Photo by Andrew MacNaughtan
Given Finger Eleven’s recent activity, the extra digit in the band’s name could refer to their frenzied approach to songwriting — 10 fingers just aren’t enough.
The Canadian rockers wrote and recorded more than a hundred songs for their new album, Them Vs. You Vs. Me. Styles flip from country to funk and the band seemingly used every instrument under the sun: from a banjo to xylophones. They recorded in a castle and a cabin in Ontario’s Muskoka region and wrote songs together and in isolated pods, sharing ideas via the Internet.
After the success of the group’s last record, drummer Rich Beddoe said this scattershot approach helped the band open itself up creatively.
“We didn’t want to be defined by our genre … (and so) let everyone experiment,” he said. “If I wanted to pick up a guitar, I could … We weren’t limited to our instruments.”
So far, the results have been promising, with the band’s first single, Paralyzer, reaching the top of Canada’s rock radio charts. Fresh from a U.S. tour with Evanescence, which ended in New Orleans, the band jetted to Vancouver to play a ‘secret’ show to fan contest winners on March 5. Beddoe said the band looked forward to playing the venue — while arenas offer an amazing view from the stage, it’s difficult to connect with 10,000-person audiences.
Reflecting on the tour, Beddoe said even a year and a half after Hurricane Katrina, playing New Orleans is still surreal. Viewed from on-stage at the House of Blues, the city is like new. But after renting a car and driving into the outlying neighbourhoods, he found many homes still flooded, and the streets deserted.
“At Bourbon street, it’s like the hurricane never happened,” he said. “But six blocks north or south is like a ghost town.”