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Members include: Tyler Burkum, guitar; Ben Cissell (born in St. Louis, MO), drums; Bob Herdman (born in Lynchburg, OH), guitar, keyboard, vocals; Will McGinniss (born in Caledonia, OH), guitar, keyboard, vocals; Mark Stuart (born in Owensboro, KY), bass. Addresses: Record company--Forefront Records, 201 Seaboard Lane, Franklin, TN 37067, phone: (615) 771-2900, website: http://www.forefrontrecords.com. Website--Audio Adrenaline Official Website: http://www.audioa.com.

Audio Adrenaline has created waves in the Christian alternative rock realm and has seamlessly shifted from funk and rap music to alternative rock, without losing equilibrium or devoted fans. They worked with the mega Christian group D.C. Talk for more than two years, both on and off the tour circuits, and eventually altered their musical style to create a distinct sound that was separate from that of D.C. Talk. On Squares Music Online, Aaron Brinley called the band's music "great alternative rock ... that jumps right into your lap with a grunge crispness that revitalizes your soul." Audio Adrenaline has meshed punk, thrash, ballads, and grunge, but has also created easy listening music and ballads. The band consists of vocalist Mark Stuart from Owensboro, Kentucky, guitarist/keyboard player Bob Herdman from Lynchburg, Ohio, bassist Will McGinniss from Caledonia, Ohio, drummer Ben Cissell from St. Louis, Missouri, and guitarist Tyler Burkum, a relative newcomer to the band.

Band members grew up listening to rock and 1970s funk music. The Nashville-based quartet formed Audio Adrenaline in 1991 while Stuart and McGinniss studied at Kentucky Christian College in Grayson, Kentucky, and played in a local band. They met Herdman there, as well as former band guitarist Barry Blair, who was replaced by Burkum in 1996. Herdman had written the song "DC-10" and he thought the band might want to perform it, which eventually led to his writing the single "My God" and the band's first record deal. The songs were a cross between speed metal and rap, with a bold religious message. The band members were education and religion majors who planned on becoming chemistry teachers. They had no desire to make music for a living---but their musical success led them to change their minds.

Their college enlisted their assistance to recruit prospective students at youth conventions across the country, sponsoring the band and giving them equipment and a van in return for their recruitment efforts. The group built up a following from their early touring, primarily throughout the Midwest, and also managed to sell a number of independent records.

In 1991 the band signed with Forefront Records in Tennessee. On Audio Adrenaline's first major tour, they were teamed with fellow Forefront artists Geoff Moore & The Distance as the opening act. They were also the roadies; Stuart told HotStar magazine, "It was pretty hard but it was a good time because we were just starting off. It was our first time to experience the whole country."

The group released their debut album, Audio Adrenaline, in 1992, including two singles in the punk rock vein: "DC-10" and "My God." The band released Don't Censor Me in 1993, which had more of a pop and contemporary music tone and sold more than 300,000 units. The single "Big House" from the album received Dove Award nominations for Rock Song and Video of the year, and a Billboard Music Award nomination for Best Christian Video. The single was also used in youth camps as a praise song, and some churches used it in their services.

The band released Live Bootleg in 1995. BloOm was released in 1996 and contained more straight-ahead rock music than their other albums, along with more easy-listening, serene music. The album was produced by John Hampton, whose resume included production work with the Gin Blossoms. BloOm was an attempt to bring religion to the forefront of their music; the first single on the release was titled "Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus." BloOm produced seven top five singles, four of them reaching the number one mark.

Some Kind of Zombie was released in 1997. The single "Some Kind of Zombie" is a reference to Colossians Chapter 3, where a life is given over to God. The material was inspired by lead singer Mark Stuart's experiences living with his missionary parents in Haiti---where voodoo was conceived---the message being that you can be dead to your old self after becoming a new person through religion. Some Kind of Zombie utilized new sounds for the band: horns, strings, synthesizers, samples, and loops, and helped broaden their musical base.

