Could Electric Jesus be the Christian hair metal coming-of-age comedy we've been waiting for?

Electric Jesus
(Image credit: Joyful Noise)

Rock'n'roll has always lent itself to satire, from Spinal Tap to Bad News and beyond,  so we're delighted to bring you news of the release of Electric Jesus, a mockumentary about a band of Christian hair metal wannabes who never quite make it.

The band in question are 316, and Electric Jesus follows them as they spend the summer of 1986 travelling the highway to stardom. Or not, as the case may almost certainly be.

Named after the most quoted verse in the bible (John 3:16; "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life), 316 can be witnessed in their full glory in the video (below) for Commando for Christ. "Commandos for Christ!" the chorus exhorts. "Let's all go commando!"

"The screen band’s music is a weird mash-up of 80s hair metal and Sunday school," say the filmmakers. "Electric Jesus wears its heart on its sleeve, à la The Breakfast Club, Lady Bird, and Almost Famous." 

The film was written and directed by Chris White, whose previous credits include showbiz comedy Cinema Purgatorio and Star Trek Continues, while The Breakfast Club's Judd Nelson and Brian Baumgartner (Kevin from the US version of The Office) are amongst the cast.

"I was raised by devout Southern Baptist parents and fully immersed in (and committed to) Evangelical Christian youth culture," says White. "Which included Sunday School, Bible studies, summer camps, retreats, choir tours, ski trips – all of it set to an 80s Christian rock soundtrack. 

"This immersive religious culture is difficult to explain to many of my friends today – but it’s even more difficult to explain why I loved it. The fact that something so alien to most of the world is so vivid in my memory... and kind of embarrassing to talk about now... It makes me feel odd.

"Just listen to a Christian hair metal anthem of the era – let’s say Stryper’s To Hell With the Devil – and you’ll start to understand. Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I revisit that time in my mind, but either way, there’s no looking away."

Electric Jesus is due to show at a number of film festivals this autumn, with a worldwide release to follow, while the soundtrack will be available in November through Joyful Noise.


Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.