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Relient K (Artist)

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Relient K is a Christian Alternative Rock/Pop Punk band from Canton, Ohio. They started in 1998, and were named after the car of the same name which belongs to guitarist Matt Hoopes. The band has received numerous awards including a Grammy nomination in 2003 for Best Rock Gospel Album and two Dove Awards.[1][2][3]

All the members are Christians, although some fans have questioned the band being in the Christian rock genre. On this subject, lead singer Matt Thiessen stated in an interview:

"Our whole answer is, call us whatever you want. You can call us a Christian band, you can call us a rock and roll band. And we can go out on tour with this band, and we can go out on tour with that band. But we don't care. We're just doing what we do. We're having fun. We write about what we want to write about and, you know, most of the time, that's, you know, our hearts and our faith."
He went on to discuss how one just has to go for faith, and how he compared it to jumping off a cliff in a song ("Life After Death and Taxes (Failure II)").[4]

The band broke into the mainstream in 2004 after Capitol signed them and they released their fourth record, Mmhmm, which debuted at #15 on the Billboard 200, produced three top five hits on Christian radio and two top 20 hits on mainstream radio. Their fifth full length record, Five Score and Seven Years Ago, debuted at #6 on the U.S. Billboard 200. It has sold at least 150,000 copies to date.[5]

MembersEdit

Relient K was founded in 1998 by Matthew Thiessen on guitar and piano, Brian Pittman on bass, and Matt Hoopes on guitar.[1] Todd Frescone joined for a short time on the drums in 1998. After All Work and No Play, the band's demo album, Todd Frescone was replaced by Stephen Cushman. Cushman played drums on the band's first EP, 2000 A.D.D., and on their self-titled debut album in 2000, but left later that year to join the Christian metal band Narcissus. Brett Schoneman of Christian rock band Philmore filled in temporarily in 2000. [2] [3] [4] Jared Byers, drummer of the Christian rock band Bleach, filled in as the temporary drummer after this, until Dave Douglas joined in December of 2000. [5] This lineup remained static from the release of The Creepy EP and The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek in 2001, through the release of Mmhmm. (Fans say this is the best album they released in 2004, after which Brian Pittman left to start a landscaping company.)[6] Pittman played bass for a time in the Christian metal band Inhale Exhale, but has since departed from that band for the same reasons that he left Relient K. John Warne, lead singer and guitarist of Ace Troubleshooter, filled in as bassist for the remainder of 2004. He became full-time bassist in 2005. Also in 2005, Jon Schneck joined as a third guitarist, as well as a banjo and bell player, to create a fuller, more distinctive sound. This was also because the band planned to add more piano, and having another guitarist gave Matt Thiessen the freedom to do that.[6] The band announced the departure of their long-time drummer Dave Douglas in late 2007. His leaving was due to a desire to pursue his side-project Gypsy Parade (now known as Cat Attack) with his wife Rachel. There was no animosity between any of the members, and he continued to tour with the band until his last show on December 29th.[7] [8] Ethan Luck of Demon Hunter and formerly of The O.C. Supertones joined the band as their new drummer in March 2008.

Current membersEdit

Former membersEdit

HistoryEdit

Beginnings (1998–2002)Edit

Relient K first formed between the band's junior year in high school and their time at Malone College in Canton, Ohio.Template:Fact The friendships went even further into the past, though, since band members Matt Thiessen, Matt Hoopes, and former bass player Brian Pittman have known each other since they were in second grade.[6] The band's name was intentionally misspelled to avoid trademark infringement over the Reliant name.

