Thursday, August 16, 2007

ACME (Alternative Christian Music Enthusiasts)

ACME newsletter was published bi-monthly in Berne, Indiana and lasted for ten issues. Began in September, 1983 through number 10 March, 1986. I have not seen or heard of any issue after number 10.

Vol. 1 Issue 2 Nov / Dec 83 2 pages 25 cents
Undercover - review of God Rules. News...of: Alter Boys. Ministry Resource Center: a new wave compilation with Undercover, Youth Choir, Malcolm and the Mirrors, Alter Boys, the Lifters and C.I.A./ Talking Drums new 12 inch dance single: songs 'Courage,' 'Parasuicid' and 'Descarte Lives.' / The Quiet Commandoes (at Greenbelt 81) have changed name to Tenfoots for Greenbelt 83. / Review of Stev Camp's 'It's a Dying World.' Review of the Decoy Men's single: 'Dole Queue Dreamers' / 'Plastic People.'

Vol. II Issue 1 Jan / Feb '84 2 pages 25 cents
Reviews of U2 - 'Under a Blood Red Sky' and '2 Sides Live.' News of Undercover, Alter Boys, U2. P.S. Personal has a new single: 'Shoot Me Down' and the Click have a new single: some titles are 'Dizzy Spinning 'Round and 'Just Another Monday.' Face to Face (formerly the Mystery Guests) are in the studio. Word of a new LP from the Alarm. Other new releases: 3-song, 7-inch EP by the Tenfoots; 'When You Get What You Wanted You Don't Want It Anymore' by Pietro Dinzee. 'Carry You' / 'Modern Police' by Andy Pratt and 'What You Tell Me' by Pieces of Glass. Info about the Fear of Falling (previously called Crown Agent); songs are: 'Like a Lion,' 'Prodigal' and 'You/Me' and two unnamed songs. Review of 'Dream Life' by the Lifesavors and the Alarm's self-named EP.

Vol. 2 Issue 2 March / April 1984 2 pages 25 cents
News... Pieces has a new single: 'Winners / 'Thanx for Friends.' Cassette single fron La Voix Celeste: 'Superstition' / 'A Nation Cries.' New music comp: 'What's Shakin'?' U2 named band of the year in Rolling Stone survey. / 'An exciting band from Madisin, Wisconsin is AZ. They play '80s music with some similarities to new DA. They have a good stage presence and make use of many props to communicate their message.'/ New albums from Undercover 'Boys and Girls Renounce the World' and one from the Alter Boys. / Alarm have a new LP called 'Declaration.' / Two Vancouver bands - Oracle and Justus - have been in the studio./ Also from Vancouver has recently played at 'The Waterfront.' 'Their sound is raw, driving and alternative' / 'Technos Serve a Writz,' a nice little wrap-up of the band's work that tis point. / Barnabas review: 'except for a few fluid bass licks and a synthesizer solo, the music is monotonous and tiring. Nothing was new.'/ A few ads for bands selling some LPs./ Review of Daniel Band's 'Straight Ahead.' Crankin!' (written bt Spike). / Introduction article by the new guy, Terry, who will write a column.

Issue 5 May / June 1984 2 pages. Subscribe: six issues for $2
ACME staff finally is revealed: Dave Bachman, John Bachman, Mike Prell, Terry Linhart, Mark Satterlee
Review of Altar Boys LP 'Altar Boys' by John Bachman. / Review of a live show by Undercover and Steve Taylor by Mark Satterlee. / Review of the Lifesavors' concert at Taylor University by Dave Bachman; other bands were Robin Crow and Jerusalem./ Review of Steve Taylor's LP, 'Meltdown' by Dave Bachman / News department: ACME has a radio on the Taylor U radio station on Sunday nights. / Lifesavors will be heading to Belfast, Ireland to record their third LP. / The Alama was to play as the opening for the Pretenders - an announcement was heard that the Alarm's lead singer had the flu. Jason Bachman was upset and finally sat back and some what enjoyed the new opening act, the Elvis Brothers. / More news: 3-Point Turn, the Tenfoots, U2 and Undercover get some ink time.

