Within the engine of most brotherhoods burns a complex mix of friendship, love, protectiveness and competition, the kind that pushes both to become better men. Or not.

If you go

WHAT: Needtobreathe's Rivers in the Wasteland World Tour

WHEN: Sept. 18. Doors open at 7 p.m. for an 8 p.m. show.

WHERE: North Charleston Performing Arts Center

COST: Tickets, on sale now through Ticketmaster, are $49.50 and $34.50 (plus applicable fees). Of that, $1 of every ticket goes to Palmetto Medical Initiative.

By last year, Upstate-raised Bear and Bo Rinehart had spent 15 years living together, jammed onto tour buses, performing on stages, traveling, writing, rewriting and rehearsing together as their band Needtobreathe rose to fame.

Along with bassist Seth Bolt, they mined their joint creativity, talent and faith, all great enough to launch them up the charts. They even became Charleston boys, choosing the area to call home when they aren't on the grueling road of touring.

But along the way, the brothers' healthy competition morphed, turned bitter and self-absorbed, and nearly destroyed their musical relationship - and their bond as brothers.

After releasing four studio albums and reaching enviable success, the Rinehart brothers, those scribes of lyrics about faith and love and purpose, barely spoke to one another.

Yet, a song lingering in their tomorrows, one called "Wasteland," later would tell the struggle of grown men finding their ways as husbands, musicians - and brothers.

I'm the first one in line to die

When the cavalry comes

Yeah it feels like the great divide

Has already come

Yeah I'm wasting my way through days

losing youth along the way.

Brothers of faith

Bo and Bear Rinehart grew up in Seneca, sons of an Assemblies of God pastor in a small Upstate town due west of Clemson.

Music was a family thing. Their dad played trumpet. Their mother was a piano teacher. Their younger sister was musical, too.

The boys' own road for launching a band at 13 and 14 years old didn't run through the local bar scene. It ran through their church, where music was key to worship.

"The church was the platform for us," Rinehart says. "It was a healthy place where we worked out who we are as musicians."

Because they often sang about faith and God, many wanted to label them Christian rock. But the band rejected that, and sacrificed signing with a Christian label, not to mention radio time it would have had ensured them on Christian stations.

"We certainly don't want to hide our faith. It's something very important to us," Rinehart says.

But they saw the term "Christian rock" as more of a business term than a music one, a term that would dictate where they got played and, they worried, who heard their music.

They wanted to be seen as musicians singing about their lives, which includes their faith.

So, they waited to sign with a secular label

It was a huge risk.

Oh if God is on my side

Oh if God is on my side

Oh if God is on my side

Who can be against me?

Huge success

The Furman University grads' big break came in 2005 when Needtobreathe signed with Atlantic Records and Sparrow Records.

From there, they released four studio albums that climbed the charts, each more successful than the last. Early on, they were nominated for two Dove Awards.

Their third album peaking at No. 20 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the Hot Christian Albums.

Their fourth album, "The Reckoning," was released in 2011 and peaked at No. 6 on Billboard.

They appeared on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," "Late Show with David Letterman," "Conan," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," MTV and others.

For 15 years, Needtobreathe worked and later embarked on grueling tour schedules together.

That meant existing in close quarters, their success binding them together, the rigors of touring, the soul searching of song writing - all of their experience so very together.

Along the journey to success, Bo and Bear had tapped that natural competitive spirit between brothers to sharpen the swords of their creativity and to fuel their hard work.

"If he wrote a song, then I tried to write a song that was better," Rinehart says. "It became like that cliche that brothers just fight."

For years, it worked. But divisions also seeped in through the cracks of pressure they all felt.

"It's easy for anybody to lose themselves when they're doing something creatively, especially music," Rinehart says.

With 20,000 people watching, musicians want to do what makes the fans cheer. But pleasing the crowds can override everything else. Including a man's faith and what he knows is really important. Or how he treats his brother and other band mates.

"When success becomes the priority over your purpose, it becomes a real tragic thing," Rinehart says. "And it's very easy to do."

There was a greatness I thought for awhile

But somehow it changed

Some kind of blindness I used to protect me

From all of my stains

Yeah I wish this was vertigo

But it just feels like I'm falling slow.

Oh if God is on my side, then who can be against me.

The end (nearly)

By the end of their last tour, Bo and Bear were barely speaking, the tension between them distracting to everyone.

"It got so far, we got so fed up that we went home and didn't speak really for six weeks. It had gotten really embarrassing," Rinehart recalls.

"We said, 'This isn't worth it.'"

But during those six weeks apart, with some distance and time to think and pray and recenter, their priorities crystallized.

"Listen, we've got to be brothers first," Rinehart recalls them saying. "Family is more important."

As is doing right by a man's faith.

In this wasteland where I'm livin'

There is a crack in the door filled with light

And it's all that I need to get by

Yeah, in this wasteland where I'm livin'

There is a crack in the door filled with light

And it's all that I need to shine.

New birth

Last month, Needtobreathe released its fifth studio album, "Rivers In the Wasteland." It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard charts.

The album title sums it all up. It's a more intimate musical story than their past albums, one about moving from bitterness to healing.

"It's about God putting rivers or something new in a dry desert that was a wasteland," Rinehart says. "You have to get to that point when you need it in order to appreciate it. That's what happened on this record. We had to reach the bottom to realize we needed to make that change."

The song "Wasteland" begins with just a man and his guitar, his voice pleading, but culminates with the triumph of voices and instruments playing together. And then peace with God at the man's side, and an assurance that all people who endure life's troubles will one day breathe again.

All of these people I meet

It seems like they're fine

Yeah in some ways I hope that they're not

And their hearts are like mine

It's wrong when it seems like work

To belong all I feel is hurt.

Holy City home

Today, Bear is 33 and Bo is 32, both married, one a father. Along with bandmate Seth Bolt, they've settled in the Charleston area, a vacation destination that often feels like going on vacation when they come home given how much time they are away.

"We didn't want to move to a music town that was obvious," Rinehart says. "That's just not our vibe, not our speed."

Charleston offered a more laid-back option, one rich with beauty and history and arts.

"We love it there," Rine- hart says, "It's obviously a great place to come home to."

He says this from the road. The band was staying last weekend in Seattle preparing to kick off the next tour with two already sold-out shows. They play Charleston in September.

With a long tour ahead, the chorus of "Wasteland" reminds the band what else keeps them centered.

Oh if God is on my side

Yeah if God is on my side

Oh if God is on my side

Then who can be against me?

Reach Jennifer Hawes at 937-5563, follow her on Twitter at @JenBerryHawes or subscribe to her at facebook.com/jennifer.b.hawes.