Kutless, from left: Jeff Gilbert, Ryan Shrout, Jon Micah Sumrall, Dave Leutkenhoelter, and James Mead.
After releasing a reverent praise-and-worship album last year, the members of Kutless decided they wanted to make a statement with the first single of their new CD, Hearts of the Innocent.
We knew we wanted to come out of the gates rocking hard, guitarist James Mead said in an interview this week.
The band will be in Toledo Friday for a concert with Stellar Kart and Pawn.
The new single was Shut Me Out, a hard-charging, guitar-powered rocker inspired by Apostle Paul s courage to preach the Gospel despite the threat of imprisonment.
The story line of the song kind of mirrors the story in the book of Acts when the Apostle Paul was going into the city center every day and preaching about Jesus. The Roman soldiers would throw him in jail and tell him he couldn t talk about Jesus and he said he didn t care, he had to talk about him, Mead said.
A video for Shut Me Out features the band setting up a secret radio broadcast inside a large warehouse, trying to send the signal out before police SWAT teams shut them down.
They finally catch us and take us away, but all the while there was this child in the shadows watching us, and after we re taken away he walks up and hits the switch so the signal goes out, Mead said.
The video reinforces how much the members of Kutless rely on their audiences, he added.
Just as it took someone outside the band to send the radio signal out in the video, the musicians would be nothing without the support of fans and youth pastors.
Every time we do a show, we invite the local youth pastors to come back stage right before the show and we tell them how much we appreciate them teaming up with us, Mead said. We feel incomplete without their help. They re the ones who are introducing us to their youth groups and saying, Here, why don t you listen to Kutless? Check them out. They re kids whose music shows their love of Christ. If you write and record this stuff no one ever hears it, it doesn t do anybody any good.
Kutless was formed in Portland, Ore., in 2000 and still includes original members Mead, singer Jon Micah Sumrall, and guitarist Ryan Shrout. New to the group are drummer Jeffrey Gilbert and bassist Dave Leutkenhoelter.
The group, whose name reflects Jesus suffering ( because of him, we re cut-less, Sumrall explains), signed with Tooth & Nail Records, a division of BEC Records, in 2001, and released a self-titled debut disc the next year.
Kutless second CD, Sea of Faces, released in 2004, brought them national acclaim.
We were surprised somewhat when that album really started to take off, but also, I think that from the beginning we had goals set in our mind that were maybe a little bit bigger than our britches, Mead said. We dream big here in Kutless and we shoot for it. That s why we tour almost constantly, doing nearly 200 shows a year, and work as hard as we can. We give our best effort to all that we do as a band.
Last year, the group released Strong Tower, to show that there is more to Kutless than guitar-heavy rock.
Kutless brings its Hearts of the Innocent tour to Toledo at 7 p.m. Friday in the Mill, 5115 Glendale Ave., with Stellar Kart and Pawn opening. Tickets are $14 in advance, $12 on Friday. Information: 419-389-0893.