Huge things are expected for five rock rap funksters out of Atlanta, Georgia. Tony Cummings reports on FAMILY FORCE 5.

Family Force 5: Fusing punk, rap & funk

If there's one American band EVERYBODY seems to be predicting big things for it's a phoenix rising from the ashes of the Dirty South, known as Family Force 5. With their head-spinning mix of punk, rock, rap and funk grooves they created a sensation at 2005's GMA and created something of a bidding war amongst numerous record companies both mainstream and Christian. Family Force 5 eventually signed with major label maverick (the company once owned by Madonna) with Gotee Records picking up the band's distribution rights into Christian retail. Their shattering record label debut 'Business Up Front, Party In The Back' is released in the UK by EMI CMG in March.

Family Force 5 were formed in 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia when three blood brothers chose to build their "crunk rock" with two friends. Solomon Olds (aka Soul Glow Activator) plays guitar, sings and generally leads the charge while breakdancing. Jacob Olds (Crouton) plays drums and shares the vocals. Joshua Olds (Fatty) plays bass, sings and doubles as Jacob's twin brother. Nathan Currin (Nadaddy) mans the decks and plays the keys. Derek Mount (Chap Stique) plays guitar and often hangs from the ceiling. As it turns out the Olds brothers grew up surrounded by Christian music. Their father Jerome Olds was a member of one of the groundbreaking Christian rock bands of the '80s, Mylon LeFevre And Broken Heart. After that Jerome recorded albums for Star Song and Urgent as a solo artist. It was Jerome's connections with Star Song Records that got his sons their first recording experience.

Family Force 5: Fusing punk, rap & funk

As The Brothers, teenagers Jacob, Joshua and Solomon recorded two albums for Star Song, 'R.P.M.' in 1995 and 'Fact & Reality' in 1996. Neither album sold though they did display the siblings' natural veering towards musical eclecticism taking in everything from Boyz II Men balladry, early dc Talk style raps and a screaming cover of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again". But it was of course with the formation of Family Force 5 that their intuitive blending of differing musical elements found full stylistic focus. An independent album release and plenty of hard gigging led to the spectacular growth of an underground fan base. Yet despite all the manic excitement of their stage act, Family Force 5 continue to keep a spiritual focus in what they do. When Solomon gave a message to Youth Specialities youth pastors that was clear. "I can tell you guys how much we appreciate what you do. Continue to pray for the Family Force 5 as we are out on the road doing the same things you guys do but with loud guitars and pink alligator shoes!"

Family Force 5 then are clearly not a band making the all-too-familiar about-face once the big budget mainstream deal is secured. There'll be no toning down of their spiritual messages on 'Business Up Front, Party In The Back'. Said Solomon, "We feel that we need to be a very in-your-face severe kind of band and have that sound because Jesus came and did the most severe thing any person could ever do." CR

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