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Relient K is an American Christian rock band formed in Cantonmarker, Ohiomarker in 1998 by Matt Thiessen on vocals, guitar and piano, Brian Pittman on bass, and Matt Hoopes on guitar between the band's junior year in high school and their time at Malone College in Canton. The band is named after guitarist Hoopes' automobile, a Plymouth Reliant K car, with the spelling intentionally altered to avoid trademark infringement over the Reliant name.

The group is associated with the Contemporary Christian Music culture, most notably the Christian rock and Christian punk scene. Despite being a Christian band the group has performed alongside secular artists. The band has reached critical success with mainstream pop punk and alternative rock. The band's sound incorporates piano and acoustic elements; and the lyrical content often refers to God, Jesus, and the terms "You" and "Him" are used in reference to God. Since its formation, Relient K has released six studio albums, seven EP, two Christmas albums, and one collection of rarities. The band has received numerous awards including a Grammy Award nomination in 2003 for Best Rock Gospel Album and two Dove Awards.

Relient K is best known commercially for their two studio albums which peaked in the top 15 of the US Billboard 200 chart. After signing with Capitol Recordsmarker, they broke into the mainstream in 2004 with the release of Mmhmm, which debuted at #15 on the Billboard 200. In 2007, their fifth album brought the most success for Relient K, Five Score and Seven Years Ago debuted at #6 on the US Billboard 200 and sold 60,000 records in its debut week. The band has sold over 2 million records, with three albums being given gold certification by the RIAA. The band is also highly successful throughout the Christian Albums and Contemporary Christian Music charts. Their newest album Forget and Not Slow Down was released on October 6, 2009.


All Work and No Play (1998–2000)

After Relient K was founded by Matt Thiessen, Matt Hoopes and Brian Pittman in 1998, Todd Frascone joined for a short time in 1998 as a drummer. However, Frascone left the band after recording the demo All Work and No Play. The demo was recorded by Mark Lee Townsend, the former live guitar player for dc Talk. Townsend had met the band members because his daughter, Danielle, was friends with the band. Danielle eventually married guitarist Matt Hoopes.

All Work and No Play caught the attention of dc Talk's Toby McKeehan (tobyMac), who later signed the band to his label, Gotee Records. With the label Relient K released their debut EP, 2000 A.D.D. in 2000, with Stephen Cushman on drums. Soon after, they released Relient K, their first full-length CD. It was distinctly Christian rock and featured lyrics with a wide range of pop-culture references. Cushman left later that year to join the Christian metal band Narcissus. Brett Schoneman of Christian rock band Philmore filled in temporarily, followed by Jared Byers, drummer of the Christian rock band Bleach, until Dave Douglas joined in December 2000.

In an interview, Matt Thiessen said that when the band started, he was the only one who sang, but he knew Matt Hoopes could sing as well. Hoopes was reluctant, but Thiessen said he "got it out of him". As a result, Hoopes became the primary back-up vocalist.

The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek (2001–2002)

The band released their second album, The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, in 2001. Though there were still plenty of pop-culture references on this album, it contained many more softer songs and slightly lighter guitars. They would continue chords through tracks in order to fluidly transition in between songs, a trend that continued on their later albums.

Anatomy landed them in the Christian rock limelight, and Relient K was offered a clothing deal with Abercrombie & Fitch in 2001. Gotee, their label, accepted the offer on Relient K's behalf; Pittman recalls, "The choice was never really given to us. The label made the choice." After significant pressure from conservative Christian organizations such as Focus on the Familymarker, Gotee backed out of the contract.

Relient K was then asked to do a rendition of the popular VeggieTales song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" for the 2002 feature length VeggieTales movie Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. The song was released on three different albums, two in single form. The first version also included their song "Breakdown" being sung by Larry the Cucumber. There was also a promotional version which included the original version of "Breakdown". A cut-down version (missing the bridge) was included on the Christian rock compilation Veggie Rocks!. This song mixes the sounds of The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, and their third album, Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do.

Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do (2003)

In 2003, Relient K released Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do. The album had multiple covers of different colors, each depicting a vehicle in some kind of wreck. As pop-culture references became less specific, sound and vocals became far more defined. Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do (often called Two Lefts by fans) combined the soft, meaningful songs of The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek and threw in fast-paced songs with deep lyrics. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of "Best Rock Gospel Album" and won the Greg Award for "Modern Rock Album of the Year" in 2004.

During this time, Relient K also released a limited edition red vinyl EP entitled The Vinyl Countdown, only released in one printing. The EP included two versions of the song, "Five Iron Frenzy is Either Dead or Dying." The album was dedicated to Jesse Alkire, contest winner and friend of Matthew Thiessen, who inspired the song "The Vinyl Countdown."

Since Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do was released in March 2003, Relient K released a bonus disc for Christmas, entitled Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand. The album was packaged with Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do from November 2003 to December 2003.

Mmhmm (2004–2006)

The group released their fourth album, Mmhmm, in late 2004. Pop-culture references were even less specific than on their third album, if present at all. The album was significantly more on the serious side with very few of the silly songs the band was known for. The album had the band experimenting with their sound a bit more, which included incorporating piano, hardcore punk and some pop music. In July 2005, the album was certified gold for shipping over 500,000 copies. It is reported that it has sold approximately 796,000 copies. Driven by newfound recognition from Mmhmm, Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do was also certified gold in spring 2005. Also, it was announced in 2006 that their second record, The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, had reached the Gold rank as well as certified by the RIAA.

Shortly before Mmhmm s release, longtime bassist Brian Pittman left the band, citing that he was tired of touring and wanted to start a landscaping company. He also joined Christian metal band Inhale Exhale shortly afterward. Matt Thiessen announced Pittman's departure in fall 2004, saying:

Pittman reunited with the band for one final show, which was the release party for "Mmhmm" at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohiomarker on November 1, 2004. John Warne, lead singer and guitarist of Ace Troubleshooter, filled in as bassist for the remainder of 2004 and became full-time bassist in 2005. Also in 2005, Jon Schneck joined as a third guitarist, as well as a banjo and bell player, to create a fuller, more distinctive sound. This was also because the band planned to add more piano, and having another guitarist gave Matt Thiessen the freedom to do that.

Mmhmm features two Top 40 hits which both made it on MTV's Top Ten. The track "Be My Escape" is the band's most popular mainstream song to date. Its music video entered MTV's Top Ten, and landed them an appearance on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live. "Be My Escape" is also featured on Now! 19, a popular secular and quasi-annual compilation series. It was classified as a gold single in October 2005. The music video for "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" has also made its way onto the Total Request Live countdown, many top 40 radio stations, and was included on Now! 21. Mmhmm was awarded a Dove Award in 2006 for the "Rock Album of the Year." The band was also nominated for "Artist of the Year" and "Band of the Year" at GMA Canada's 2006 Covenant Awards.

Five Score and Seven Years Ago (2007)

Recording sessions for another studio album, Five Score and Seven Years Ago, started on June 18, 2006 and continued for parts of July and August. Some tracks on the album were produced by Howard Benson, (The All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, P.O.D.). Thiessen had said that the title of the album comes from the fact that it's the band's fifth album, it is the first time all five of them are on a record together, and it has been seven years since they made their first record.

While the band hoped for a November 2006 release, the official release date was announced as March 6, 2007. The album is considered, by the band, to be their happiest record to date. On March 2, 2007 the entire album (except the last track, "Deathbed") was made available for streaming on the band's MySpace. Five Score and Seven Years Ago debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling about 64,000 copies in its first week.

The band's first single from the album, "Must Have Done Something Right," was released on the iTunes Store on November 28, 2006 and to radio on January 9, 2007. "Forgiven" was the first radio single directed at Christian stations. "Forgiven" was the most added song on Christian radio and entered Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart on January 11, 2007. The single received enough airplay to be the fourth most played song on Christian Hit Radio (CHR) stations in 2007 according to R&R magazine.
Matt Thiessen performs with Relient K at Purple Door, 2007

The second single from the album, "The Best Thing," was released to radio on April 10, 2007, taking the 7th most adds in its first week. Thiessen has said that "The Best Thing" is "the anti-Daniel Powter "Bad Day" song. It's straight-up positive." A video was filmed for the single. The second single released on Christian CHR radio stations was "Give Until There's Nothing Left", which was the 20th most played song on CHR radio stations in 2007.

