Discussing the new record, Austin, TX & 20 years as a band with Fastball frontman, Tony Scalzo
It’s an exciting time for the Austin native — rock band, Fastball. Their new record, Step Into Light, will be released on May 19th, their first since 2009’s Little White Lies. Starting May 11th, they embark on a 45 date North American tour with Everclear, which will carry them through the bulk of the summer.
Having released the tracks “We’re On Our Way” and “I Will Never Let You Down,” off the forthcoming record, we find Fastball exploring new territory while at the same time, remaining true to their signature sound.
We recently caught up with frontman Tony Scalzo right before taking off for quick a press run in New York (including the Howard Stern Wrap Up Show), leading right up to kicking off the tour.
You recently passed the 20 year mark since your first release, if you can capture it in words, how does 20 years of Fastball feel? What is the emotion for you?
Fastball from the start, was always very pro-active and forward-moving up until the time we got a record deal and management. I’m sure that’s how we were able to get to that point. Once we got hits on the radio, after three years of existence, we worked super hard and then workload got even tougher. By the time we were touring on our third album, Harsh Light of Day, we were sort of losing our zest for it. Then we had no record deal and no management. We were trying to still be a band, but without a team in place. Yes, we managed to get out a couple of albums that we are proud of, but it proved to be almost impossible to convince people we were still out there doing stuff.
We really started getting it together within the past three years. After going on a big tour with Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray back in 2013, we decided to get a record together and we realized we couldn’t do it alone. So now, after 20+ years, it feels really good to have our organization set up so when we put in to the hard work to play and promote the band, we have the support we need.
So to answer the question, my emotions are very positive. I feel like we are taking our band seriously and so are others. I look forward to taking our music to as many people as possible and I’m grateful to have another shot at it.
When were the songs from “Step into Light” written? Are they all recent, from previous sessions or a combination of both?
Some are old
Some are new
Some are borrowed
Some are blue
“We’re on our Way” is an interesting selection to kick off the album with a hook of …that was yesterday, we’re on our way. Was that deliberate? Was there meaning behind that as return of Fastball?
Miles wrote that one so … well, I guess it’s appropriate!
Austin, TX is very culturally rich city with such a special music/arts scene. What has Austin meant for your career? How has it influenced you personally and musically?
The Austin of 1994–98 is the Austin that inspired and nurtured to us. To be honest, I’m of the opinion that our band is not thought of as a local band here. In 1998 we had hits and split to go play around the world. We came back after three years and it was all about our little brothers in Spoon. We’re still trying to convince Austin that we are one of the best bands in town. They never listen! Oh, well, we get so much love from people all over, so it doesn’t bug me that much.
What have the past eight years been like for you as an artist — from Little White Lies to Step into Light? Do the new songs capture your experiences and emotions of that time period?
The past eight years have been represented by a change in our attitude for the better. We have been working, writing, and learning, and now we feel we are ready to show off this record and play our asses off.
You recently recorded in Jack White’s old school booth at Third Man Records. I happen to think what Jack is doing is absolutely amazing. What was that experience like?
We just went into Third Man Records to use their recording booth from from 1905. You pay $20, go in the booth, hit the button and play. Five minutes later a little 6″ vinyl record comes out. They sound weird and other-worldly. I think we’d have to spend a whole day and about eight $20 bills to get it right. We did it twice and call one of the records the “blooper” version. We are going to auction them off to the highest bidder.
A bit cliche, but I always love to ask artists about songs from their catalog that have been larger than life. You’ve had two so far with “The Way” and “Out of My Head”. What can you say about the longevity of those tunes?
I don’t know, they are good old songs I wrote back in 1997. It’s all about the new music now. We play those songs still, though. Always will.
What is it like for you to see “Out of My Head” now reinventing itself with Machine Gun Kelly?
I think it’s a beautiful thing. It helps me financially and it keeps the song current.
What are you most looking forward to — heading out on the road this summer with Everclear?
Seeing Art and the guys, and just playing every night, getting better and better. It’s going to be totally awesome!
Catch Fastball on tour starting May 11th with Everclear and Vertical Horizon.
Pre-order Step Into Light and get “I Will Never Let You Down” instantly.
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