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Adrenaline Opens For Newsboys

Like thousands of other bands across the country, Christian alternative pop band Audio Adrenaline, which plays the middle slot at the two Newsboys concerts Sunday at Shadle Park High School, doesn’t want its music censored.

In fact, “Don’t Censor Me” is the name of the quartet’s sophomore release.

But it’s not about obscene lyrics or strong, adult-oriented content. Instead, Audio Adrenaline doesn’t want to be censored from communicating its Christian message.

The fact Christian bands, with few exceptions, haven’t been embraced by the mainstream is unsettling to the band. But rather than suppress or compromise its message to make it accessible to mainstream pop fans, Audio Adrenaline continues to adhere to its Christian roots - the one thing that inspired the musicians to form a band in the first place.

“In the trend of Christian musicians trying to cross over into mainstream airplay and MTV, that (compromise) is very common,” said Audio Adrenaline guitarist Barry Blair in a phone interview last week. “We’re very intentional in what we’re saying. This is what we believe and this is what we want to share with people. We’re not really interested in toning down what we’re saying.”

Though Christian bands aren’t likely to be seen on MTV any time soon, the music’s popularity has been growing steadily. Record sales are rising. More and more Christian radio stations are popping up across the country and concerts are selling well. So Audio Adrenaline just might find success doing things its own way.

“The response right now is really on the rise, but I don’t know how far it will go,” said Blair. “We all hope that Christian music will hit the mainstream and get on MTV.”

Audio Adrenaline was conceived in 1991 by Blair, vocalist Mark Stuart and bassist Will McGinnis while they were attending a Kentucky college. They were eager to start a band that would be a hybrid of energetic rock and hip hop. Keyboardist Bob Henderson, who attended the same college, shared their ambitions.

“The name for the band and the kind of musical direction was Bob’s idea,” said Blair. “So he approached us.”

The group’s Christian focus was never discussed; it was understood.

“We had all grown up in Christian families,” said Blair. “I guess it’s just a big part of our lives, our values and beliefs.

“I first learned about Christian rock in high school. It just came naturally to me.”

Audio Adrenaline is working on material for its third album. The band enters the studio in the fall.

Headliner the Newsboys, which played Shadle Park High School last year, just claimed two Dove awards, for Rock Song of the Year with “Shine” and for Rock Album of the Year for “Going Public.” “Public” also received a Grammy nomination for Rock Gospel Album.

xxxx Newsboys/Audio Adrenaline Location and time: Shadle Park High School, Sunday, 3 and 7 p.m. Tickets: $17.50 for gold circle, $12.50 for general admission ($14.50 the day of the show), available at area Christian bookstores; the 7 p.m. show is sold out