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Good Fight Ministries’ They Sold Their Souls For Rock And Roll is a “rockumentary” expose that “reveals just how Satan has been effectively using popular music to undermine God’s plan for the family, ultimately heralding the coming of the Antichrist and his kingdom on earth” (back cover). This review is of the 10-hour edition that can be found on both Amazon and at the Good Fight Ministries Website (the latter site having the source at a much cheaper price). Joe Schimmel, the president and founder of Good Fight Ministries as well as the pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California, is the rockumentary’s host and narrator. While this rockumentary was released some time ago (2004, the year I graduated high school), I wanted to check this out because a lot of the music critiqued in this film was music I listened to quite a bit growing up.
The rockumentary spans 4 discs (600 minutes total between the four). Each disc has between seven and eleven chapters. In reviewing this rockumentary, I explain what each disc (or volume) covers.
This volume is what I call the “overview” volume, for it gives a bit of a birds-eye view on music from various decades. These include brief/lengthy critiques on artists/topics such as Rammstein, Madonna, the Beatles, David Lee Roth, MTV, Columbine, demon possession, Perry Ferrell, Tori Amos, Method Man, Jimi Hendrix, Kid Rock, Eminem, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Frank Zappa, Slayer, the Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera, Robert Johnson, Marilyn Manson, Elvis Presley, Santana and a load of others. Schimmel does an excellent job in citing a variety of primary sources in his critiques. He cites music lyrics from songs (such as those by DMX, the Spice Girls, Britney Spears and Eminem to name a few), magazine articles (like Spin Magazine) and people themselves (like Jerry Lewis, Aleister Crowley, Elvis Presley and Helena Blavatsky). Schimmel also biblically refutes the aforementioned topics throughout both this volume and the other volumes.
This volume also touches base on other topics. For example, the volume shows graphic photos of abortions (under the chapter “Destruction By Disease”). Apparently Marilyn Manson partook in the abortion of an ex-girlfriend of his. The volume also shows an AIDS victim that had a really deformed face. This victim was discussing the consequences of his actions. The volume also shows a brief scene in which the late Tupac Shakur dissed his fans (that’s putting it lightly) for getting sexually transmitted diseases. Based on what this volume explained, I believe abortion, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases were some of the consequences that the rock-and-roll industry produced (and still produces to this day, I am sure). There was a scene in which in the 1970’s, it was discussed that going to a VD clinic was normal in the rock-and-roll lifestyle. I mention all that because this rockumentary pulls no punches in what it discusses. That represents a strength in this rockumentary; it does not hold back in showing the truth.
Before I move to volume two, I should state that before I was a Christian, I was heavily involved in consuming both MTV and music by Korn, Kid Rock, Eminem and especially Limp Bizkit and DMX (among others). I also remember the popularity of artists such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, the Spice Girls, N’SYNC, the Backstreet Boys, DMX, Eminem and others. Seeing some of the information presented in this volume was eye-opening. The especially eye-opening part was the lyrics that were critiqued. Seeing lyrics from some DMX songs brought back bad memories. Seeing some of the vulgarity/suggestiveness of lyrics from such bands as N’SYNC, the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls was particularly eye-opening; those bands had quite the influence over youth in the 90’s and even the 2000’s.
At this point, the rockumentary starts looking at stuff from more of a “timeline” perspective. Chapter topics include Aleister Crowley, Jimi Hendrix & demon possession, Jim Morrison, The Beach Boys and their connection to the spirit world, John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, the Eagles and the early deaths of rock stars. The volume does an excellent job moving from decade to decade in explaining the impact of rock and roll’s most influential stars during the 60’s and 70’s. Like the musical groups mentioned in volume one, I was familiar with each of the ones mentioned in this paragraph. What I didn’t expect was what influenced them all.
Volume two takes an extensive look at Aleister Crowley. One key phrase of his is “do what thou wilt” (which possibly manifests itself in the modern phrases of “do your thing” or “you do you boo”). This phrase has had its influence in history. For example, Schimmel cites a quote from John Lennon from a 1980 edition of The Playboy Interviews. In that article, Lennon stated, “The whole Beatle idea was to do what you want, right? …DO WHAT THOU WILST, as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.” It is clear Crowley had an influence on the Beatles. Schimmel also explains how Crowley promoted sodomy, Hindu/Buddhist yoga, homosexuality and other things. Schimmel cites such works as The Worlds Tragedy and The Confessions of Aleister Crowley when explaining what Crowley promoted. Crowley authored those sources.
