Barnabas started when bass player Gary Mann and guitarist Monte Cooley hooked up in Santa Monica, CA, in 1977. Forming a band together that year, the lineup would eventually settle to include Nancy Jo Mann (vocals) and Kris Klingensmith (drums).
“I was living east of L.A.,” remembers Klingensmith, “and I had put an ad in a local rag called The Recycler. Musicians use it to find gigs and sell equipment. Monte found my ad looking for other players, and he invited me to come audition for Barnabas.”
Quickly getting things organized, Barnabas recorded a demo tape featuring “Directory Assistance” with “Nicodemus” on the B-side. “We shopped these demos around,” Klingensmith says. “Everyone rejected them because it was too ridiculous, too outlandish to everyone except for a small Canadian label called Tunesmith, a part of Praise [Industries].” The band’s first album, Hear the Light, was released in 1980.
On the advice of fellow rock artists Servant and its Highway Missionary Society, Barnabas hightailed it out of L.A. in 1981. After a few weeks of living in the Jesus People, USA community in Chicago, the band set up shop in Schaumburg, Illinois. “The move was prompted so we would be more accessible to tour,” says Nancy Jo. It was the first of many moves for this transient pack of musicians.
Founding member Cooley left the band and returned to L.A. before the second Barnabas record was recorded. Find Your Heart a Home found Barnabas living in Des Moines, Iowa. On the next album, 1983’s Approaching Light Speed on Light Records, the band replaced Donner and Brauninger with guitarist Brian Belew, forming the line-up most people envision as Barnabas.
The Manns, Klingensmith and Belew created 1984’s Feel the Fire and then moved to Edmond, OK where the members would go on to release their final album, Little Foxes, in 1986. Though plagued by constant change in location or personnel, Barnabas richly contributed to Christian music’s emerging diverse landscape.
“There really wasn’t a whole lot of that type of smashmouth music going on,” Klingensmith says, “particularly when Monte formed the band with Gary back in L.A. It was all sort of Chuck Girard [acoustic] sounding. [Our sound] was new, and it bothered a lot of people. The stage presence overwhelmed them. We had our share of detractors, that’s for sure.”
TO REISSUE ALL FIVE CLASSIC ALBUMS ON CD IN 2017!
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF BARNABAS!
Two core values at Retroactive Records are to support and celebrate the bands and to release the best quality product possible! With Christian metal legends Barnabas, we were never convinced the past CD reissues reflected those two core values. In 2017, we cherish the opportunity to work with band vocalist, Nancy Jo Mann and make things right for the band and their many fans across the world! The impact Barnabas had cannot be minimized. Starting in 1977 and disbanding in 1987, Barnabas went through more changes and challenges in ten years than most experience in a lifetime. It was a love for God, the music, and a deeply compassionate heart for hurting people who needed to know someone cared that drove this pioneering band to be a cutting edge voice for love, for God, and for justice! More progressive musically than Resurrection Band, and MUCH harder edged than rockers, Servant, Barnabas embarked on a tremendous journey worthy of a Christian Metal Hall of Fame induction. One of the most popular Christian Metal bands of the late 80’s/early 90’s confided in the Barnabas that their founder’s introduction to Christian music was Barnabas, and Barnabas inspired him to start their band. The Barnabas ministry lives on long after they stopped playing concerts. The ministry lives on through the members and through the fans who put faith into action, just like Barnabas did for ten critical years. That’s why Retroactive Records is honored to celebrate 40 years of Barnabas in 2017, culminating with all five albums being remastered (with the greatest of care by Rob Colwell at Bombworks Sound) and reissued on CD this year. All albums will be remastered from virgin sealed vinyl or cassette because all master tapes have been destroyed and are unavailable. All releases will be packaged in jewel cases with 12-page booklet inserts. These are must-have reissues for all Christian metal fans! For fans of Agape, Jerusalem, Daniel Band, Resurrection Band.
First Barnabas Release Schedule and Pre-Order Incentive:
TUESDAY NOV 14th is the world-wide release date for:
1. HEAR THE LIGHT
2. FIND YOUR HEART A HOME
3. APPROACHING LIGHT SPEED
***Anyone that PRE-ORDERS all 3 of those will receive a FREE autographed (by at least Nancy Jo Mann) 8×10 of the band. The band picture comes from the liner notes of Feel the Fire.
Second Barnabas Release Schedule and Pre-Order Incentive:
TUESDAY DECEMBER 12th is the world-wide release date of….
1. FEEL THE FIRE
2. LITTLE FOXES
***And, anyone who PRE-ORDERS BOTH of those CDs will receive a FREE 5×5 sticker of the Feel the Fire……
SIGN UP FOR NEWS AND PRE-ORDER INFORMATION (coming soon) AT THE OFFICIAL RETROACTIVE RECORDS STORE AT boonesoverstock.com!