The legendary grunge rock band Fuel is returning to Australia after a seventeen-year absence to bring back the magic of their Sunburn album back to their Aussie fans. Released twenty years ago, Sunburn was the album that put Fuel on the map in Australia. The album went Gold in Oz and brought us singles such as “Jesus Or A Gun”, “Bittersweet”, and of course, the ever-popular “Shimmer”.
Heavy Mag recently caught up with Fuel frontman Brett Scallions to chat about returning to Australia and what it was like putting together the album that made Fuel a household name amongst rock fans.
Brett laughs when I ask him whether the band knew they were onto something special when they are recording Sunburn. “We didn’t know anything, man. All we knew was that we wanted to make the best record that we could,” he says. “We had our fingers crossed that people wanted to hear it and that they would enjoy it. But we had absolutely no idea what was ahead of it, and we just planned to make the best record that we could. We are going to play the record in its entirety for this tour. I’m still trying to figure out song placement and things like that because I just want to make this the best possible show for the fans, but we’ll be playing Sunburn in its entirety, and then we’ll play some songs off some of our later albums as well. From a live standpoint, you are always trying to create a rollercoaster ride. It’s a matter of picking the right songs and placing them in the right spots and making a show out of it. There are songs on later albums that are relatively large hits, so they are kind of important to play.”
As we talk about the tour coming up, Brett and I move on to the topic that other bands that have done these anniversary tours over the past twelve months have realised that there are tracks on the album that they have never played live before, and Brett says Fuel have had a similar realisation. “I think we might have played all the tracks off Sunburn live at some stage, but for some of those tracks, it has been years since we’ve played them, so it has been a matter of learning the songs all over again. I’m so excited to be able to play some of the songs again though because like I said for some of them it had been years since we played them, so I am very excited. You know, the coolest part for me was being able to go back and listen to the album again. It had probably been close to twenty years since I had sat down and even listened to the record. It was nice to be able to do that again and listen to it with fresh ears and be like, ‘Oh wow, we really nailed it, we did it right.’”
Having said that though Brett says it was interesting as an artist to go back and explore something that he had written twenty years earlier. “It was like reading a diary,” he explains. “It was really going back and reading what was in your mind twenty years ago, what you were being influenced by and how it played out in the songwriting and then the performance of the song. I mean any of those songs if we tried to write them today they would have been written in a different way, possibly… who knows?”
Like The Tea Party found out a few weeks Brett is also excited about the fact that he is heading into a tour where the fans will know all the tracks that the band are playing. “I love that,” he says laughing. “I love when you go into a riff, and people just know what it is, and they start screaming, and they are ready to sing. I love that, so that’s a good thing.”
The downside of course to a band coming to Australia is the flight and Brett, and I share a laugh about previous Fuel flights to Australia. “It’s definitely a long flight,” he says. “In the past we have joked that in those last two or three hours of the flight you begin to look at each other and say, ‘You know what this is where we live now, this what we do now, you are my neighbour, and I live in this seat right here, and that’s that.’ Then you finally land though and then I get to experience something different to that tube that is 30,000 feet in the air. There are just so many times with touring where you just don’t get to get out and see the sights and things like that but whenever I can I get out and walk the town. I hit the streets and try to shop and experience the culture.”
To finish off the interview, I ask Brett the question that every Fuel fan wants to know the answer to; he has been teasing us on social media over the past twelve months that there may be a new Fuel album coming so where is he at with that? “Yeah, I’ve been working on some songs, and yeah, we’re hoping to have some stuff out soon, but yeah I will have to let you know when it is ready. I don’t have a timeline set just now, I’m just trying to focus on it, and I’m waiting for it to tell me that it is ready. The past is the past though, and when I write I just write based on what I am doing right now, so I don’t look back at the Sunburn record and decide to put things into that vein, I just try to write great songs.”
Fuel’s Sunburn 20th Celebration Tour will be hitting Australia in December, thanks to Metropolis Touring.