Interview: Fuel

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Fuel has had a tumultuous journey throughout the past two decades to say the least. The band has had many ups, including the success of “Hemorrhage (in my hands),” and downs, like the multiple lineup changes and band disagreements, but Fuel keeps on rocking and the determination of the band and the positivity of original (and current) lead singer, Brett Scallions, is uplifting.

After Scallions left the band in 2006, Fuel decided to power through the chaos and release a new album with a new vocalist, Toryn Green, a man who has bounced around through multiple bands and still doesn’t have a permanent resting place to this day. The album, Angels and Devils, was ultimately looked at as a failure. This, too, did not stop Fuel. After that disaster, Fuel announced in 2010 that Scallions was going to return and new music was on its way. Fans of the band, however, had a long time to wait. It took until March 4, 2014 for the new album, Puppet Strings, to be released.

Brett Scallions has been on a long and arduous journey that has brought him full circle and back to where it began, as the proper lead singer of Fuel. While you’d expect that journey to be depressing, Scallions has a manner about himself that exudes positivity. Rather than being angry, resentful, or frustrated with the long path that brought chaos, he instead, focuses on the new album and praises the fans for their loyalty and support while he already looks forward to creating new and innovative music. Pop-Break was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with him about the fans, the journey of the past two decades, and, of course, the future.

Photo Credit: Abby Gennet
Photo Credit: Abby Gennet

Pop-Break: Let’s start with Puppet Strings. Obviously it took a little while for the album to come out, tell us a little bit about it!

Brett Scallions: Well it came out March 4th and we had an awesome opening week where we debuted at number one on billboard, and yeah it’s a fun record that I’m extremely proud of.

PB: What is your favorite track on the new record?

BS: I don’t know that I have a favorite track. To me it’s kind of like saying this is my favorite child. I think that every song kind of stands on its own and has its own merit so, for me, when you make a record, you try to make sure the entire record is cohesive and everything flows into each other and there’s a roller coaster ride, so to speak, going on.

PB: How are the crowds responding to all of the new stuff?

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BS: So far everybody has been loving what’s been going on. I’ve been seeing a lot of people singing along to the new songs which means they’ve bought the record and listened to it and absorbed it; that’s exactly what you’ve hoped for.

PB: Well it has been a long journey for Fuel, as a whole, with all of its reincarnations and whatnot. For you, what has been your favorite moment of the journey?

BS: Oh my goodness. That’s a tough one. At the end of the day, I’ve always said in the past that we make records so we can play live, and I love playing live. I think over the years though, I’ve kind of grown a little more 50/50 on that because I enjoy being in the studio now. I enjoy being creative and searching to find the right parts to make a song be the best that it can be and the creative process. There’s a love/hate with it because it can be very frustrating at times. When you feel like you’re just not getting it right and then you start thinking to yourself I’m never going to get this. I can’t find it. And then suddenly it pops into your head one day. That’s an exciting moment, when you finally figure out what the part is supposed to be for a song.

PB: Well then I’m going to ask another hard one, it might be harder, what has been the hardest part of this couple decade long journey of yours?

BS: The hardest part is really right now for me because I’m married and I have two beautiful children and my boys are three years old and six years old. I love what I do, but at the same time, it gets harder and harder when I have to leave the house and say “Dad will be home in six weeks.” Within those six weeks, as anyone who is a parent knows, a lot happens so it’s tough to miss those times. For me, I think that’s definitely the hardest part of what I do right now.

PB: Now this question, I want to ask but I’m afraid to ask it. How hard was it for you to see Fuel release an album without you being part of it?

BS: You know when I decided to leave Fuel, I told those guys, “Hey you know, if you think that you can do it without me, by all means, give it a shot.” I’m not going to wish poor success upon anyone. I said if you think you can do it without me, go for it. You know, them releasing the record, I didn’t even buy the record. I didn’t even listen to it or anything, so honestly I have no idea if it’s a good record or not. I just heard through the fans about stuff like that. Some saying that they really like it, but there are others that have expressed their disappointment. It was considered a failure for them, I guess, ultimately.

