There's no simple way to fully describe the career of Kevin Max. Most careers that span 25-plus years can't be summed up briefly. But perhaps listening to his first solo album, which is set to be remastered and released on vinyl, tells a good part of the story, though certainly not all of it.
Beginning his career as a recording artist with DC Talk in the late '80s (and winning a number of awards), the band essentially pressed pause with the release of "Intermission: The Greatest Hits." The hiatus allowed Max a second beginning, and a chance to truly explore his art on his own.
The solo discography of Kevin Max can be succinctly (but not sufficiently) summed up this way: five predominately original LPs and two EPs, three LPs and one EP comprised at least mostly of covers (including a Christmas album) and two spoken word offerings.
The first LP from the former DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline singer, perhaps, sticks out the most. Not because it's glaringly the best (a very strong case can be made that 2005's "The Imposter" is even stronger), but because 2001's "Stereotype Be," is, quite possibly, like nothing you've heard before.
Though he made his name in the Christian rock scene, the singer was not afraid to take risks and, perhaps, ruffle a few feathers with his first true entry in his solo catalog.
The album offers a mix of tracks that range from middle eastern-influenced art rock pieces to mid-to-late Beatles-esque pop tunes.
Songs like "The Secret Circle" are instrumentally edgy and much darker-sounding than most of his contemporaries at the time. The song exemplifies a style the artist calls "euro dark."
Produced by Adrian Belew, along with Max, the release sported an impressive studio band that featured Belew, himself, his former King Crimson bandmate, Tony Levin, DC Talk touring guitarist, Mark Lee Townsend and former Amy Grant guitarist, William Owsley.
A relationship was formed with Belew during a show after the producer's wife approached Max and suggested he and her husband write together.
The record they crafted was the first chance for Max to create something as a band leader.
"It was an adventure, to say the least, as my mind was humming with grandiose lyrics and heightened expressions of melody," Max recalled in a post on PledgeMusic.com.
And now, more than 15 years later, he is revisiting the project with his latest Pledge Music effort. This follows campaigns for albums "Broken Temples," "Starry Eyes Surprise" and "Playing Games With the Shadow."
"I am hoping this will be as successful as past campaigns," Max said in a post on PledgeMusic.com. "Vinyl has become hot property, but I see it as a way to get my music out to people who really are deep fans of music."
Fans who pledge have a number of incentives, from an acoustic re-recording of the album to the chance to meet-up with the four-time Grammy Award-winner, himself, to catch a movie or grab a cup of coffee in Nashville.
Other perks include signed vinyl and handwritten lyrics.
"Stereotype Be" is still special to Max all these years later. Even despite his singing and writing contributions with DC Talk, which predated the record, "Stereotype Be" is what he calls his "first statement to the world."