Issue 6 October 9, 1984 (as by Post Office cancel) 4 pages.
ACME staff: Dave Bachman, John Bachman, Mike Prell
Review of Labor of Love's 'Message to the Bands.' / Article on Youth Choir / Editorial by John Bachman entitled 'Profit Motive or Prophet Motive?' He was concerned about LPs being too expensive and not enough press of people getting saved by the bands. / Article on Lifesavors. / News section: U2, C.I.A., the Lifters and Crystal City Rockers. / Late News...: Lifesavors have broken up.

Issue 7 January 15, 1985 (as by Post Office cancel) 4 pages. 6 issues for $2
Article on Radicals for Christ. Band members of G.V.A. (God's Victorious Army): Dennis - lead guitar, vocals); Burrito - bass and Dan - drums. The band is 'quick to point out, however, the difference between Christianity and religion - 'Religion kills... religion sends people to Hell.../ Article on the Seventy Sevens. / News: The Coolers (Mark Krischak) / Altar Boys in the studio / 'Pathway was formed by a group of college kids in Austin, Texas. It is a ministry to the hardcore people of any type. They would like to sponsor concerts in their area. For more information, write.../ Undercover single: Slaughter of the Innocents and Boys and Girls. / The Imitators from Orange County, CA / New albums fro 4.4.1., Pax, Army of Love, Bob Thomason. Common Bond has a 7 inch single. Omega Band lp come shortly. / Dennis Rudolph of G.V.A. has also been singing with the hardcore band called Moral Majority. / Short review of C.I.A. / Poetry from Mike Shahley called 'Fraud.' Goes like this: We got stained glass windows / we got carpet on the floors / we got a spiral staircase / & expensive oak doors. / We got nice velvet choir robes, / we got padding on the pews, / we got a baby grand piano, / & a pipe organ too. / We got a real tall steeple, / we got a shiny brass bell, / we got a great big nursery / & a preacher that's swell. / We got little red song books / we got silver offering plates, / we got a built-in baptismal, / & a special room for wakes. / What we don't have is Jesus. / What we don't have is God. / What we don't have's the Spirit./ What we do have is FRAUD... / Editorial.

Issue 8 May 10, 1985 (as by Post Office cancel) 4 pages. 6 issues for $2
Review of the Youth Choir's 'Voices in Shadows'/ Article on the Lead from Miami, Florida / ACME stickers - ten for $1 / Short blurb for the Orange, Ca band the Forgiven; a garage-recording of some of Forgiven's music is available for $2.50 / Article on A.O.T.C. (Association of the Cross). Mike Smith: lead vocals; Jamie Malarczyk: bass, backing vocals; Denise Taylor: guitar; Neal Vorndran: drums, backing vocals / Short article on the new Altar Boys' called 'When You're A Rebel' / Ad for Joyful Noise Records: three singles by Covenant, Amethyst and Ammi; and a four song EP by Ammi / Short article on Common Bond / Editorial by Julio A. Rey of the Lead / G.V.A. have broken up / The Coolers are now Red Christmas / A San Diego label released a 12 song LP with two songs by Christians, Average Citizen and Frank Gruggs / The back page was for advertising inserts.

