”
If you’re a fan of dumb 80s televangelists being terrified of popular music like I am, you’ll want to see this hard-hitting exposé.