"It's not a matter of 'if,'" Toby would say each time this reporter asked him about getting back together.
"It's just a matter of 'when.'"
The trio of artists – Toby McKeehan, Kevin Max and Michael Tait – had a terrific run through the decade of the 1990s: Four Grammy Awards, more than a dozen Dove Awards, and sales of more than 7 million albums.
Since releasing their send off "Intermission" project in 2000, the band members have kept in touch and remained on friendly terms.
Examples: Michael and Kevin provided guest vocals on "Atmosphere," a song from a 2004 Toby solo album. Kevin sang on the Tait-fronted Newsboys' version of "God's Not Dead (Like a Lion)." Tait sang on Kevin's solo CD, "The Blood," etc.
Then came the "Jesus Freak Cruise" of 2017 – all three artists together on a sold out Caribbean Cruise which granted time and place to once again perform the old songs together as well as some of their own.
"It was more fun that I thought it would be and more nostalgic... I enjoyed it very much and to have that camaraderie with Michael and Kevin again," Toby said afterward.
"So I'm still wide open (to a reunion) with no closed doors in my heart at all. If anything, it opened it more."
A follow-up cruise this past June had similar success.
LEADING TO A CULMINATION
It was then that long time dcTalk fans learned that there were "discussions" aimed at something more.
There could be limited-run "land tours" for each of the next several years. An end to the intermission - or at least a brief second act.
"There are definitely discussions. Nothing is firm, so please, don't expect this for sure," Toby told interviewer Heath Arthur after the recent cruise. "We're talking about it and I think it could be something amazing."
Kevin is a homegrown talent. He was raised in the Grand Rapids area as Kevin Smith, son of Max and Elaine Smith of Cascade Township. A mid-1980s graduate of Grand Rapids Baptist High School (now Northpointe Christian), he went off to Liberty University in Virginia where he met Michael Tait and Toby (TobyMac) McKeehan. The trio dcTalk was born and the singers relocated to Nashville.
(Read more of Kevin's story in this 2010 article)
Kevin and his family moved back to Grand Rapids for several years when his children were younger. But he returned to Nashville and did a stint as lead singer for the rebooted band Audio Adrenaline before continuing his solo work. His latest CD is "Romeo Drive." He's working on a multi-artist tribute album with covers of songs of the late pioneering Christian rocker Larry Norman (dcTalk's version of Norman's "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" was a concert staple).
Kevin gave a rare performance at Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts downtown in 2007. It was then that he told the crowd that whenever an eventual dcTalk tour would come together, Grand Rapids would be a city to make the itinerary.
That prediction now might come true.
Tait's post-dcTalk career includes two albums with his band Tait, and solo work which featured him in the lead role of the 2003 musical/rock opera "!Hero." The huge production played to a full house at Grand Rapids First church. Video/film and CD versions were also released.
PREPARING THE WAY
Things are a bit different these days for the three artists. All are now in their 50s, and more mature in outlook and experience. They don't sweat the small stuff anymore.
But songs such as "Colored People," "The Hard Way" and the seminal "Jesus Freak" still resonate with today's fans. And their recent cruise experience reinforced the artists' enthusiasm for extending their dcTalk history.
"There was an overwhelming feeling of synergy and harmony together," said Kevin in a June interview with New Release Today.
"This cruise solidified the fact that we have more music to make together in the future. The combination of the three of us is just too powerful! There are things that I do vocally, that strangely only happen when I am on stage with these other gentlemen. This is not an exaggeration, but I feel that dcTalk is much bigger than a musical group. There is something spiritual happening here."
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