Brett Scallions of Fuel on Platinum Records, a New Generation of Fans, and The Doors

Saturday night's Fuel show is a big show for 910 Live music venue in Tempe. "Our biggest show yet," is how one publicist put it.

For Fuel singer Brett Scallions it's a chance to show Arizona fans the band is fully back from the four-year hiatus that found him playing bass and singing for an odd Doors tribute band that actually featured two original members of The Doors. Despite the break, Scallions says he has no doubt that the band's performance will blow everyone away.

Up On The Sun chatted with him about Fuel's new roster, playing the hits, Riders On The Storm and more.

Up On The Sun:
Fuel is headlining the newly renovated 910 Live this Saturday with special guests Warner Drive, Fivespeed and Echoes of the Fall. What can fans expect of you guys as far as the performance goes?

Brett Scallions: We're busting all the hits out. One thing about Fuel is we've always been known for our high energy rock shows. We get into what we do, and we love what we do. I've got a great group of guys playing with me right now. We're bustin' out all the classics, and we've got some new stuff we're playing too. We also pay homage to other artists we've grown up listening to and loving. We're going to run the gamut on everything and have a lot of fun with the show.

UOTS: How did you round up the artists that made up Re-Fueled, which has become Fuel again, with Yogi, Ken Schalk and Brad Stewart? That's a really great group.

BS: I got Brad Stewart from Shinedown on bass and Ken Schalk from Candiria on drums. Yogi, unfortunately for me, went to Japan for three months to work on this other gig over there, so I needed someone else who could fill in. Luckily, Jasin Todd from Shinedown was around. So Jasin's been playing with us for the past few months, and he's been killin' it.

UOTS: The band's success has carried over into the 2000s, but you guys especially ignited in the mid-to-late 90s, which was a prime time for alternative music. Around 1995, when the band formed, did you ever imagine that the band would withstand the test of time and that you'd be carrying over your music to a new generation of fans?

BS: Well, you always hope and dream for a successful career and longevity. When you're in the middle of the whole 'getting things rolling' [situation] and the steam picks up, you're a baby band and you're on the verge of being signed by a major record label, everything happens at a really fast pace. You don't realize what's truly happening to you until you have time to sit back in the aftermath, and look at everything and go, "Wow, that really happened to me." It's not like I ever imagined that our careers as Fuel would ever be as successful as they have been.

At the same time, everyone has dreams. Everyone has visions of who they want to be in life and what they want to become. For sure, I always dreamed of being a rock star. I always dreamed of having success as a musician. I'm happy to say that my dreams have come true. Now I just want to continue having fun doing what I love to do and being an artist. Doing this for another 20 years would be the ultimate goal for me.

UOTS: I hope so. Fuel has got platinum records under its belt. It's crazy.

BS: It's funny too because these days, people don't have platinum records so much anymore because it's all digital downloads more than actual record sales. There just simply aren't as many record sales out there. People aren't making double platinum records and quadruple platinum records and diamond records anymore. It's "hey, you had five million downloads." But record labels aren't giving out plaques for stuff like that so much.

UOTS: Do you feel like the industry doesn't value that as much as record sales goals?

BS: I think this music industry is trying to understand how to control itself again. With technology and digital downloads and things like that, everyone's trying to figure out exactly what their piece of the pie is still. Within that, the whole machine has to be altered a bit.

Downloads have to be treated just the same as record sales. In the past, with record sales, you got this tangibility and this overhead that's been created from the printing of the CDs and things like that. All of that, for the most part, is going to be gone within the next few years. I'm surprised it's not gone already. Since that overhead is eliminated, people are fighting more and more over who owns what. It's going to take a little longer for [the industry] to figure out exactly how all of that is going to work and where platinum records come into play.

UOTS: Tell me about The Doors' reunion band "Riders on the Storm." How did you get drawn into that and what was the experience like with The Doors?

BS: My manager also manages Ray [Manzarek] and Robby [Krieger] of The Doors. Ian Astbury was singing with them for a while there. Ian decided he was ready to do The Cult thing again, so he went back to The Cult. My manager called me up and was like, "Hey man, I've got a great gig for you." I was like, "Great. What is it?" He said, "I can't tell you just yet." [I said,] "Okay, call me when you can let me know." A couple of days later, he called me back and told me that Ray and Robby were looking for someone to continue on with them, so I went in and jammed with them for a couple of days. They told me, "Hey, let's go out and have some fun." We went out and did a few years of touring together. It was such a beautiful experience. Those guys have made history, for sure. They go in the time capsule. It's an honor for me to be able to say that I've played with them and for me to be able to say that they're my friends now.

UOTS: You've also been involved with a project called World Fire Brigade with Sean Danielson of Smile Empty Soul and producer Eddie Wall. You guys went for a heavier sound. Tell me about that.

BS: When we originally got together, we thought to ourselves, "Let's write a batch of songs, and we'll license them out to other artists, or we'll just record them and we'll license them out for movie trailers or things like that." We were taking the music very seriously, but we weren't thinking of it as being us as a band. Finally, about halfway through the recording process and the writing process, we thought to ourselves, "This is really too good to just give out to other people and just toss around and see what happens to it. Let's give it a name and let's gather a group of guys and actually go for it."

We're almost done with the record and we plan to have it out in the spring next year. I can't wait to give it to everybody because it's really exciting for me. It's a much heavier record than I've ever made. But at the same time, it's still very, very melodic. A lot of the songs that we did are tuned way low down to a drop C and a drop A. Our vocal melodies in the songs tend to carry over to where you don't even feel how low the music is in the tuning process. It's pretty cool. I'm looking forward to everybody hearing it.

UOTS: What are the band's plans for the rest of the year? When is Fuel planning on going back into the studio to give the world some more material?

BS: We've got some new songs that we're working on now. We're playing some new tunes in the set. It's basically just getting a batch of songs together that everybody feels good about. I think we're going in the right direction. I'd like to see some new Fuel stuff out maybe next year at some point, [hopefully] by the spring. It'd be nice to put out Fuel and World Fire Brigade around the same time.

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Lenni Rosenblum