Tony Cummings reports on the latest comeback of the hitmaking pop rock team AUDIO ADRENALINE
Keeping up with the ever changing history of Audio Adrenaline is a considerable challenge. Once AA were one of the biggest bands in American CCM winning two Grammy Awards, multiple Doves and enjoying a string of successful alums such as 'Bloom' (which went Gold in 1996), 'Underdog' (1999) and 'Worldwide' (2003). But when in 2006 lead singer Mark Stuart was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia the band retired from the scene. Or so we thought. After a six year hiatus, Christian music followers were stunned when in 2012 Audio Adrenaline reformed with Kevin max fronting the band. Giving the vocal mic to the former member of dc Talk seemed like a sure fire path to former glories but despite the Max-fronted AA album 'Kings & Queens' making 70 in Billboard's mainstream album chart, in June 2014 Max stepped down as lead singer to return to his career trajectory as maverick singer/songwriter.
A new lead singer was hurriedly brought in to replace Max, the former frontman of the band Abandon, John Engler. Perhaps too hurriedly. By February 2015 Adam Agee, formerly of pop punk band Stellar Kart, was offered and accepted the role in what was an all new lineup band. The Adam Agree-fronted AA entered the studio and with Dave Stovall (the bass player who had formerly been a member of Wavorly), Brandon Bagley (guitarist and formerly with Plumb and Seventh Day Slumber) and Jack Campbell (drums) recorded the single "Love Was Stronger". That's been followed by the album 'Sound Of The Saints' which since its release in May has registered at 69 in America's mainstream album chart and number one on the Christian chart.
Adam Agee spoke to journalist Ryan Brymer about his decision to join the new lineup Audio Adrenaline. "I've known Mark [Stuart - founding lead singer] and Will [McGuiness - founding bass player] for a long time and I love those guys. It's pretty well documented that they had a huge influence on my career over the last 12 years in [my former band] Stellar Kart. We were under the same management as Audio A for the last three years and they had been watching us. So they came to me and said, 'Hey, we've got this thing happening. We need a singer and we'd like you to be the frontman for the band and help write.' Stellar Kart was kind of winding down so I thought about it with my wife and prayed about it a lot. The guys from Audio A came back and said that they wanted to keep things going to continue to raise awareness for the Hands And Feet Project and that ministry. So, my wife felt like I couldn't just go back out on the road to play music. There had to be a huge ministry aspect involved in order to leave the family. With all of those things adding up, it felt like a good fit."
Another of the new AA members, Dave Stovall, spoke to JesusFreakHideout about how he became part of the new lineup. "Mark Stuart took me out to eat one day, and I thought he was going to try to set up a time for us to write some music together (which would've been awesome). But he dropped the bombshell on me and asked me to join Audio Adrenaline. I'm not gonna lie... I freaked out."
Stovall admitted that he was a little nervous about replacing Will McGuiness to become AA's second bass player since the band formed in 1986 under the name A-180. He said, "After rehearsing with the band for a while, Mark and Will stopped by to check on us. We started playing 'Big House' in front of them and then I looked up and saw Will with a big grin and pumping a thumbs up in the air. All the insecurity just left me after that."
Despite his long experience in CCM Dave has been blown away by his time with Audio Adrenaline. "I feel completely honoured to carry on the Audio Adrenaline name. You have no idea. I have a moment on stage every night where I look out in the crowd and think, 'I cannot believe I'm getting to do this!'"
Adam Agee has also been very encouraged by the fan response to the new lineup group. "I was surprised the first couple of weeks of the tour at how well people responded and how encouraging they were. It was much better than I could have hoped. Of course there are people who really liked the old way, but the response has been great. The younger fans that come up that may not even know about the history of Audio A are really excited about the new stuff and they love it. We're able to inspire a new generation the way this band inspired us, so it's very special each night. Then the fans who have been fans for 25 years come up to us and say, 'Man, you did a great job on the old stuff and we really like the new stuff.' This band really changed their lives back in the day and they're glad we're keeping it going."
Adam spoke about the 'Sound Of The Saints' hit album. "There were over 50 songs written for this record and it just wound up that this is the direction that we wanted to go. It is that unapologetic, 'This is what we believe.' And it's got a couple of moments of that 'Underdog' vibe, where anybody from anywhere - it doesn't matter if you think you've got all the skills or if you've got all the answers - anybody can make a difference in the world, and change the world, and tell the world about Jesus. That vibe is what we're going for. It's the whole message of Audio, whether they were explicit with it or you had to dig to find it. It's always been that, 'Here's what we believe and anybody can make it happen and Jesus can use anybody.' So, that's what it's all about. My favourite song to sing on the new record is called 'Move'. It's one that just slays every night. It is so much fun. The crowd just goes nuts. My favourite from the old catalogue is 'Ocean Floor'. That's one of my favourite moments from the show, 2,000 people worshiping to that song. I love that."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.