After years of line-up changes, alt-rockers Fuel is ready to begin a new chapter in the band’s history.
The band’s new line-up, including original lead singer Brett Scallions, bassist Brad Stewart, guitarist Andy Andersson, and drummer Shannon Boone, are getting ready to release the first Fuel album in six years.
I had the chance to talk to Scallions during their tour stop at The Paramount in Huntington, New York on July 11, to discuss the tour, the new album, his departure and return to the band, and working hard.
How has the tour been going so far? I know it’s only been a week…
Yeah, we’ve only been out for like a week, so… You know. There’s been a getting to know each other kind of week and stuff, but we’re all having a great time, I mean…
You guys have toured together with…
We’ve never toured together, but we’ve done lots of shows together, festivals and what not. Every once in a while we would pop up on the same bill together, but we’ve never toured together like this where the buses are following each other and we’re basically convoying from town to town, so… It’s fine man, you know, we all get along really good. We’re all here for/ have the same common goal, which is to go out and have fun, play great rock shows and hang with the fans.
All three of the bands on this tour have had really big hits in the late 90s/early 00s. There are a lot of these kinds of tours out there right now, like packaged, like 90s bands…Why do you think those are so popular right now?
You can’t stop the sands of time, you know. And luckily for us, the good thing is… you’re saying that we’re bands from the 90s, but… we’re still able to do this, which is something that I know I feel fortunate about. We have a new record coming out really soon and you know it’s… I think I can speak for all of us when we hope to be able to have the opportunity in our careers to do what the Stones do, or what U2 does, or, you know, those guys have been around for far longer than any of us, so… We continue to move on. Like I said earlier, you can’t stop the sands of time. All you can do is mature and continue to grow mentally and artistically and write better songs.
You mentioned the new album. How’s that going?
It’s done! The record is completely done. We’re still waiting to figure out exactly when we want to do release dates and stuff like that. Hopefully within the next month we’ll be able to give out publically what the release dates are and everything in regards to the first single and the release of the actual record and things like that.
Is there anything that you can tell me about the record yet?
I think it’s a departure of what Fuel once was. I think this record is… It’s a rock ‘n’ roll record, you know, and it’s… there’s a lot of blues influence in it, there’s some jazz in there, there’s some country, there’s punk rock… These are all the styles that I grew up listening to, you know, so… I always love records that aren’t the same from top to bottom; each song has its own element to it, and I think that’s what we were really trying to do in the writing process of this record is just really try to make each song stand out on its own and not let them sound the same. The monotony just gets too much at times for you in the band and as the writer and then also as the fan, you know. You don’t want everything to just kind of be the same and linier. We were really trying to avoid that.
Is there anything that you’ve been listening to recently?
Not really. I don’t have any go-to’s other than just the classics that I’ve always grown up listening to which could be anything from Led Zeppelin to The Beatles to, you know, all the old stuff for me. There’s not a whole lot of new music out right now that I really gravitate to. I don’t know, maybe I shelter myself at times, but… And I think in my writing processes too, a lot of times I close myself off from what’s going on around ‘cause I don’t want that influence. I want to influence myself with what comes out of me and what comes out of my fingers and what comes out of my mind, and so I tend not to not listen to very much music when I’m writing and stuff… Unless it’s, you know, like I said, going back to the old stuff. I do that just to clear my mind.
The band has been through a lot of line-up changes. Even you had left for a while.
Yeah. The band started early-early 90s, when it was original Fuel, we started playing together back in, like, 1992 or ‘93, playing covers and stuff like that. Then, once we released our first major record, which was like ‘98, and it was full steam ahead. But in 2004, I was just burnt out and I wasn’t happy with what I was doing and where I was or anything like that, so… I have the mentality of if you’re not happy, then do something else. So I just walked away for a while. I needed that. And I gave the other guys my blessing, said “replace me if you want, try it without me if you can.” And they did, and it didn’t do so well for them, you know. And then a few years ago, my manager had been driving me crazy for a while about trying to do a Fuel thing again. I didn’t ever want to do it because I kept telling him I don’t want to live in the past, you know. But finally I was just like “alright, let’s go out and do it.” So, instead of calling the old guys back up, I just decided I wanted to do a whole new, fresh thing. I built a whole new group around me. And it’s going great, you know. I wrote a bunch of the songs for the new record and stuff; myself, my bass player, and my guitar player, the three of us, really hashed out quite a few songs together and stuff, which is great. I love writing in groups like that sometimes. It’s better to have two or three heads in there, opinions and ideas, so…
Do you think that has changed the way that the music sounds?
Yeah, absolutely, you know. Totally, you know, there’s… Andy’s… my guitar player Andy, he’s got a lot of great song ideas, and same for Brad our bass player, you know. It was really cool to sit down and jam with those guys and flesh out some ideas and…There were a lot of times where Brad or Andy would have a cool riff or something and I’d just take it home with me and I’d sit down and try to finish out what we started together and record a demo of it. And then we would take it from there and make it even more. Yeah, it was really cool to be able to sit down and write with those guys. And it gives the new Fuel music that’s coming out a completely different element from what old Fuel is, which I think is good for the fans. You don’t want to ever hear the same record twice. You don’t ever want to… If I gave you a cheeseburger and you eat it and then I give you another cheeseburger, you’re not going to want to eat it. That may be a poor analogy, but it is what it is.
Do you have any advice for bands that are just getting started?
Be prepared to work. Don’t think it’s going to fall in your lap. Nobody’s going to do it better than you. Be prepared to work and work hard, fight hard, write as many songs as you can, get better.
To find out more about Fuel, and to see where they will be playing next, visit the band’s website.