Known for hits “Hemorrhage (In My Hands),” “Shimmer,” “Bad Day,” and “Falls On Me,” Fuel has been hitting the charts over the span of two decades. After several lineup changes, and eventually the exit of Brett Scallions in 2006, the remaining members of Fuel brought in Toryn Green, former touring vocalist for Apocalyptica, to produce their most recent album “Angels & Devils.”
As things quieted down for the band, former vocalist Scallions began a two-week project with bassist Jeff Abercrombie called Re-Fueled as an experimental tour. With much success in performance, Scallions continued to perform, as the original Fuel. With continued issues between Scallions and guitarist Carl Bell (who formed the band with Abercrombie in 1989), Scallions is continuing Fuel with a completely new lineup. In anticipation of their concert in Tempe on Oct. 23, The State Press spoke with Brett Scallions to discuss the new Fuel.
The State Press: You are the only original member in this new chapter of Fuel. Can we get some insight as to why former members such as Carl and Jeff will not be a part of this coming tour and record?
Brett Scallions: It’s one those things where you never say never when it comes to getting things back together or anything, for that matter. You just never say never. I have a long history with my old band mates. Maybe one day we will get all of our issues worked out and we’ll go out and have some fun together again.
In the meantime, I’m having a blast, and I’m playing music that I was a big part of. It’s been a big part of my life for the past 15 years. I’m not going to let disagreements keep me from doing what I love to do. So in the meantime, I'm going to go out and keep rocking until we can sort things out, if we ever sort things out.
It’s the same thing when I [originally] left Fuel. It was just a point of me not being happy, and us not being able to agree on certain things. It was the proverbial “the band can’t get along” kind of thing. It happens so much. Bands break up because they just can’t get along for the most part. They have disagreements and they can’t resolve them. That’s just something that has happened with Fuel too.
But in the meantime I’ve got a great band with me. I have Jasin Todd on guitar, Brad Stewart on bass, and a couple of the members from Shinedown. And then we have Ken Schalk on drums from a band Candiria. So we’re killing it.
SP: How do you maintain Fuel’s sound with an entirely new lineup?
BS: Well, we’re not keeping the same Fuel sound. We’re doing Fuel the way we know how to play it. I don’t tell the guys 'Hey, play it just like the record.' I tell them 'Play like you play.' It is an exciting show. We go out, we play the quick tracks, and we don’t have anything going on other than the two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. What you see is what you get. When you come out, you will see it, hear it and feel it.
SP: Expecting that you will be recording new material with this new sound, how is writing different with a new environment?
BS: Over the past few years, I have been writing with a number of people. So I have gotten used to the idea of writing with different people, and I love it. The four of us have been having a blast throwing ideas around. We’re working on new songs, and we have a song that we wrote that we’ve been playing in the set. We’ll play it in Arizona. We still have all the classic hits. We have a lot of fun in store for us now.
SP: What about these new guys attracted you to them and approaching them to begin this new chapter with you?
BS: Back in the day, Fuel and Shinedown played quite a few festivals together. Back when Jasin and Brad were in the band I saw them just getting started, and Shinedown was just getting the wheels rolling. I thought they were a really exciting band, and I thought that they had some really good players. I ran into Brad at this thing called the Nam Show. It’s this big music industry show that goes down in Anaheim, Calif. But I ran into Brad there and asked what he was doing these days, and we [caught up a little bit]. I told him I was planning on doing the Fuel thing again, and I needed a band. He told me to call him, and I did, so he came in to jam with us. For a while there I had Yogi Lonich, the lead guitarist from Buckcherry, but Yogi got a gig in Japan for three months, and it was too hard for him to turn down, so he took that. That’s when Jasin came in because Brad advised me to pull him in. It’s been working out awesomely. Everyone’s having a blast, and that’s what it’s all about. Going out on stage, having a great time, playing music. At the end of the day, when you’re having fun the fans know that and they do too.
SP: Because of continuous lineup changes and exchanges of singers and writers, has there ever been disagreement over what songs Fuel can play at that time?
BS: No, the music is just fair game no matter who writes it or where it comes from. However, I did three major records as Fuel. The last record I did was called “Natural Selection.” After that record, I left and they decided to keep going as Fuel and they hired a new singer and made a record with him [“Angels and Devils” in 2007]. You’re not going to hear me playing any of those songs. Any of the Fuel records that I was a part of is fair game as far as I am concerned. We’re going to play what we feel like playing.
SP: What inspired you to come back to this project that is Fuel? Was there any conflict when you decided to take it up again after Toryn Green was already hired to cover the vocals?
BS: I think that my manager kept hounding me, for lack of a better word, 'Why don’t you try to do the Fuel thing again? It will be a lot of fun for you. You’ll put on the old shoes. You can go out and have some fun; make a little cash and see all your old fans.'
But I kept saying, 'No, no, no. I don’t want to do that. I just want to look forward and keep doing what I’m doing.' At the time I had just been writing a lot and I have a new record that’s coming out next year under the band name World Fire Brigade. So I had been working on that a lot lately, and I didn’t want to look back. Finally one day, they kept hitting that with me, and I was like, 'Alright, let’s put a band together and go out and have some fun, and we’ll see what happens.'
I put together what we did last year. That was called Re-Fueled. It was me and Yogi and Ken on drums. And then I had Jeff Abercrombie, who is the original bass player of Fuel. The four of us went out and we played a couple of weeks and had a lot of fun. At the end of the year I thought, 'Let’s go out and do this as Fuel.' So I went out and talked to my old band mates and told them what I was planning to do and worked out a deal. Here I am now, going on as Fuel.
SP: So now, you are just Fuel. Does the Re-Fueled project play any part in this now?
BS: Re-Fueled was a stick-your-toe-in-the-water kind of thing to see what it's like. It was something that worked out well for us and gave us the 'OK, this could actually work,' but as Fuel now. Re-Fueled was just a two-week [test run]. Now we are officially Fuel.
SP: Now that you are back on tour from a few years of hiatus, has the dynamic changed when you get on the road from what it was back in 1993 when this all began with Fuel?
BS: The dynamics changed big time. Back in the day, touring for the shows was just full on chaos. You’re running around with your hair on fire and experiencing all of that stuff for the first time: being on the road, having hit songs, having a ton of fans and playing in front of 15,000 people. You get wrapped up into a ball of big, crazy chaos. These days are a little more laid back. The focus is more on making sure the show is just right and after the show, the parties aren’t as big. We’re all family men these days. I have a three-year-old son and another one on the way. After the gig you have a beer and get ready for bed and wake up to do it again.
SP: What can expect from this new Fuel in the coming months?
BS: We’re planning on new music in the new year. We’re touring [as] Fuel throughout the next year. I'll be touring as World Fire Brigade, as well. Next year I'll have an album out with World Fire Brigade and plan to have new music out with Fuel. Busy year. We’ll see.
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