Schimmel also details some of Crowley’s disciples. One disciple of his, Timothy Leary (a public figure in the 1960’s), uttered a phrase that brought back 8th grade memories of mine. That phrase was, “turn on, tune in, drop out.” The phrase jumped out at me because during my days of heavy consumption of MTV, I was a big fan of the short-lived show webRIOT (1999-2000). That show had the catchphrase, “Tune In, Log On, Play Game.” I actually did a speech on that show in 8th grade and that catchphrase was my introductory line. I’m not sure if webRIOT was influenced by Timothy Leary. Nevertheless, webRIOT, a product of MTV (which has its problems), wasn’t exactly a morally fine show.
The musical artist Sting represents another Crowley disciple. That shocked me because his music seemed to be ok. Schimmel uses a quote from Sting that shows Sting’s approval of tarot cards. According to p. 198 of a January 1984 issue of The king of Pam, Sting said, “My favorite tarot card is Death. Oh! Here it is! How strange death should be right on top. Anyhow, I find it extraordinary how strong are the feelings this card inspires in me.” In this same article, Sting notes how Crowley supervised these occult tarot cards in the 1940’s. Other Crowley disciples mentioned in this volume included Black Sabbath, Hall & Oates, Iron Maiden, L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology) and Ozzy Osbourne.
This volume had at least a few other highlights. First, it went into detail about how some musical artists became possessed. For example, Jimi Hendrix details how he was possessed by a demon. Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors, would have “personalities that would come out of him” while performing. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys would hear voices that talk to him.
Another highlight was some of the other notable quotes this volume showed. According to page 80 of a 2/12/76 edition of Rolling Stone, David Bowie stated, “Rock has always been the devil’s music. You can’t convince me that it isn’t.” He also stated,
I believe that rock & roll is dangerous. It could well bring about a very evil feeling in the west….that’s where I see it heading, bringing about the dark era…
Schimmel also shows how Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones explained how he has four or five demons in him and they are “all good friends.” Schimmel also notes how John Lennon even said he sold his soul to the devil. Lennon also stated Christianity would go.
Lastly, Schimmel analyzes some song lyrics by popular bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Eagles and Pink Floyd. Specifically, Schimmel notes how the popular Led Zeppelin song “Stairway To Heaven” is actually not about heaven at all. Instead, he notes how the song, when played backwards, essentially glorifies Satan. Schimmel also notes how Pink Floyd blasphemes God by twisting Psalm 23 in one of its songs. Finally, Schimmel’s analysis of the songs “Hotel California” and “Good Day In Hell” by The Eagles show how the church of Satan has influenced that band. The analysis on “Hotel California” was rather alarming.
Making its way to the 80’s and present day, volume three looks at such topics as KISS, Prince, Michael Jackson, female pop divas, Madonna, Metallica, Kurt Cobain, U2, Creed, serial killers and Hollywood’s hidden agenda. Once again, Schimmel cites primary sources as he exposes the topics.
One commonality amongst many of these musical artists is what torments/possesses them. Schimmel notes how Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Kurt Cobain either had people inside them (in the cases of Jackson and Prince) or were tormented by demons (in the cases of Madonna and Cobain). Schimmel also cites a March 1996 article from Spin Magazine to show how Tori Amos felt Lucifer’s presence with Lucifer’s music. The amount of primary evidence showing this type of information is both undeniable and eye-opening.
This volume also explains how serial killers were influenced by music. For example, Charles Manson was heavily influenced by The Beatles and their song “Helter Skelter.” Black Sabbath had an influence on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Another killer by the name of Nightstalker drew AC/DC on the walls of his victims. Schimmel, like in his other sections, does an incredible job of appealing to primary sources in his revealings.
One quote Schimmel cited (among many) that really jumped out at me was one on the television. Anton LaVey, author of the Satanic Bible, said this in regards to the TV on page 86 of Devil’s Notebook:
The TV set, or satanic family altar, has grown more elaborate since the early 50’s, from the tiny, fuzzy screen to huge, ‘entertainment centers’ covering entire walls with several TV monitors. What started as an innocent respite from everyday life has become in itself a replacement for real life for millions, a major religion of the masses.
I have heard the late pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel call the TV an “idiot box.” I have heard other preachers like Paul Washer say some unfavorable things about the TV. I’ve also seen stats from books on how professing Christians watch television way more than they read the Bible. The fact LaVey, a satanist, called it the “satanic family altar” is eye-opening. I grew up on HBO and Cinemax as a kid and teen. I consumed hours of MTV basically everyday between 7th and 10th grade. By the grace of God, I don’t consume a plethora of TV everyday like I did. Thankfully, the TV can be used for good things (i.e., watching this rockumentary I am reviewing). It definitely needs to be used in moderation.
