Veterans of the Christian music scene, Bleach has decided to pack their guitars and call it quits after nine fulfilling years. However, it has been a somber year for the Bleach boys. Although Bleach was anticipating to record an upbeat positive album, their latest release turned out a lot darker than expected. “We were in the studio recording Astronomy and it didn’t really seem like anything was going on at the time, but then shortly after we finished the album, we found out that Milam and Jared’s brother was killed in Iraq,” shared Sam Barnhart, guitarist, songwriter and co-singer of Bleach. “I think that God had us write the album mainly for us. It’s brought a lot of healing to us.”
Josh Byers, brother of Bleach guitarist Milam Byers and drummer Jared Byers, was killed on July 23, 2003 during a convoy attack. He was a Calvary Unit Commander for the United States Army and a dedicated Christian who often met with religious leaders and sheiks to express his ongoing faith.
“He had a reason to fight for our country,” declared Jared. “He believed in it.” According to Sam, Josh’s death was the hardest thing the Bleach family ever had to go through.
“The saddest thing is to watch the news and media war coverage and to see how so many people trust what they say,” admitted Jared. “99 percent of the Iraqi people worship the soldiers because they really appreciate what they are doing. They know we’re there to set them free.”
Bleach considered Captain Josh Byers their biggest fan. He was an encourager who constantly reminded them of their mission. Sam assures fans that Josh’s death wasn’t a determining factor in the band splitting up. Jared attributes the strain of constant touring and a desire to spend more time with family as the mutual reason among the band members.
“We’ve been blessed to do what we love for a living for the past nine years,” said Sam as Jared interrupted: “We’ve only been able to do it for so long because of the fans. Thank you for supporting us. We love you. I love you personally.”
Bleach has played over 1000 shows across the United States, and has released five critically acclaimed albums. The winners of a Dove Award, they have also held fourteen top-10 radio singles and made multiple television appearances. They have recently finished their DVD, which will only be made available on tour or online.
Possibly you may have missed the final Farewell tour, but there is no need to worry because Bleach expects to release one more album for their fans before final hanging it up. Bleach has also dedicated a section of their website to Captain Josh Byers where viewers can see pictures and read the final letters Josh sent to his family from Iraq. Visit their site at www.bleached.com and look for a little American flag on the bottom left.