Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Drive To Five: Comeback Kids Strike Back

As I reported in my previous post, #PlatVnyl4 was very encouraging due to all the growth that was everywhere.  With everything busting out all over, it makes us realize that the Platinum Vinyl Awards is going to be around for quite a while, and maybe one day we will have a real ceremony in a small municipal auditorium. Hey, the Bible says not to despise small beginnings.

The biggest evidence of growth was the Comeback Award, which grew to two awards. Comeback Artist, and Comeback Album. And there were SIX NOMINEES!! Rock and Roll may be dead out in the mainstream, but people are coming back to Christian Music in droves. Plus five out of the six nominated bands also released an album during the time frame, so that gave us an opportunity for comeback album as well.

Of the six nominated bands, none was more surprising than Audio Adrenaline. Due to the failing vocals of Mark Stuart the band decided to disband rather than seek a new vocalist in 2007. Five years later they realized their name was Audio Adrenaline and not, say, the Mark Stuart Band, and got a new lead vocalist. Actually they got more than that as Will McGinniss was the only remaining member of the original band. Lead vocals were taken over, in a very surprising move, by former DC Talk crooner Kevin Max. Max's "Shimmering Vocals" were quite unlike that of Rock Screamer Stuart, and so a change was in order. The band was rebuilt around Max and the style shifted from Rock to Alternative. The resulting album, dubbed Kings & Queens [+video] , wound up being pure platinum. They also landed 8 nominations. It was not to be enough, however, to reign at the podium. The band was shut out. Sometimes disappointment can be very tough to live down. They ditched Max, and have gone through two lead singers since: Josh Engler of Abandon and now Adam Agee of Stellar Kart. You can read my opinion of the current band by clicking on the link. Suffice it to say, No. Time to go before you wreck your image.

Our second nominated band, Big Tent Revival, had been out of the spotlight a bit longer, right after their Amplifier broke in 1998. At the time the band consisted of David Alan, Randy Williams, Steve Wiggins, Spence Smith and Rick Heil, asked "What Would Jesus Do?" and the answer was apparently to retire. The band reformed after a dozen years or so, and Spence Smith and Steve Wiggins only remain of the original lineup. The Way Back Home is the name of the album, but this reviewer thought there a little too bit country and not enough Rock and Roll. It got a paltry 3.5 Emeralds and did not make the awards except for that of Comeback Award. Actually, I think people agree with me as the album as disappeared from Amazon.

Two years, two ska reunions. The spirit of Truth (the Roger Breland founded band, which started in 1971, by the 1980's had an extensive horn section and I still think could be considered the father of Ska). The Orange County Supertones (Or OC Supertones) were a staple of the Summer Festival Circuit. They disbanded in 2004, but stirred 8 years later with an album of Repackaged tunes called Reunite. The following year, however, was For the Glory , and that qualified them as a true comeback kid. They also only received Comeback nominations.

We are only halfway through the list. I thought I could do it all in one bite, but I think that was very optimistic. I will have to take another post to finish up. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.