Brett Scallions - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Andy Andersson - lead guitar
Brad Stewart - bass
Ken Schalk - drums
Fuel has nothing to prove. The band has sold over 3.5 million albums in the U.S. and scored a trio of top 5 singles, "Shimmer," "Innocent" and "Hemorrhage (In My Hands"), the latter of which remained at #1 for 12 weeks. In addition, Fuel have sold out tours all over the world, headlining venues and opening for bands including Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Creed and 3 Doors Down. Fuel are primed… Show more to pick up where they left off with their latest release, Angels And Devils, with new band members in tow to help add to an already formidable list of achievements.
Since they burst onto the scene with their 1998 full-length debut Sunburn, Fuel has been a staple on rock radio regardless of the ebb and flow of ephemeral musical trends. After the massive success of "Shimmer," Fuel released 2000's Something Like Human, which featured the hit singles "Innocent" and "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" and achieved double platinum status. After 3 years filled with touring, Fuel released 2003's Natural Selection, which featured the hit "Falls On Me." The steady schedule of hit songs and sold out tours was interrupted in 2004 when the band and singer Brett Scallions decided to amicably part ways.
For rock bands, lineup changes can be healthy, providing new options, renewed enthusiasm and a new aesthetic. But even in the best circumstances, they can also be difficult, resulting in growing pains and frequently, a learning curve that must be navigated to continue to move forward. "There's been a lot of turmoil within the band over the past few years and a lot of that is reflected in these songs," says guitarist and chief songwriter Carl Bell. "When change happens it brings out the best and the worst in people, and I'd like to think that for us it was mostly the best."
Angels and Devils, Fuels first new disc since 2003's Natural Selection, isn't a comeback, it's an ambitious step forward -- one that taps into a spectrum of experiences to deliver heartfelt songs that range from slow and pensive to energized and euphoric. It is the first Fuel album to feature new singer, Toryn Green.
After the band made the decision to part with Brett they auditioned local singers a friend recommended, but none worked out. So, they conducted an Internet search, posting an instrumental version of their hit "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" and asking performers to email the file back with their vocals on it. Unsurprisingly, Fuel received thousands of responses, including one from Green, who went beyond the call of duty.
"I sent in my version of 'Hemorrhage' like everyone else, but after 24 hours, I didn't feel like that was enough to make me stand out," Green says. "So, I went and made a medley of 'Bad Day' and 'Innocent' and sent that in as well.' Impressed by the effort to which Green had gone and floored by his multi-octave voice, Fuel brought him in for an audition. As soon as he stepped up to the microphone, it became clear that he would be the man to beat for the position. And no one else even came close.
"He knew all the songs, he was a fan of the band and he had a great voice. So going in, were really hopeful," says Bell. "And then when he walked in the room and we saw him, he was everything we were looking for. He can sing the old songs with little effort and his range is really broad so we can do more with our music now than ever."
Green, however, isn't the only new member in Fuel. Fuel have also enlisted ex-Godsmack drummer Tommy Stewart, who had previously filled in for a handful of live shows after former drummer Kevin Miller left. "I love these guys," says Stewart. "We came up together. Their first album was out around the same time as the first Godsmack record. They're great guys and they make it fun and I've always enjoyed their music."
While Stewart is currently part of the Fuel lineup, he had other commitments when they were recording Angels and Devils, so the band recruited studio musician Josh Freese, who has also played for Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle and others.
Fuel entered the studio with producer Scott Humphrey (Tommy Lee, Rob Zombie) to start working on Angels and Devils in August 2006. Since they were playing material Bell had been fine-tuning for two years, the songs were all in good shape, and there were over 30 to choose from. And even though Fuel was working with Green, Freese and Humphrey for the first time, the sessions were unbelievably smooth and productive, with Green's unbridled enthusiasm leading the way.
"I was so excited to be in there with them because this is something I've wanted to do my entire life," Green says. "So, having the opportunity to get in there and work with these guys who are pros and have done such great records -- I couldn't have asked for a better experience. They pushed me, but that's where I feel the most comfortable. I wanted to take myself to the limits because a lot of the times I didn't know what those limits were."
"Toryn picked up the vibe of what we were doing so quickly," Bell says. "After just a few practices it was like he's always been with us. And it was great to work with Scott Humphrey because he and I saw eye to eye on a lot of stuff and he's got one of the coolest studio set ups I've ever seen."
Bell named the new album Angels and Devils to reflect the dichotomy he's experienced over the past several years. Aside from the turbulence caused by the departures of Miller and Scallions, he has faced numerous conflicts in his own life, and instead of internalizing his issues, he has dealt with them in his music more candidly than ever.
"For me, the idea of Angels and Devils translates into the way you feel about people and the way they think about you," he explains. "You try to do all the right things and still people have different perceptions of what you even hoped. And the whole duality of 'did I do the right thing here?' and 'why did this happen?' and 'why did people decide that this is supposed to go down this way?' is something I think about a lot. So there's a lot of questioning on this record."
Nowhere is this more delineated than on the song "Wasted Time." The song starts with acoustic guitars, evocative strings and weary vocals before blossoming into a beautifully melancholy song driven by strong hooks and an undeniable chorus. "I don't have the most optimistic view of relationships," Bell admits. "On a planetary scale, divorce rates are the highest they've ever been, and it just seems inevitable, almost. Maybe men and women aren't supposed to live together, I don't know?"
The track "Gone" further illustrates Bell's experiences with a story about escape from codependence. "Everybody's had that moment where you're with your boyfriend or girlfriend and you're going along, and then you just realize that this is wrong and it's bringing out the worst in me and this is not working and I don't even like this person anymore," he explains. "Then you look back at it and go, why was I even there? Why did I torture myself in that situation?" "Gone" bobs like a buoy and grooves like a go-go dancer as it builds and dips from one unforgettable vocal line to the next.
More than anything, Angels and Devils is a bold, inviting new voice from a band that had to be quiet for too long. While some bands in similar situations lose their footing, Fuel has jumped back onto the racetrack with feet flying and hearts pumping pure adrenaline.
"We're so happy to able to get back to doing what we love to do," Abercrombie says. "In some ways, it really does feel like a rebirth. Carl and I have been the core of the band since day one, but we have a new front man and it's a new beginning for us and we couldn't be more excited." -http://www.fuelweb.com/
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