The Fray Discuss Working with Pearl Jam’s Producer and Touring with U2

2012-02-09

Story by Anne Erickson

The Fray guitarist on new album: ‘We wanted the record to sound big enough for the back row’

Alternative pop-rock band the Fray aren’t exactly the first band that comes to mind when you think “hard rock.” But regardless, the guys booked producer Brendan O’Brien to record their latest album, “Scars & Stories”– a man known for twiddling the knobs for real rockers like AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Seether, Velvet Revolver and Incubus.

“Once we started to compile the album’s list of songs, we started to kick around producers,” guitarist Joe King told Billboard. “We didn’t necessarily say, ‘Let’s have more guitars.’ It’s just, we wanted the sound ‘big.’ We wanted the record to sound big enough for the back row. We were even able to test out some of these songs when we toured with U2 last year and it was the best way to see if a song fell flat. And, several of them did (laughs).

“Brendan O’Brien just seemed to be a good fit for us. We wanted a guy who was decisive and could push us and he definitely did that.”

As for opening for select dates on U2’s blockbuster 360° Tour last year, lead singer Isaac Slade says the production was a bit overwhelming. “Touring with U2’s a funny thing because you get swallowed up in the machine a little bit. It’s a whole production with hundreds of people and hundreds of semi-trucks,” Slade said.

Amid all the hoopla, he was impressed by the down-to-earth nature of the gents of U2: “Somehow in the midst of it all we got that sense that the four of them remain human.”

The Fray’s last album, their 2009 self-titled release, shot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart immediately. Slade exclusively told Audio Ink Radio that the jump was a thrill. “It was wicked,” he said, chatting from his hometown of Denver, Co. “We pushed and pushed that first record and it didn’t go gold for 18 months, while the second went gold in four weeks. It felt like we were cheating (laughs), but we were stoked about it.” “Scars & Stories,” which dropped last Tuesday (Feb. 7), is on target to sell 100,000 copies in its debut week, according to Billboard.

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