The Fray is trying to prove that there’s a band beyond TV appearances.
The four alternative rockers from Denver expect to hit the same heights with a new self-titled release that they did with their 2005 debut How To Save A Life. Consider it a more amplified version of what had The Fray topping the charts the first time around: Producers Aaron Johnson and Mike Flynn have returned to produce a work where catchy pop hooks and frontman Isaac Slade’s personal lyrics will attempt to win over audiences in dramatic fashion. “We’re not fetal anymore. Our balls have dropped,” quips drummer Ben Wysocki.
Slade adds, “It’s a funny thing to associate ‘extreme’ with The Fray. But in our range, we’ve pushed to the limit the kind of stuff that we’ve done in the past.”
It’s a tricky situation for The Fray. The band is undeniably successful in its own right. Over My Head (Cable Car), their first single about Slade’s falling out with brother and ex-member Caleb (Isaac notes he’s reconciled with Caleb after he departed from the band.), hit various worldwide top 40 charts.
But the global acclaim, award nominations (including a Grammy) and commercial success also owes much to major television and film exposure. Second single How To Save A Life entered the charts in April 2006. That August, ABC used the song to promote Grey’s Anatomy following its appearance on a March episode of the medical drama (with subsequent appearances on Scrubs and One Tree Hill). The exposure brought global domination. Digital sales of both singles numbered the millions, top chart spots became ubiquitous and the album consequently went double platinum. Fans of Grey’s became fans of The Fray’s.
“I don’t think any band needs TV, but it has been very integral to The Fray’s success in the past couple of years,” Wysocki says of fame-via-television. “The medium acts as a conduit to exposing yourself to young audiences, especially now, when you can buy TV episodes online and carry them around in your pocket. It’s much more permanent and reoccurring and we came along when that was happening.”
Therein lies The Fray’s dilemma: How do you continue your success without falling prey to notoriety chiefly as a television soundtrack band? They’re willing to take the gamble, with first single You Found Me backing current promos of Lost.
“We’ve kind of looked at it as the icing on the cake,” Wysocki says. “But there is that danger of having the audience associate you and what you do to the show when you have your own thing going on.”
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