Fuel Ignites The World
Pennsylvania Musician Magazine -- Volume XV, #150 -- April 1998
"Fuel was on our cover in March of '97. A year and a month later they're on the cover again. This time they're even closer to their ultimate goal, the bid for national recognition and Fuel becoming a household word to all those around the world and everyone singing their songs. The next thing you know they'll be getting their own grammy. It's great! They even admit to being based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania! Pennsylvania loves Fuel, their sound, talent, love for their fans, and the spirit in which they perform. Fuel gives their all at each performance, involving the crowd and becoming friends with their fans. Listening to their video Brett made an interesting comment, 'It's not fans, it's friends we want.' They want friends all over the world. It's the fans (friends) that buy the recordings that create the numbers, that create the buzz that makes it all happen. Fuel appreciates their fans (friends) and are showing it at several local shows before they head out on tour and promote their latest release, Sunburn. They started their Sunburn CD release parties in late March at Tink's in Scranton, then headed to the Crowbar in State College and then to Wanda's in Mechanicsburg - at Wanda's they created a good fan base by playing a regular Wednesday night gig. That's old news but worth mentioning because those fans started following them around and began the initial buzz - Next CD release party happened at Lupo's in Bethlehem and then to The Chameleon in Lancaster. April 3rd they will be playing at the Metropol in Pittsburgh and on April 4th at Lancaster's Village. Then they have to go to New York but don't panic, they'll be back to Central Pennsylvania April 10th at Shakey's in Hershey. The last gig in April for Pennsylvania will be at the Sterling Hotel on the 11th in Allentown. Then they are off to Missouri, Texas then Georgia!"
"That's Harrisburg's own Fuel. A success story that combines raw talent, great marketing skills and the right people providing the added push including Gregory Epler and David Sestak of Media Five Entertainment located in Bethlehem, who are their management team."
"The following information is taken from the media kit I recieved from Thanh Thanh Dang at Nasty Little Man of New York, Fuel's media contact. Thanks, Thanh Thanh. Read on and enjoy the continuing saga of Harrisburg's own... Fuel."
"Fuel combines muscular, precise rhythms with passionate and commanding lyrics bound by solid hooks. The four-member Central Pennsylvania band creates emotive music, reflective of an era of confusion and heightened self- awareness. However, Fuel — Brett Scallions (lead vocals, guitar), Carl Bell (guitar, vocals), Jeff Abercrombie (bass) and Kevin Miller (drums) — have been cultivating their ubiquitous sound for years in the heartland. The band's major label debut LP on 550 Music, Sunburn, was produced by Steven Haigler (the Pixies, Quicksand, Local H) and mixed by Tom Lord-Alge (Wallflowers, Dave Matthews Band). Recorded in a pastoral setting surrounded by 1,500 acres of farmland, Sunburn's 11 tracks belie its bucolic birthplace at Long View Farms in Massachusetts."
"Sunburn's first single is 'Shimmer,' with its bittersweet warning that 'All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade.' Fuel's songwriter Carl Bell says: 'The song was inspired by personal events in my life, but I think people can relate to it universally. Everything is temporary.'"
"A bleaker view is presented in the violent, desperate exhortations from the power and fury of 'Jesus or a Gun.' 'That's just about being buried by everyday life—the social ideals and situations, you're just looking for relief,' says Bell. 'Some people choose Jesus, and other people might look for something a little more drastic and immediate.'"
"Throughout Sunburn, a searching and often dark tone pervades along with lingering hooks. 'When I write a song, 'Bell offers, 'it's just what I'm going through, or have seen someone else go through. Writing is like therapy for me. It helps you decode stuff that's going on in your life.' Sunburn follows the group's phenomenal regional success in their adopted home of Central Pennsylvania, where loyal support from radio and numerous concerts boosted sales of their 1996 independent EP Porcelain to over 10,000 copies, prompting the Harrisburg Patriot to note that 'the murmur surrounding Fuel is loud,' while the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader called their live show 'the equivalent of a tank full of 94-octane gas.'"
"Self-produced, promoted and financed, Porcelain was recorded and released 'against all odds and in less than accommodating environments,' according to its liner notes. The EP won Fuel immediate airplay on local radio stations, with an early version of 'Shimmer' attaining the band 'Screamer of the Week' status on a local modern rock outlet. Phone requests, increased airplay and sold-out gigs led to Fuel's signing with 550 Music backstage following a sold-out performance for 3,000 fans at Millersville University, PA."
"The band soon released the college-only promo EP Hazleton on 550 Music, which enjoyed a successful run on the CMJ charts. Fuel went on to perform with The Toadies, Verve Pipe and Dinosaur Jr., to name a few."
"Fuel began with Carl Bell and bass player Jeff Abercrombie, who both grew up in a small rural Western Tennessee town. 'It was a town of about a thousand people,' says Bell. 'It had two stop lights, and I had 27 people in my graduating class. I grew up without TV so, you know, I had to play guitar.' Bell's musical education was jump-started at age 12 when his older brother won 500 LPs in a contest sponsored by a Memphis AM radio station. 'I would get home from school and listen to all these vinyl albums for hours. Access to all those different bands hugely influenced my music.'"
"Bell formed various bands with Abercrombie, but Fuel crystallized with the addition of Brett Scallions on lead vocals and guitar. 'With the addition of Brett, the band really solidified,' says Abercrombie. Fuel began recording and rehearsing a growing catalog of compositions. The band recorded a self-titled 8-song cassette as a demo, which sold 5,000 copies at shows and in stores. Fuel decided to move from their sleepy southern home in Western Tennessee to relocate to a city that has more rock and roll, more media presence, and more strategic location. A city like...Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?"
"'Hey, Harrisburg worked out for us! It was a short drive to markets like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Baltimore and D.C., where we began building a loyal following,'" says Scallions. "'The fan base here has been really overwhelming. They've really supported us from day one and it just grew and grew.'"
"And with Sunburn, Fuel is now poised for the next step. 'Voicing music on a national level is a great thing — it's something we've always dreamed of,' says Scallions. 'We love to travel, see the road and get personal with people. We're very excited about that.'"
"Voted as one of the 'Top 10 Acts to Watch in 1998,' by the Boston Tab, Pennsylvania's Fuel supplies large doses of heavy guitar, precise rhythms and passionate melodies in the band's debut LP, Sunburn (550 Music) released March 31st, 1998. Produced by Steven Haigler (The Pixies, Quicksand), Sunburn contains 11 strong tracks of 'True adrenaline... mainstream rock with guts,' says the Boston Tab. 'Shimmer' is Sunburn's kick-off single and is currently igniting radio. 'Shimmer' is and 'intriguing guitar-charged kicker... a catchy track that's wrapped with an elastic hook and propelled by ballsy beats,' says Billboard. Fuel has attained 'Screamer of the Week' status with an early version of 'Shimmer' on the band's self-recorded Porcelain EP; it was the #1 most requested song in Harrisburg, PA - recieving spins on 105.7 X, 93.5 WTPA, and WNNK 104."
"Currently on their North American tour, Fuel is 'a live band, that's where we blossom,' explains guitarist Carl Bell. 'We can be somewhat hard and guitar- driven, but there's always a great melody and always a great hook.' Fuel, we hope you keep on shimmering and never fade. Be sure to catch them locally at the Village in Lancaster April 4th, Shakey's in Hershey, April 10th, and The Sterling Hotel, Allentown, April 11th. Parties to remember, be there."