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by Wendy Lee Nentwig

June 5, 2013

Audio Adrenaline Then & Now

by Wendy Lee Nentwig  |  June 5, 2013

In the late '80s, Kentucky Christian University students Mark Stuart, Barry Blair, Will McGinniss, David Stuart and Phil Vaughan started playing music together and christened themselves A-180. An early lineup change added Ron Gibson on drums; they began earning a name locally and released two indie CDs. When Bob Herdman brought the group two songs, he was asked to join as songwriter. A-180 recorded his songs, and that demo caught the attention of dc Talk's TobyMac, who brought it to ForeFront Records. A deal and a name change followed.

Audio Adrenaline's self-titled debut featured drum-machine-driven hip-hop and sold 75,000 copies. But follow-up Don't Censor Me really launched their career, with the hit song "Big House." A live album followed and then came Bloom, featuring a more rock feel. It was certified gold and was guitarist Blair's final album. Seven Day Jesus' Brian McSweeney filled in and stuck around until 17-year-old Tyler Burkum took over guitar duties on 1997's Some Kind of Zombie, which also marked the debut of new drummer Ben Cissell. Underdog, released in 1999, led to an opening slot on dc Talk's Jesus Freak World Tour. Audio Adrenaline became festival favorites throughout the '90s and into the new millennium, playing Creation Fest, Spirit West Coast, Agape and Alive on a regular basis.

A greatest-hits disc was followed by 2001's Lift and 2003's Worldwide. The latter garnered the band their first of two Grammy Awards. Until My Heart Caves In, released in 2005, appeared to be Audio A's last studio project, with the band announcing its retirement in early 2006, due to Stuart's ongoing vocal issues. A farewell tour followed in 2007. But in 2012, the band was reborn with Kevin Max of dcTalk at the mic and founding member Will McGinniss on bass. The new lineup was rounded out by CCM vets Dave Ghazarian (of Superchick) on guitar, Jared Byers (of Bleach) on drums, and singer-songwriter Jason Walker on keys. Former frontman and cofounder Mark Stuart remains very involved, contributing to many of the songs for 2013's Kings & Queens.

To celebrate their comeback, there's a new collection, Big House to Ocean Floor, featuring hits throughout the years. Enjoy it here on Rhapsody, and dig in to our custom Audio A Then and Now playlist.

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