The band's demo, All Work and No Play, caught the attention of dc Talk's Toby McKeehan(Toby Mac). All Work and No Play was recorded by Mark Lee Townsend, the former live guitar player for dc Talk. Townsend knew the band members because his daughter was friends with the band (she later married guitarist Matt Hoopes). After Toby signed the band to his label, Gotee Records, Relient K released their debut EP entitled 2000 A.D.D. EP in 2000. Later that year, they released Relient K, their first full-length CD. It was distinctly Christian rock and featured lyrics with a wide range of pop-culture references.[7]

In 2001, the band released their second album, The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek. This album launched both Relient K and their sound to a whole new level. There were still plenty of pop-culture references on this album.[7] It contained many more softer songs and slightly lighter guitars. [9] They would continue chords through tracks in order to fluidly transition in between songs, a trend that continued on their later albums. [10]

Rising popularity and mainstream success (2002–2003)Edit

Anatomy landed them in the Christian rock limelight, and Relient K was offered a clothing deal with Abercrombie & Fitch in 2001.[7] Gotee, their label, accepted the offer on Relient K's behalf; Pittman recalls, "The choice was never really given to us. The label made the choice."[11] After significant pressure from conservative Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family, Gotee backed out of the contract.

In 2002 they were then asked to do a rendition of the popular VeggieTales song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" for the 2002 VeggieTales movie Jonah. The song was released on three different albums, two in single form. The first version also included their song "Breakdown" being sung by Larry the Cucumber. There was also a promotional version which included the original version of "Breakdown". A cut-down version (missing the bridge) was included on the Christian rock compilation Veggie Rocks!. This song mixes the sounds of The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek and their third album, Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do.

In 2003, Relient K released Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do. The album had multiple covers of different colors, each depicting a car in some kind of wreck. As pop-culture references became less specific, sound and vocals became far more defined. [12] [13] Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do (often called Two Lefts by fans) combined the soft, meaningful songs of The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek and threw in fast-paced songs with deep lyrics. [14] [15] It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of "Best Rock Gospel Album"[1] and won the Dove Award for "Modern Rock Album of the Year" in 2004.[2]

During this time, Relient K also released a limited edition red vinyl EP entitled The Vinyl Countdown, only released in one printing. The EP included two versions of the song, "Five Iron Frenzy is Either Dead or Dying." The album was dedicated to Jesse Alkire, contest winner and friend of Matthew Thiessen, who inspired the song "The Vinyl Countdown."[8]

Since Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do was released in March of 2003, Relient K released a bonus disc for Christmas, entitled Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand. The album was packaged with Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do from November 2003 to December 2003. [16]

Mmhmm (2004–2006)Edit

In late 2004, the group released their long-expected fourth album, Mmhmm. Pop-culture references were even less specific than on their third album, if not non-existent. The album was significantly more on the serious side with very few of the silly songs the band was known for.[17] The album is much more piano-driven in parts (including an entire song, "Let It All Out"),[18] but more hard rock in others ("Which to Bury, Us or the Hatchet").[19] In July 2005, the album was certified gold for shipping over 500,000 copies. It is reported that it has sold approximately 796,000 copies.[9] Driven by newfound recognition from Mmhmm, Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do was also certified gold in spring 2005. Also, it was announced in 2006 that their second record, The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, had reached the Gold rank as well. It achieved certification by the RIAA. In Norway Relient K was one of the 2004's best new bands along with Bloc Party, Hawthorne Heights, and Motion City Soundtrack.

Shortly before the album's release, longtime bassist Brian Pittman left the band, citing that he was tired of touring and wanted to start a landscaping company. He also joined Christian metal band Inhale Exhale shortly afterward. Matt Thiessen announced Pittman's departure in fall 2004, saying, "After almost seven years of being in Relient K, our cherished and lifelong friend, Brian Pittman has decided to move on to other things. That IS crazy, huh? Brian decided to leave the band in June, so we’ve had plenty of time to let the initial shock die down. We’re aware that a lot of you already knew, so we apologize for not announcing this sooner. There were various reasons. He thought long and hard about his decision, and he came to the conclusion that he would like to do other things than play bass for the band. We respect him for it. We’d be lying to say that we’re not all completely bummed that Brian won’t be a part of Relient K anymore. And though we know things won’t be the same without him, it must be said that we have always valued our friendships with him more than our on-stage relationship. Anyway, all of us still hang out, and its like nothing is different at all. I feel like that’s how you know that you’ve made a friend that will be there for the rest of your days. We want to thank Brian for all the years he gave the band. You’re the best, buddy."

