Enigmatic. It’s a word that many have used to describe the musical journey of Kevin Max, DC Talk member and former lead vocalist of Audio Adrenaline. Since the legendary contemporary Christian music group DC Talk’s “intermission” some 15-20 years ago, Max has charted a course that resembles more of a multifaceted, obstacle-laden pinball game table than that of a carefully curated recipe for profitable longevity in the Christian music industry. His back catalog includes: a world music/pop explosion that was STEREOTYPE BE (2001); the critically acclaimed rock and roll of THE IMPOSTER (2005); a timeless Christmas staple – HOLY NIGHT (2005); an amazing gospel covers album – THE BLOOD (2007); the wildly experimental/electronic COTES D’ARMOR (2010); critically acclaimed missionary pop rock as lead singer of Audio Adrenaline – KINGS & QUEENS (2013); and a profound collection of pop-rock/nu wave spirituals – BROKEN TEMPLES (2014), in addition to a number of other EP’s, side projects, books of poetry, and the writing of his fictional novel FIEFDOM OF ANGELS.
Kevin Max’s journey has led him all over the place, but, that fact is much more a testament to his relentless creative energy and artistic integrity than it is a knock on his ability to make a buck. He could have easily just continued in lock-step with Christian music industry protocol and secured a steady and more-than-comfortable income, but, he’s never been content with the status quo and with that in mind, he has, yet again, ventured in a different direction.
STARRY EYES SURPRISE, the project he is in the process of recording and gathering support for through his second Pledge crowd-funding campaign pays homage to the classic voices that have and continue to influence his love and performance of music: Nat King Cole, The Smiths, Frank Sinatra, etc. It is a project that, thematically, lends itself to notions of evening romance and reverence for the crooners of the past. The musical arrangements of the songs that have surfaced, so far, are remarkably played (with instrumentation and backing vocals being provided by John and Painter and Flemming McWilliams) and are reverent to each song’s original history while, also, lending a creative nod to Max’s own experimental instincts. It’s an interesting project that is definitely worth lending an ear, and possibly, your support to. I’m really hoping that he continues in this vein for a new Christmas album. HOLY NIGHT is an amazing album, but, I’d love to hear him take on classic Christmas songs as performed by Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, and Burl Ives.
Check out what he has to say about it and learn more about how you can get involved in STARRY EYES SURPRISE.