Issue 9 December 4, 1985 (as by the Post Office cancel) 4 pages. 6 issues, $2
Front page top is an explanation of why the paper was four months in the making. Bottom half of the page has advertisements for ACME shirts – black on white ($7.50) and stickers, 10 for $1.00. Page 2 is an interview with Mike Stand of the Altar Boys: ACME Talks to Mike Stand… (part 1 of the interview. Misspellings have been changed)… Mike Stand, Rick Alba, and Jeff Crandall are the Alter Boys. They are one of my favorite bands. Mike acts like Bruce Springsteen sometimes when he is on stage. They have a new album on Broken Records called “When You’re a Rebel.” It’s a really good record.. It has a really good sound to it, great guitars and lots of the. Bill Batstone, aka B.B. Stone did a good job on production. It is loaded with good songs like, ‘Calling out to Believers,” “More of You,” “God’s Heart Cries” and the title cut. It’s somewhat like the Ramones should sound if they were a little smarter and a little more into God. They are great live. They were really good at Cornerstone where they were moved to the indoor stage because the roof collapsed on the other one. They played to a packed house, and when it was over everyone was very hot and slightly ill; especially Mike Stand…
Why the Altar Boys?
We started three years ago because we saw a need in California for bands to reach out. New wave was really at its peak right about then, when we first started out. Punk was kind of on its way out a little bit but still pretty much in. We saw a need for a band to reach out to the kids and that’s why we started it. There was a need there and God called us. We weren’t sure exactly what the Lord was going to do; how he was going to use the band at all. But, we found he really blessed us and, the ministry continues to grow through his graciousness.
When You’re a Rebel…
We are excited about the record. It’s a little more, how can I say this it’s a little more polished and a little more and a little more raw. It’s more us, we feel, than the first one. We were trying to find ourselves and what our direction really was. When we made the first one, we were still trying to figure out what we were doing. We’d been a band just about a year, and it really wasn’t long enough to figure it out. But, this time we knew what we wanted, and we went for it. I think we got really, really close with what we got. And, some of it went even beyond what we ever thought we could get to.
Plans and stuff
Let’s see, we got the third album just about written, and we are performing about four songs from it. You only heard one yesterday, “Unconditional Love.” Of course, we didn’t write that one. I really have a goal to finish the third album in a month or two, and, Lord willing, start recording it in November, only if God wants us to. I think we’re going to start a video, probably “When You’re a Rebel,” in a month or two. They’re going to write the script for it and stuff.
I’ve always been a fan of the sixties more than the seventies. I was always so frustrated in the middle seventies because I could never play any of that stuff – Boston, Kansas, Genesis; I just couldn’t do it. It was very frustrating for me. So, when I was growing up in the sixties that’s pretty much what my influences were. Right now, I listen to Springsteen sometimes, the Clash, the Ramones sometimes. Musically, those guys probably influenced me.
Another Altar Boy?
One of the things we’d like to find is another person, but the Lord hasn’t shown us that yet. We’ve been doing O.K. as three. But, Lord willing, we’ll find another guy who will really just groove right in with the band and not try to change things around or be weird.
“There’s no time for wasted time.”
“One thing Satan wants to do is twist and divide the bands…”
Part two next issue!!!
Summer Festival Report: The Lifters, Undercover, Youth Choir, Daniel Amos. Others: Vector, and Crunbacher. / An ad for a cassette called Live by Scaterd-Few and Allan Aguirre. / An editorial about Christians having fun, written by Mike Prell. / News: the Lead, Conviction of Sin and A.O.T.C; Scaterd Few and the Live cassette. / Red Christmas has broken up. / Two new bands: Altar Call and the Key.

Issue 10 March 31, 1986 (as by the Post Office cancel) 4 pages
Altar Boys: Acme Talks to Mike Stand. Part Two of the Interview
Friends or Foes?
We’re pretty good ‘buds’. We talk to each other every day on the phone. We’re pretty close. We very rarely argue, and if one guy is feeling kind of bummed or kind of out there or a little bit touchy, we just lay off and leave him alone. We get along good. You’ve got to or you don’t survive. You won’t do it. You won’t make it. That’s one thing Satan wants to do; get in there and twist and divide the bands up and really cause confusion, so that his goals are accomplished. We don’t try to give him any opportunities.
The Third Album?
Let’s see, we got the third just about written, and we’re performing about four songs from it. You only heard one yesterday, “Unconditional Love.” Of course, we didn’t write that one. I think we’re gonna start a video, probably “When You’re a rebel.” We’d really like to make it, I hate to say production, but a better production, with a little more thought behind it than we have. We’d like to be able to really focus in to where the audience is at. Instead of just saying ‘This song’s about such and such’, I really want to be able to take people from this point to that point. Like I said, we do it somewhat, but I’d like to do it better.
We’d like to just be able to communicate a lot better the gospel on stage. Communication is the key. I mean, every second you are on stage, every minute you are on stage has really to communication something. There’s no time for wasted time. And we still haven’t fine-tuned our ministry the way we want to do it. We’d like to be able to put three or four sets together of different songs; different ways of approaching the audience.
We’d like to get out here more to the East Coast and play; more than just this one shot festival thing. We’d like to come out here for five days, a week, two weeks, whatever and just play our brains out. We see a need out here, we really do. A lot of kids we talked to today just say, ‘There’s nothing like you guys our here.’ We’d like to be here a lot more. But, I say that in a reluctant way because I see the need and we’d like to get out but, at the same time, I hate leaving my wife. It bums me out – being away from home and stuff. But, I’ll go if the Lord wants me to. It’s nothing I’ll really push, but we’ll knock on some doors and stuff.
Page 2 is taken up with ads for ACME products. / Bottom half is a review about The Lead’s new album – ‘Return Fire.’ / Page 3 is a whole page advertisement for ‘Return Fire.’ Back page has reviews of Lost and Found by Jason and the Scorchers; and the band Modern Innocence and its album of the same name. (both reviews by Michael Prell).


