Published Saturday, February 13, 1999, in the Herald-Leader

Musician playing on after crash

Survivor resumes career with new `Kid Brothers'

By Rich Copley

The Kid Brothers started out as a semi-serious joke. ``It was a mock religious order for people who were too chicken to be Catholic,'' Mitch McVicker says.

 Celebrated Christian musician Rich Mullins, who wrote hits such as Awesome God and Sing Your Praise to the Lord, and songwriter Beaker were the original members.

Dubbing themselves The Kid Brothers of St. Frank -- a modernized name for St. Francis of Assisi -- they took a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience to God.

 It was just the two of them for nearly eight years.

 Then McVicker started working with Mullins, and he became another Kid Brother. Several others eventually joined the order.

 They wanted to make the most of every moment of their lives because it could all end, just like that.

 On Sept. 19, 1997, Mullins and McVicker started driving from Chicago to Wichita, Kan. They had just finished work on McVicker's first solo album.

 Mullins lost control of the Jeep and crashed. Both men were thrown from the car, and Mullins died.

 ``It was just like that,'' McVicker says. He suffered severe head injuries, a collapsed lung and several broken ribs. McVicker spent a lot of time in therapy to relearn simple tasks such as how to walk.

 He still has double vision, which he's been told will clear up, and he is waiting for his full singing voice to return.

 The original plan was to wait until he was fully recovered to resume his music career, but that has changed.

 ``I talked about it with my friends, and we decided this would be an opportunity to make a statement about moving on,'' says McVicker, who will perform at Southland Christian Church on Monday night.

 ``Jesus is the only reason I can do anything.''

 The band that's backing him up on his tour has a name: the Kid Brothers.

 McVicker said the group didn't have a name originally, so friends started dubbing them the Kid Brothers, and it stuck.

 McVicker says he takes the Kid Brothers' mission much more seriously than he did before the wreck.

 ``Things really can be gone in a moment,'' he says. ``So much of what we strive for and put our trust in won't last.

 ``A lot of things we say and do don't amount to ... a lot. If we truly lived in the kingdom of God, we'd find ourselves wasting a lot less energy.''

 Living by the Kid Brothers' standards seems like a tall order in the music business, which, even in the Christian market, can be driven by ego and material success.

 ``It's darn hard whatever your lot is in life,'' McVicker says. ``I know I won't get it down until I'm 80 or dead, but they're worthwhile goals to strive for.''