What Would A Potential DC Talk Reunion Mean For Christian Rock?

Amid the reunion rumors, our staff discuss what a DC Talk tour would mean both personally and to Christian rock as a whole. Join our discussion by adding your thoughts on Facebook!

By now, unless you’ve been on vacation or otherwise absent from social media, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the interview on Minnesota-based 98.5 KTIS in which Newsboys lead singer and former DC Talk member Michael Tait hinted at plans of a 2020 reunion for the iconic and highly influential trio.

Tait offered few specific details on when or what exactly “a few dates” looks like. Speculation ranges from a few festival appearances (Creation East, here’s looking at you), to a 15-20 city run at small venues, or more. Over the last 15 to 20 years, we’ve often heard rumors of a reunion and seen nothing come to fruition.

So rather than harp on the news itself, Rock On Purpose staff decided to take a look at this from a different perspective.

Many current artists in the rock space, and in turn many of us, were either directly or indirectly influenced by what DC Talk accomplished in the 1990s.  In their prime, DC Talk were pushing boundaries of CCM, earning crossover success, and experimenting with combinations that paved the way for a Christian rock explosion in the late 90s and early 2000s– until the rap, rock and soul trio began an intermission by embarking on solo careers.

So, rather than repeat what’s already been said so eloquently by so many outlets, we are going to take a moment to reflect and ponder what a possible DC Talk reunion would mean to us as individuals and what it means for the industry– particularly for rock and roll– if DC Talk comes back and potentially creates new music together.

Matt Durlin, Lead Contributor

I grew up in a Christian home and went to youth group in the 90s when DC Talk was hitting their Jesus Freak era. I was introduced to the band by a friend in middle school, and we would take turns singing and rapping verses on the Free At Last album. “Luv is a Verb” and “Lean on Me” were my jams in 1992, y’all.

During my senior year in high school, dc Talk released Supernatural, which was one of the most influential albums of my adolescence.  I was privileged to see them on the Supernatural Experience tour 20 years ago, and at Creation Northeast the same year. I also got to see the band perform live on the Solo tour before they took a very long hiatus. Their music and lyrics have carried me through dark seasons of rebellion, taught me to persevere in my faith, and to focus on taking life one day at a time. I remember worshiping to “Red Letters” late at night and declaring myself as “Fearless” in the face of difficult times.

In 2017, I saw the trio reunite on the high sea for the first Jesus Freak cruise, which led to a series of events that brought us into a season of taking a leap of faith and connected me, ultimately, with Rock On Purpose.

When a band is allowing God to use them to the point of literally life-altering spirit movement, it would be hugely significant if they do a reunion on land. For starters, I would love to be able to take my family to see the band perform live– my kids have never seen them in person, and my wife only on a cruise in a very small venue. The live DC Talk experience is unrivaled.

From an industry standpoint, since DC Talk last walked the walk there has been a decrease in the variety of genres being played on radio. Rock and roll, unless it’s an established act or a made-for-radio single, has been shuffled into an underground category. If DC Talk reunites to the level of success that Newsboys United is experiencing, it could serve as a reminder that there is still a market for rock and roll, that the heavy songs like “Jesus Freak” and “Supernatural” are still important. Perhaps it would lead DC Talk to doing something new and leading us into an era where we get to freak out again.

Jessi Zilka, Throwback Contributor

DC Talk set the bar for creativity and success within Christian music in the 90s with albums like Free At Last, Jesus Freak, and Supernatural. They didn’t simply mirror what was popular in the mainstream industry as so many others around them were doing. They established their own unique sound aesthetic– and boy, did they do it well. It’s because of this that they are still considered one of the most influential artists in all of Christian music history.

I think I could speak for a large majority of Christian rock listeners from the 90s when I say that a DC Talk reunion would be something extra special. For me, they were essential in the construction of my music taste. Songs like “Like It, Love It, Need It,” “Mind’s Eye,” “Luv is a Verb,” “It’s Killing Me,” and “Jesus Freak” molded my affinity for rock and roll, showing me how diverse the genre could really be. But being a kid and seeing this music live is a whole different experience than being able to witness it today as an adult. Newsboys was always my particular favorite growing up; their live shows had a deep impact on me at a very young age. But seeing them live last year during their Newsboys United tour, and hearing songs that could potentially be even more important to me now than when I was seven years old, was indescribable. I think all DC Talk fans will experience this same feeling should a tour and a chance to be in the same room with such an incredible group arise.

Their reunion could open the door for Christian rock and alternative to fall into its own renaissance of sorts, and for me, that could be the most important reason for any of it. Artists that lost traction simply because the industry shifted its focus somewhere else could have an opportunity to reunite and feel a space has been made for them to try their hand at reaching people once again. I love Christian rock and alternative, so I desperately hope this happens. But for now, we sit and wait to see what Michael Tait, Kevin Max, and Toby Mac have in store for us.

Sharayah Franklin, Contributing Writer

I was a kid in the 90s and spent my teen years in the late 90s-early 2000s. DC Talk’s Jesus Freak was extremely popular, and I remember spending many days at church, since we were always there, listening to their music in KIDS Church and then youth group. We would play “Jesus Freak” incessantly until we could get the TobyMac rap part down. DC Talk was an integral part of the youth experience of this time because it was music that was beginning to resonate with them, and it seemed to be an even more definite shift in the tide of what Christian music was in that day and age. They opened up a genre of diversity and made music relevant to a wider audience than just what our parents’ were listening to.

As was said above, Michael Tait dropped hints in a recent interview that there might be a land tour in DC Talk’s future with some dates over the next three years. According to a video with TobyMac where he was interviewed by Heath Arthur, there are talks of a reunion tour, but nothing has been set in stone. I think with the success of two Jesus Freak Cruises and how much success the members of DC Talk have had solo, this could be a tour that would eclipse anything else we’ve seen in Christian music. I think it would open up conversations on the future of Christian music, and what needs to be done as it moves forward. Also, I think that a tour like this could be the melding of some greats– with TobyMac and his Diverse City Band, Newsboys United, and Kevin Max along with DC Talk headlining, it would be the show to see.

Some would say this could just be for nostalgic purposes, but I think the mission could be greater. Think about the generations this music has spanned. I think when I go to any of DC Talk members’ solo shows, the diversity and range of demographics I see there are astounding. This could be the culmination of music that needs to happen. The music that DC Talk brings and the messages in the songs are just as relevant today as they were 20+ years ago. I say that if the “Intermission” is truly over, it would be a welcomed thing.

1 Comment

  1. Great article. I’ve been on both cruises with my children and the memories are priceless. A new album would be great. Can’t wait until the land tour.


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