PB: And, well you’re back so that’s a good sign for you!

BS: I’m back and it’s a good sign and it’s a good feeling!

PB: Awesome. Would you go back and change anything that has happened throughout the course of the journey thus far?

BS: I’m sure, yeah there are moments in my life and in my career that I would definitely, if I knew then what I know now, I probably would have done differently. The song that we’ve had out for the new record, a song called “Soul to Preach To,” that song is about regret and I feel like everyone, anyone who says that they don’t have regret in their life, they’re lying.

Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi - JeffCrespiROCKS.com
Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi – JeffCrespiROCKS.com

PB: Yes they are.

BS: Yes. When you get to a certain point in your life, you kind of go back and you try to look back on your life and think about the things that have happened to you. You think about the good things and the bad things and you think, “Man, I wish I would have done that thing differently” or “I wish I would have applied myself more in that situation.” Ultimately, that’s what that song is about. I can honestly say there are plenty of things in my life that I have done and situations I have been in that I wish I would have done differently.

PB: For you, now that you’re back, and the fans, I’m sure are all loving that you are all back. Did it surprise you, the reaction of the fans, once you were back as Fuel, the way that a lot of people perceive Fuel?

BS: It’s a total surprise and it’s in such a great way. You always hope as a musician that when you decide to go out and put that old shoe back on again that people are going to want to come out and see it and experience it again. The fans have been awesome. Thank God for them. I love them, and they’ve always been there for me. They’re so supportive and it’s a good feeling to be loved for sure.

PB: Well enough about the past, what’s next? Obviously you guys are touring now and you’re doing big festival shows like Rock on the Range and whatnot, so what is next for you?

BS: Honestly? We’re just going to be touring on this record and supporting it as long as we possibly can. For me, next is just trying to be better at what I do. Be a better musician; be a better writer; be more creative, more artistic and explore musically and just try to do things that I have never done before. This new record has a lot more blues based sounds on the record, and there’s even hints of country music and stuff in songs here and there and that’s exciting to me. When I was growing up, listening to music from Elton John to Led Zepplin to the Beatles to Van Halen and stuff, those guys would play the heaviest, craziest song you’ve ever heard and then they would play this sweet little blues song or beautiful country song; they just really tried not to pigeonhole themselves into one style of music. That’s extremely refreshing to me, and I aspire to be able to make records like that.

PB: That’s awesome. I feel like certain genres are trying to stay too much in their comfort zone and it’s great to hear new sounds coming out underneath the vocals or the writing that we’ve become so used to. Points to you for that!

BS: Yeah, nobody wants to throw a record on and five songs in you feel like you’re just listening to wallpaper and everything becomes linear. If somebody is just constantly beating you in the head with the same thing, you’re finally going to say okay, I’m done with this Chinese water torture or whatever you want to call it.

PB: Absolutely!

BS: That’s what it feels like!

PB: Well then, now you’ve been in music for obviously a very long time, one of my favorite questions to ask someone who has been in the scene forever is, what is the weirdest interview question you’ve ever been asked?

Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi - JeffCrespiRocks.com
Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi – JeffCrespiRocks.com

BS: I don’t even know how to answer that question. Maybe this is the weirdest question I’ve ever had.

PB: I usually follow up with the last band’s answer and theirs was what color would they use to describe their new album. So, what color would you use to describe your new album? I wouldn’t even know how to answer that but I pose the question to you.

BS: I don’t know! Maybe blue? Blue to me is a comfortable color. I hope that’s what the record is for the fans. I hope the record is comfortable. I don’t like records that are just red all the time or black all the time. Even records like Metallica’s Black album, that was a blue record in my mind because it was comfortable and it had the most aggressive music in there, but there were just parts in there that let you lay back and relax for a minute.

PB: That’s a great answer!

BS: Good!

PB: Okay, so the only thing I’ve got left is: what message do you want to convey to the fans that are still around or have come back because you’re back with new music? What do you want to say to them?

BS: Love life. Do what you want to do. Trust in yourself and never let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Always be true to yourself. Be honest and be real and it will shine through.

PB: Dude, thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

BS: Thank you and take care!