Well, I couldn't have seen this one coming. I don't think anyone (outside of the group's very inner circle) could have. Tuesday, October 2. I was ready to interview Toby McKeehan about dc Talk's (McKeehan, Michael Tait, Kevin Max) upcoming show at Broadbent Arena. The show was to take place the following Monday night and I was ready to ask how the recent terrorist attacks might have an impact on the performance, how he felt about the release of his solo project Momentum, how everyone was "getting along" in the band, etc. Toby and I never talked that day.
At noon I picked up the phone and instead found myself talking to a lady from the Nashville agency who set up the interview. She told me the interview was "cancelled" and that in fact dc Talk's "Solo" tour was postponed. Not just the Louisville date - the whole tour.
I don't know how much you know about the logistics of a major national tour, but it's not something that can just be "postponed" without a great deal of effort. Making up dates on a tour of this magnitude is a huge endeavor.
The cancellation came just two days before the tour was to have kicked off October 4. So what happened? The official press release from the group said, "After much prayer and pastoral counsel, dc Talk has made the difficult decision to postpone their fall tour. Kevin Max has requested time off the road to attend to personal matters."
The rumor mill was in effect from the minute the statement was released. Kevin Max. Again.
It was exactly one year ago that I began writing this column. For that first issue I wrote about a live broadcast I attended for a dc Talk television special. At the time, rumors were flying that the group was going to break up, namely because of Toby McKeehan and Michael Tait's increasingly volatile relationship with Kevin Max. According to Max, he felt like an "outsider" in the group. At that taping I noticed Max often walking away from the set during commercials and not seeming to be as much a part of the group as the other two. Yet the group stated firmly that they were not breaking up.
So with this extremely last-minute cancellation, many people had to wonder, "what's going on with the group now? Are they breaking up ?"
In the press release, Kevin says, "I believe I have needed this time away from touring and the business for quite some time. The process of being an island unto myself and the author of my own desires took the place of my most prized relationships. I have come to realize that my character is more important than my career as a performer."
"I am, with much prayer and counsel, putting those relationships back to the forefront of my existence. My personal walk with Jesus Christ (my first love and personal Savior) and my wife matter more to me. I sincerely appreciate Michael and Toby standing beside me at this time."
So what did Toby and Michael have to say? Toby: "It was not an easy choice. We deeply regret how this postponement will affect both the promoters and our fans." Michael: "While this has been tough, it is exciting to me that God continues to pursue and encourage us to be climbers and not campers. Staying stagnant is not an option." It's pretty obvious how Toby feels. I'm not sure exactly what Michael is talking about, but he doesn't sound too upset.
All three band members are doing the "solo" thing this year. Michael's side band, Tait, released Empty on July 3, Kevin released Stereotype Be on August 28 and Toby's Momentum is set to release on the 7th of this month. The rock group formerly known as Kiss (sorry, had to say it) did this in the late '70's when two members wanted to leave the band. All four members put out solo releases to try to keep things cool. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way. Hopefully things will be different here.
So the tour has been postponed. What now? According to "The CCM Update," promoters are working with dc Talk's management agency to make up the dates in January and February.
While it's always unfortunate for fans when a tour is postponed, many dates do end up being rescheduled and fans are able to get refunds if they choose. This tour is no exception.
One of the main problems, however, is for promoters who have already spent money advertising shows that never happened. In some cases, that was already "a lot of money" according to one promoter quoted in the "Update."
However, most people I talked with seemed to believe that if Kevin was trying to do what was right for his family, that should take precedence over going through with the tour. Others felt that he should have honored his band commitment, then taken time off afterwards (the tour was scheduled to end November 17).
Whatever the case, the tour is being re-scheduled in many markets and we'll keep you updated here on any developments. In fact, as this issue was going to press, plans were being made to bring the tour in some fashion to Louisville. More on that in the next issue of LMN.
One final thought: This is a time when our nation is remembering many people in our thoughts and prayers. Obviously this a tough time for dc Talk, not just because a tour got postponed, but because of personal struggles behind the scenes and in their personal lives. Remember dc Talk as well.