Painted Orange

July 28, 2006


Painted Orange was a Christian synth-pop band from Oklahoma with a sound very similar to that of general market artist Depeche Mode and Erasure. The group did not gain widespread exposure until it’s second independent album was re-released on Star song. in 1991. Even then the self-titled project was trashed by True Tunes as “a lackluster record” that had the rare distinction of being a techno record that was impossible to dance to.” CCM just thought the sound was about four years behind what was happening in the secular scene. In retrospect, the group should at least be given credit for being one of the first bands in American Christian music to experiment with the Euro-tech sound; they beat Code of Ethics to the punch and were a good four years ahead of The Echoing Green and Joy Electric. From the eponymous album, the song “Voyager” got the most notice, using the theme of God leading the Israelites as a metaphor for guidance through modern wildernesses. Five years later, the forgotten band would emerge again with Out of Egypt, which was much better received. The album kicks into gear with spage-age keyboards on “After the Rain” and then melds easily into a highly melodic number called “Run to You.” Industrial touches enhance “Love Is”, while “Invitation (96)” has a darker edge reminiscent of The Cure. Lyrically, the album is poetic while retaining a clear, explicitly Christian focus.

Similar artist : Depeche Mode


Audio Sample : 90 seconds



  1. I always liked this record even though it wasn’t on par production wise with its mainstream counterparts. “Colours,” “Shake Me,” and “Hands” are quality tracks. Just fyi, the self titled album in 1991 was released on Star Song, not R.E.X.

    Their demo on Spin Records had some good tracks as well such as “Temptation” and “Rumors,” that for some reason did not make their self titled release. Not sure why that was. Not Christian enough perhaps. I copied my cassette version of the demo to CD and still listen to it from time to time.

  2. Hi Kit,

    Thanks for pointing out the discrepancy of labels, appreciate it.

    Thats awesome that you have the original demo of Painted Orange. They used to be a cover band which played lots of secular new wave songs before they became a Christian band.

    I believe that Otto M is a very underrated musician especially in the CCM industry. Well most of them are. : p

  3. Well it is good to see we had at least two other fans other than our moms!

    Thanks for all the support!


  4. Wow, someone still has the original cassette. Ok (not that you care) but here is more trivia. There were actually 2 original cassette versions. One was on “Spin” records and it was the original. Then we went back into the studio and added Craig Fain on guitars which really spiced up the tracks. The only way to tell the two releases apart is that one will have a “Spin” logo and the other won’t .. and the fact you’ll hear Craig’s rippen 2 string “luck” guitar. :)

    Rumors, Temptation and We Refuse were left off the Starsong release. To be honest Starsong didn’t know what to do with us. Mothers Day ALMOST made the cut. Nutshell, Starsong pressed our demo with the “Depressed Blue Orange” CD. Grrrrrr The fact we were able to record our demo on a 16 track.. well.. 15 because one track was dead .. recorder is an accomplishment in itself.. so True Tunes… bite me! haha

    Well, time to go take my medication. I’ve never been the same since reading that True Tunes review *nervous twitch*.

    Do Well,
    Otto M

  5. Any future plans to put out a new album or demos that hasn’t been released? We miss Painted Orange — “I hear music deep in my soul. Help me remember your song and set this captive free.”

  6. If it wasnt for me there would be no painted orange!!
    : )

    Whats up losers? Are you guys in walkers yet????


  7. [Christiannewwave]
    We released a song called “Shine” on the net a few years back but I live in a different state now from Craig and John. We still talk all the time but unfortunately there hasn’t been any writing going on in years. I still play and work on music but nothing public.

    Sheri .. hmmm.. Sheri .. I feel as if I should know that name? :) Yes, if it wasn’t for Sheri there would not have been a Painted Orange. We were originally called “The Originals” but there was already an “Originals” so we changed our name to the “New Originals” … well.. Sheri came along and said that sounds stupid and came up with the GLORIOUS name of “Painted Orange” and the rest is history. haha.

  8. Was “Originals” the tribute band that played cover versions of Depeche Mode? So much for being original. (no pun intended) : p It could have been worse if the name was changed to Painted Orange-nals. : )

  9. Also, someone made a copy of the Educate cassette for me, but the tape was warped so I couldn’t really listen to it. A shame. I wanted to hear it.

    Otto aren’t you in Texas now? I’m in Austin.

