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The Lead Singer

When I heard a Newsboys song on the radio earlier this week, I thought, “OK, I can imagine Michael Tait’s voice filling in the lead spot.”  It’s funny that I had been wondering what Tait was up to not a week before the announcement earlier this month that Peter Furler was stepping down as lead singer, with Tait taking the helm.

Not long after the Newsboys song, a new release by SONICFLOOd came across the airwaves.  I remember not knowing who was playing, but since I was listening to satellite radio, the information flashed on my car stereo.  Knowing that SONICFLOOd has had personnel changes as the Newsboys, I pondered whether or not Rick Heil (once a member of Big Tent Revival) was singing lead.  Funny.  I loved when SONICFLOOd entered the scene with Jeff Deyo at the head.  But over the years, perhaps with the prominence of similar music and the change in sound, I haven’t paid as much attention to their music and did not know a new song was out.

This whole scenario had me thinking.  (And this thought process comes up all the time in my brain.)  It’s nothing new when a band changes lead singers.  In fact, some may remember John James was a member of the Newsboys when they first hit the scene.  Caedmon’s Call has continued without Derek Webb.  Then again, perhaps Caedmon’s Call has always included different lead vocals in their music.  And even Mark Stuart let Tyler Burkum sing lead on some songs the last time I saw Audio Adrenaline play live, about a year before the farewell show.  (I suppose Mark’s voice would not have lasted otherwise.)  

But, when does it work for a band, and when is it time for the group to call it quits?  For instance, I cannot imagine Third Day without the smooth vocals of Mac Powell.  Who else could fill the shoes of Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real?  Skillet would not be the same without John Cooper, in my opinion.  The list goes on.

It will be interesting to see how much longer the Newsboys will create and perform music.  Petra survived multiple lead singers and went on for something like thirty years, right?  The Newsboys need a few more years to catch up, I suppose.  Ah, but the most important question that I know must be on your mind is – does this mean there is no chance for a dc Talk reunion?  (Sorry Toby, I had to mention it, right?)