Audio Adrenaline, one of the first bands to make a name for itself mixing Christian lyrics with rock, is back after a yearslong hiatus.
The group is bringing its Kings & Queens Tour to Enid on Friday and Tulsa on Sunday. Other groups on the tour include Group 1 Crew, Seventh Day Slumber and Manic Drive. Fans of the group can expect some changes, most notably some new faces.
However, the Grammy Award-winning band still has a passion to inspire fans for Christ's sake, said bassist Will McGinniss, one of the band's original members.
In a telephone interview, McGinniss said the revamped band is on a new mission to spread the word about a Haiti orphanage effort called the Hands & Feet Project. He said the project was enough to bring the band together for a common cause.
Audio Adrenaline, or AA, dropped off the scene in 2006 after learning of lead vocalist and co-founder Mark Stuart's vocal cord disorder. Stuart, McGuinness and Barry Blair formed the group in the late 1980s while attending Kentucky Christian College, now Kentucky Christian University, in Grayson, Ky.
McGinniss said he began to see the band's demise, albeit temporary, as “a gift,” because it gave him a chance to spend more time with his family and his church.
But he said “being back is incredible. It's something I think I was wired for, something I was made for, and when you're not doing it, you sort of feel like a fish out of water.”
Hands, feet and faces
McGuinness said the band formed again to bring attention to the Hands & Feet Project (www.handsandfeetproject.org), an orphanage the group started in Haiti in 2004. He said the orphanage, in two locations, is home to about 100 children who live together in sibling groups with house parents. He said the project is one of the first foster care models in Haiti.
McGuinness said he and Stuart plugged into the project over the years, while the band's lead guitarist Tyler Burkum and drummer Ben Cissell went on to other things. He said Burkum tours around the globe with other recording artists, and Cissell is experiencing success in the business world.
With several members unavailable to reform the band, McGuinness said several good friends were asked to be part of the new Audio Adrenaline. They are Dave Ghazarian on guitar, Jared Byers on drums and Jason Walker on keyboard.
He said they wondered who could fill “Mark's shoes” as lead vocalist and decided to ask Kevin Max, formerly of the contemporary Christian pop group dcTalk, to consider joining the group. Audio Adrenaline opened for dcTalk on the latter's “Jesus Freak World Tour” back in dcTalk's heyday.
McGuinness said Max loved the idea of the Hands & Feet Project for several reasons, including the fact that he was adopted.
“He's a dear friend of ours, and he's been on some of our early records. It was a natural kind of fit,” McGuinness said. “He was an orphan himself, and so he really gravitated to helping us tell this story.”
With a new band in place, the group recorded “Kings & Queens,” its new compilation that was released March 12.
McGuinness said fans have been very responsive to the title track, the first single from the album. He said that welcoming response has shown up on the road, including the band's current 30-city tour.
McGuinness said the band performs some of the group's vintage songs while also performing newer tunes such as “Kings & Queens.”
He said they try to bring something for their longtime fans who are familiar with favorite including “Big House” and “Hands and Feet” as well as those who are just being introduced to their music.
“Fans, they have really been so gracious to us,” he said. “There's the old guard, people who came out to see us back in the day, and then there's the whole new crowd who we feel like we're really winning over.
“We just feel like every night has been a sweet, sweet moment.”