Every Day Life
|Every Day Life|
|Also known as||EDL|
The band has been labeled as a Christian version of Rage Against the Machine, which the band states is "kinda flattering, because when we started the band, I hadn't heard ‘em... we had no influence of theirs, and we had no starting point from them."
While the group saw other bands in the genre such as Korn and Limp Bizkit, and even the Christian bands P.O.D. and Project 86, achieve great success, that same goal was elusive to Every Day Life. This was partially due to bad luck regarding record labels and promotion, and part to controversial album content, which led to their first two albums being pulled from Christian bookstores. Even so, the band did receive some light MTV rotation, entered the college radio charts, and was nominated for a Dove Award.
While controversial, the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music describes the band as having been "the first group in Christian music to address political issues in a responsible manner." The band consistently wrote about social issues, and was not afraid to tackle harsh issues of social and economic justice, both within Christianity and in the larger world. EDL felt that these issues were often marginalized or poorly approached in churches, and completely taboo in contemporary Christian music. Larry Norman was an influence for the band, with the lyricist telling one interviewer that "He wrote about the issues... just as Steve Taylor did, and just as Rez Band did when they started. These artists who originally started talking about the issues of Christianity now have no place in the market, because now the market has become songs of confirmation. And it almost makes it seem as though something we're doing is unheard of, and maybe not even Christian." HM jokingly remarked that the Chick tract "Angles?", which describes the evils of Christian rock, had been inspired by the band.
EDL was founded in 1992 as Every Day Life In Southern California. Early on the band signed to R.E.X. Records and laid down some material for an album. However, the label went defunct before releasing any EDL material. After finally being released from that contract, they signed with Alarma Records and produced their debut album, Disgruntled. For the band, the delays were intolerable. Frontman Cookerly reported that "when I got into the studio, I got upset and angry and yelled my way through it ... My goal was to write the most upset record the Christian market had ever seen, to completely alienate everybody.” Production was managed by Lanny Cordola. In addition to sporting an American Flag with the band's name cut out, the cover image of Disgruntled shows a scene from the Reginald Denny incident, part of the Los Angeles riots of 1992. The flag was intended to represent the broken ideal of American life, and the photo to be a graphic portrayal of the extremes of life and society.
One British reviewer found that the album's blend of musical styles "Can seriously affect your blinkered ideas on what Christian music should sound like," and packs "more punches than Lennox Lewis."
From the start their lyrics were controversial. Their debut album contained a cover of the Gil Scott Heron song "Whitey on the Moon" (with guests Gospel Gangstaz) that used the word "nigga". Lyrically, the artist described most of their debut as being "super-personal." On one song, the lyricist dealt with his own childhood. His mother, addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol, and depressed, had told him several times to commit suicide. American Standard contains lyrics on the topics of rape, the exploitation of Native Americans, as well as the dark sides of the music business and church politics. HM described it as having "insurgent lyrics and subversive undertones that challenged the status quo of our society."
The band has received criticism from churches for their unusual sound and the content of their albums. In one incident after a show, frontman Cookerly was surrounded by a crowd of Bible-bearing teenagers who told him that his actions were a reflection of what the Antichrist would do. "I cried a lot that night," Cookerly reported. One specific criticism of the band is that they don't often use "God" or "Jesus" in their lyrics. On that topic frontman Cookerly stated "It has never been our position that Christ would be prostrated to gain industry status and give foundation to our [bands'] Christianity... Why, just for the sake of using his name, should I say Jesus?" "[The] fact is this," Cookerly told 7ball, "some bands are called to be a praise band like The Supertones, and some are called to educate Christians like The Blamed, and we are here to bear witness to the disenfranchised."
American Standard was named for the toilet manufacturer. The album contains social criticism aimed at society, as explained by the lyricist: "our standards have slipped. They're crap. And without getting too vulgar, we as a society piss out all this hypocrisy." The criticisms also extend to Christian culture, "Christianity, we're in trouble, because Christianity for the typical white family isn't that [stereotype] anymore. It's a single parent family, it's still having to deal with alcoholism, it's still having to deal with drug abuse, it's still having to deal with date rape. And any of the things that the world dictates happens to the average white family that's Christian in American society... Our God is a wonderful, just and redeeming Jesus Christ, but people see the need to bring out all these unnecessarily. You know, the Word of God stands alone, and it almost seems as though they have to put powdered sugar on what's already sweet."
