Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview with Michael Tait of the Newsboys

The Newsboys are set to embark on what is to be their largest tour as a band starting in January with the "God's Not Dead Tour," and the Christian Post was able to chat with lead singer Michael Tait.

Tait said the tour was the Newsboys biggest because of the amount of dates scheduled, and it would also be special to him because it is his first all worship record with the Newsboys, and looks forward to worshipping city to city.

When asked why the album and tour title of God's Not Dead was so important, Tait replied, "People need to hear that sometimes. He's real, He's alive, Jesus has raised from the dead."

"He's more than an idea or spiritual being," he explained.

Touring with the Newsboys are a mixture of young people with hearts for God and a positive message. The bands include: The City Harmonic, Abandon, and Anthem Lights.

Also appearing at all the dates is Bob Lenz, who will presenting the gospel every night.

The bands are also working with Compassion International and I Am Second, two organizations that will be speaking and reaching out during the tour.

Compassion International deals with global child poverty, and works with local churches to try and put it to an end.

The singer was specifically excited about the message contained in song “I Am Second.”

"We are second to none," he said. "Put everyone else before yourself and be second to Christ."

The organization is really a movement that inspires people to live for God and share their testimonies online so others can share.

As far as the new album is concerned, Tait said the response has been "fantastic" and he along with the fans have loved the reunion of his former band mate from DC Talk, Kevin Max on two tracks, "God's Not Dead (Like a Lion)" and "I Am Second."

He also said despite some of the tracks on God's Not Dead being remakes of older Newsboys worship songs from Peter Furler's days, it was important for him to put his own spin on them.

"I want to do the songs justice, or do them better. Put the new Newsboys savvy on them," he said.

On whether people were used to him as the singer for the Newsboys after many years of singing with DC Talk, and former singer Peter Furler being in the band since 1985, Tait said, "There still are some naysayers."

"It's not like I'm an unknown character. They could have picked someone worse," he said with a laugh.

Tait said when covering old songs he tried to "get inside" all of the older material and if he didn't think he could do it, he left it alone.

The 45-year-old singer said the differences between DC Talk and Newsboys is like the differences between his ex-girlfriends. "Each one you liked for a different reason and had a different emotional response too," he said laughing after he warned of a bad analogy.

Tait has had a magical run in his music career. When DC Talk started in 1988 as a three piece gospel rap trio, he would have never guessed they'd become the biggest openly Christian act of all time.

Upon the group splitting up in 2001, Tait would go solo for a few years before taking over the mantle of the Newsboys, another one of Christian music's biggest bands ever, from Peter Furler in 2009.
"I'm so blessed," he said.

DC Talk (L to R) Michael Tait, Kevin Max, and TobyMac
"In DC Talk the song would never end. I would sing, then Kevin would sing, then Toby would rap. I couldn't finish a song," he said and then demonstrated what he meant by singing a few lines of DCT's "Say the Words."

"Now," he said, "I can start the song and finish it. It's just me."

Tait spoke about the Newsboys fans being just as good as DC Talk's because many were also fans of his former group. "We share the same fan base, the transition was easy."

Many times the Newsboys will throw in DCT's hit song "Jesus Freak" as part of their set. They performed it once with TobyMac and another time with Christian rapper KJ-52. Sometimes Tait does TobyMac's raps himself.

"I'm not a rapper. I do the best I can," he laughs.

On any future collaborations with former singer Peter Furler, Tait thinks it is quite possible.

"I would love to cross paths with Peter. He's a good friend of mine for a long time, it would be classic."

CP asked Tait: “What is one unknown fact about the Newsboys that many people may not know?”

He replied, "Newsboys actually opened up for DC Talk a few times in 1989 and 1990 when they had the Hell Is For Wimps album."

Tait closed the interview by inviting everybody out to come see them. "We'd love to meet you!" he exclaimed.

Peter Furler
The Newsboys were co-founded in 1985 by Peter Furler and guitarist George Perdikis in Australia.

Originally the band’s drummer from 1985 to 1997, Furler took over vocals when former vocalist John James left due to an admitted drug and alcohol problem.

James has since cleaned up and is now involved in ministry.

Together the band has released 15 albums spawning countless singles and major tours, and received worldwide critical success with their 1994 album Going Public, featuring their biggest single "Shine," and 1996's album Take Me to Your Leader.

They've been nominated for four Grammys and 24 Dove Awards winning five including Rock Album of the Year, Rock Recorded Song of the Year, Recorded Music Packaging of the Year, Short Form Music Video of the Year, and Event Album of the Year.

Other awards won include Best CCM Video 1999 by the Billboard Music Video Awards, 1995 Video Award and 1999 Video Award from the International Angel Awards, and Favorite CCM Album 1999 from the Nashville Music Awards.

Article originally on the Christian Post.
This article was a dream come true for me as DC Talk and the Newsboys were the first bands I ever listened to. It is because of these two groups that I myself play music and have a passion for it. I remember getting these albums on cassette way back in 1995. I wore those cassettes out and eventually got the CD's. Thank you Michael Tait for a truly amazing experience.

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