A year and a half ago, the three band members who make up Needtobreathe thought their touring days were done. They were at work on their fifth album, but tensions between band members — particularly brothers Bo and Bear Rinehart were at an all-time high. Things just weren’t working.
“[Bo and Bear] had separate dressing rooms and weren’t getting along at all. They were fighting a lot,” bass player Seth Bolt says, citing a fistfight the guys got into backstage the last time they were in New York.
“I think we were chasing success,” Bo Rinehart tells us. “We felt like we had to take every opportunity that came our way and we got lost in it. We started putting all that stuff way above family. It was a harsh atmosphere to be working in where everyone’s intentions were not necessarily great.”
So, in the middle of recording the album, the band broke up. Bo and Bear didn’t speak for two months and Bolt didn’t have much contact with them either.
When the three reunited a few months later, they vowed to do things differently, putting family first. They finished the album, “Rivers in the Wasteland,” and are now back on the road. Listening to the album from start to finish, the early songs depict the tension while the later songs reflect the resolve.
“Originally we were going to call the album ‘Wasteland,'” Bolt reveals. “But when we finished it, we realized that wouldn’t be appropriate because we weren’t in that sort of wasteland headspace anymore. Something definitely happened to it during the process and there’s a stream of life that was injected in there. That’s why we changed the name to ‘Rivers in the Wasteland.'”
Though the band is signed to a secular record label and refer to themselves as a rock band rather than a “Christian rock band,” many of the band’s lyrics are about God and they speak openly about their Christian beliefs. And just as their relationships with each other have changed vastly in the past few years, Bolt and Rinehart both say their faith has changed as well; that it has become even stronger.
“[At the beginning of recording the record], I felt like we were in a dark place, like a desert, and there wasn’t a whole lot of hope in it. … There is something new and fresh that happened to the band. … I think that represents a new hope and is kind of a miracle,” Rinehart says.
If you go:
September 24 – 25, 8 p.m.
Theatre of Living Arts
334 South Street, 215-922-1011
September 26, 7 p.m.
House of Blues
15 Lansdowne St, 888-693-2583
New York City
September 27, 8:30 p.m.
Best Buy Theater
1515 Broadway, 212-930-1950
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence