So If you have not heard or seen it. Lust Control is getting some heat on their new album cover. Below is the cover and a word from our Editor and Chief DVP
Okay, students (of the Word), it’s time for class.
I come to you as your teacher. I believe I’ve earned the right to speak to you as a
teacher, as Lust Control’s past (including many live shows and teaching opportunities) is
history and a trackable record. If you’d been to one or more of our shows, you know that I
have often held the Word of God up as a standard and communicated a message about our
sexuality from a biblical viewpoint.
If you are not concerned about our recent album artwork preview online, please ignore this
conversation. It is not so much for you as it is for those who have expressed a great,
grave or slight concern about the scantily-clad young woman featured on the Tiny Little
Dots album cover preview.
If you have been concerned or disapprove of our pre-released artwork and you are also put
off by a perceived arrogance of me declaring myself a teacher, then let me implore you to
give me a chance to talk. Humble yourself, please. If I have not earned your respect or
right to teach, grant me your attention as a graceful gift of humility on your part.
Please listen, too, and not just look out for holes in my argument so that you may blast
back at me. My discourse here is not above criticism, argument or discernment. However, I
believe that when one is predisposed of putting someone in their place, they often don’t
really listen to the other party. They only listen for clues or chips in the armor, so to
speak, that they can hack away at to overpower them in an argument. If God is truly
calling you to rebuke me and my band, then you don’t need to build an argument. Your
rebuke, if it is from the Lord, needs no logic and needs no carefully constructed
argument. A rebuke should be able to stand on its own.
Here is the story of how the artwork came to be. We signed an album deal with Rottweiler
Records, whom we respect very much. They have an in-house artist/graphic designer that
designs the majority if not all of their album artwork. When the label started talking to
us seriously about signing us to this deal, the in-house artist, a guy named Paul (I like
that name), he was very excited and expressed a personal interest in getting the chance to
design our cover should we sign. When things progressed and we signed (a video of the
signing is online at: ), he started having ideas on his own about what artwork might best
represent our band.
Lust Control had its start in 1988, with the release of This Is A Condom Nation, which was
banned from Christian retail distribution after it shipped to the largest “one-stop”
distributor of Christian music at the time, Spring Arbor. When the warehouse erupted into
a minor little uproar and our cassette tape title was the talk of pretty much the entire
warehouse staff, the music buyer was called into the office of the Vice President of Sales
and ordered to return the product to us.
So, as you can see, from the onset of our band, we very quickly became used to
controversy. However, controversy was the furthest thing from my mind when I tossed out
one possible idea for our next album cover. We were a band from 1988 thru 1994, which was
a six-year run that I took seriously as a music ministry that specialized in addressing
sexual sin from a biblical viewpoint. The band came to an end after a couple of shows in
Australia, where I fronted an Aussie three-piece that learned a 19-song set (which,
incidentily, included the song “Finger,” which will be the first track on this new album).
Lust Control lay dormant after that run, but we decided to get the band back together in
2010 when we were invited to play the 2011 Cornerstone Festival in a split-set with
After the band played a few shows (two in Austin and two at Cornerstone), we started
talking about recording an EP or an album. We all wanted to properly record the song
“Finger,” which we all love. Then we started writing new material. The rest of the guys
(Butch, Bob and Bradford) are all excited about this chance to record something again. It
may be our last chance to put out an album, so we all took it seriously. I changed my
leadership role in the band and backed down from the dictatorship style that I had
basically used all these years to a more democratic republic style. Therefore, I wasn’t
going to force any of my album title or album artwork ideas on the rest of the band.
First, I wrote a song called “Tiny Little Dots.” It’s about pornography. It’s kind of a
sarcastic song about a guy that’s in love with a girl, but this girl only exists on the
pages of a magazine. In essence, she is a bunch of tiny little dots (bitmaps on printed
paper or pixels on the computer screen) arranged in such a way to give your eyes and brain
the impression that it is a woman. I had an idea to go along with this song’s theme if it
would end up being the title track for the album.
The band wasn’t settled on the idea of this being a song at all, let alone the title
track. It was one of the last two we have thus written for the album. I really wanted to
make sure it was included, because it was the most pointed “musical sermon” that this
album had, in my opinion. Anyway, my idea was to have an illustration of us (the band) in
a press room by a large offset “web” press, looking at a press check or proof that had
just been printed. We would be studying an illustration of a large-breasted woman that was
partly obscured by us as we stood around the print. I would be looking through a
magnifying device called a lupe, which printers use to examine half-tone dots and print
quality. Bob, would be looking at the camera (or you, the viewer) as if we had been caught
looking at this image. He would be holding his hands up as if to stop you or obscure your
vision. I hadn’t figured out what Bradford or Butch would be doing, but we’d all be on the
cover, “busted,” so to speak, for looking at this image. I’m thinking the entire thing
would be an illustration or cartoon in full color that started to enlarge or break up into
larger and larger bitmap dots that would keep enlarging in one corner so that the theme of
bitmap dots was clearly reinforced by the title “Tiny Little Dots.”
