Former Audio Adrenaline guitarist Barry Blair has been busy since leaving the band in 1996, and has since moved on to be a producer, film score composer, and audio engineering teacher. Now, he is looking to create a jazz Christmas album and has taken to IndieGogo to raise funds. In part two of this interview with Blair, BREATHEcast spoke to him about his time in Audio A, the new lineup, and the power of music.
Read part one of the interview on Blair's upcoming album, Noel Volume 2: Jazz Christmas and his work on the movie 'Hope Bridge'.
"I grew up always wanting to be in a band, and through some crazy circumstances we ended up doing that," Blair shared about early Audio Adrenaline.
He was with the group since their inception in 1986 when they were known as A-180. With the band he put out the band's self-titled out of print hip-hop/synth pop-rock album, followed by Don't Censor Me, which contains some of the band's biggest hits "Big House" and "We're a Band." Up next was Blair's final album, Bloom, and turning point record for the band that many consider one of their best musically.
However, as the band continued to grow, the road life of being a rock star began to grow weary on the studio loving Blair who felt it was time to do something different.
"I always loved the creative part of writing, recording, being in the studio, putting songs together. Once I was actually in a professional band, doing one show after another after another, that part of it was kind of like, this is not really what I thought of when I thought of being in a band," he revealed. "I thought of writing records and writing songs. I loved being in front of audiences but it just wasn't the thing that drove me, and so when I started getting opportunities to produce other bands, the creativity of that in just working on new music a new record every few months, that just seemed exciting to me."
Blair said his interest started to move away from the touring until he "decided to make the jump to see if I can sink or swim as a producer." It turned out to be a rewarding experience for him as he got to work on many records of both indie and signed artists.
With the experience of Audio Adrenaline behind him, he can still look back at some great moments and memories. "It seems like the first time you hear one of your songs on the radio it becomes this surreal moment."
He also attributes the Bloom record as music he was exceptionally proud of and looked at as his best work. Blair said it was a "sense of accomplishment" and knew he was creating something that would last and "hopefully has meaning and will touch people" longer than the six months of promotion time for the album.
"Man, the first time you stand in front of 60,000 people and they are all singing your songs, that's pretty surreal," he added in as a final thought on his years with A.A.
And speaking of Audio Adrenaline, the band has come quite a long way since he left. The band is currently in its third installment over the last few years, something that Blair has paid attention to.
He said he heard the music they did with Kevin Max and "I loved it. I've always loved his voice, and I know Mark wrote on a lot of the songs and produced and stuff. It had the same Audio Adrenaline flavor with a different twist."
Now that Audio A 2.0 has passed, the band is on to 3.0, and he has not heard the music yet but has heard all about it.
"I wish those guys all the success in the world. I'm proud of the legacy they are carrying on. From where it started with us, I hope that it reaches people, I hope God is glorified in what they're doing, and I think He is," Blair said.
Lastly, Blair spoke on the importance of music and the power behind every note, lyric, and chord.
"Music speaks to people straight to their heart beyond language and then when you tie that emotional impact of the music with words, you're just able to make an incredibly powerful impact on people," said Blair. "It's a gift that God has given us that there is nothing else quite like it. There are other art forms that are all beautiful, but music has a legacy with the church and the Bible all the way back to the beginnings. God uses music to speak to us and for us to worship him. There's a deep history of faith in music. I think that's an important history that needs to stay."