In the early morning of June 28, 2007, Relient K's bus caught on fire from an oil spill from the engine. Everyone made it out safely, but the band lost many instruments, laptops, cameras, phones, iPods, clothes, and merchandise. Matt Thiessen said he lost a laptop that had roughly 100 unfinished songs on it, and Dave Douglas lost his Battlefield drum set. In the midst of it, the band still laughed at the situation, calling it "cinematic". On a blog post on their website, Matt Thiessen stated that the next day after the fire, the band went to view the damage of their van and found that while 85% of their gear was intact, Douglas's drum kit set was not salvageable. A member of the Switchfoot forums first announced it, asking everyone to pray for the band. The band had just played Creation Northeast, and had to cancel their appearance at Cornerstone Festivalmarker in Illinois, which the band has named as one of their favorite shows to do. They did, however, play their next scheduled show in Greeley, CO on June 30, 2007. In the months following, the band played more Christian rock festivals.

The band released a Let it Snow, Baby... Let it Reindeer, a Christmas album, on October 23, 2007. The CD contained all of the tracks from Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand as well as six new songs. This Christmas themed re-release was met with a peak of #96 on the Billboard 200.

Relient K, Switchfoot and Ruth recently recorded a song together, "Rebuild". It is available for download on Switchfoot's website; fans can choose between paying for the song (with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity) or downloading it for free.

On October 18, 2007 drummer Dave Douglas announced his departure on the band's website due to a desire to pursue his side-project Gypsy Parade with his wife Rachel. There is no animosity between any of the members, and he finished to tour with the band until his last show on December 29, 2007. On February 12, 2008 it was announced that Ethan Luck, former guitarist of The O.C. Supertones and current guitarist for Demon Hunter, would be replacing Douglas as the band's new drummer. Luck and Warne were in a short lived band together called Guerilla Rodeo.

The recording of "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" which Relient K recorded for the 2002 movie, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, was reused in The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie.

The Bird and the Bee Sides (2008)

On July 1, 2008 Relient K released a double EP. The double EP is contained on a single disc and contains the The Nashville Tennis EP and The Bird and the Bee Sides. The Nashville Tennis EP included 13 tracks of new material that allowed the band to explore their sound a bit by allowing other band members, besides Thiessen and Hoopes, to compose/record a few tracks, as well as adding some influences from country and ska music. The Bird and the Bee Sides contained tracks that had previously been released on hard-to-come-by records. The The Bird and the Bee Sides won the 2009 GMA Canada Covenant Award for Modern Rock/Alternative Album Of The Year. In turning in the EP, Relient K officially fulfilled their contract with Gotee Records and subsequently signed to and now manage Mono Vs. Stereo (an imprint of Gotee Records).

Forget and Not Slow Down (2009— )

In early 2009, the band began to write music for an album to be released later in 2009. Thiessen stated that they were keen on finishing the album for a 2009 release and had begun recording the new album with their "favorite" producer, Mark Lee Townsend at Dark Horse Recording in Tennessee. After recording a few tracks, they stated that they would travel to California to record some more tracks with John Feldmann. Webisodes released weekly via the band's MySpace and Facebook pages show the recording progress in the studio. On May 8, 2009, Thiessen announced on his Twitter account that the new album would be called Forget and Not Slow Down, which is also the title of a song on the album.

Forget and Not Slow Down was available for pre-order, with the option of having a faux VIP-Pass signed by members of the band, and t-shirt, and a poster featuring the names of all who pre-ordered the album. On September 29, the album was made available for stream off of AbsolutePunk. It was released on October 6, 2009.

A bonus song was offered to customers who bought the album off The song is entitled "Terminals" and was produced by Owl City's Adam Young.