Mmhmm features two top 40 hits which both made it on MTV's Top Ten. The track "Be My Escape," which can be found on Mmhmm, is the band's most popular mainstream song to date. Its music video entered MTV's Top Ten, and landed them an appearance on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live. "Be My Escape" is also featured on Now! 19, a popular secular and quasi-annual compilation series. It was classified as a gold single in October of 2005. [20] The music video for "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been," also from Mmhmm, has also made its way onto the TRL countdown,[10] many top 40 radio stations, and was included on Now! 21. Mmhmm was awarded a Dove Award in 2006 for the "Rock Album of the Year."[3] The band was also nominated for "Artist of the Year" and "Band of the Year" at GMA Canada's 2006 Covenant Awards[11] and Canada's Juno Awards for "Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year."[12]

Between September and November 2006, Relient K played on the Nintendo Fusion Tour with Hawthorne Heights, Emery, Plain White T's, and The Sleeping.[13]

Five Score and Seven Years Ago (2006–present)Edit

[[Image:RelientKAtPurpleDoor.jpg|thumb|right|250px|Relient K live at the Christian rock festival Purple Door 2006

Recording for the new album, Five Score and Seven Years Ago, started on June 18, 2006 and continued for parts of July and August. Some tracks on the album were produced by Howard Benson (All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, P.O.D.). Matt Thiessen has been quoted as saying that the title of the album comes from the fact that it's the band's fifth album, it is the first time that they had five members on a record together, and the record's release date comes seven years after the release of their first album.[14] Relient K headlined Onefest 2006.

While the band hoped for a November 2006 release, the official release date was announced as March 6, 2007.[14] The album features 14 songs and is considered, by the band, to be their happiest record. On March 2, 2007 the entire album (except "Deathbed") was made available for streaming on the band's MySpace. Five Score and Seven Years Ago debuted at #6 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling about 64,000 copies in its first week.[5] The album also debuted at #2 on the iTunes best-selling albums chart, under Neon Bible by Arcade Fire.

The band's first single from the album, "Must Have Done Something Right," was released on iTunes on November 28 and to radio on January 9, 2007. "Forgiven," a radio single directed at Christian stations, is also being aired now. "Forgiven" was the most added song on Christian radio and entered Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart on January 11, 2007. In Britain, under EMI which Relient K is signed to, Relient K has decided to sell their songs in MP3 format. The single "Must Have Done Something Right" went on sale December 5, 2006 via Yahoo's online music service. This download also includes the song "Fallen Man."[15]

"Must Have Done Something Right" was performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on March 2, 2007. They performed "The Best Thing" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on April 12, 2007.

It was announced by the band's manager on the band's forums around the end of March that the second single from the album would be "The Best Thing." It was released to radio on April 10, 2007. It took the 7th most adds in its first week and it is currently at #49 on the Top 40 charts. Matt Thiessen, the lead singer, has said that "The Best Thing" is "the anti-Daniel Powter 'Bad Day' song. It's straight-up positive." The video for this song was released in late April of 2008, marking the only time the the band has released a music video in consecutive months. It features the band in an abandoned warehouse performing the song while a girl is taking pictures of them, and the pictures are used artistically to show the band playing. The video is currently posted on the band's MySpace page.[21]