  10. man, i had the demo. like it alot more than the record they put out. the last song of the demo rocked so hard. TO YOU FOR YOU Inivtation. why oh why didnt they put that out. great tune. and there was aflaw in the reocrding if you listen to the bridge carefully

  11. Kit: Yep, I’m in Houston and travel to Austin all the time. In fact I’ll be in Austin this Sunday (Oct 15th).

    Seifukusha: That was a comment we heard a lot. Starsong really toned down the project and I understand why BUT I would have liked to see a few songs make the cut. The song you are talking about was “Invitation”. We later did a project with Salt records and we put a remake of “Invitation” on that CD. I thought it actually rocked more than the original.

  12. Hey,
    Right around the time Out Of Egypt came out P.O. played Milwaukee. I had a tiny ‘zine going @ the time & they graciously agreed to an interview in which was revealed to them that I also had (still have) a cassette demo (Spin), Purchased @ C-stone ’90 (my first). I now have it ripped to mp3, since it’s among our faves still today. We did pick up the Starsong, but for us the demo will always be one of the best records never heard. Back in ’90, I loaned it to a former girlfriend who adopted it for a week straight. Good thing we were still friends & I managed to regain custody. To this day (17 yrs. on) everyone I’ve ever played it for has just “raved” on & on about it, christians/non-christians alike, & we happen to live in a fairly free-thinking area (Madison, WI). Maybe someday a reissue CD?

  13. i remember playing you guys on g-rock stricktly alternative klyt
    great sound

  14. I used to DJ for a roller rink and I managed to get all the other DJs in the habit of playing “Shake Me” when it was time to play the “Dice Game.”

    Don’t ask.

  15. OH MAN… ROLLER RINK! I’m crying! ROFL!!!

  16. Unfortunately I never heard or had the chance to get tany of the demos but I still listen to the two cd’s from time to time. Wish the demos were available somehow but I know, you probably hear that a lot. I did see you in concert back whe you went to Atlantafest. Did you also have a song called merry-go-round that you played live? Since I haven’t heard the demos, it could be on one of them. Thanks for the memories, see you in Heaven.

  17. Ah.. Atlantafest.. the Fog Horn Leg Horn Stage! :) I remember it well haha. :) No, I don’t recall having a song called Merry-go-round. Hmmm… I’ll have to think over old lyrics .. maybe the title is just wrong.

    I need to see what I can do about posting the demo’s in MP3 form. We do get a lot of request for that so we need to do it.

    • I realize this is a really old thread at this point, but my sister just reminded me how we listened to painted orange all the time back in 1992 and it all came rushing back. so i’ve been searching the internet for anything i can find. i’d love to get a hold of all the out of print stuff. did anyone ever make that happen?

      • My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus, my name is Vince Tews and I would like to buy one copy of every PAINTED ORANGE CD or cassette or demo, etc. Please let me know if you have any or where I can download legally. You may email me at VTEWS@GMAIL.COM.

  18. He’s probably thinking of “Twisted.” “….it’s twisted….so twisted…around and around and round……”

  19. Thank’s Kit. That could very well be what I meant. It was long ago and a little foggy to remember.

    Hey Otto M, can you confirm or deny the claims of this site concerning Painted Orange:


    Is there a new album in the works or not? Either way, I hope you and your families are doing well. Thanks for being willing to interact with your fans.

  20. Kerry, I’ll be honest, I just don’t see it happening. I’m now in Houston and the other guys are still back up in Oklahoma. I still talk to them about eveyday via MSN Messenger or Email and it does come up sometimes …. but getting around to actually do it .. well that’s another story.

    You never know but I wouldn’t hold my breath. :(

  21. That’s alright. Life changes and you have to change with it. Jesus needs you where you are. Still, selfishly, I’d love to get ahold of those demo(s) or the songs from them in any form that is legal. What can I say, I’ve become a bit of a completeist concerning my music collection.

    Hopefully, you have let Craig and John know about this little site. It would be fun to hear from the rest of the band, too.

    Whether you are circling the mountains (like Moses and Isreal) or parting the waters so you can move (like Moses), God bless you and your families.

  22. Hello? Where’s everyone go?

  23. Apparently, the Sincerely Paul page.

    Soak it in while you can, only here will you find more posts on a Painted Orange or Sincerely Paul page than on a U2 page. :)

  24. All I can say is WOW. When I first heard Painted Orange on Christian FM radio (early 90’s on station KLYN), I was won over! Tonight while finishing up work (yeah, yeah, 3am and I’m finishing up work), Carry On played on my iTunes. That is one of many songs that still moves me to this very day.
    I thank God for people that are gifted with musical talent and I pray that God will continue to bless you (the band) no matter how your life continues!

