Audio Adrenaline

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Audio Adrenaline
Audio Adrenaline band.jpg
Original Band Members
Background information
Also known as Audio A, A-180 (1986-1990)
Origin Grayson, Kentucky
Genres Christian rock, alternative rock, contemporary Christian music
Years active 1986–2007, 2012–present
Labels ForeFront, Fair Trade
Associated acts Know Hope Collective, Stellar Kart
  • Adam Agee
  • Dave Stovall
  • Brandon Bagby
  • Jack Campbell
Past members

Audio Adrenaline is a Christian rock band that formed in the mid 1980s at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Kentucky. The band gained recognition during the 1990s and received two Grammy Awards and multiple Dove Awards.[1] Audio Adrenaline were regular performers at the annual Creation Festival, Spirit West Coast festival, Agape Music Festival, and Alive Festival. In 2006, the group disbanded due to lead singer Mark Stuart's spasmodic dysphonia. During this time, they released eight studio albums.

After a six-year hiatus, the band reformed in 2012 with only bassist Will McGinnis returning from the original line-up. The new Audio Adrenaline was fronted by Kevin Max, formerly of DC Talk, as the new lead vocalist. This new line-up released a new studio album titled Kings & Queens in March 12, 2013. In June 2014, Max stepped down as lead singer of the band. He was replaced by Josh Engler, a former member of the band Abandon until February 2015 when Adam Agee of Stellar Kart was offered and accepted the role, leaving no original members left in the band's line-up. The first single of the new Audio Adrenaline was released in 2015 under the title "Love Was Stronger". It was included in their tenth studio album titled Sound of the Saints.[2]



The band was formed as A-180 in 1986 by Mark Stuart (lead vocals), Barry Blair (guitars), Will McGinniss (bass), David Stuart (keyboards), and Phil Vaughan (drums), who all attended Kentucky Christian University. The band went on hiatus the following year when Mark traveled to Haiti for a semester. Upon Mark's return to Kentucky, the band reformed with Ron Gibson on drums. They became a popular local band, booked by the school nearly every weekend and traveling as far west as Texas, north to Chicago, and south to Florida. The band did over 100 shows during this time and recorded two independent releases under the name A-180. The first was You Turn in 1989 and Reaper's Train in 1990. Reaper's Train featured the original version of the song "DC-10", which would later be included on the first Audio Adrenaline release.

The band's big break would come upon meeting Bob Herdman. Herdman approached A-180 with two songs he had written, one of them called "My God", and asked A-180 to record it. The song was described in a CCM Magazine article as "a curious marriage of heavy metal and rap". After the song was recorded at Landmark Recording Studio, in Ohio, A-180 asked Herdman to join them as their songwriter. As a result, Herdman also started to learn to play keyboards and guitar. The demo tape of "My God" was sent to radio stations and quickly scaled the charts. Following this, the song caught the attention of Toby McKeehan (from dc Talk), who brought it to the executives at ForeFront Records. The label decided to offer a record deal to A-180 but had them change their name to Audio Adrenaline[3] a name that Herdman had come up with previously.[4]

After signing their deal with Forefront, the band started writing and recording demo songs similar to "My God" for the first album. The band has described this period as one of adaptation and experimentation since ForeFront wanted a hip-hop act. As a result, Dave Stuart and Ron Gibson left the band. Singer Mark Stuart said in an interview "We had no idea what we were doing. Forefront signed us to do this rap/metal stuff, and we only had one song" while original guitarist Barry Blair said "We thought 'If they liked My God, we'll send them more songs like that." Blair added that it was a "big, long process of getting to where we are now, of creating music we like, not music we think is what they [ForeFront] would like."[3]

Early success[edit]

The band's first Forefront album was the self-titled Audio Adrenaline, released in 1992. Filled with drum machine beats, rap and hip-hop it eventually went out of print. It included "DC-10", the only track from the original A-180 recordings (live drums) and was well received selling 75,000 copies.[3] However, the band wasn't happy with the end result. Blair was quoted as saying:

If it was up to me, I would burn them all, make them disappear. It did well, it sold 75,000 units. But a lot of people don't understand. It is more than about it being a good record. It's about it being a true representation of us. There it nothing personal about that record.

