Between the Liner Notes
Audio Adrenaline: Goodbye Old Friends
By Cynthia Savage and Tim Branson
The 700 Club
In 1993, a little song about heaven made Audio Adrenaline a household name in Christian music.
"Come and go with me to my Father’s house"
Yet at a peak in their career, Audio Adrenaline, known to their fans as Audio A, decided it was time to say goodbye.
The decision came when lead singer and founding member Mark Stuart developed vocal cord problems that made singing nearly impossible at times. Without Mark, it just wouldn’t be Audio A.
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, my old friend / Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, we’ve reached the end”
The group that has now sold over three million albums started with a few passionate Christian college students. They named their band “A-180”.
“We thought maybe we were suppose to be a summer band, because we were all going to be teacher majors,” says bassist Will McGinniss. “We would have this summer ministry, and we’d go back to work in the real world during the school year. God kept confirming it over and over to us that we were to pursue this music thing.”
Mark adds, “Honestly at first, I think we stumbled onto this thing called Audio Adrenaline. We were willing to serve, willing to do whatever God wanted, but I don’t think it was well defined at the beginning.”
He continues, “I remember when I was young, I used to pray for a platform. My dad was a pastor. I wanted to be a missionary. I loved music. I don’t know why but God put it on my heart to pray for a platform to share the gospel. It was almost inevitable that God was gonna serve up the stage.”
The guys have fun on stage, but they’ve never been shy about the deeper things.
“I think some of the greatest inspiration comes through your everyday life and your walk with the Lord,” Mark shares. “I think that relates to the believer out there more than just continuously giving them vertical music. The idea of letting go of the mask is one of those things that has been incredibly powerful for us in our music.”
“Your sins are erased and they are no more / They are out on the ocean floor”
Audio A has produced eight No. 1 radio hits and collected two consecutive Grammy awards for Rock Gospel Album of the Year. Add to that years of concert tours.
As far as the future goes, Tyler Burkum, vocalist and guitarist, says, “No, I’m gonna do my own music and probably at least for a little while play with other people.”
Drummer Ben Cissell says, “The three of us are pretty much done as musicians, [except for] Tyler who has been driving Audio Adrenaline for a while with the songwriting. He’s going to continue in music. His stuff is amazing... Michael W. Smith years ago started an organization called Rocketown, which is a non-profit youth outreach center. It’s a coffee shop, skate park, a little punk rock venue and a music venue for some of the bigger bands. I’m gonna be like a youth pastor.”
“I definitely don’t have everything locked in about my future,” says Will. “Just trying to have a lot of faith. Mark and I get the opportunity to work at a record company called Flicker Records. We’re taking care of young and upcoming bands. Give them the stories of the road [and] really help them make the records they want to make and be out in front of the people that they want to affect.”
Mark’s passion lies with an organization started by Audio Adrenaline called the “Hands and Feet Project”. This ministry reaches out to orphans in Haiti by not only providing for their spiritual needs but physical needs as well.
“I’m tossing around a lot of ideas,” he says. “I’ll definitely be involved with Hands and Feet. I’m thinking of moving to Haiti for part of the year, possibly travel and speak at youth conventions and talk about the third world -- also talk about how kids wonder what their future is going to be like. Let them know that God can do incredible things with their lives.”
So what will they miss the most?
Will replies, “I’m going to miss the camaraderie with these guys and the crew as well. It’s going to be really different to not have these guys to lean on and to bang our heads against. You know iron sharpens iron. We’ve sharpened each other drastically.”
Tyler says, “God had a lot to show us through our audiences. Will says we get the best seat in the house, and that’s the truth.”
Mark recalls, “To see what God has done the last 16 years with this group is really miraculous. It’s spectacular to think about.”
Audio Adrenaline’s music will be enjoyed for years. But there’s work that still needs to be done, and these guys are still willing to serve.
“I wanna be Your hands / I wanna be Your feet / I’ll go where You send me / Go where You send me”
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