- Official Website newsboys.com
- Artist / Band: 1988
- Members: Peter Furler (vocals,
guitar, drums), Phil Joel (vocals, bass), Jeff Frankenstein
(keyboards), Duncan Phillips (drums, percussion), Paul
Colman (guitar, vocals)
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Recently, Peter Furler and his bandmates found themselves in
a far off place, countless miles away from all they knew and
the comforts of home. They were in Israel, near the Sea of Galilee,
just miles from the spot where bombs would be falling only months
later. The newsboys were making their very first visit to play
their very first show there, for five thousand people who had
never heard of them. The crowd was a mixture of cultures, races
and creeds, from Buddhists to Muslims to Jews—anything but the
typical newsboys audience. One might think that a band in this
position would feel intimidated to the point of faltering…
But they found themselves right at home.
"The Israeli festival changed us, to say the least. It was one
of the most powerful moments I have ever experienced," says
newsboys frontman Peter Furler. "Not only was it a mixture of
many different backgrounds, but a mixture of beliefs as well.
I didn't preach or even share, but I began quoting a passage
from memory—more in a spoken word style than anything else—during
the middle section of one song. This 'jam' went on for awhile,
and as it did, I knew something was happening. The crowd's entire
countenance shifted from skepticism to sort of a biblical worship
dance, and this wave—I don't know what else to call it—swept
over the crowd."
As Furler speaks of the event, you can't help but believe that
something holy is behind this story. Beyond Grammys, gold records
or merchandise sales. Beyond the comfort of domestic market
success. The newsboys have developed a genuine love for those
abroad. Say what you will, but this is a unit of men who have
pushed past mere industry accolades to an international fulfillment
of the Great Commission.
This is who they are, at this moment in time.
On Go, their new release (and first pop record in four years),
the band has committed to continuing outward on this journey,
completing the circle they began etching across the nations
two decades ago.
Fourteen albums ago, long before a separate culture was established
to house the bands which would follow in their wake, the newsboys
began with a singular motivation. They sought to play music
infused with life and hope for all who would listen, for all
those who most needed to hear it. It was dimly-lit bars and
seedy night clubs where they first performed for open ears in
their native Australia. And it was in this environment that
a vision began which would carry newsboys across international
barriers of language, culture and race.
"We played a show in Morocco not long ago for about 15,000 Muslims,
and it was like something out of Indiana Jones," recalls Furler.
"Snake charmers, people eating eyeballs, etc. This is a place
where the name of Jesus will get you killed! Nevertheless, His
name went out subtly through our songs, and when it did it was
probably the loudest His name had been spoken there in ages.
It's a dark place, for certain. But we were able to love these
people by just living with them for a few days. That's what
For inspiration when writing Go, Furler didn't turn to his record
collection, the radio or even MTV. Instead, he just wrote music,
alone, in his own headspace. And if you ask him about this unique
approach, he will tell you that his biggest influence after
fourteen albums is himself: his experiences, the journey he
has traveled. According to Furler, there can be nothing more
stimulating than this. The aforementioned stories have provided
more than enough backdrop.
"If you aren't making music from the right place, then it won't
be authentic, people will not connect with it, and your record
will be sitting on a shelf. On the other hand, if you write
from that place of true passion, without trying to make something
commercial or forced, then the result will be natural. People
will be drawn to it," Furler explains.
Go, though pop in structure and sensibility, is a very rhythmic
approach to the newsboys sound. Beat, bass and melody drive
these songs. There are subtleties of urban influence, with the
memorable choruses you have come to expect from this quintet.
This is the band at their most confident; the record sounds
like guys who are as excited as they have ever been to play,
to sing. It is as if they have just begun…
On "Beautiful," Furler makes this mantra clear: I wanna start
it over. I wanna start again. There's a new beginning, one without
an end. I feel it inside calling out to me. And on the title
track, he speaks of being sent from above to befriend the distant:
GO…From the top of the world, to the bottom rung. 'Til the work
is done, I wanna send you. GO…From the break of the dawn, to
the age's end. Somebody's needing a friend. I wanna send you.
They have found a brand new peace, a joy in touching the wounded.
Just listen to the words of "Wherever We Go" for evidence. Wherever
we're led, all the living and the dead wannna leave their zombie
mob. It's a touching scene when they all come clean. God help
us, we just love our job.
You might just as easily catch the newsboys opening for REO
Speedwagon, James Brown or John Fogerty these days as find them
at a Christian market event. They have even shared the stage
with Styx since releasing their previous effort. With willing
hearts, there seem to be more open doors on the near horizon.
Though they are CCM staples—and will most likely continue to
be—their focus will remain in branching out as far as this music
takes them. Courtesy Inpop Records