— Barry Blair, CCM Magazine[3]

The follow-up album, Don't Censor Me, came the next year and featured what is considered the biggest hit of the band, "Big House". The album sold 250,000 copies and launched the band into stardom. The album also includes the song "We're a Band", which remained one of their live staples. Next the band released a live album titled Live Bootleg.

Although Don't Censor Me leaned more towards rock, the band still wasn't happy. Stuart said of the songs "there are really only a few songs I love to play live. I like to do 'Big House,' 'We're a Band' and 'Scum Sweetheart.'" On the other hand, most of the band members disliked "Jesus and the California Kid" which Stuart referred to as "pure agony". Still, the album earned them their first Dove Award for Long Form Music Video of the Year for "Big House", as well as a Billboard Music Award Nomination.

As a result of the success of Don't Censor Me, Audio Adrenaline went on tour opening for DC Talk on the Free at Last Tour and Newsboys' Going Public Tour. However, on interviews the band expressed their interest to grow beyond the shadow of their musical counterparts.

Up until this point it's been great to be in their shadow. It's a great shadow to be in. But at a certain level it really does need to change to be where we grow into our own. We deal with this a lot with the record label. When you are on a record label with one of the [fastest-rising] Christian bands of all time, you are always going to be in the shadow. We would like to be recognized as Audio Adrenaline instead of 'the band that opens for DC Talk.

— Mark Stuart, CCM Magazine[3]

In 1996, their third studio album, Bloom, was released. The album featured the band returning to their original rock roots, as opposed to their experiments with rap music. The album was a huge hit becoming (in 1999) the only album of the band to be certified gold by RIAA. It also marked guitarist Blair's final album, who decided to become a music producer. Blair contributed to a song from their next album.

With Blair gone, Audio Adrenaline needed a new guitarist. They found a temporary fill-in with Brian McSweeney (from Seven Day Jesus),[5] but he decided to stay with his full-time act. They then turned the guitars over to Tyler Burkum, who joined the band at only 17 years of age, just in time to record some guitars on the band's next album, Some Kind of Zombie. The album, released in 1997, included a song from Barry Blair and was the first to feature Ben Cissell as the band's full-time drummer, though Cissell had played percussion on their previous album. In 1999, the band released Underdog, its fifth studio album, and opened for dc Talk on the Jesus Freak World Tour.


After a short break, Audio Adrenaline released their first greatest hits compilation, Hit Parade, in March 2001. Included in the album are three of their most popular songs, "Big House", "Hands and Feet", and the live staple "We're A Band", as well as a song with The O.C. Supertones, "Blitz", from the album Some Kind of Zombie. It was at this time that Herdman left the band to become president of a new record label, Flicker Records, which he co-founded along with Stuart and McGinniss.

In November 2001, the band released a new studio album, Lift which several critics have classified as the band's best.[6][7] Lift also marked the first time that guitarist Burkum shared lead vocals with Stuart. The band then followed with their ninth album, Worldwide, released in 2003. Worldwide went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album in 2004, the first of two Grammys for the band. In 2004, the band, along with Herdman, founded a project in Haiti called the Hands and Feet Project, in which the band built an orphanage for children.

The band's tenth studio album, Until My Heart Caves In, was released on August 30, 2005. The album featured most of the lead vocals by Burkum, with only a few sung by Stuart. Until My Heart Caves In received another Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album in 2006. "Clap Your Hands" was also played on ESPN with football game highlights.

On January 18, 2006, Audio Adrenaline announced that they were retiring from active music ministry and cited Stuart's "ongoing vocal challenges" stemming from vocal cord damage as the primary factor.[8] On July 27, 2006, the band played at the popular Christian music Creation Festival, where they had performed every year since the group formed, for the last time with their original lineup. On August 1, 2006, they released their final compilation album, Adios: The Greatest Hits, a farewell album containing two new tracks as well as a selection of the band's greatest hits to date.

