"The Rocket" - Slippery Rock Univ.

by Rebekah Shearer

February 1999

FUEL to "Shimmer" on SRU's U.U. Stage

As, you probably have already guessed by the sold out show, FUEL is very popular now. Their music is said to have "brutish guitar stylings and familiar, yet contagious choruses" by Rolling Stones music critique Jon Pareles. Everyone going to the show knows what they sound like, but does everyone know how FUEL got their start?

FUEL was not even a twinkle in the eyes of Carl Bell and Jeff Abercrombie as kids growing up in Kenton, Tennessee. They started off playing in garage bands together as youngsters. Eventually the two teamed up with their front man Brett Scallions, who lived in neighboring Brownsville, and formed the core of the band in 1989. Later that year the trio added Jody Abbot, on drums, and Erik Avakian, on keyboard and began playing covers in small clubs around Tennessee.

Knowing that they weren't acquiring a huge following, the band moved to Harrisburg in 1994, where they already had some support. Their first self-released, self-titled album was released shortly thereafter. Erik left after the release, never to enjoy the band's success.

From here on the story of FUEL burns quickly and brightly. While playing in Harrisburg, FUEL recorded "Porcelain" before and after shows, and mixed it in their houses. It contained seven songs, one of which being "Shimmer". The members sold the CD out of the trunks of their cars and from the side of the stage. They sold over 10,000 copies making "Porcelain" their first sold out album. FUEL had their first taste of success.

Things were to only get better for the now Harrisburg based band. On May 6, 1997 FUEL was signed to 550 Sony records after sold out show at Millersville University. They started recording Sunburn during the fall of 97'.

In November of 1997 FUEL lost Jody when he decided to leave the band. Kevin Miller, who is formally of the Armadillos, replaced Jody. Three months later, on February 17, 1998, "Shimmer" was released for national radio play. The video was shot in Los Angels over two days later that month. Josh Taft, who has worked with such big names as the Stone Temple Pilots, directed the video for "Shimmer".

After releasing Sunburn on March 31, they recorded "Walk the Sky" for the Godzilla soundtrack.

In the first week, Sunburn sold 2,200 copies in central Pennsylvania alone, and over 10,000 copies nationally. It premiered on Billboard's top 200 at a surprising #79. On May 24, the members of FUEL had their first TV interview with Matt Pinfield on MTV's "120 Minutes". Just three days later "Shimmer" appeared on "12 Angry Viewers" and won, beating out Green Day and The Verve. Conan O'Brian featured FUEL; on his show where they performed their hit single.

Things are just getting better and better for FUEL. In September FUEL was asked to go on tour with Aerosmith, and graciously accepted. October was a huge month for the band, not only did their follow up song, "Bittersweet" get premiered on "120 minutes" but on October 22, 1998 the 500,000 copy of Sunburn was sold, making it their first Gold record.

In November, riding high off of the success of their album, FUEL embarked on a world tour, and tonight, will be performing to our very own Slippery Rock University. Prepare yourselves though, in an article I found on the internet, Brett Scallions was quoted as saying, "I like to establish to everyone early in the set that you're coming on our ride, and it's going to be a lot wilder than you expected."

After hitting "The Rock", FUEL will move onto Philly tomorrow, Virginia Beach on Sunday, and then Winston-Salem on February 9th. I will be in the crowd on Friday night listening to the hard-edged music of FUEL along with those who were lucky enough to get tickets. I will let you all know what I thought of the show, and what I thought of the members of FUEL next week. I have had the gracious permission of WRSK to sit in on their interview to see what they were like.

For more information on FUEL check out Sunburn at: http://www.musicfanclubs.org/fuel. All information in this article courtesy of Eric Hoffman, and his web page.