    Thank you all. I’m off to catch up on Sincerely Paul now, seeing as that was another hit in my GooFu for “Painted Orange lyrics”. And what do you know, another great band & music that moved me!

  25. My 7 yr old daughter wanted to “watch” a CD (she’s autistic -likes pc visualizations) and she chose the Painted Orange CD. So I had to come do a ‘net search to see what was up with the band. Craig and I had emailed a lot a long time ago, gosh, it was when his first daughter was born….whenever that was.

    I’m so glad my daughter picked this out – haven’t listened in quite some time!!!

    Julie C

  26. Oh, and Sherri Shaw – what is up with all the Deitiphobia crew? Did I hear Wally was making video game music? I think where I read it showed you in central IL, where we just moved last year from KS. I’d LOVE to attend anything that had any hint of Deitiphobia in it!!! I miss the group sooooooooo much!

    Julie C

  27. While Painted Orange first distributed album was released just before Code of Ethics, don’t forget Code of Ethics had numerous indie releases dating back to 1986. They may be the first and the best selling.

  28. Otto M: Your comments sound a lot like something Kevin Davis would say. Is that you?

  29. What happened to this band? Love the out of egypt cd! Any others out there?

  30. Painted Orange ruled back in the day!

  31. Check this Out : Painted Orange is mentioned in this article to be one of the prime movers of Christian Dance Music. We can’t deny the prime influence of Painted Orange on CCM. This band is amazing!


  32. christiannewwave.

    Nice! I have that Spin Demo they reference. I was always too lazy to scan it though. Now I have something to pull into my iTunes library as artwork.

    It was interesting to finally see the original artwork for Donderfliegen’s Digital Priests too.

  33. Kit,

    Got this off the net. Somebody owning all 3 demo cassette tapes of P.O. before their Star Song releases.

    1) Educate_ — a 6-song EP that sounds like a rip-off of Depeche Mode, and one song that sounds like an old Men Without Hats song. The songs are: Moon People, Testimony, How We Live, Mechanical Christian, Broken Things and Legend. Some of them are actually OK. It was made in 1989, and theband members are listed as: Gary Parson, Kevin Schumacher, Brad Becker, and Sheri S.

    2) Painted Orange_ — Florescent orange version. This is the one they were selling at Cornerstone ’90, along with _Educate_ (until it sold out). The list is: Voyager, Shake Me, Temptation, Standing Still, Piano Heaven, We Refuse, Mothers Day, Twisted, Run To Your Love, Rumors, and Invitation.This is the best of them all. It fits together great. It was made in 1990, and the band members are listed as: Otto-M, Gary Parson II, Kevin Schumacher, and Mike Owens.

    3) Painted Orange_ — Red-orange version. This is the tape that True Tunes sent me when I ordered more in the fall of ’90. The difference from the above version is that the cover is a more red-orange color, and the guitar parts are different on a few songs. I’m not sure which version I like better. The earlier version is a little more techo-sounding because of less guitar, I guess. These are the versions of the songs that were shoved on to the Star Song release. The date is still 1990, and the difference on the inside is that Mike Owens is no longer there, and Craig Fain is listed in his place. Some “thanks to” listings are different.

    I believe that all of these would be considered “holy grail” in Christian underground music.

    • In reference to the “Educate” demo tape I have 2 questions. The first is for anyone to answer. How can I get a legal (or at least, ok for me to have as far as the band is concerned) copy of Educate? I seem to always be too late to get any of the early music by the bands I like. I have liked PO since the early 90’s but didn’t see this for sale at the AtlantaFest they were at.

      The second is for the band. Why do bands act like early demo tapes or cd’s never happened? I have gone to several artist websites and only see the larger projects listed in their discography even though I know they have other, earlier projects under the same band name. For example, the Painted Orange Facebook site doesn’t list any of the three demo tapes that we know are out there. Just wondering…

      Love you guys and miss your music.

  34. Hey guess what? I actually found out about this band by going to a flea market and randomly buying this cd for 3 bucks! I was so estatic to find such a great find. I love the sound because as much as I love Depeche Mode the fact that they’re a christian band is so much more powerful. yah, some of the songs are odd but that uniqueness is very attractive!

