Fuel will return on August 7th with their brand new album, “Angels and Devils” the first with new lead singer Toryn Green. The band’s primary songwriter Carl Bell says the band’s struggles and line up changes have helped give the band time to collect some of the best music they’ve written over the past few years.
“The one good thing about having a long time between records is you get the crème de la crème,” Bell explained to Alternative Addiction. “A lot of the songs that I wrote and intentionally thought would be on the album, ended up getting replaced by even better songs, so I think it’s as strong of a record as we’ve ever had.”
The delay in recording Angels and Devils really started as the band was finishing up touring on their last record “Natural Selection.” Drummer Kevin Miller was released from the band, then lead singer Brett Scallions quit a short time later. Bell was faced the difficult task of replacing the band’s drummer, and lead singer - who many saw as the face of Fuel.
“When Brett up and left, it was kinda like ‘great, well what do we do now?’” The issues that Scallions had with Bell appear to be stemmed pretty deep, including creative differences and his ability to write songs for the band.
“He wanted to write more, and be [involved] a little bit in the writing, which was fine with me; I can’t stop somebody from writing.” But the real problem with Scallions, according to Bell, was his voice.
“Brett had some voice issues…struggling with his voice at times,” Bell said. “A lot of it was his voice to be honest with you; he had kinda lost a little bit of it.”
Before word could even spread that Scallions had left Fuel, rumors began to surface that, then contestant on American Idol, Chris Daughtry would be joining Fuel to replace Scallions.
“Chris kinda started the whole ball rolling by singing our song on American Idol- let me just say that. I got a phone call one night – ‘hey this dude just sang your song on American Idol and did a great job.’ So we started talking to him because at that time we didn’t have a lead singer.”
Talks between the band and Daughtry continued for several weeks. “He was saying ‘Hey if I don’t make this American Idol thing, maybe there is something that both of us can work out.’ Then there were dialogs on both sides as to whether it would be something of merit, and it was talked about for quite a while.”
As time went on, Daughtry’s popularity grew and according to Bell, Daughtry’s label would not let Daughtry out of his contract. “I don’t know [exactly] how it works on American Idol, if you are in the Top 20 or something like that, they have first right of refusal, the American Idol company/Jive Records or whoever it is, basically they have the option to pick you up if they want to, and they exercised the option on Chris, is my understanding.”
“So there was no choice, they picked him up and that was basically the end of that, but we definitely were seriously talking, there was no doubt about that. Now whether it would have been right for us is another thing, but obviously he’s had success on his own.”
In the fall of last year, Fuel began rehearsals to find their new lead singer. Toryn Green, former frontman of the Los Angeles band Something to Burn surfaced as perfect fit.
“I have been impressed tremendously from the beginning with Toryn,” Bell said. “We looked around LA for guys and couldn’t find anyone, so we just ended up putting it on the web. His submission was probably one of the best. When we did live auditions with him he came in and he just had the entire package. Toryn was prepared, he had the look, and knew the lyrics.”
When Fuel entered the studio to begin recording “Angels and Devils” earlier this year, much to Bell’s surprise, they had to revamp a couple songs to better compliment Green’s wide range of vocals.
“We had to raise the keys of some of the songs to get it in a better range for him. I had written songs thinking Brett was going to sing them, and I kinda knew what Brett’s range was, normally I would adjust my songs accordingly – basically if I could sing it, Brett could sing it. Now it’s kinda like ‘I can’t hit that note, but I know Toryn will be able to.’ And he does, he just has an amazing set of pipes on him.”
With all the changes that Fuel has made, Bell made it clear that the of the band has not changed at all - writing and playing great music.
“We were very conscious because of how many changes we made, that you don’t wanna change so much that you become something different. So we kinda stayed the course of what Fuel has been, just with some new players in there. I think we’ve always seemed to have people gravitate towards Fuel for our solids songs, we don’t have a lot of gimmicks on stage, we just pretty much rely on – ‘this is good solid music and I hope you dig it.’ That’s really what we’ve always been about.”
Listen To Alternative Addiction's Interview with Carl Bell