This concluding volume spends much time on Marilyn Manson, Cassie Bernall, the Columbine Massacre, hell, and how to receive eternal life. Other topics that get a mention or more include but are not limited to Slayer, Slipknot, Bone Thugs ‘N Harmony, Easy E and The Smashing Pumpkins. This volume also shows the accounts of at least three individuals who turned to Jesus Christ after experiencing visions of hell and torment. Schimmel also interviews Brad Bernall, the father of Cassie Bernall (one of the victims of the Columbine Massacre).
The information about Marilyn Manson perhaps jumped out the most to me. I first learned about Marilyn Manson when I was in fourth grade. As time went on in my non-Christian life, I became softened to listening to some of his songs (especially “Rock Is Dead”). Somebody even burned a CD of his for me when I was in high-school (that one with the song “mOBSCENE”). I knew he was bad, but I did not know all the finer details of how bad he was. Schimmel explains how Manson himself states “Lucifer isn’t such a bad guy.” According to Schimmel, one of Manson’s t-shirts said:
Warning: the music of Marilyn Manson contains messages that will kill God in your impressionable teenage mind, as a result, you could be convinced to kill your mom and dad….And eventually in an act of hopeless rock and roll behavior, you will kill yourself. Please burn your records while there is still hope
Schimmel shows other information about Manson. Manson glorifies homosexuality, drugs and cutting himself. Manson also had influence on Cassie Bernall. What really made my stomach turn was seeing a little boy singing along to one of Manson’s songs. I mentioned earlier that this rockumentary pulls no punches. The information about Manson strengthens that claim.
One thing I appreciated (among many) in this volume was Schimmel’s Gospel presentation. He used an incredible example of a person being hung over the pit of hell by ten links. He also mentioned sin, repentance, faith, imputation and other crucial terms. He begs the viewer to be born again. He also states perhaps this rockumentary’s thesis statement; this video was “put together and designed for your salvation.”
STRENGTHS OF THE ROCKUMENTARY
This rockumentary has no shortage of strengths. It has no less than four. First, it cites a mass amount of primary sources. The information on the mass amount of musical artists covered is not hearsay. Second, this rockumentary pulls no punches. It gets graphic when discussing issues such as abortion and the details of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s behavior. While some of the information can make your stomach turn, it needs to be shown nonetheless given its truthfulness. Third, it cites a lot of Scripture. Schimmel gives a plethora of Scripture in each volume. He is not simply spewing his opinion. He also gives good facts alongside his Scripture. For example, he states that Scripture commands believers over 200 times to sing to the LORD. Finally (and most importantly), Schimmel gets the Gospel right. He preaches both Law and Gospel throughout the volume and especially in his Gospel presentation.
WEAKNESSES OF THE ROCKUMENTARY?
It should be stated that every volume in this DVD is solid. The information is solid. The Scripture usage is solid. I have never seen such a mass amount of different sources for any documentary. The only weakness I noticed in this rockumentary was from an editorial standpoint in three brief, spotty ways.
In volume 3, Schimmel does not correctly pronounce the last name of Creed’s lead singer. Creed’s lead singer is Scott Staap. Unless my ears are deceiving me, I heard Schimmel say “Scott Strap” instead of “Scott Staap” every time. I know this is nitpicky of me. However, I do need to be fair in pointing out both strengths and weaknesses. The lack of correct pronunciation here is a spotty weakness from an editorial standpoint.
I also noticed some grammar shortcomings. I did notice some misspellings in some of the article quotes shown throughout this rockumentary. I don’t remember where exactly in the volumes that I saw them. I did see a few. I don’t think I saw more than five between the four volumes (which is still good). However, that was enough for me to take notice.
Finally, in volume three, the chapter “Divas of Pop” made mention of Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette. The rockumentary produced information on McLachlan and Amos. However, it did not show anything on Alanis Morissette. I won’t really complain that much because the rockumentary showed a plethora of information on a plethora of other people. However, if she is supposed to be a main figure in a chapter, I would’ve expected the same air time given to McLachlan and Amos to be given to Morissette as well.
Please understand that these spotty editorial weaknesses in no way take away from the exemplary and outstanding work done in this rockumentary. I simply state those minor, spotty things because they are there.
On the front cover of my copy of this rockumentary, it states, “This internationally televised expose is the most powerful rockumentary ever produced, bar none.” I echo this statement wholeheartedly. I will also state that this is one of the most important documentaries produced in this century. Every Christian believer should view this. I also believe every person born in my generation (within reason of 1985) should view this. Schimmel has done one of the most thorough, well-researched and widely-researched documentaries I have ever seen. This is an absolute must-own. Every hour of this ten hour rockumentary is golden.
NOTE: I emailed this review via the website https://www.goodfight.org/about/contact-us/. I also tweeted it. I tagged Good Fight Ministries and Chad Davidson (the host of the Good Fight radio show).