  35. Good find. Their albums are pretty rare at this point. The second album, Out of Egypt, is also quite good, albeit different from the self titled. It’s probably a little more melodic, the beats don’t sound as “80s”, and the vocals are all Otto (I think).

  36. Wow, you guys are nuts LOL. I haven’t been to the site in a while and I can’t believe some of you still own our earlier cassettes. They are actually selling our Starsong release on Itunes and I have a closet FULL of Out Of Egypt CDs and Cassettes if anyone is interested. haha

    Craig Fain just popped me up on MSN and you’ve now given him a severe itch to do another CD after he read this site. THANKS ALOT! hahaha.. to be continued…

    • My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus, my name is Vince Tews and I would like to buy one copy of every PAINTED ORANGE CD or cassette or demo, etc. Please let me know if you have any or where I can download legally. You may email me at VTEWS@GMAIL.COM.

  37. For grins I posted you some old pictures. :)
    And we put a never released song on there for ya! :)

  38. Wow, Mark / Otto ;)

    Cool to read your comments here. I -LOVED- your first and second CDs, beginning when I was a senior at Moody Bible Institute in 1994. The guys on my floor were cranking the first disc VERY loud during ‘loud hours,’ and there was nothing that we regarded as being cooler! Great lyrics too. I loved the second disc, but the first is definitely more nostalgic.

    You’d sure have me as a customer for any third album! :)

  39. Hey guys…I was a reviewer working for The Cutting Edge magazine and reviewed your album. And i loved it.

    Of course, we always did have class :)

    David Rupert

  40. never heard any of the new stuff – loved the first cd though – i thought it was right on time !

  41. Wow…what an interesting read. And here my kids think I was never cool.

    Mark…email me.


    • My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus, my name is Vince Tews and I would like to buy one copy of every PAINTED ORANGE CD or cassette or demo, etc. Please let me know if you have any or where I can download legally. You may email me at VTEWS@GMAIL.COM.

  42. Mark,

    By the way…you’ll never guess who I run into in Deep Ellum in Dallas every once in a while…Gary. He’s been living here for a while and had been with a band called Strangleweed up until about 9 months ago. I own a Film Production company in Deep Ellum and the first time I ran into him, he acted like he’d never heard of PO. Odd…

    But hey, that’s Gary.


  43. Michael,

    I did a little snooping around myspace (slow evening)….and I think I found the guy’s myspace page. I think he goes by the name *starr*. You probably already knew that though. :)

    And Strangleweed look interestin’.


  44. Kit…

    Yes…Gary goes by “Starr” now. I’m not sure what he’s doing these days. Last I heard he was trying to start up another band after Strangleweed split up. I’m pretty involved in the arts/film scene in Dallas and he pops up on occasion. I’m sure I”ll run into him again someday soon…Who knows.


  45. PS…I was cleaning out my garage today and found an old box of some of my “Tulsa stuff”, things I’d kept over the years. I found two copies of the Educate cassettes in a box, along with some photos of Painted Orange (Mark, Gary, Kevin, Michael) from Cornerstone in 1991. I also have a copy of the Painted Orange poster from that gig as well. It’s hanging in my garage. I’ll try to take a couple of shots of it and post it and the pics from Cornerstone somewhere. Also, someone’s posted tracks from the cassette on Youtube. Do a search for PO…you’ll find it.


  46. I just came across the Painted Orange album on amazon.com and was reminded of a concert I attended in Wichita Falls, TX back in the early ’90s (I think it was called Falls on Fire). I bought the tape and completely wore it out within a couple of years. Listening to the samples on amazon really took me back! Painted Orange was a really great Christian alternative to some of the other secular music I was listening to at the time. Amazing stuff then and now. Glad to see that you guys are all still doing well. God bless!


  47. Wow, Wichita Falls … I remember that concert. I still have it on VHS. I also have a Festival Video that was actually not to bad. Some college did it with multiple camera etc … so it’s not just a home video with a stationary camera. Keep checking YouTube and I’ll post them. :)

    Mike, email those pix and I’ll put them up on the MySpace page.

    …. as for “Star” … all I can say is “oh brother” haha

  48. Here ya go … never seen before Painted Orange Videos. Never seen for a good reason hahaha.


  49. I was introduced to Painted Orange at Cornerstone and have been a huge fan ever since. For the love of all things holy, PLEASE re-release your demos CD and some new material would be great as well. Do you have any footage from the Cornerstone show? Would love to see it and “Stroll down memory lane”!