In the early morning of June 28, 2007, Relient K's bus caught fire. Everyone made it out safely, but the band lost many instruments, laptops, cameras, phones, iPods, clothes, and merchandise. Matt Thiessen said he lost a laptop that had roughly 100 unfinished songs on it, and Dave Douglas lost his Battlefield drum set. In the midst of it, the band still laughed at the situation, calling it "cinematic". [22] On a blog post on their website, Matt Thiessen stated that the next day after the fire, the band went to view the damage of their van and found that while 85% of their gear was intact, Douglas's drum kit set was not salvageable.[23] A member of the Switchfoot forums first announced it, asking everyone to pray for the band. The band had just played Creation Northeast, and had to cancel their appearance at Cornerstone Festival in Illinois, which the band has named as one of their favorite shows to do. They did, however, play their next scheduled show in Greeley, CO on June 30.

In the months following, the band played many more Christian rock festivals as usual, with Matt Thiessen telling the story each time. The band then followed the story with three of their most spiritual and uplifting songs, "Up and Up", "Getting Into You", and "Forgiven."[24]

The band released a new Christmas album on October 23, 2007. The new Christmas album is a re-released version of their 2003 Christmas album, Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand but contains 7 new songs.[25] Matt Thiessen confirmed this on RelientK.com on August 5, 2007. [26] The CD is titled Let it Snow, Baby... Let it Reindeer. Jesus Freak Hideout announced it all in detail on August 21, 2007.[27] [28]

The band also took part in McDonald's Summer 2007 music tour. Every band involved in the tour has the chance to be involved in a future McDonald's ad. Votes by viewers will be counted to decide who will win. All live shows are available for viewing at http://www.mcdlive.com/.

Members of both Switchfoot and Relient K had been talking about touring together during Summer 2007, and Switchfoot confirmed the rumors the following fall during the Alive Festival. Relient K and Switchfoot co-headlined, but Switchfoot played last every night, and Ruth opened for them. Matt Thiessen had previously stated in a blog entry on the Relient K website that there would be a fall tour but did not hint at any details except that the two bands are trying to figure out a way to incorporate Habitat for Humanity into the tour [29]. On July 12, 2007, Switchfoot's website released a new video podcast [30] and blog, and in the middle of the video podcast there is a short intermission where all the band members of Switchfoot and Relient K announced there will be a tour in the fall of 2007 with more details to come. Relient K and Switchfoot both played at the Los Angeles premier of the movie Evan Almighty on June 22, 2007.[31] They also played at the Lizard Fair in Midland, Michigan on August 15, 2007 with Chris Daughtry. Relient K and Rith joined with Switchfoot to record a song together titled "Rebuild," with some themes of the song comparing to Habitat for Humanity. It was be released on Switchfoot's website, with three options for getting the song. One was to get the song for free, another was to buy the song with a donation of money to Habitat for Humanity, and a third was to buy the song by volunteering time to Habitat for Humanity.

On October 18, 2007 drummer Dave Douglas announced his leave on the band's website. This confirmed rumors floating around the band's message boards that began two months prior. His final show was on December 29, 2007. Afterwards, Douglas started working more on his side-project with his wife, Gypsy Parade, which has since been renamed Cat Attack. Ethan Luck of The O.C. Supertones and Demon Hunter became the band's new drummer in March 2008.

In July of 2008, the band released its first b-sides album, entitled The Bird and the Bee Sides. It contained 13 new tracks that were labled as The Nashville Tennis EP, and 13 additional rarities, b-sides, and demo songs that made up The Bird and the Bee Sides. The Nashville Tennis EP has one song each from the four members of Relient K who do not sing lead, with each member writing the lyrics for their respective song as well as singing lead on it. The album's songs "The Scene and Herd" and "The Last, The Lost, The Least" have been released as singles on Christian radio. The band could not fit all the b-sides they wanted onto the album, so it was announced that five more songs would be released by online scavenger hunt. So far, only three have been released; the original version of "Hope for Every Fallen Man" (a Five Score and Seven Years Ago b-side), an acoustic version of "Where Do I Go From Here" (with the original found on The Nashville Tennis EP), and their cover of dc Talk's "Between You and Me" (originally found on the compilation Freaked!). The other two are yet to be released, but are reportedly going to be the demos of "I'm Lion-O" and "Sadie Hawkins Dance." The "I'm Lion-O" demo is from the band's 1998 demo album All Work & No Play, while the "Sadie Hawkins Dance" demo has never previously been released.

