The first venue was a small private school in northeast Connecticut during 1996 or 1997. Two bands were playing, both of which I was hearing for the first time. The warm up band was called Seven Day Jesus, the headliner was Bleach, and if I were a betting man I would have picked Seven Day Jesus to make the big time. Which is why I am not a betting man.
Bleach was a five piece band, the lineup at the time of their debut album Space (1996) came out (which is the tour they were on in Woodstock)
- Davy Baysinger - Vocals
- Sam Barnhart - Guitars, BGV
- Bradley Ford - Guitars, Wurlitzer Piano
- Todd Kirby - Bass
- Matt Gingerich - Drums
Bleach finished their contract with Forefront Records with a Self Titled release in 1999. They showed up that year in my hometown a few days after the rapture occurred. Just like our current obsession with the Mayan calendar, there were many date-setting movements in the late 20th Century. The first one I remember was in 1980.
There were two warm up acts for bleach that evening. The first one was Space-Pop/Dance artist Miss Angie, and the next was the magic that is Joy Electric. Of the three, only Bleach is no longer with us, though Joy Electric hasn't had anything out since 2009 (original back to 2007), and Miss Angie had a retirement from 2000 to 2010, but is now back.
Bleach re-emerged on Tooth and Nail Records with a new look. Only Davy and Sam were still there. They had three new members. Brothers Jared and Milam Byers on drums and guitars respectively and Jerry Morrison on Bass. The first effort with Midas at the helm was Again, for the first time (2002). The single from that album was We are Tomorrow, which also was made into a video. Never had things looked more promising.
What a difference a year makes. Never has a swan song been more beautiful. Make no mistake, that is what Astronomy (2003) was. Bleach was a casualty of war. The subtitle to the album was (The Legacy of a Hero). The Hero in question was Army Airborne/Ranger Captain Josh Byers, brother to Jared and Milam, killed in Al Fallujah, Iraq on July 23, 2003 due to a remote control bomb. Honestly, I only bought the CD because it would be their last, but when I listened to it. God was working on this CD as it was made. It is their best work ever, and I would put it on any Best Christian Albums Ever. I got to see them at the 2004 Soulfest, which was the next to the last at Loon Mountain. It was a fitting site to say goodbye. Here is a video to show the magic that was astronomy.
Not to end on a downer, there is a brief glimmer of hope, though in the end it may be a pipe dream. Rumors have been circulating for a year now of a new Bleach album, though any awards it wins at present are in vaporware. Here's hoping.
We return to The Commonwealth of CCM next week with IONA. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.