  50. In those vids, is that the Otto M, John L, and Craig Fain lineup?

  51. Well Mark (Otto M), sounds like you’re still in great demand! I too remember that first Painted Orange release. Major memories! I wore out my cassette (showing my age. haha), which I had to beg and nag you to death for – and I was even dating you at the time! You know I’m still a big fan if you want to email me some Painted Orange mp3s – and my vote for a new cd is yes by the way.

  52. (Pershing1134) Nope, no Cornerstone footage. Man that would ROCK to see those.

    (Kit) Yes it is the Otto, Jon, Craig line up which in a way … IS the original. OH boy.. can of worms opened haha. And now for PO History boys and girls.

    Once upon a time there were two bands. Painted Orange, which was Brad (forgot his last name), Gary Parsons, Kevin Schumacher, Mike Owens and a little visit from Sherri Shaw. The other band was Bristol Fashion which was me, Mark aka Otto, Craig Fain and John Lovell. Both bands were writing and recording around the same time period and in fact, I think we even did a few shows together in the Tulsa Area. Long story short (and a lot of stupid drama later) I ended up replacing Brad in Painted Orange. The PO guys liked the material I had written with Craig and John and I liked theirs. Since Craig and John had moved on with the Bristol Fashion name and new material, I kept using songs like Shake Me, Stay, You Walked, Colours, Invitation, We Refuse, etc with the PO guys. Shortly after that, we received the invite to Cornerstone and from there Starsong heard and signed us pretty much on the spot. At this point Starsong asked for everything we had ever recorded. We turned in the Educate Recordings (which you have seen in some of the conversations above) which were recorded by the original PO guys, and we turned in the Bristol Fashion Demo along with 2 or 3 new songs. Out of all the material handed in, Starsong chose and pressed the CD using Bristol Fashion’s songs. The only material on the CD that was not written by Bristol Fashion was Hands and Voyager which were new songs Gary, Mike, Kevin and I had written after I joined PO. So nutshell, Starsong wanted the Bristol Fashion Music but wanted the Painted Orange name. That’s why if you look at the credits on the CD you will see Craig Fain’s name all over it. We used to joke about it being the Greg Brady scenario (Brady Bunch), the episode where they signed “Johnny Bravo” because he “fit the suit”. Haha

    (Jammie) I want my cassette back! haha

  53. Where can I get Shine, or download, or more of your newer stuff?

  54. “Shine” is on their myspace profile to download for free I think. Has some interesting pics as well.

  55. Well, this thread, and page was an intersting trip through my fuzzy memories of my highschool days.


  56. Check us out on Facebook … just search for “Painted Orange”. We’ve added old photos and unheard tracks.

    • You should post those tracks to your wordpress site too, not everyone has a facebook. :-P

  57. Aaahhhh the Tulsa shows…. We were at the top of the Tulsa techno scene huh?lol… I remember the first time PO played with Bristol Fashion, I thought you were all soooooo hot. Course I was 16 at the time, but I guess that didn’t stop me from dating Craig Fain… Ooohhh there you go PO fans, a little tidbit of PO/Bristol fashion gossip…lol….
    Really, all of you were old enough to be my grandparents!!!! HA!!!!

    Mark, three words for you…. S R O

  58. […] Painted Orange «Thats awesome that you have the original demo of Painted Orange. They used to be a cover band which played lots of secular new wave songs before they became a Christian band. … Any future plans to put out a new album or demos that hasn’t been released? We miss Painted Orange — “I hear music deep in my soul. […]

  59. […very similar to that of general market artist Depeche Mode and Erasure…]

    DM and Erasure are general market artists? Wow – unless this is a euphemism for “non-Christian”? And if that is the case, wouldn’t 99% of artists fit into that category?

    Painted Orange were probably a bit more like Propaganda (rather than any of the other 80’s bands), but they didn’t really have enough songs to make a sensible comparison. Personally, I really like “You Walked”, even if I am a general market guy.

  60. Hello!
    I have the two CD:s and listen to them sometimes. Right now I´m making a christian local radio program about Synthpop. Thought I include “Hands” there. Sadly the christians in Sweden don´t listen that much to christian bands making synthpop so I try to change that

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