Current members

Former members

Tours and live performances

  • Relient K performed in the 2005 and 2008 Vans Warped Tour.
  • Between September and November 2006, Relient K played on the Nintendo Fusion Tour with Hawthorne Heights, Emery, Plain White T's, and The Sleeping.
  • The band also took part in McDonald's Summer 2007 music tour. Every band involved in the tour has the chance to be involved in a future McDonald's ad. Votes by viewers will be counted to decide who will win. All live shows are available for viewing.
  • Relient K and Switchfoot both played at the Los Angeles premiere of the movie Evan Almighty on June 22, 2007. They also played at the Lizard Fair in Midland, Michiganmarker on August 15, 2007 with Chris Daughtry.
  • "Must Have Done Something Right" and "The Best Thing" were performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno respectively. Relient K appeared again on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on December 17, 2008. They performed their cover "Sleigh Ride" from Let It Snow, Baby... Let It Reindeer. Actor Tom Wilson accompanied the band.
  • As of September 8, 2008, Relient K was on tour with Ludo, featuring This Providence and House of Heroes. The tour was title "The Uncle Fest Tour" and was during the month of October, with a few in early November. The last tour date was November 2.
  • In November and early December 2008, Relient K joined TobyMac and Family Force 5 on a month long tour called The Winter Wonder Slam Tour 2008.
  • Relient K toured with Runner Runner and Owl City in May 2009.
  • Relient K toured throughout Australia in September 2009 alongside Lecrae, Reggie Dabbs and Australian band New Empire as part of an annual national Youth Alive event.
  • Relient K is in the middle of a tour with Barcelona and Copeland that started on October 1, 2009, in New Haven, CTmarker called the Three-Hour Tour, named after a reference to the theme song of the TV sitcom, Gilligan's Island.

Live covers

During tour dates and shows the band has been known to perform live cover songs from various sources. The covers have included the following:

Other projects

The Complex Infrastructure Known as the Female Mind

In 2004, Relient K released a book entitled The Complex Infrastructure Known as the Female Mind. The book clues in the confused male Relient K fans on some of the inner workings of the female species. The band gives advice on the opposite sex through personal experience, stereotypes (including The Rock Chick and Vanilla Pudding), and Biblical advice—presented in the attitude found in their music. The title of the book is taken from the last line of the song "Mood Rings," which is found on their third album, Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do.

Woodland Forest

In June 2006, Relient K released the first episode of their own flash cartoon. The cartoon features all five band members, and takes place in a fictional land known as Woodland Forest. It is animated by bassist John Warne. There have only been two episodes thus far, and can be found on YouTube. The cartoons also feature "Merle the Squirrel," singing the Woodland Forest theme song, as well as "Crosby the Reindeer," singing O Holy Night.


Relient K has made a total of nine audio podcasts and eleven video podcasts. The nine audio podcasts were made during the band's time on the Matt Hoopes Birthday Tour. They included interviews with the band members, their guitar techs, and various other people who help them on tour. There were also interviews with the other touring bands, The Rocket Summer and Maxeen.

The five video podcasts include various scenes in the studio, as well as the band doing things outside the studio, much like the video podcasts made by Switchfoot. The first two video podcasts showed the band in the studio preparing for the recording of Five Score and Seven Years Ago, and Dave Douglas recording the drum parts, respectively. The third video podcast was a collection of footage and discussions from the Nintendo Fusion Tour, and a Mario Kart DS Tournament between the five band members. The fourth video podcast showed Jon Schneck and Dave Douglas preparing for a boxing match (which is also included and completed in the Wal-Mart "Devastation and Reform" video), and the fifth video podcast showed the completion of the battle. There is a sixth unreleased video podcast including John Warne fulfilling his lifelong dream of walking into a room with the AutoZonemarker Theme Song playing. It shows Warne recording the song with the assistance of Dave Douglas and Jon Schneck. It can be found on YouTube at the present time, and it is currently unofficially released on the site, as it has not made it to the band's official site. Their eighth video podcast is about the band going to see millions of bats fly at sundown. BATS! (that's the name of it). The last podcast is a short video showing the band playing a game they made up called"Gum Golf" which they came up during the release of their Christmas album " Let it Snow, Baby... let it Reindeer." Just recently Relient K released four podcasts telling of their new album.