The band went on the Vans Warped Tour once again in Summer 2008. They also did The Uncle Fest Tour in October with This Providence, Ludo, and House of Heroes. They then performed on TobyMac's Third Annual Winter Wonder Slam Tour in November and December, with TobyMac, Family Force 5, and new artistB. Reith. They performed a tribute song for Family Force 5 on the tour, in the tune of Subway's "Five Dollar Footlong" song.

The band will peform at Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, Florida for the park's inaugural "Glory at the Gardens," a Christian music festival.

Relient K as a Christian bandEdit

It has been debated among some fans and critics whether or not Relient K is a Christian band. On the subject of the band's music, Matt Thiessen said, "Call us whatever you want. Like you can call us Christian band, you can call us a rock and roll band, we can go on tour with this band, we can go on tour with that band. But, we don't care, we're just doing what we do, we're having fun, we write about what we want to write about and, you know, most of the time, that's, you know, our hearts and our faith and stuff like that."[4]

In the February 2007 edition of CCM Magazine, there is an article discussing Christian artists in the mainstream industry. Matt Thiessen was interviewed on the subject, and had a few quotes mentioned throughout the article.

"It's time to move on," according to Relient K's Matt Thiessen. "It's time for Christian music to bleed into everything."

Relient K's Thiessen sees it as a very good sign. "Bands don't have to go through the Christian music door," he says, "to express what they believe in through a song."

"That's what Christianity is all about," Thiessen adds. "C.S. Lewis wasn't about just writing to Christians to make them better. He was about writing books that everyone could read and expand their minds. That's what music is all about, too. [Not long] ago it was absurd that P.O.D. was doing Ozzfest or that Sixpence None the Richer was all over the radio. Then, all of a sudden, it's all changed."Template:Fact

Like other Christian rock bands, the band's songs are not all about God, but the majority of them say "You" in reference to God, or talk about subjects such as becoming a better person. At the same time, many songs do state God's name directly, some of the songs being worship songs. One response that Matt Thiessen had on their website was that it is hard to mention Jesus in a song without it sounding "corny." However, this quote from Thiessen has been taken out of context, as Thiessen was saying they didn't use the lyrics well. Some fans point out the line in "Charles in Charge" that says, "You, me, and Jesus at your mom's pizza parlor." The band has played on MTV, but as with other bands like Switchfoot, the mainstream is a way for a band like Relient K to get Christian-themed music to non-Christian listeners. Despite criticism, the band's music still appears on Christian radio stations, bookstores, and music websites, and they still play numerous Christian rock festivals every year.

As for the criticism of the band's music about it not mentioning God, or being for God, Jesus Freak Hideout discussed the message of Jesus found in the band's eleven minute story song, "Deathbed." The site said of the song, "It details a man near his death, looking back on his life, both the good and the bad. It's quite moving, and keeps your interest until the very end. Jon Foreman from Switchfoot even appears at the closing as the voice of Jesus, taking the man home to be with Him. Let it not be said after this that Relient K is sugar coating their message. They never have, and never did deserve the heat they took for that. This record (perhaps even more so than previous efforts, as they continue to mature), and every one before it, show their spiritual roots perfectly."[16]

DiscographyEdit

Main Article: 1

AlbumsEdit

Release Date Album US Billboard Peak RIAA Certification
April 25, 2000 Relient K Gold
August 25, 2001 The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek #158 Gold
March 11, 2003 Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do #38 Gold
November 2, 2004 Mmhmm #15 Gold
March 6, 2007 Five Score and Seven Years Ago #6