No one outside the band knew about this idea. When I had my first discussion with the in-
house artist, I wanted to hear what Paul had in mind before I influenced his ideas at all
with the mention of mine. He said he had the idea of using a photo of a naked woman with
body parts obscured and the photo/image blown out to be pixelated or reveal the bitmaps.
The resolution of a photograph that you’ll usually see in a magazine is 300 dpi. DPI
stands for “dots per inch.” As you lower the dpi, you have fewer and fewer dots per inch,
which usually means the dots are larger (think about it: 300 dots per inch is very dense
and the dots are tiny and close together. 72 dots per inch, which is the resolution of
most computer screen monitors, is less dense and slightly larger dots, but they are not
very well seen by the naked eye – no pun intended. 30 dots per inch, or 16, are much less
dense and larger. The eye will see that the dots make up the image. This is like the art/
painting style of “pointilism.”).
It was uncanny that we both separately had similar ideas to the album cover. After I
shared my idea, he went away and came up with something like what you’ve seen. To be
honest (and this really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things), the first two
previews we saw were much more, shall we say, provocative. They showed legs as well as the
upper part of the woman’s body. I liked the artistic vibe of it, but I was uncomfortable
with the “wowza” provocative nature of it. To be blunt, I didn’t want to release an album
cover that some 12-year old boy would masturbate to.
I know that it doesn’t take much to get a pre-pubescent boy horny. I used to read a
regular column in the Christian magazine Campus Life called “Love, Sex and the Whole
Person.” It was an advice column where the columnist would give sound, biblical advice
from real teens and young people about their sexuality. Sometimes it was a girlfriend or
boyfriend expressing the pressure and discomfort of their romantic partner wanting to go
further than they wanted to. Sometimes it was someone asking, “How far is too far?” Well,
I was a horny little 12-year old and I’d read these stories with a voyeuristic attitude
and I would masturbate after my imagination expounded on these stories.
So, after sharing a little bit about myself, you probably should conclude that I have
standards that are at least on the “same page” as yours. I don’t want to “make someone
stumble” and I don’t want to foster the very area that we are trying to shed the light of
God’s Word on. However, we all know that each of us are different and we all have various
standards. Yes, I’m about to go to the swimsuit argument here – but remember, don’t just
look for ways to combat me in your rebuttal. Listen to me wholly first, please. Some
followers of Christ have stricter standards than others. Believe it or not, some churches
do not allow or condone co-ed swimming. That’s right – boys and girls shall not swim in
the same pool together. It doesn’t matter if the girls are wearing modest one-piece suits
or not. These adults will not let their kids be around other kids of the opposite sex with
I respect those adults for their standards, but I think they are ridiculous and I
certainly have a looser standard than they do. Modesty is a subjective thing. It just is.
We have to appeal to “common sense” or a common standard if we’re going to agree on proper
bathing suit attire.
I think the artwork we have previewed is questionable. I’m not going to say that I know
beyond a shadow of a doubt that this image is perfectly right and that it will stand up to
the scrutiny of the general and/or religious public. I am taking a calculated risk. At the
time I write this, we are still very far away from releasing this album. We are probably a
month and a half away from recording the album in the studio. All that to say I could very
well change this artwork. I won’t emphatically say that I will not change it, but I will
tell you that I probably will not. I think this album cover conveys the theme well and I
think it is far enough away from the “edge” to keep my conscience clear.
When it comes to grey areas, we are left to wisdom, counsel and our own conscience to
decide. Some believers (gasp) go to secular universities to study. Others only listen to
Christian music. There are many believers on both sides of these issues that disagree.
It’s okay. These are grey areas. The bible doesn’t make it absolutely clear emphatically
across the board without the shadow of doubt that they are either white (acceptable) or
black (unacceptable) areas. The mature believer understands this and knows not to fight to
the death over grey areas. They also avoid (usually after learning the hard way) trying to
enforce their grey list on another person (overriding the other’s grey list).
Anyway, I hope that understanding a little bit more of how this decision was made, how the
artwork came to be and having a little perspective on how I approach issues like this …
I hope all of that can somehow add some clarity for you. If not, at least I have been able
to calmly and reasonably explain myself. I stand by this artwork. If you have a problem
with it, come to me.