“God’s not dead,” blares a headline on the black-and-white cover of the Newsboys’ latest album, which depicts a late 19th century newsboy hawking papers on a city street.
And many would say that the proclamation is just not news in the 21st century, but not Michael Tait, the band’s newest member and frontman.
“In today’s age we see more and more young people and adults who say they are in the atheist category that there is no God,” Tait said. “And we are here to say that God is alive and well. He is the foundation of our faith, and it’s a reaffirmation of that belief. And we are roaring like a lion.”
Tait and the Newsboys, which are known for their high energy live shows that feature drummer Duncan Phillips and his elevated rotating drumkit, will play at Rocky Mountain Calvary Church in Colorado Springs on Thursday, March 1. Also playing on the God's Not Dead Tour is The City Harmonic, which just garnered a Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year, hard-rockers Abandon and alternative rock band Anthem Lights.
“God’s Not Dead” is also the name of the band’s album that released Nov. 15 and is the first true worship CD by the 18-year-old group. But don’t forget this is the hard-rocking Newsboys and the band puts its mark on such standards as “Mighty to Save,” ”Forever Reign” and “Your Love Never Fails.”
“We wanted to do the songs justice,” Tait explained. “It’s like a Christmas record, how many times have you heard the songs, and you figure out that Nat King Cole does it the best. So we set out to do that the best we can.”
“This is the first official worship album that is full on Newsboys. It’s bad to the bone.”
With the worship album under their belts, Tait and his bandmates are no stranger to declaring their faith to people who are unbelievers.
“What do you say?” Tait responded when asked what he tells people who don’t believe in God. “I say, ‘Look around. In the Bible it says the rocks, mountains and oceans give God glory. Look around you. Look at the mountains. Look at your tastebuds. Do you think that just happened out of nowhere?’
“Most people will say that there’s a mighty force at work, a super power. It’s just a different name to it. We put a name to it.
"And really, to admit there’s not a God is to admit there is a God. That’s pretty deep, huh?” he said with a little chuckle.
If the name Michael Tait is familiar it’s because he is one of the Grammy Award trio of dc Talk, who shook up the Christian music world with its hip-hop rock rap in the late 1980s and 1990s with such songs a “Jesus Freak,” “Supernatural” and “In the Light.” The bandmates embarked on solo careers in 2000 and Tait joined newsboys in 2009 taking founding member and lead singer Peter Furler’s place. And as expected the transition was met with some resistance from newsboys fans.
“It was like turning the Titanic around in a lake,” Tait said of the transition. “We watched on Facebook as fans were attacking us, but then we started seeing fans defending us. .. It’s like one day you wake up and there’s a new guy in town. Newsboys is all about fantasic live shows, and we could hear fans sighing when I first came aboard but once they saw what was happening on stage – and we delivered -- we started winning them over. Everytime.
“Some bands that have changed singers have become like karaoke where they can’t create new songs. We’ve been blessed. And not to sound conceited but I thought I could sing the songs … and make them believable. … It’s been a big jump, we’re still the Newsboys, Version 2.0.”
So why not change the band’s name?
“Newsboys is bigger than any of us,” Tait said. “It’s a great spot to be.”