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official band biography history - inpop Records era (2006):

Newsboys 2006Mateship

THEIR music has taken them from Australia to Africa but it's the mate-ship that makes newsboys one of the most enduring success stories of rock music.

When they first started the dream was simple - to make a living creating music together. and two decades later, they still count it a privilege to do just that. As lead singer Peter Furler recently revealed, there is a lot more to newsboys than just the music - it's the relationships built on time together, trials, triumphs and sometimes tragedy. For example, there are few outfits in rock music that can boast having the same manager and tour manager since the beginning.

"Like family, it has not always been perfect" Furler says - ''but what other bands see more than the music backstage is the strong commitment we have to each other''. "How we treat those closest to us... these seem to be the things that matter."

Even newcomer Paul Colman feels part of the family, especially after watching newsboys for so long and touring with them over recent years. "I have been a fan of this band for a long time,'' the Aussie guitarist, singer and songwriter said. "I watched every band across America for five years and newsboys is the best band. I told them that even before I joined them,'' he said. "I've been a fan of the song-writing, stage-show, performance and everything. I think the vision of the band is truly international.''

While Paul has had his own success as a solo artist, he loves no longer being out on his own - or as he puts it - "having some mates around''. And that's what been so special about the boys. Watching them as they burn across the Mexican desert together on dirt bikes or playing practical jokes on each other in their dressing rooms, the camaraderie is obvious.

Musically, newsboys are difficult to pigeonhole, blending melody and rhythm, making you think to the beat with a truly international sound. Despite selling more than six million records and being nominated for three Grammy awards, newsboys has never been a band to rest on its success. From the killer hooks of the music to the thought-provoking lyrics, they have strived to make the next album their best - and by all accounts their latest offering will be just that.

On stage, their performances are simply the best in the business - as voted on numerous occasions by the critics that really matter - the fans. The shows have gone through their own evolution, from the days of gold suits, lunar surface stages, flying spacecraft, inflatable concert venues and the huge Festival Con Dios festivals complete with motocross stunts. Much to the delight of fans, it's gone full circle with the return of the drum riser machine which sees drummer Duncan Phillips strapped in as he plays his kit while rotating upside down through the air. Twenty years on the crowd is still pulsing to hit after hit, being dazzled by spectacular light shows and Cryo blasts of ice cold air, and watching millions of pieces of confetti tumble to the ground as their own cares fall away.

The boys remain on an incredible ride which has taken them right across North America to Muslims in Morocco and to a new age festival in Israel. They've played in the front of 400,000 people and the Pope; in Paris, Holland, Germany, and then built homes for the poor with a teenage army in Baja, Mexico.

On a recent tour to Australia, lead singer Peter Furler fondly remembered the early days of driving the family crazy as they jammed in a garage in Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Who could forget the time when an irate neighbor dumped sugar in his family car's fuel tank, wrecking the motor?

Playing pubs in Australia, the crowds did not care whether the music was gospel, pop, reggae or blues - only if it was good. And if it wasn't, beer bottle missiles would soon get the message across. Those early days saw the band selling lamingtons (Aussie cakes) and macadamia nuts to buy petrol to get to the next gig or perhaps splurge on a new drum kit.

Their arrival in the US was equally humble. After securing a record deal, they came to New York on New Year's Eve, 1987, only to find the recording studio closed for the holidays. Then to make matters worse, they were detained by suspicious police for loitering before being allowed to stay in the studio over the weekend, only because they had nowhere else to go.

newsboys' manager Wes Campbell and brother Steve, the tour manager, discovered the band while Wes was a youth pastor in Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast. The Campbell's ran a club called Genesis, a local hangout for people hungry for new musical talent. A band that was scheduled to play one weekend could not make it but they suggested Steve give this new band newsboys a try, but cautioned they could not guarantee they were any good.

In those days, Genesis offered bands $200 to play - or the use of a decent sound system followed by dinner at Hungry Jacks (Burger King) afterwards. The boys were the only ones who opted for the sound system rather than the money. "That was their spirit," Campbell says, explaining how the guys have always been more interested in investing in a good show for fans than building big bank balances. It's a pity they didn't invest in better vehicles though. On their way to the gig, their van broke down and had to be towed in. They still managed to make a dramatic entrance, jumping through the windows of the club to launch a show like no other. Campbell soon saw the potential in newsboys, their passion not just for the music but also for the message. "They just stole our hearts," he says.

Thirteen albums and thousands of shows later, newsboys still reach deeper for a closer relationship with their Creator, their family, friends and each other. "It is really about respect for one another, friendship and our families - and that seems to make the music better,'' Peter said. "We feel the band's the best it has ever been and after 20 years it feels like we are just starting.''

If history is any signpost, the best is yet to come.


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