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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« White Horse Inn Producer, Shane Rosenthal, on "Issues, Etc." | Main | This Week's White Horse Inn »

Michael Been (1950-2010)

You may have heard the news that the frontman/bassist of the Call, Michael Been, died of a massive heart attack last week in Belgium.  Until his death, Been had been the techie behind the band The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, which featured his son Robert Levon Been.

Back in the day, the Call was one of my favorite bands, and Been was one of the few songwriters who wrote lyrics with which I could identify.  He was also a great performer and bassist and had a powerful stage presence.  We saw the Call perform many times.

The Call was one of the few bands which (at the time) eschewed the "Christian band" label, yet openly addressed Been's Oklahoma fundamentalist roots.  Been ended up married to an ELCA pastorette, and played the Apostle John in the Last Temptation of Christ.  I never could figure out where he landed, only that "Let the Day Begin" is a great articulation of the doctrine of vocation.

"I Still Believe" meant a lot to me back in those difficult days when I was giving up my fundamentalist past and embracing Reformed theology.  While I don't miss the eighties electronics-dominated sound of the Call (give me the crunchy, raw sound of bands like the Black Keys), I'll listen to "Reconciled"--one of my ten desert island albums--at full blast today and relive a few moments of my past.

Reader Comments (6)

Thanks for posting this, Kim. I liked their music back then too, especially since they were formed in my home town of Santa Cruz.
August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMicah Burke
It's so cool to have a Reformed pastor who cranks up the rock'n'roll while handcrafting sermons yet won't allow a crappy praise band taint the Lord's Day!

Keep at it, Pastor Kim.


August 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrobin
I always liked the Call too.
August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
I saw them perform in Grand Rapids a couple of times with Alison Heart introducing them both times if I remember correctly. Any Grand Rapidians should know who that is. She was always interesting to talk to- along with Eris Hampers.
August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
I STILL listen to their stuff and have never grown tired of '80's music. Lyrics like Been's are hard to come by, especially these days. I strongly recommend that you pick up Michael Been's underrated solo album, On the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough (which includes a decent cover of The Yardbirds' 'For Your Love' as well) if you want to hear his heavier guitar-driven side. The lyrics are still very 'Christian' in content too. There are lots of used copies available online. Been was a personal friend of director Martin Scorsese, which is how he landed the role of John the Baptist. After Reconciled, they released 'Into the Woods,' which was the Call's best album musically IMHO. It's a very angry 'dark night of the soul' album (save for the last track, 'Walk') and suggests Been had a falling out with the Church at that time, which might explain his involvement with The Last Temptation of Christ. He claimed in numerous interviews that he never saw the movie as blasphemous, even after getting over his apparent resentment.
August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeal P.
Yes, thank you for letting us know. I enjoyed their music, and so I thought I would share my 6 favorite songs of the Call:

1. Scene Beyond Dreams;
2. I Still Believe;
3. In the River;
4. Oklahoma
5. The Walls Came Down;
6. Let the Day Begin.
August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom W

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