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For three years running the top three Australian earners in the entertainment industry were Mel Gibson, John Laws and the Newsboys. While most Aussies would know who Mel Gibson and John Laws are, it’s a little harder to find Australians who know the Newsboys.

This rock band who began their life in Queensland many years ago have sold millions of albums, been nominated for Grammies and played to sell out arena shows of up to 200 000 people in the U.S. and Europe. Think of Australia’s well known top selling musicians and you can almost guarantee that the Newsboys have outsold them by a significant amount.

Last week I had former lead singer and co-founder of the Newsboys, John James, in the studio with me. John has an amazing story to tell of their meteoric rise to fame and the toll it took on his life and his marriage. He left the band after becoming addicted to cocaine and battling depression and alcohol abuse.

Today he is a changed man. His relationship with his wife and children is restored and he spends his days telling young people about the turn around in his life.

If you want to hear our chat just click the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Not really related to this post, though I do own a couple of Newsboys CDS. I always find it amazing that “Christian” bands end up with the same struggles as “secular” bands. Well anyways I thought of you yesterday. I saw an ad for Perth in my local Nairobi newspaper.

  • I’ve loved the Newsboys since “Take Me to Your Leader,” and I loved John James in the Newsboys’ “movie,” “Down Under the Big Top”! I’m glad to see John is alive and kicking.

    I do think Peter Furler has done an admirable job of taking the helm.

    I read the other day that the band is going to return to its roots in their next album, after a long stint doing mostly praise and worship.

    The lyrics on “Take Me to Your Leader’ are amazing…mainly because of the collaboration with Steve Taylor.

    Thanks for sharing your interview with John!

  • Hi Rodney, Rob here from Rhema in New Zealand. I was intriqued by your blurb for the John James interview last year, can you MP3 it to me on Email? I am very interested in the reasons John left that weren’t mentioned in other media. (Not to bag him but to highlight the dangers that we all know about but no one speaks about). Thanks

  • i have never heard a newsboys song in my life , but i met john james at a youth group campand he was the guest speaker there . what he said was AMAZING!!

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