Related projects

Outside of Relient K, Matt Thiessen has a piano-focused solo project called Matthew Thiessen and the Earthquakes. He started it in 1998, around the time Relient K was started. He has released seven songs either online or on various CD releases. Thiessen also has The Makeout Girls, a less serious side project that features himself and his friend, Kevan Peden. They have released one known song, which was the hidden track known as "Silly Shoes" from Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...but Three Do.

Former drummer Dave Douglas created a project called Agnes, a solo rock project that somewhat resembles the sound of Relient K's earlier music with his own twist. Douglas also started a project called Gypsy Parade, a softer project that he started with his wife, Rachel. They have released two demo songs on their MySpace with more expected. Douglas amicably left Relient K to further pursue this project.

Ethan Luck, the current drummer, was involved with the Christian metal band Demon Hunter until late 2009, but he also has a side project called My Red Hot Nightmare. which included drummer Josh Abbott, who was the drummer for Bassist John Warne's band, Ace Troubleshooter for the band's entire existence.

Three tracks were featured on the compilation album My Other Band, Vol. 1 on Mono vs Stereo records in 2006, from Matt Thiessen's side project Matthew Thiessen and the Earthquakes, Dave Douglas' side project Agnes, and Ethan Luck's My Red Hot Nightmare project. Relient K was part of a fundraiser called "Habitat for Humanity" with other Christian bands. Matt Thiessen and Jon Foreman (Switchfoot's lead singer and guitarist) wrote a song called "Rebuild" to help raise even more money.

Kelly Clarkson's new CD, All I Ever Wanted, features Matt Thiessen who co-wrote along with Katy Perry the song "Longshot!".


Studio albums


  1. Board Message
  2. The Amplifier, Volume 2, Issue 11, November 1996.
  3. Relient K - Hello McFly at YouTube
  4. Relient K - Marilyn Manson Ate My Girlfriend at YouTube
  5. Relient K - Charles In Charge at YouTube
  6. The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek: Relient K: Music
  7. Relient K - a Feature of The Phantom Tollbooth
  8. Two Lefts Don't Make a Right... But Three Do: Relient K: Music
  9. MMHMM: Relient K: Music
  10. RIAA gold/platinum certifications for Relient K. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  11. Montgomery, James. "Relient K Pump Serious Rock, Sugary Pop In The Tank For Upcoming LP", MTV News January 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  12. Chart Recap: Dead Rapper Tops Chart With Less Than 100,000
  13. 2007 Year End Charts/Top Christian CHR songs, R&R magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  14. A band 'Relient' on the power of the Lord
  15. Kane, Dan. "Relient K escapes bus fire", - Canton and Stark County News, 29 June 2007. (archived)
  16. Relient K - Blog, 10 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  17. Album Release Dates, CD New Releases, at Jesus Freak Hideout
  18. Relient K - News
  19. Christian Music News at Jesus Freak Hideout
  20. Relient K, Let It Snow, Baby... Let It Reindeer Review at Jesus Freak Hideout
  21. Tvulive.Com
  22. Relient K - News
  23. Matthew Thiessen's Pack Of Wild Blogs, 2009-01-17
  24. Relient K Facebook
  25. Relient K blog at MySpace
  26. McDonald's Live
  27. 'Bruce Almighty' Sequel Premiere to Draw Top Christian Bands,
  28. Concert photos at Retrieved 2009-05-29.
  29. Relient K blog
  30. Relient K - I Want It That Way at YouTube
  31. Relient K - Lose Yourself Cover
  32. Punk Goes 80's at Allmusic
  33. YouTube - Relient K - The Office Theme
  34. Freaked! review at Jesus Freak Hideout
  35. Relient K Live - The Distance (Cake Cover) in Portland Oregon
  36. Youth Alive, Victoria, Australia
  37. Played at a free concert held in Frankenmuth, Michgan in November 2002.
  38. Relient K: The Complex Infrastructure Known as the Female Mind, at CBN
  39. YouTube - Woodland Forest - Episode 1
  40. YouTube - Woodland Forest - O Holy Nightmare
  41. Matthew Thiessen Twitter page
  42. Album release dates at Jesus Freak Hideout

External links

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