The category “Christian rockers whose band is not Christian”—think Scott Stapp, or P.O.D.–is getting less exclusive every day. But at least one band is willing to sue to get on it. Mute Math, a Louisiana prog-rock group, is suing Warner Brothers for labeling them a Christian band. Headed by Paul Meany, formerly of the out-Christian act Earthsuit, Mute Math played to raves at Christian festivals over the summer and opened for Mae, a Christian band, last fall. But when Warner released their EP on its Christian subsidiary, Word Records instead of one of their mainstream labels, the band balked, first putting their full album out on a label co-owned by Meany called Teleprompt, then filing suit.
Naturally, the band’s move has bred resentment in the evangelical ranks that calling any entity Christian is a litigatable offense. But think of the upside: the case may yield a court-approved definition of the term “Christian band.” A Mute Math spokesperson sketched out a sort of negative definition in saying what Mute Math is not: “Mute Math is not a worship artist. They don’t preach from (the) stage. They don’t preach in their interviews.” That’s a start. But Meany himself intimates there’s more to the distinction when he told Billboard, “I had no desire to be the Christian version of a real band.”