The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 16, 2014

Christian entertainers ready to rock arena

JOHNSTOWN — Top Christian performers will join together for one big evening of music.

And they’re so excited to get started that doors will open an hour earlier at 6 p.m. Thursday, with the concert beginning a half-hour earlier at 6:30 at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St. in  downtown Johnstown.

Christian rockers Third Day and Skillet will headline an all-star concert featuring Mandisa, Brandon Heath, Peter Furler and We As Human.

Australian rocker Peter Furler said it’s unusual to have so many artists in one show.

“It makes it unique,” he said.

“The diversity is cool. Someone might come to see Brandon and discover Skillet.”

Furler is best known as the former lead singer for the Christian rock band Newsboys, but on this tour, he will perform with a three-piece band of his own.

The Peter Furler Band features Furler on guitar and lead vocals, Dave Ghazarian on bass and Jeff Irizarry on drums.

“I’ve rediscovered three-piece rock,” Furler said.

“It’s uncluttered. We love to see how much noise we can make.”

The three band members have been friends for a long time, so it only seemed natural for them to come together.

The trio’s new CD “Sun and Shield” released last week.

“We decided not to use software to enhance it,” Furler said.

“It’s organic and live, a mix of rock and ballads. We had no big agenda going into the studio. We let the songs come naturally.”

He said his favorite track from the CD is “Shame.”

Furler stepped down as frontman of the Newsboys in 2009 after 24 years.

He said he has always felt good about that decision, with no regrets.

“It had been the best time of my life, but I was burned out,” Furler said.

“I lost the love of making music and was just keeping the big wheel turning. When I stepped back, it brought me back to when I first started with the Newsboys.”

When Furler finished with the Newsboys, he took some time off from the music business, not sure he wanted to do any music.

“The songs kept coming, so I wrote them down,” he said.

“I put my solo album together in a studio at a friend’s house, then jumped on tour.”

Furler released “On Fire,” in 2011, and did his first solo tour as part of the Christian music festival Winter Jam in 2012.

“I had no desire to be solo,” Furler said.

“I was fulfilled in my role with the Newsboys. Going solo was weird. Now that I’m back with a band, there are cool things from the past. I say if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. A band is like a tribe.”

Being back with a band again, Furler is reliving his youth when he had no money and wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

“I go into the studio with no new record deal and no management,” he said.

“I’m just doing it for the love of it. Now is better than it was then because I have the experience and ideas to promote.”

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