Terry Linhart said...

Dan K,

Nice to see someone remember this old gem. Mike Prell and Dave Bachman were the geniuses behind this, a product of their on-campus radio show at Taylor University in the mid 1980s. I was added simply, well, I'm not sure that I really did much. I do have their on-air radio spots still on cassette tapes - very funny stuff! I still stay in touch with Dave (his dad and my dad were Taylor friends as well).

There were a lot of great products from those on-campus radio days. Dirk Rowley is the morning personality now on WAJI 95.1 in Fort Wayne, the #1 station in that market.

ACME was a great little newsletter piece. Thanks for keeping it rolling along and archiving it online.

dp said...

dan - a few others for the list:
- torn curtain from green bay, wi was produced by bonnie lee groth, who later moved to jpusa and did a lot of photography there. not sure if she's still living at jpusa.
- zott (zine of the times) - was a big, newsprint 'zine by, i think, david joo, somewhere in california. i was able to get my hands on one issue and it was packed with reviews and cut & paste ads for bands all over the place. i got a ton of cassettes out of the pages of zott
- the non-conformist - kent, oh. done by kelly barnette, and maybe her brother kris. they were tied in w/ marc plainguet (sp?) and chris yambar and had some fun stuff.

thanks for the list.
dave palmer

Rick said...

Bonnie Groth has not lived at JPUSA for over 10 years now. Her photos can be viewed at or on The Lead's site at

Paul.Balluff said...

Dan K, as I live and Breathe

Paul and Paula here - thought you fell off the face of the world

MarkoMan and I talk about you all the time but no one has been able to find you

freedom1 said...

dear who ever wrote this:
In the post for the Narrow Gate,Issue #4, February 1993, Raw Dog is misspelled. You have Rae Dog instead. Could you please change that. Thanks, Rick from Raw Dog now called Christian Raw Dog.

denice said...

Fun list! Just an update, The Nonconformist was a 'zine started in 1986 by Denice Rovira (me) and Greg Der in podunk Randolph, Ohio as an alternative art/music 'zine. It later morphed into an alternative Christian music review/editorial based in Hartville, Ohio and added Kristopher KJ Barnette when Greg discontinued writing for it. It was an awesome 'zine, no? I'd love to get my hands (or even just my eyes) on some of the older copies.

Anonymous said...

Hey there. Brings back sweet and semi-sweet memories. Scottie Cooper here, from the 'zine Darc Colours. In 1988 I moved to Hollywood and stayed with Marc Plainguet for a few weeks before getting my first apt. in Hollywood, and a great job selling t-shits on Melrose Ave. Good times! Really tough, though! wow-- anyway, met Erin Hooper out there from Different Drummer and Mike Futch (now goes by Bing Futch) from Crayzed Bunnyz (sp?) and a few others. Later attended the doomed Hollywood Sanctuary church where the pastor and lead singer of Vengeance Rising, Roger Martinez, became a satanist. I have heard from Jeani Bond--the Christian Underground radio show host--that David Joo of Zine of the Times fell away after his band's guitarist killed his wife. The story is that David formed an anti-Christian band with the banner No Jesus flying behind their drummer. Then not long after somehow David died--never got the full story. I'm still praying for him. In any case, these days I'm a writer and go by the name Scath Beorh. Here's my website: my email is and I would love to hear from anyone even remotely connected to the Christian Underground. Too bad about JPUSA, eh? We all looked up to them so much. But man will fail you. Jesus never will.