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Members include Stuart Garrard (born on June 7, 1963, in Ipswich, England), lead guitar, backing vocals; Tim Jupp (born on May 1, 1966, in Eastbourne, England), piano, keyboards; Martin Smith (born on June 7, 1970, in Woodford Green, England), vocals, guitar; Stewart Smith (born on January 21, 1967, in Shoreham-by-Sea, England), percussion; Jon Thatcher (born on January 7, 1976, in Rustington, England), bass. Addresses: Record company--Furious? Records, P.O. Box 40, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0UQ, United Kindgom, website: http://www.furiousrecords.co.uk. Sparrow Label Group, P.O. Box 5010, Brentwood, TN 37024-5010, website: http://www.sparrowrecords.com.Virgin Records, 338 North Foothill Road, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, website: http://www.virginrecords.com. Website--Delirious? Official Website: http://www.delirious.co.uk.
Formed as part of a Christian youth outreach program at a church in Littlehampton, England, in 1992, Delirious? has delivered some of the most innovative Contemporary Christian music. Whereas most faith-oriented artists have remained firmly within the traditional confines of gospel, country, or easy listening, Delirious? has used sparkling, guitar-based Britpop arrangements similar to Travis and Oasis in its music. The band even scored a top 20 hit in Britain with its single "Deeper" in 1997, a rare crossover success for a Christian group. While some in the Christian music community have deemed the band too pop-oriented because of its success with a more secular audience, Delirious? has nonetheless remained committed to emphasizing the messages of faith and salvation through Christ in each of its releases. Now as popular in the United States as in England, Delirious? could be described as the cutting edge of Christian music.
Delirious? had its origins as the Cutting Edge Band, part of a monthly youth program of the Arum Community Church in Littlehampton, a town located halfway between Brighton and Portsmouth on the English Channel. The group was led by singer and guitarist Martin Smith, who worked as an engineer and producer at a recording studio along with Tim Jupp, who contributed keyboards. Working with graphic designer and percussionist Stewart Smith, the group put on monthly shows at the church. Shortly after its formation in 1992, the group was joined by Stu Garrard as lead guitarist and Jonson Thatcher, son of one of the church's elders, as bassist. Continuing with their regular jobs, the Cutting Edge Band recorded a series of mini-albums, which the group released on cassettes on its own Furious? label. Hesitant to give up the security of each member's day job, the band performed gigs around England on the weekends.
In 1996, however, a serious car accident that injured Martin Smith, his wife, and Thatcher caused the group to rethink its commitment to a career in music. Deciding to take the risk of devoting themselves full-time to music, the members took on a new name, Delirious?, a name demonstrating their awe of Christ's power in their lives. The question mark, as Garrard told Campus Life magazine in January of 1999, was added simply for "a bit of fun, really.... What we are trying to do is stay out of the box. We don't want to be predictable. We don't want to be labeled. We want to be free to be who we are." True to this spirit, Delirious? quickly showed its willingness to ignore the long-standing barrier between faith-oriented music and contemporary, innovative musical arrangements. Claiming U2, the Verve, and the Manic Street Preachers as influences, the band also gained a reputation for its live shows as well as its hook-laden songs.
Putting out a concert album, Live and In the Can on its Furious? label in 1996, the band soon delivered its first full-length studio album with King of Fools in 1998. Surprisingly, a single from King of Fools, "Deeper," entered the British top 20 in 1997, a testament to the band's growing popularity as a live act as well as to the song's own catchy chorus and glittering guitar riffs. Considering the song's topic of following Christ and the band's forthright statements about its religious beliefs, Delirious? became a band that was newsworthy not only for its music, but its mission as well. "We are trying to influence people who have never been to a church. We hope Delirious? can be used to help point people to God," Martin Smith told Campus Life. "We feel that what really points people to God is not a particular style of music, but the Spirit of God working through what we do, and through how we live."
Based on the success of "Deeper," Delirious? was signed to EMI Records, which released the compilation The Cutting Edge of the band's early work. The band also secured deals with Sparrow Records to distribute its work in the Christian music market in the United States and with Virgin Records to work the secular market on its behalf. The group's next release, Mezzamorphis, reflected this appeal to a wide audience. Citing its "expansive guitar-pop and rich, hummable--occasionally anthemic--melodies," Q magazine predicted that "Mezzamorphis will be the album that makes [the group]." A success with reviewers and audiences, the album also marked an ambiguous phase for the band. The title Mezzamorphis itself was a play on the group's "metamorphosis" into a popular act as well as its feeling of being on a "mezzanine" level as it climbed to higher levels of success.
The 2000 release Glo reaffirmed the band's position as one of the most innovative Christian music groups while further expanding its reputation with secular audiences. "We've been on a journey," Garrard told the Jesus Freak Hideout website. "We still have a vision to impact the mainstream music world, but we were feeling like it was time again for us to sing songs about how good God is and how good Jesus is. Consequently, Glo is a lot more corporate and congregational in nature than some of our past records." Indeed, tracks like "God You Are My God" and "My Glorious" made effective use of a choir in their arrangements, and the album received a review in Billboardupon its October of 2000 release which called it "another collection of well-written songs that display a joyful abandon." The Los Angeles Times echoed this sentiment in a concert review that same month which highlighted the band's "rousing, catchy melodies" and connection with the audience.
Through its extensive touring schedule and string of successful releases, Delirious? has become a leading British group on the international Christian music scene. As the opening act for the Bon Jovi 2001 British tour, however, Delirious? once again courted charges that it had gone too far in embracing mainstream success. From the lyrical content of its songs and the public statements of its members, however, it was clear that the band had remained committed to its original mission. "We don't ever want to be seen as better than anyone we play for," Garrard told Campus Life. "We believe we are on a journey with our audience. It's a journey that hopefully will lead all of us closer to God, and will help us worship Him better."
by Timothy Borden
Initially formed as the Cutting Edge Band in Littlehampton, England, 1992; released four mini-albums and toured England; pursued full-time career in Christian music as Delirious?, Live and In the Can released on the band's Furious? label, 1996; King of Fools released, band signed to EMI Records, 1998; signed contract with Virgin Records for American distribution in the secular market and Sparrow Records in the Christian music market, released Mezzamorphis, 1999; Glo released on Sparrow Records, 2000; toured as opening act for Bon Jovi on British tour, 2001.
- Selected discography
- Live and In the Can Furious?, 1996.
- The Cutting Edge Sparrow, 1997.
- King of Fools Sparrow, 1998.
- d:tour 1997 Live Furious?, 1998.
- Mezzamorphis Virgin, 1999.
- (Contributor) Wow 1999 Word Entertainment/EMI Christian Music Group, 1999.
- (Contributor) Streams Word Entertainment/Sony Entertainment, 1999.
- Glo Sparrow, 2000.
December 27, 2005: Delirious' album, The Mission Bell, was released. Source: Billboard.com, http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/reviews/album_review_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001843726, January 15, 2006.
- Billboard, October 28, 2000; December 30, 2000.
- Campus Life, January/February 1999; January/February 2001.
- Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2000.
- Q, June 1999.
- Today's Christian Woman, November/December 2000.
- All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (April 24, 2001).
- Delirious? Official Website, http://www.delirious.co.uk (April 24, 2001).
- Jesus Freak Hideout, http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com (April 24, 2001).
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