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About MercyMe

MercyMe ... The laid-back band from Greenville, Texas, quickly evolved from being Christian music's fastest-selling new act in 2001 to one of the most successful bands in all musical genres, selling more than 2 million records in only three years and earning an American Music Award nomination.

Now the band, which has been together for about ten years, has grown beyond its label as "a Christian band" and become nationally known as a great rock group that tackles such serious themes as God and love. Their music is appealing to both devout Christians who study the Bible and young teens who devour Rolling Stone.

For the men of MercyMe - Bart Millard (vocals), Jim Bryson (keys), Mike Scheuchzer (guitar), Nathan Cochran (bass),Barry Graul (guitar) and Robby Shaffer (drums) -- worshipping the Lord and leading others in praise is very much a life-long calling. That commitment has guided the band through the creation of six independent projects, their major label debut ALMOST THERE which has song an excess of 500,000 units making it RIAA Gold Certified, and now their sophomore release SPOKEN FOR. Lead singer Bart Millard says the band's goals for the ministry of MercyMe are still quite simple.

Propelled into the mainstream spotlight by the smash hit "I Can Only Imagine", MercyMe is conquering unchartered areas for a Christian rock group.

The soaring song "I Can Only Imagine" delivered an unabashedly strong message about what heaven might be like. It quickly became apparent that it was a message the post-September 11 nation needed desperately to hear.

The No. 1 song, which nabbed several Dove Awards including the prestigious Song of the Year, garnered heavy airplay at pop, country, and adult contemporary radio stations nationwide. Millions of radio listeners who may not have ever considered themselves fans of Christian music suddenly found themselves singing along to the song's irresistible chorus.

The million-selling album Almost There on INO Records took its rightful place along such pop acts as Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez on the Billboard Top 200 pop charts for months.

MercyMe followed Almost There in 2001 with 2002's Spoken For, which was certified gold and produced two more No. 1 hits.

And now comes Undone, the most anticipated Christian release in recent memory. "The best way to describe it is that it's a new progression for us," says bassist Nathan Cochran. "It's not a sharp left turn; it's a step beyond what we've ever done. We feel like our message and calling are the same," he says. "We're still worship leaders; we're just on a different scale."

Says drummer Robby Shaffer, "It's titled Undone and that's exactly what it is. This is very different for us as far as music goes. It challenged us, it pushed us and I think it ultimately made us better musicians."

The album's debut single, "Here With Me", is a catchy rock worship song with a Coldplay vibe. With the recent addition of second lead guitarist Barry Graul, Undone unveils a more textured, passionate sound.

"We've been a rock band for 10 years," says lead singer Bart Millard. "Before we ever signed, it's what we wanted to be. Then we became known as the band of ballads when 'I Can Only Imagine' came out. On Undone, we focused quite on bit on some of the up-tempo songs on this record to make sure we're still enjoying what we do."

As the band toured nationally, radio DJs constantly peppered them with the question, "What's next?" Although MercyMe greatly appreciated the excitement, they didn't want to rush anything and refused to release a new CD until they were satisfied that they'd created the best music they could possibly make.

"We're trying to be responsible enough to send them something that has meaning," Millard says. "We don't want to water down anything. They've told us, 'If you say it, we'll play it.' What an incredible responsibility and privilege to have."

Undone is much different than what would be expected following such monster success as Almost There. Rather than attempting to recapture the highly appealing magic of "I Can Only Imagine", MercyMe's newest guitar-driven studio effort is more mature, thought-provoking, and musically experimental.

Obviously, each member has grown a tremendous amount, both personally and professionally, in the last year. All six are married and three are now fathers. "Musically, we've grown probably twice what we grew between Almost There and Spoken For," says guitarist Mike Scheuchzer. "And none of us expected it."

Indeed, Undone includes a few songs the band hoped they would never have to make. Although the band has experienced success beyond their boldest dreams, the last year has also delivered some of the worst blows of their lives. For instance, Millard had nine close friends and family members, including his 20-year-old brother-in-law, his uncle who was like a second father to him, and Bryson's father, pass away between December 2003 and March 2004. The result is the most personal album of MercyMe's career.

One of the album's most poignant songs is "Homesick", one of eight songs on the album written by Millard, who penned "I Can Only Imagine" after his father died of cancer in 1991. "'I Can Only Imagine' took the focus off of what you are going through and was comforting because it put the focus on where they were going," he says. "Homesick" is the opposite because it completely addresses us that are left here. I don't think as a Christian that it's right for me to say, 'I wish you could've stayed here,' because truthfully, we're getting the raw end of the deal if we really believe what we say that heaven is as great as we want it to be. The whole idea is that we're the ones who have to wait."

The CD's title track, Undone, describes our never-ending quest for self-improvement. "We get so many different meanings out of it," says Shaffer. "We're undone from our freedom side of it or you could say we're undone as far as we're not quite to where we're going yet. We're constantly striving to get where God wants us. I don't think that we'll ever become 'done' until we're in heaven."

For the group's latest release, Undone, the band added a second lead guitarist, Barry Graul, in hopes that it would help them get back to their first love - rock music. "I Can Only Imagine" labeled them as the "band of ballads," but what they really want to be, what they have been for 10 years, is a rock band. They hope Undone makes that statement.

Meet the Band...MercyMe

Bart Millard

wife: Shannon
son: Samuel
musical influences: U2, E.L.O., Stephen Curtis Chapman, Russ Taff. and Larry B. Russell
how long have you been playing: Been Singing since I was 5...well not the whole time, but on and on and off mostly. I mean, you gotta take a breath every once in a while right?
birthdate:12.01
hobbies: Being with family and friends

Nathan Cochran

spouse: Amanda
children: William
pets: 2 Dogs- George (he's deaf) and Pluto
been playing: about 12 years
birthdate: 5/26/78
hobbies: Spending time with Amanda and William, buying old books,
writing songs, pretending I am an outdoorsman, looking at guitars that I can't afford

Michael John Scheuchzer

wife: Abby
pets: Lulu, (mix between undetermined dogs) Suki, (kitten).
musical influences: U2, Delirious, Peter Kipley
been playing:12 years
birthdate: 06.08
hobbies: music, golf, hanging w/ Abby

Robin (Robby) Troy Shaffer

wife: Margaret (Maggie) Shaffer
pets: 2 - cat named Digit, dog named Carter
musical influences: Integrity Hosanna, Delirious, dc Talk, Seven Day Jesus
been playing: 20 years
birthdate: 11.14
hobbies: golf, watching movies with my wife

James Philip Bryson

spouse: Misti
children: Riley
pets: Taco
musical influences: The Beatles, Coldplay, pretty much everything else that is good.
been playing: 28 years
birthdate: 01.11
hobbies: Watching racing (NASCAR, F1, CART, IRL) and collecting racing memorabilia.

Barry Graul

wife: Karla
pets: 2 dogs-Eddie & Jake
musical influences: Great songs and or great guitar playing (generally speaking).
been playing: 28 yrs.
birthdate: 5-18
fav. food: Sushi

mercy me

MercyMe - Spoken For


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