Audio Adrenaline was a Grammy Award-winning Christian rock band that formed in the late 1980s at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Kentucky. During the band's 17-year existence, they were awarded two Grammy awards, multiple Dove Awards and they released 17 number one singles. They were regular performers at the annual Creation Festival, Spirit West Coast festival and Agape Music Festival. Audio Adrenaline also performed at the Alive Festival every year up to their last performance in June 2006.
Audio Adrenaline, along with other Christian music acts like dc Talk and Newsboys, helped fuel a revolution in the "alternative" Christian music genre. This was started by bands like Under Midnight, Mortal, Circle of Dust and the indie labels Blonde Vinyl, Frontline/Myx, Tooth & Nail, and 5 Minute Walk.
Over the course of the band's career, several other Christian artists were influenced by Audio Adrenaline. These bands include MercyMe, Sanctus Real, and Hawk Nelson. Interviews with these bands are available at the Audio Adrenaline website.
The band was formed in 1986 under the name of A-180 by Mark Stuart, Barry Blair, Will McGinniss, David Stuart, and Phil Vaughan, who all attended Kentucky Christian University. The next year, the band temporarily disbanded when Mark went 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; traveling as far west as Texas, north to Chicago, 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, also found on the first Audio Adrenaline release.
The band's big break would come in the form of Bob Herdman. Bob approached A-180 with two songs he had written, "My God" and "DC-10". After "My God" was recorded at Landmark Recording Studio, Ohio, it was sent to radio stations and scaled the charts quickly. ForeFront Records decided to offer a record deal to A-180 but had them change their name to "Audio Adrenaline". The name Audio Adrenaline comes from an incident in which Bob Herdman had been listening to some loud and fast secular music; he was so enthralled by it that he apparently exclaimed "This is like... audio adrenaline!" while jumping wildly. Bob then joined the band as songwriter and sound man.
Late in 1991, David Stuart left the band to focus more on his family. Ron Gibson also left in December 1991 as he claimed Forefront Records was guiding the band into hip-hop and away from the band's rock roots. Evidence obviously heard in the band's first release.
Their first album under Forefront, the self-titled Audio Adrenaline, was released in 1992 and contained "DC-10", the only track from the original A-180 recordings. The follow-up album, Don't Censor Me, came the next year and featured one of the biggest hit songs in Christian music history - "Big House". In 1996, their third album, Bloom, was released, the album which returned the band to its rock roots. It marked guitarist Barry Blair's final album with the band, although he also appeared on "Some Kind of Zombie". Blair later became a successful music producer.
With Blair gone, Audio Adrenaline needed a new guitarist. They found a temporary fill in Brian McSweeney (Seven Day Jesus / Matthew), but he decided to stay with his fulltime 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 1997 Some Kind of Zombie album. This was also the first album to feature Ben Cissell as the band's full-time drummer, though Cissell had played percussion on the album Bloom as well. In 1999, the band released Underdog, its fifth studio album. The band also opened for dc Talk on the "Jesus Freak World Tour".
Audio Adrenaline greeted the new millennium by releasing their first greatest hits compilation, Hit Parade, in March 2001. Among Audio Adrenaline's most notable performances are three of their most popular songs, "Big House", "Hands and Feet", and the live staple "We're A Band", as well as a duet with The O.C. Supertones, "Blitz", from the album Some Kind of Zombie.
It was at this time that Bob 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 of 2001, they released a new studio album, Lift. Music videos were released for the songs "Ocean Floor" and "Rejoice."
In 2003, the band released its ninth album, Worldwide. It was more worship-based and emphasized their style of ministry and love of mission trips. The band's "The Go Show" tour also served to encourage missionary work. Worldwide, like Lift before it, wasn't as 'rocking' as their previous efforts, mostly because of the focus on softer and more praise-oriented material. 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 former member Bob 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 album, Until My Heart Caves In, a title very similar to the 1998 album "Until Your Heart Stops" by the band Cave In, was released on August 30, 2005. It 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. The band cited Mark Stuart's "ongoing vocal challenges" stemming from vocal cord damage as the primary factor. On July 27, 2006, the band played at the popular Christian music Creation Festival for the last time. They had performed there every year since they had began as a band. On August 1, 2006, they released their final album, Adios, a farewell album containing two new tracks as well as more of the band's greatest hits.
For their final national tour in February until April 2007, Audio Adrenaline opened for MercyMe on the "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 entited "Live From Hawaii: The Farewell Concert".
On March 21, 2008, Australian festival Easterfest announced that Audio Adrenaline would be getting back together for a world exclusive concert at Easterfest '09 in Queens Park, Toowoomba.
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.
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).
Mark Stuart - Founding Member ??? vocals, guitar
Will McGinniss - Founding Member -vocals, bass guitar
Dave Stuart (1986-1991) - Founding Member -keyboards, vocals
Ron Gibson (1988-1991)- Founding Member -drums
Bob Herdman (1989 - 2001)- Founding Member -keyboard, guitar
Barry Blair (1989-1996)- Founding Member -guitar, vocals
Ben Cissell (1995-2007)- drums
Tyler Burkum (1997-2007)- guitar, vocals, keyboard
Brian Hayes ??? drums (1993-1995)
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")
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)
Mike Biddle - keyboards, backing vocals (2009)
Mark Stuart was recently involved in !Hero the Rock Opera, playing as Petrov. !Hero was a modern adaption of the story of Christ performed along with dc Talk band member Michael Tait, presently the frontman of the Newsboys. Also involved in this production was popular CCM pop vocalist Rebecca St. James, playing the part of Maggie, and rapper T-Bone as Jairus.
Mark Stuart and Will McGinniss have launched a post-retirement speaking venture titled "Audio Talks". They are available "for a night of encouragement, testimonies, Audio A classics and worship."