For nearly 30 years, the Newsboys have been one of the most popular names in Christian music. Louisville.com recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Frankenstein, the keyboardist for the band. The Newsboys are headlining the Winter Jam tour that will make a stop in Louisville next week.
A veteran of the band himself, tomorrow will mark 20 years since Frankenstein’s first show with the Newsboys. He’s been with the Newsboys as the band has changed and shifted through many different members, including all three lead singers. Most recently, Michael Tait (formerly of DC Talk) has taken the helm as the frontrunner. When asked about this, Frankenstein revealed, “Not many bands get that second chance. When Peter [Furler] decided he was leaving 5 years ago, which 5 years is longer than a lot of bands are even around, I think we [the band] were… presented with whether or not we wanted to keep going… and we felt like we did. Michael was the first guy that came to our mind… He was a face that everyone knows. He was a friend of ours. He’s a great singer, a great front man.”
The road, however, was still a rough one. Frankenstein said that everyone involved with the band could see the potential was great, but it was like “turning the Titanic around. I think when it all became clear to us that it was going to work was when the Born Again record came out. It had our best debut numbers that we’ve ever had as a band ever in our history, and it was really encouraging to us.”
The Newsboys’ latest album, Restart, came out in September of last year. Frankenstein described that their goal was to make a “great Christian pop record.” “It seemed like it had been a long time since that had been done. It seems like, right now, mainstream music has all the pop music and then people listen to Christian music when they’re interested in worship music… We come from the era where there still was a lot of great Christian pop music, and that was the goal... We felt there was a need for it... We wanted to make a pop album that talked about our faith more than just in vague generalities.”
The Winter Jam tour makes its stop in Louisville next Friday, but the Newsboys have been touring with it for the past month and on the west coast before that. Frankenstein described the tour by saying, “If you’re a band that’s on this tour, it doesn’t get any better. When you’re on Winter Jam, you know it’s going to be 50 packed arenas every single night. It’s a lot of fun. On your own tour, there’s a lot more responsibilities… When you’re on Winter Jam, we play at 10pm. Basically, you’re just hanging out all day…” Frankenstein went on to say that he’s been friends with many of the other bands for years and called the tour a “family environment.”
Winter Jam will take place Friday, January 24 at Freedom Hall. Tickets are only $10 at the door. The show starts at 7pm; the doors open at 6pm. The Newsboys will perform as well as Lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Plumb, and many others.
The Newsboys will begin their own tour, the We Believe tour, as soon as Winter Jam ends in March. They also have a cameo in the movie God’s Not Dead coming out at the end of March.