There’s more news of lineup changes for Newsboys and this one is kind of strange. Former dc talk member Michael Tait is taking over as the lead singer of the band . . . on the road.
“Peter Furler will no longer front the band in concert,” a Newsboys press release states. “Peter will continue with the band and his trademark songwriting and production will remain as he focuses his professional career toward future newsboys recordings.”
The band is releasing a new album, In the Hands of God, May 5 that will feature Furler as the lead singer, but Tait will tour it. Furler will apparently pop in on tour this year.
We asked if Furler will be the singer on future albums, a spokesperson for the band said, “That is still to be decided.”
In a statement on Newsboys message boards, Inpop Records president Dale Bray said there is nothing wrong with Furler’s health, which was an initial thought with the strangeness of that arrangement. The statement says Furler will make a personal statement later this week.
Maybe that statement will shed some light on what sounds at first blush like an odd move. Will Peter continue to sing on future records, or is he just going to be a songwriter and producer? I’ve searched my noggin for half a day trying to recall a band that has tried to tour a different singer than was on the record without a clear-cut change out front. And you would think if Tait was going to invest his life in touring with the group, he would want his voice out front on future recordings.
On the other hand, with Tait on stage, think about the catalog this group will have touring, because you have to think that they’ll break out some dc talk classics. In the Light was reportedly on Tait’s first show as frontman in Texas over the weekend.
Lineup changes have been de rigueur for Newsboys since the band formed in the mid-1980s. Paul Colman left in January to make way for returning guitarist Jody Davis. Bassist Phil Joel left a few years ago to pursue a solo career. Furler’s departure actually brings the band’s original lineup to an end as Furler was the band’s original drummer until he took over frontman duties on the appropriately named Step Up to the Microphone album and tour in 1998. Tait is Newsboys third lead singer, succeeding Furler and John James. Since dc talk split up at the beginning of this decade, Tait has fronted his own band, TAIT.
“While I like Michael Tait and loved dcTalk, Peter Furler IS the newsboys,” one fan wrote. “The newsboys have always had a distinct sound. Why? Because of Peter. Anyone else fronting for him will just be sounding like they are doing a cover of the songs. It just won’t be the same. I do wish everyone the best.”
Another fan was more open, saying, “I have been so blessed by Peter and the rest of the newsboys! May God continue to rain down His blessings on all of them, but especially Peter and Michael as they enter this new stage in their lives.”
What do you think?