For their final national tour in Spring 2007, Audio Adrenaline opened for MercyMe on their "Coming Up To Breathe Tour". The band performed their last live concert on April 28, 2007, at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, Hawaii. Their final project, which was released on August 28, 2007, is a live CD–DVD combo entitled Live From Hawaii: The Farewell Concert. The album earned two nominations at the 39th GMA Dove Awards, winning Long Form Music Video of the Year. The group's reunion performance was at Easterfest '09 in Queens Park, Toowoomba, Australia.[9]


In 2012, the band reformed with an altered lineup, featuring Kevin Max, formerly of DC Talk, as the new lead vocalist, Dave Ghazarian of Superchick on the guitar, Jared Byers of Bleach on the drums, Jason Walker on the keyboard, and returning member Will McGinniss on bass. On March 3, 2013, Audio Adrenaline released Kings and Queens.[10] The album peaked at No. 70 on the Billboard 200 chart,[11] and No. 4 on the Christian Albums chart.[12] In 2013, Dave Ghazarian and Jason Walker left the band, replaced by Dwayne Larring formerly of Sonicflood. In June 2014, Kevin Max stepped down as lead vocalist and new lead singer Josh Engler from Abandon transitioned in taking on vocal duties.[2] In February 2015, drummer Jared Byers left the band to pursue other interests, but was folllowed by Dwayne Larring, Josh Engler, and founder Will Mcginiss. On February 10, 2015, Adam Agee, lead singer of Christian rock band Stellar Kart announced that he would assume the role of lead singer for the band along with guitarist Brandon Bagby to replace Larring, bassist Dave Stovall to replace Mcginiss, and drummer Jack Campbell to replace Byers.[citation needed] They also released "Love Was Stronger" on February 10, 2015 off the forthcoming album, Sound of the Saints.[citation needed]

Band members[edit]

  • Adam Agee – lead vocals (2015–present, former member of Stellar Kart)
  • Dave Stovall – bass guitar, vocals (2015–present, former member of Wavorly)
  • Jack Campbell – drums (2015–present)
  • Brandon Bagby – guitar, vocals (2015–present, former touring member of Plumb and Seventh Day Slumber)
  • Mark Stuart – lead vocals, guitar (1986–2007, founding member A-180/Audio A)
  • Dave Stuart – keyboards, vocals (1986, 1991, founding member A-180/Audio A)
  • Phil Vaughan — drums (1986-1988 - founding member A-180)
  • Ron Gibson – drums (1988–1991 – drummer for A-180 & original Audio A drummer)
  • Bob Herdman – keyboard, guitar, vocals (1991–2001, founding member of Audio A)
  • Barry Blair – guitar, vocals (1986–1996, founding member A-180/Audio A)
  • Ben Cissell – drums (1995–2007)
  • Tyler Burkum – guitar, vocals, keyboard (1997–2007)
  • Dave Ghazarian – guitar (2012–2013)
  • Jason Walker – keyboards, vocals, guitar (2012–2013)
  • Kevin Max – lead vocals (2012–2014, former member of dc Talk)
  • Jared Byers – drums, vocals (2012–2015, former member of Bleach and Relient K)
  • Josh Engler – lead vocals, keyboard (2014–2015, former member of Abandon)
  • Dwayne Larring – guitar, vocals (2013–2015, former member of Sonicflood and Kelly Clarkson)
  • Will McGinniss – vocals, bass guitar (1986–2007, 2012–2015, founding member A-180/Audio A)
Touring musicians
  • Brian Hayes – drums (1993–1995)
  • Jon Knox – drums (1995 replacing Brian Hayes on various dates before Ben Cissell joined)[citation needed]
  • Brian Whitman – guitar, vocals (2005–2007)
  • David Stuart – keyboard, vocals (1986–1991 "You Turn" and "Reaper's Train")
  • Ron Gibson – drums (1988–1991: "You Turn" and "Reaper's Train" drums on original "DC-10")
  • Jonathan Schneck – backup guitar, backing vocals (2003–2005, Now with Relient K)
  • Brian McSweeney – guitar, vocals (1996–97, replacing Barry Blair; 2007, filled in for Tyler Burkum for final shows)
  • Jared Byers – drums (2007, filled in for Ben Cissell for final shows)[5]
  • Mike Biddle – keyboards, backing vocals (2009)
Time line