After the release of Some Kind of Zombie, Mark Rider---president of Nashville-based Just Radio, a production and programming company--told Billboard's Deborah Evans Price, "I think this is the best rock record out right now.... It's a real departure from their previous sound, more raw, and kids love it." Evans Price wrote, "Audio Adrenaline is poised to take the leap from promising new act to headliner with the release of Some Kind of Zombie."

The album was slated to be released simultaneously with the book Some Kind of Journey: On the Road with Audio Adrenaline--7 Days, 7 Issues, 7 Souls. The book chronicles the experiences of seven young people who traveled with the band for seven days, and along the way discussed pertinent cultural issues such as struggling through pain, marriage and sexuality, and life in the church. The book was intended as a guide for youth pastors. The book and album were released on enhanced CD format (AVCD), featuring four audio tracks, two videos, interviews, and devotional segments.

Herdman told Contemporary Christian Music's Brian Quincy Newcomb, "When we first started the band, the goal was ministry first, music second. We put on a killer show, so when we say music is second, it's not that we don't take it seriously. But we take ministry more seriously. Our number one goal is to spread the gospel."

The band plays primarily at churches and county or state fairs when touring, which serves to keep them out of the mainstream venues. Stuart told J. Warner Soditus of The Lighthouse, "We like to say, 'We're all God's kids.' We try not to have any barriers in our music. It's a lot of fun." Forefront Records' Ron Griffin described Audio Adrenaline to Soditus as, "The heart of a pastor with the energy of a sixteen year old."

In 1999 the group released Underdog, which included "Hands and Feet," a song about using the gifts you have, in order to serve Christ. The song became one of their most popular hits. In 2001 they drew attention while touring in the high-profile Festival Con Dios Tour, and also released Hit Parade: The Greatest Hits and Lift.

By this time, the group knew that they were reaching large audiences and could use that recognition to challenge Christians to take their faith out into the world. With the release of the album Worldwide, the band partnered with another band, MercyMe, to form The Go Foundation, which highlights various mission organizations and attempts to match up fans with organizations. At each concert on a 50-city tour, the Go Show challenged members of the audience to step up to the challenge of a mission experience, and they succeeded in their goal of reaching 5,000 commitments.

As the group matured, several members have married and now have children of their own. In 2004 Mark Stuart, Will McGinniss, and Bob Herdman joined forces with Troy Vest and Mary Manz Simon, a child development expert, to create The Praise Baby Collection: God of Wonders. The album was geared toward the toddler set and released along with a DVD and video.

Audio Adrenaline is clear about their group's message. They know the music is important, and are working together to use the music as a tool to share their message as Christians. Their success over many years indicates that their music will be heard for many more years to come.

by B. Kimberly Taylor and Sarah Parkin

Audio Adrenaline's Career

Group formed while Stuart and McGinniss were studying at Kentucky Christian College and playing in a local band, 1991; band left college, signed with Forefront Records; toured with D.C. Talk and Geoff Moore & The Distance as opening act; released Audio Adrenaline, 1992; Don't Censor Me, 1993; Live Bootleg, 1995; BloOm, 1996; Some Kind of Zombie, 1997; published the book Some Kind of Journey: On the Road with Audio Adrenaline--7 Days, 7 Issues, 7 Souls, on AVCD, 1997; released greatest hits album Hit Parade, 1999; released Lift, 2001; and Worldwide, 2003.

Audio Adrenaline's Awards

Dove Award, Long Form Music Video of the Year, for Big House, 1996; Dove Award, Modern Rock Recorded Song of the Year, for "Some Kind of Zombie," 1998; Dove Award, Rock Recorded Song of the Year, for "Get Down," 2000; Dove Award, Rock Album of the Year, for Worldwide, 2003; Grammy Award, Best Rock Gospel Album, for Worldwide, 2003.

Famous Works

Recent Updates

February 8, 2006: Audio Adrenaline won the Grammy Award for best rock gospel album for Until My Heart Caves In. Source: Grammy.com, http://grammy.com/GRAMMY_Awards/Annual_Show/48_nominees.aspx, February 9, 2006.

Further Reading

Sources

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over 5 years ago

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