In the lead: Fuel’s lead singer talks about tour, band changes,
Having sold more than 3.5 million albums in the United States, rock band Fuel is in the midst of an intense summer tour across the country.
In fact, the day before Fuel’s Friday, Aug. 23, concert at Rock Jam in Mack, the band plays in North Carolina. The day after Rock Jam? Fuel takes the stage in New Jersey.
The band released its first full-length album in 1998, and is most famous for the hit singles, “Henorrhage (In My Hands),” “Shimmer” and “Innocent.”
For this tour, Fuel is comprised of lead vocalist Brett Scallions, guitarist Andy Andersson, bassist Brad Stewart and drummer Shannon Boone.
Scallions took time out from a recent day off in Wichita, Kan., to talk about Fuel, its new album and how he spends days off on the road.
Melinda Mawdsley: You’re performing at Rock Jam, a large outdoor music festival. Did you grow up going to similar types of festivals?
Brett Scallions: I grew up in the Bible Belt of Tennessee. It’s a hard-core conservative environment I grew up in. I didn’t go to too many concerts as a child.
Mawdsley: Where did your interest in being in a rock band come from?
Scallions: I have a passion for what I do. I’ve always loved music. I had my records I listened to, but I did anything I could to get what I wanted and needed to help me understand music more.
Mawdsley: How long has Fuel been touring now?
Scallions: I’ve been living in hotels, vans and tour buses since 1992, so a long time.
Mawdsley: What’s touring life like?
Scallions: Every day you are in a different parking lot. That’s how it is. You wake up and get a cup of coffee, figure out where to use the bathroom, and, hopefully, get a shower in that day. It’s not a huge, glamorous thing unless you are selling millions of records. Fuel hasn’t had a new record out in quite a while,
Mawdsley: Thanks for that set-up. I did want to ask you about your new album. Any news?
Scallions: It isn’t released yet but, hopefully, soon. The goal is to have the first single out this fall and the record out later, but I have no official dates this year.
Mawdsley: Drummer Shannon Boone recently joined Fuel…
Scallions: This is the first tour Shannon’s done with us. He’s been with us a month-and-a-half now. He’s doing great. We love having him with.
Mawdsley: Is it easy/difficult for a rock band to change musicians?
Scallions: There’s a learning curve for sure. You can know the songs and stuff but once you put four guys in a room together there’s just a point of learning to play with each other. Everybody plays a little bit differently. There’s that grace period of learning how to play the songs, play together, in general, and knowing each other’s dynamics.
Mawdsley: How do you find new musicians for the band?
Scallions: I wholeheartedly have all the say who’s in the band. Nobody’s going to tell me who’s in the band. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I’ve met people through the years. I recognize talent when I see it. When the opportunities come up where I need certain players, I keep in mind who I know. I don’t really do auditions. I’ve done them before and they seem so tedious. When you are going through auditions with 10 different guys you forget about who felt the best. I’d rather rely on the relationships I’ve formed over the years and call in who I know — not only who I can play with but who I can get along with.
Mawdsley: You mentioned you had the day off from performing….
Scallions: Those are always cherished.
Mawdsley: Have you performed in western Colorado before?
Scallions: We love playing Colorado. ... We have to fly in to do the show. That evening we hop on a plane and fly somewhere else. We’ll have to rent gear (in Colorado.) We’ll take one guitar each and have a couple others waiting for us (there). The beauty of this band is it’s four guys and what you see is what you get. We don’t have to lug around anything. We can walk on any stage at any time.