Newsboys Biography

This Christian rock band was originally formed in Mooloolaba, Australia, in 1985 by John James (vocals), Peter Furler (8 September 1966, South Australia; drums) and George Perdikis (guitar). Originally going under the name News, they changed their name to Newsboys and relocated to the USA in 1987. Basing themselves in Nashville, Tennesse, their debut album Read All About It was recorded by a line-up featuring James, Furler, Phil Yates (guitar) and Sean Taylor (bass) and Jody Davis (guitar). Guitarists Jonathan Geange and Vernon Bishop passed through the band as they recorded the albums Hell Is For Wimps (1990) and Boys Will Be Boyz (1991) for the Star Song label. Keyboard player Corey Pryor was added to the line-up for the recording of the latter, as the Newsboys began to establish a strong profile with a series of CCR hits including ‘Shine’ and ‘Not Ashamed’. James and Furler were joined by Duncan Phillips (b. 3 March 1964, Nambour, Queensland, Australia; drums/keyboards), Jody Davis (guitar), Jeff Frankenstein (b. 26 June 1974, Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA; keyboards) and Phil Joel (b. Philip Joel Urry, 5 January 1973, Auckland, New Zealand; bass/vocals) in the most stable line-up of the Newsboys, recording the successful album Take Me To Your Leader.

In 1997, lead singer James left the fold to develop his solo career. At the same time the band also lost the services of producer Steve Taylor, as he moved on to establishing his own label, Squint Entertainment. The Newsboys regrouped, promoting Furler to guitar and lead vocals and enlisting Duncan Phillips as their new drummer. The first results of this radical shift were unveiled onStep Up To The Microphone, released in 1998. The album was promoted by sending a promotional CD to 35, 000 church youth pastors, and the band headlined the annual Creation Fest held near Mount Union in Philadelphia.

The group switched to the Sparrow Records label in the late 90s, and maintained their successful recording and touring schedule into the new millennium. Bryan Olesen took the place of long-serving guitarist Jody Davis on 2003’s Devotion, but was in turn replaced by Paul Colman (b. 22 August 1968, London, England) in 2006.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.