Production of American Standard was handled by Mike Knott. One reviewer found that the songs "tend to mesh into one another, creating the 'one long song' effect... the best way to tell each separate track apart is the tempo and length of screams," but that that didn't detract from the musical or lyrical relevance of the album. Another commented that the album could set the standard for "Christian hard, heavy, and puncturing music." A reviewer in a more conservative publication disagreed, calling the lyrics "downright absurd" ramblings and criticized the album for the lack of direct references to Jesus. The song "Salt Circles" received a GMA Dove Award nomination in the "Hard Music Recorded Song of the Year" category in 1999.
Their 2000 release Moment of Clarity marked a slight change in sound for the band - a turn toward a pop and rock oriented sound. HM found that change to be subtle, but enough to commercialize the music.
After Moment of Clarity was released, the band was courted by major labels including Roadrunner Records. They eventually signed to a Universal imprint, but that deal folded when Universal restructured and eliminated that particular subsidiary. The band fell back to KMG, which had then been resurrected as Fashion Pop Records by Frank Chimento, releasing an eponymous album in 2001.
- 1996: Disgruntled (Alarma Records)
- 1997: American Standard
- 2000: Moment of Clarity (KMG Records)
- 2001: Every Day Life (Fashion Pop)
- Tedd Cookerly - vocals
- Carl Weaver - guitar
- Eric Wilkins - drums
- Jason Bowen - bass
- Jensen Tripp - bass
- The Nayt - guitar
- Oxx (Michael Albright) - bass
- Jeff Elbel - bass
- Jim Rupe (KingSize) - bass
- Shawn Pawling - Guitar
- Evan Stromberg - Guitar
- Scott Silleta aka DJ Cool Rock - Formerly of the bands Plankeye, Rich Young Ruler and Fanmail
- Brown, Bruce A. (September–October 1997). "Every Day Life: Righteous Anger". 7ball (14): 14–17. ISSN 1082-3980.
- Levy, Grover (November–December 1997). "EDL meets grover levy...". HM Magazine (68). ISSN 1066-6923.
And I'm sure you know as much as I do, that any slight misunderstanding or inclination that this song could go any other direction than towards Christ, is automatically construed as... I think the most confusing thing about that song is that we were positive somebody was gonna nail us on it. Like, 'How dare you sing a song where you tell people to kill themselves!'
- Bandoppler, Treble (January–February 2000). "Every Day Life: The members of EDL grow up, get on with their lives and work to change a generation". 7ball (28): 26–30. ISSN 1082-3980.
- Pogge, David M. (July–August 2001). "Forgotten Thoughts of Our Tomorrow". HM Magazine (90): 52–54. ISSN 1066-6923.
- Powell, Mark Allan (2002). "Every Day Live (a.k.a. EDL)". Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 311–312. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.
- "Nominees for the 30th Annual Dove Awards". The Phantom Tollbooth.
- Canfield, Dave (1998). "Music Reviews / American Standard". Cornerstone 27 (114): 62. ISSN 0275-2743.
- Jackson, Melba (July–August 2001). "EDL Every Day Life". HM Magazine (90): 75–77. ISSN 1066-6923.
- Macintosh, Dan (July–August 1996). "Bankshots: Every Day Life". 7ball (7). ISSN 1082-3980.
- Callaway, Chris (Dec–Jan 1995). "E.D.L.". HM Magazine (50). ISSN 1066-6923. Check date values in:
- Rimmer, Pippa (October 1996). "EDL / Disgruntled". Cross Rhythms (35).
- Vasey, Karen (September–October 1999). "Every Day Life". HM Magazine (79). ISSN 1066-6923.
- Lobaugh, Rod (February 1998). "EDL / American Standard". Cross Rhythms (43).
- Heckman, Garth (January–February 1998). "Tools / Music / Every Day Life American Standard". YouthWorker Journal XIV (3): 30, 62. ISSN 0747-3486.
- Hassig, Gary (November 1997). "American Standard Review". CBA Marketplace 30 (11): 90. ISSN 1092-7239. OCLC 36184061.
- Van Pelt, Doug (September–October 1999). "Reviews / Moment of Clarity". HM Magazine (79). ISSN 1066-6923.