Woodland ForestEdit

In June 2006, Relient K released the first episode of their own flash cartoon. The cartoon features all five band members, and takes place in a fictional land known as Woodland Forest. It is animated by bassist John Warne. Episodes will continue to be released on a regular basis (at least, according to the band; so far there has only been one episode), and can be found on YouTube.[32] The cartoon also features "Merle the Squirrel," who is now on Relient K t-shirts, and has his own MySpace page.[33]

Not much is known about the history of the forest, nor its size or exact location. It is most likely somewhere in northern Ohio, as the band hails from that area.Template:Fact

Only seven living things have ever been spotted within its borders. They are: Matt Thiessen, Dave Douglas, Jon Schneck, Matt Hoopes, and John Warne, as well as Merle the Squirrel and a mysterious talking tree. <p> Strange happenings occur within Woodland Forest, such as magically appearing cabbages, flying bassists, and people made of glass. It is not uncommon for weights to fall from the sky. The scientific nature behind these events has yet to be explained. Possibly they will be touched upon in later episodes. Some new animation is said to be done for episode 2 and maybe even episode 3, as Matt Thiessen recently talked about it. He said he is done recording his voice for episode 2.Template:Fact John Warne has announced on the Relient K forums that Episode 2 will most likely be released in January 2008. [34]Template:Fact

PodcastsEdit

Relient K has made a total of nine audio podcasts and five video podcasts. The nine audio podcasts were made during the band's time on the Matt Hoopes Birthday Tour. They included interviews with the band members, their guitar techs, and various other people who help them on tour. There were also interviews with the other touring bands, The Rocket Summer and Maxeen.

The five video podcasts include various scenes in the studio, as well as the band doing things outside the studio, much like the video podcasts made by Switchfoot. The first two video podcasts showed the band in the studio preparing for the recording of Five Score and Seven Years Ago, and Dave Douglas recording the drum parts, respectively. The third video podcast was a collection of footage and discussions from the Nintendo Fusion Tour, and a Mario Kart DS Tournament between the five band members. The fourth video podcast showed Jon Schneck and Dave Douglas preparing for a boxing match (which is also included and completed in the Wal-Mart "Devastation and Reform" video), and the fifth video podcast showed the completion of the battle. There is a sixth unreleased video podcast including John Warne fulfilling his lifelong dream of walking into a room with the AutoZone Theme Song playing. It shows Warne recording the song with the assistance of Dave Douglas and Jon Schneck. It can be found on YouTube at the present time, and it is currently unofficially released on the site, as it has not made it to the band's official site.

Side projectsEdit

Before leaving Inhale Exhale, former band member Brian Pittman was the bassist of this Christian Metal band on Solid State Records

Both Matt Thiessen and Dave Douglas each have two of their own side projects, respectively.

Matt Thiessen has Matthew Thiessen and the Earthquakes, a soft and sometimes emotional project that primarily features Thiessen on the piano. He started it in 1998, around the time Relient K was started. He has released seven songs either online or on various CD releases. Thiessen also has The Makeout Girls a less serious side project that features his friend, Kevan Peden. They have done one known song, which was the hidden track known as "Silly Shoes" from Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do, and almost never mention this as a side project.

Dave Douglas has Agnes, a solo rock project that somewhat features the sound of Relient K's earlier music and a sort of sound of his own, for which he has released three songs. Douglas also has started a project called Gypsy Parade, a softer project that he started with his wife. They have released two demo songs on their MySpace with more on the way.

Three tracks were featured on the compilation album My Other Band, Vol. 1 on Mono vs Stereo records in 2006, from both Matt Thiessen's side project Matthew Thiessen and the Earthquakes, and Dave Douglas' side project Agnes.

AlbumsEdit

  • Relient K
  • The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek
  • Two Lefts Don't a Right... But Three Do
  • Mmhmm
  • Five Score and Seven Years Ago


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