Other projects[edit]

On September 1, 2003, the band released its first book Dirty Faith: Becoming the Hands and Feet of Jesus, with Think Books. Co-written with Mark Matlock, the book discusses reaching out to the needy and features an organization called Mission Year.

In 2003, Mark Stuart was involved in !Hero the Rock opera, playing Petrov. !Hero was a modern adaption of the story of Christ. Also involved in this production were then-dc Talk band member Michael Tait (presently the frontman of the Newsboys) as HERO, CCM pop vocalist Rebecca St. James as Maggie, Skillet's John Cooper as Kai, the chief Rabbi, and rapper T-Bone as Jairus.

On September 5, 2006, the band released Hands & Feet: Inspiring Stories and Firsthand Accounts of God Changing Lives, with Regal Books. It takes the reader on a journey to Haiti with the band as they build houses for the children there. The reader also meets Drex and Jo Stuart, the parents of frontman Mark Stuart. The book gives an explanation of life in one of the poorest nations on earth. It also tells of the band's building of The Hands and Feet Project (an orphanage for poor, hungry children).

in 2007, Stuart and Will McGinniss launched a post-retirement speaking venture titled "Audio Unplugged" (also known as "Audio Talks") and offer "a night of encouragement, testimonies, Audio A classics and worship."[13]


Tapes (A-180)[edit]

Year Album title Record label
1989 You Turn Landmark Recording Studio
1990 Reaper's Train Landmark Recording Studio


Year Album details Lead vocals Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1992 Audio Adrenaline
  • Released: 1992
  • Label: Forefront Records
Mark Stuart
1993 Don't Censor Me
  • Released: October 1, 1993
  • Label: Forefront Records
1996 Bloom
  • Released: February 20, 1996
  • Label: Forefront Records
77 2
  • 500,000+
1997 Some Kind of Zombie
  • Released: November 18, 1997
  • Label: Forefront Records
99 5
1999 Underdog
  • Released: September 14, 1999
  • Label: Forefront Records
76 1
2001 Lift
  • Released: November 20, 2001
  • Label: Forefront Records
Mark Stuart
Tyler Burkum
169 12
2003 Worldwide
  • Released: February 25, 2003
  • Label: Forefront Records
116 4
2005 Until My Heart Caves In
  • Released: August 30, 2005
  • Label: Forefront Records
122 5
2013 Kings & Queens Kevin Max 70 4
2015 Sound of the Saints
  • Released: May 5, 2015
  • Label: Fair Trade Services
Adam Agee 69 1
"—" denotes the album failed to chart or was not released.

Live albums[edit]

Year Album title Record label
1995 Live Bootleg ForeFront
2007 Live From Hawaii: The Farewell Concert ForeFront


Year Album title Record label
2001 Lift DVD ForeFront
2003 Alive DVD ForeFront
2006 Adios: The Greatest Hits (Special Edition CD/DVD) ForeFront
2007 Live From Hawaii: The Farewell Concert CD/DVD ForeFront


Year Album title Record label(s)
2001 Hit Parade ForeFront
2006 Adios: The Greatest Hits ForeFront
2008 Greatest Hits ForeFront/EMD
2009 The Ultimate Collection Chordant
2013 Big House to Ocean Floor ForeFront


