Audio Adrenaline brings Christian rock to Canton

Matthew Carroll

How can you tell that a band’s members love what they do? They play until their hearts cave in.

Christian rockers Audio Adrenaline are in the midst of a headlining tour in support of their newest release Until My Heart Caves In. This isn’t their first trip around the block. In fact, it’s not their second or third, either.

With a resume that includes nine albums, five Grammy nominations, over three million albums sold and a shelf-life of 13 years and counting, the band certainly has reason to feel – well, old.

“It’s kind of funny because I’m 25, but I feel old. It’s kind of a cool thing,” said Tyler Burkum, guitarist and youngest band member. “In some ways we feel like we’ve got this big burden to be true to a lot of people and represent. And in some ways it feels like we’re just any other band just trying to do our thing, and it just so happens that it spanned over a decade and a half. We’ve been really lucky to do that.”

Audio Adrenaline started its journey in 1991, while members of the band were attending Kentucky Christian College in Grayson, Ky. Forefront Records took notice of the group and signed them to a record deal in 1992. The band’s current lineup (Mark Stuart – vocals, Burkum ƒ_” guitar, Ben Cissell – drums, Will McGinnis – bass) has been playing together for eight years, and comes to Canton’s Civic Center tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

Fortunately for their fans, this familiarity has not bred any apathy toward what they do as a band.

“I still love just getting up and playing for people,” he said. “It’s just something really cool. Even though we’ve done it millions of times, I still feel like ‘Wow, it’s really cool that we get to do this for a job.'”

While the band’s love for what they do may be the same as it was a decade ago, their home lives certainly aren’t the same. Most of the band members now leave behind a wife and kids when they hit the road. Burkum and his wife celebrated the birth of their second child in July, and he is already back out on tour.

“When I’m away for an extended period of time, it definitely hurts a lot more than it used to,” he said. “And it really does test your reasons for why you do it, because if I didn’t like doing it, I don’t think I could feel this much pain to be away from my family for it.”

But Audio Adrenaline knows exactly why they do what they do. Being a Christian-based band means that their devotion’s focus is not only on their music, but, more importantly, their love of God.

“All of us in this band, we’re all just a bunch of screw-ups, and the thing is we know that it’s God working through us – not us,” Burkum said. “I think God works through us sometimes in weird ways and impacts in people’s lives, sometimes in ways that we can’t take credit for.”

While Audio Adrenaline’s music is certainly intended as a way of helping their fans grow closer to God, Burkum is quick to admit that the music he writes is just as much for himself as it is for the fans.

“My dad always says, ‘If you write to yourself you’ll hit it every time,'” he said. “He says there’s always somebody out there that’s going through the very same thing, and if you just always try to write what other people are feeling then you might not get it. But if you just write to yourself you’ll hit it somewhere.”

Contact ALL correspondent Matthew Carroll at [email protected].