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SUZUKI SIGNS ON WITH KUTLESS FOR FIRST MUSIC PARTNERSHIP
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SUZUKI SIGNS ON WITH KUTLESS FOR FIRST MUSIC PARTNERSHIP
14 August 2006

American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC), widely known for its high-performance motorcycles and life-enthusiast-focused automobiles, today announced a sponsorship with BEC/Tooth and Nail’s Kutless, making the band the automotive company’s first music partnership.

A joint effort of ASMC’s Automotive and Motorcycle Divisions, the agreement makes American Suzuki the exclusive title sponsor of Kutless’ upcoming tour – the Hearts of the Innocent tour powered by Suzuki. The tour marks Suzuki’s first foray into the music industry where the company sees an opportunity to connect its products with a like-minded consumer demographic of those who choose to live life instead of watch it go by.

“Kutless is honored to partner with Suzuki, a company that shares our passion for living life to its fullest,” said Kutless frontman Jon Micah Sumrall. “The Hearts of Innocent record is a call to our generation to stand strong and faithful. We are pumped to get back out on the road for a full-throttle rock-and-roll show that will be more than just a great night of music.”

“Suzuki is thrilled to partner with Kutless, one of the hottest, young, up-and-coming rock bands in the country,” said Gene Brown, vice president of marketing, ASMC Automotive Operations. “Just as Suzuki is dedicated to providing fun and exciting products for consumers, Kutless shares a similar commitment to providing exhilarating entertainment for music fans.”

The Hearts of the Innocent tour powered by Suzuki supports Kutless’ latest album The Hearts of the Innocent, which was released in March, and debuted at No. 2 on Neilsen SoundScan’s Top

Christian/Gospel Albums Overall chart, No. 1 on its Top Christian Rock/Alternative Albums chart and No. 45 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. The Hearts of the Innocent Tour powered by Suzuki kicks off Aug. 25, in Cullman, Ala., with fellow rockers Disciple and new bands Red and Run Kid Run as the show’s opening bands.

“We’re thrilled to have helped launch the exciting partnership between Kutless and Suzuki, which puts Kutless in exclusive company with other artists who have secured such prestigious corporate sponsorship relationships,” said Kathy Armistead, whose Commercial and Sponsorship Department at William Morris Agency in Nashville, along with Kutless’ Platform Artist Management, helped broker the Kutless-Suzuki partnership. “In an unprecedented tour and retail alliance, both parties have an amazing opportunity to connect with their respective fans and customers.”

Added Chance Hoag of Platform: “It’s an awesome opportunity for Kutless to demonstrate to Suzuki and other corporations of their caliber that there is tremendous benefit to being associated with Christian music and its fans; as well as for the fans to see how a corporate sponsor helps a band like Kutless to deliver a first-class, high-impact concert experience.”

The Portland, Ore.-based quintet has emerged as one of Christian and rock music’s hottest acts. Kutless has played before nearly two million fans in the past four years, has had eight radio hits from the band’s first three CDs, Kutless, Sea of Faces and Strong Tower, and been nominated for multiple Dove Awards, earning its first last year for the band’s participation on the Special Event Album of the Year, the soundtrack to “Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” Kutless’ music also has been featured in television and film. On the NBC hit TV show “Scrubs,” in an episode this season titled “My Bright Idea,” the Kutless song “All of the Words” played for almost two minutes during a pivotal scene of the popular comedy. Additionally, the band’s groundbreaking video for the song “Shut Me Out” has been placed on an exclusive Microsoft/Wal-Mart DVD Xbox giveaway, estimated to reach 350,000 gamers, and Target Stores recently debuted the “Shut Me Out” video on Target TV (Red Channel) nationwide.

ASMC will complement its sponsorship with a number of promotional activities surrounding the tour, including an online sweepstakes. Beginning in September, fans will be able to register online at www.kutless.com/tour for a chance to win one of three exciting Suzuki products, including the all-new 2007 Suzuki SX4 compact sport X-over, 2007 Suzuki RM-Z450 and 2007 Suzuki DR-Z400SM.

Designed for those who live an adventurous life, the all-new SX4 features a handsome five-door hatchback design and sophisticated standard all-wheel-drive system to offer an unexpected level of functionality at an affordable price. The championship-winning RM-Z450 offers supremely balanced performance – strong, controllable power delivery complemented by extraordinarily lightweight handling – to give riders confidence on the track. The DR-Z400SM combines the versatility and performance of Suzuki's renowned DR-Z400 with street-legal capabilities.

With multiple #1 singles and four hit albums, Kutless’ bold lyrics and driving, guitar-based music have garnered them legions of fans worldwide. Launched by original members Jon Micah Sumrall (lead vocals) and guitarists James Mead and Ryan Shrout, the band formed first as a modern rock/worship band at Warner Pacific College in Portland in 2000, influenced by Christian rock predecessors such as the Supertones as well as mainstream modern rockers like Staind, Creed, and Incubus. Kutless signed to Tooth & Nail/BEC in late 2001 and released its self-titled debut the following year, a CD which went on to become the fastest-selling debut in the label’s history. Hearts of the Innocent marks the recording debut of the band’s newest members, drummer Jeffrey Gilbert and bass player Dave Leutkenhoelter, both formerly of alt-rock band Seven Places.

Kutless places a big emphasis on giving back and has often played events to benefit battered women and children and cancer victims. Last year, they raised more than $50,000 for Hurricane Katrina relief and recently signed on as an artist representative for world child relief agency Compassion International.


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