Year Single Christian peak chart positions Album
Christian Airplay Inspo AC CHR Rock Metal
1991 "My God" 5 Audio Adrenaline
1992 "Who Do You Love?" 13
"Audio World" 16
1994 "My World View"
(featuring Kevin Max of dc Talk)
33 3 Don't Censor Me
"We're a Band" 3
"Big House" 1 14
"Can't Take God Away 1
"Rest Easy" 10
"Don't Censor Me" 18
1995 "A.K.A. Public School" 14
"Righteous Rocker #3" 1 One Way: The Songs of
Larry Norman
1996 "Never Gonna Be as Big as Jesus" 3 Bloom
"Secret" 1
"Walk on Water" 38 1
"I'm Not the King" 1
"Good People" 3
1997 "Free Ride" 9 2
"Man of God" 2
"Some Kind of Zombie" 1 Some Kind of Zombie
"People Like Me" 1 4
1998 "Blitz" 25 1
"Chevette" 5 1
"God-Shaped Hole" 17
1999 "New Body" 11 2
"Get Down" 1 7 Underdog
"Hands and Feet" 7 1 6
2000 "Underdog" 5
"Good Life" 3
2001 "Mighty Good Leader" 14
"One Like You" 2 Hit Parade
"Will Not Fade" 2
"Beautiful" 1 Lift
"Lonely Man" 1
2002 "Rejoice" 2
2003 "Dirty"/"Ocean Floor" 2 Worldwide
"Pierced" 12 14
"Church Punks" 9
"Worldwide" 30
2004 "Leaving 99" 5 3 1
"Miracle" 9
2005 "Start a Fire"
"King" 17 18 17 Until My Heart Caves In
"Undefeated" 19
"Starting Over"
"Melody (Lost Inside the Wonder)"
2006 "Goodbye" 29 Adios: The Greatest Hits
2012 "Kings & Queens" 4 11 7 4 Kings & Queens
2013 "Believer" 19 23
"King of the Comebacks" 22
2014 "He Moves You Move" 49 22
2015 "Love Was Stronger" 33 Sound of the Saints
"—" denotes singles that did not chart.

Music videos[edit]


Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Award Result
1997 Best Rock Gospel Album (Bloom) Nominated
1999 Best Rock Gospel Album (Some Kind of Zombie) Nominated
2000 Best Rock Gospel Album (Underdog) Nominated
2003 Best Rock Gospel Album (Lift) Nominated
2004 Best Rock Gospel Album (Worldwide) Won
2006 Best Rock Gospel Album (Until My Heart Caves In) Won

GMA Dove Awards[edit]

Year Award Result
1996 Long Form Music Video of the Year ("Big House") Won
1998 Modern Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Some Kind of Zombie") Won
2000 Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Get Down") Won
2002 Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Will Not Fade) Nominated
2003 Group of the Year Nominated
Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year ("Ocean Floor") Nominated
Rock Album of the Year (Lift) Won
2004 Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Dirty") Nominated
Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year (Worldwide) Nominated
Long Form Music Video of the Year (Alive) Nominated
2008 Rock Album of the Year (Live from Hawaii: The Farewell Concert) Nominated
Long Form Music Video of the Year (Live from Hawaii: The Farewell Concert) Won


  1. ^ "AA Talks". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Audio Adrenaline announces new lineup with Josh Engler at the helm". The Underground. June 4, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Selby, Marykay (April 1996). "100% Adrenaline". CCM Magazine. Flicker of His Light at 
  4. ^ Herdman, Bob (October 25, 1999). Get Down with the Underdogs. (Interview). Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Concert Reviews: The Coming Up To Breathe Tour. Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  6. ^ DiBiase, John (November 6, 2001). "CD Review: Lift". Jesus Freak Hideout. 
  7. ^ Cummings, Tony. "CD Review: Lift". Cross Rhythms. 
  8. ^ Audio Adrenaline Says "Adios"[dead link]., Audio Adrenaline Official Website. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  9. ^ Easterfest delivers, promises more in 2009. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Southern Queensland (March 24, 2008). Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  10. ^ "Max Joins Audio Adrenaline: Kevin Max now lead singer of re-formed hitmakers Audio Adrenaline". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Audio Adrenaline - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Audio Adrenaline - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  13. ^ "AAtalks". AAtalks. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Audio Adrenaline > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Macrovision. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 
  15. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]