Fuel returns with original lead singer and new album
Puppet Strings is the fifth studio album by Harrisburg, Pa., rockers Fuel. The MegaForce Records/MRI release is the band’s first studio effort since 2007's Angels & Devils. The new album also marks the return of original lead singer Brett Scallions, who left Fuel in 2004 to write music and tour with the late Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of the Doors. After the departure of founding members Carl Bell (guitar) and Jeff Abercrombie (bass), Scallions re-grouped the band under the moniker Re-Fueled before eventually settling on recording as the new Fuel. The band then began recording Puppet Strings in March 2012 with producer Eddie Wohl (Anthrax, Smile Empty Soul, World Fire Brigade).
The new album features the current Fuel lineup of Scallions, guitarist Andy Andersson, bassist Brad Stewart, and drummer Ken Schalk—who has since been replaced by drummer Shannon Boone. Ironically, no one who participated in the recording of Angels & Devils appears on Puppet Strings. "There is only one original of anything, and that includes Fuel,” declares Scallions in a news release, adding the band’s original lineup would always be “something special.”
Scallions says forming the new roster of players is not intended to replace or diminish what the original members created. “Just the opposite, it is to give our fans a live destination, and to keep the Fuel name alive for a new generation to discover,” he explains. “Maybe someday we'll all get on the same page and play together again, but life happens and the next thing you know you just can't jump on a bus and take off for a month, let alone a year."
Alternative Addiction reports Puppet Strings is “pure, anthemic rock inspired by the punk records of the band’s youth.” Featured tracks include the “heavy, driving” ‘Yeah!,’ which was released for free download on the Fuel website as a teaser, followed by official lead single ‘Soul To Preach To,’ which is currently No. 40 on the Mediabase Active Rock radio airplay chart. There’s also ‘Hey Mama,’ which AA calls a “Memphis blues sound that taps into Brett’s Tennessee roots.”
“Rock and roll is very much alive and well on this album,” claims Scallions, who wrote the songs on Puppet Strings with former bandmates Andersson and Stewart. “We were simply trying to write the best songs we possibly could. With Andy and Brad, I found the unity I’d always craved.” Scallions adds he regrets ever leaving Fuel. “When I left Fuel I was miserable. It didn’t feel much like a band anymore. Unity was nonexistent,” he reveals. “Singing with Ray and Robby opened a whole new perspective on music and life for me. I realized how much music is truly all about freedom and not being confined to formats or singles.”
Fuel has toured all over the world, headlining venues and opening for bands such as Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Creed, and 3 Doors Down, while album sales top more than 3.5 million in the U.S. alone. The Fuel Puppet Strings World Tour gets underway March 4 on the Hollywood Sunset Strip at the world famous Viper Room. A full schedule of dates through September includes major city stops throughout the West, Midwest, and Southeast U.S., including the Rockaholica Cruise out of Miami from September 29 through October 3.
Watch Fuel with lead vocalist Brett Scallions in the official music video for ‘Falls On Me’ from the band’s Natural Selection album.
As A Matter of Fact…
* The origins of Fuel began in 1989 in Harrisburg, Pa., when guitarist/songwriter Carl Bell and drummer Jody Abbott teamed up with singer/guitarist Brett Scallions, bassist Jeff Abercrombie, and keyboardist/vocalist Erik Avakian.
* The band played Pennsylvania bars and nightclubs and released the debut EP Porcelain in 1996, getting local radio play with the single ‘Shimmer.’ The popularity of the EP also led to signing with Sony's 550 imprint, which released a second EP titled Hazleton the following year.
* Fuel had a breakout year in 1998 with the release of the platinum-selling, full-length debut Sunburn. The band soon became a staple on rock radio with the success of No. 1 debut single ‘Shimmer,’ which peaked at No. 42 on the Billboard Hot 100.
* The double-platinum Something Like Human followed in 2000 and featured the No. 1 hit singles ‘Innocent’ and ‘Hemorrhage (In My Hands).’ After three years of with touring, Fuel released 2003’s Natural Selection and had another hit with ‘Falls On Me.’
* When lead singer Brett Scallions left the band in 2004, the group’s internal turmoil was addressed in the 2007 album Angels & Devils. Scallions returned to the fold in 2011 and was joined by guitarist Andy Andersson, former Shinedown bassist Brad Stewart, and former Candiria drummer Ken Schalk.