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Newsboys drummer talks about band changes, tour, new album

With new lead vocalist Michael Tait, the Newsboys will take the stage Saturday night at Bemidji State University.

The world-renowned Christian band will perform at the John Glas Fieldhouse as part of the Pulse Spring Campus Tour stop at BSU. The event will start at 7 p.m., with a pre-show beginning at 6:20 p.m.

Pulse, a national faith-based organization from Fargo, N.D., is bringing the Pulse Spring Campus Tour to BSU.

The Newsboys, currently on its Join the Tribe Tour, will be joined by tour-mates DecemberRadio, Vota and Bread of Stone. Also performing at the event will be Needtobreathe.

"We're coming to town to upgrade ya," said Newsboys drummer Duncan Phillips in a recent telephone interview while on the road to Atlanta, Ga.

The Newsboys are now "super-sized," said Phillips, quoting Mac Powell, lead vocalist of the Christian band Third Day.

Tait, formerly of the Christian band dc Talk, recently replaced Peter Furler, who was the Newsboys' frontman for 22 years.

"People have really embraced him," Phillips said of Tait. "The guy really is an incredible vocalist."

Furler will continue with the band and his trademark songwriting and production will remain as he focuses his professional career toward future Newsboys recordings.

The decision to have Tait front the band when Furler stepped back was a natural one, Phillips said. The Newsboys toured with dc Talk extensively when the Newsboys first arrived in the United States from Australia. Throughout the years, the bands' relationship continued.

Phillips said Tait feels that being part of the Newsboys is his destination. He added that it's not just a gig.

"He feels he's been placed here at this time," Phillips said.

Also recently, guitarist Jody Davis returned to the Newsboys after a five-year hiatus.

Davis, who was a member of the band from 1993-2003, contributed to many of the Newsboys' greatest hits, including "Shine," "Entertaining Angels" and "It is You." In 2003, he took time off to care for his daughter, Bethany, who has cerebral palsy.

Phillips said Davis is a great guy and an "awesome fit for the band."

Join the Tribe Tour

The Newsboys is currently touring the United States and Canada on its Join the Tribe Tour. The band partnered with Global Tribe for the tour.

At concerts, the band is asking people to help Global Tribe. The Nashville-based organization's mission is to rescue those in physical and spiritual poverty, reach communities with the gospel and recruit and empower young leaders.

"What we wanted to do is something beyond the music," Phillips said.

He said the Newsboys felt that teaming up with Global Tribe was something they should do as Christians and a band.

"It's really given our passion some direction," Phillips said.

New album coming

The Newsboys' song "In the Hands of God" is No. 6 this week on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart. The song is the debut single and title track of the band's latest album, which is scheduled to be released May 5.

The album is more rock and has an edge to it, Phillips said.

He said it's quickly becoming his favorite Newsboys record.

"I'm really excited to start playing these songs live," Phillips said.