Needtobreathe sees the ‘Daylight’ at the end of the tunnel

Kristen Russo


Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Everybody needs to breathe, but one South Carolina-based rock group is bringing a whole new meaning to these words.


Playing with Train

Where? SeaGate Convention Centre (Toledo)

When? May 17 at 8 p.m.

How much? $32.50

Needtobreathe is in the midst of its first nationwide tour to promote its Lava/Atlantic debut Daylight, which the band recorded in England. According to frontman Bear Rhinehart, this title was chosen because it was the first time their music was getting to see “daylight.”

“It was definitely a long process of getting signed and then going in to make the record,” Rhinehart said.

The name Needtobreathe comes from a story drummer Joe Stillwell heard when he was a child, Rhinehart said.

In the story, Rhinehart said, Socrates was beside a lake teaching a group of students when one student asked him, “How will I know when I am truly seeking after the purpose in my life?” Socrates held the student’s head under water, and when he brought it back up, he said, “When you need that purpose as much as you need to breathe, that’s when you’ll know.”

“The band was something we were living and dying on, so (this story) pertained to us,” Rhinehart said. He also said that being in a band is not the safest career choice, but the members knew it was what they needed.

Needtobreathe is currently touring with Train. Although this is the band’s first national tour, Rhinehart said he isn’t nervous about being on stage.

It wasn’t always that way, though. When the band was looking for a record deal, there were people in the audience who could really help or hurt the band’s career, “but we’ve gotten used to it,” Rhinehart said.

The band has had a lot of experience playing in front of a crowd — they have been touring the south for half a decade. Along the way, they have amassed a large following of fans who call themselves “Breathers.”

Needtobreathe’s music has been compared to that of Switchfoot, a band that also has roots in Christian rock. The members of the group don’t mind this comparison.

“They do a lot of really creative things we are really impressed with. It’s flattering to be compared to them,” Rhinehart said.

Needtobreathe’s music is filled with inspirational lyrics to match their inspirational name. Rhinehart’s father is a pastor, and he said the inspiring lyrics in many of the band’s songs come partly from his background in the church.

“We wrote from where we were coming from,” Rhinehart said. “From what we wanted to tell people … it’s easier to write songs that are sad or angry; it’s harder to say something positive.”

The band likes touring and has never missed a show, despite the many transportation troubles they have had to face. In the past, they have had one tour van that caught on fire and one that was falling apart, Rhinehart said.

Rhinehart’s favorite part of touring is playing live. Each day he looks forward to the next show, he said.

“It’s a great opportunity to convert people who haven’t heard your music before,” Rhinehart said. “We really love what we’re doing … hopefully the tour won’t end for another two or three years.”

Contact ALL correspondent Kristen Russo at [email protected].