Band of the Month – The Fray

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The Fray is an American rock band that was formed in 2002 by schoolmates Isaac Slade and Joe King. Three of the band members attended Christian schools and they helped lead worship in Denver’s churches. Slade, Joe King and drummer Ben Wysocki attended Faith Christian Academy. Ben and David Welsh played in the same worship band. Isaac Slade and Joe King reconnected and started to play and write songs together. Zach Johnson was later added on the drums and Isaac’s younger brother Caleb played bass. Caleb was later asked to leave and this caused a rift in the brothers’ relationship and inspired the song Over My Head (Cable Car). The song is about the brothers’ wanting a relationship. Following Caleb’s departure Zach Johnson left the band to attend an art school in New York.

Dave Walsh was added as lead guitarist and Ben Wysocki joined as the drummer. The band decided to ask people to put band names on a piece of paper. They later drew the name “The Fray” randomly. The band employs a touring bass guitarist . The current bassist Jeremy McCoy has been with the band since 2009.

The band struggled to launch a single despite positive reviews, Denver radio station KTCL rejected 8 of their songs before the band decided to send a demo of Cable Car. The song received airplay from KTCL and the station received a lot of requests for the song shortly afterwards. The band was voted the “Best New Band” by Westword in 2004. The band was discovered after Epic Records A&R man Daniel Davis read the article in Westword. Epic Records officially signed the band on the 17th of December 2004.

The band’s debut album was released on the 13th of September 2005, “Over My Head (Cable Car)” was released as the first single and it peaked at number 37 on the Modern Rock Tracks Chart. The song was the fifth-most downloaded song of 2006. It reached its peak place at number 8 on the Hot 100 chart.

The song “How To Save A Life” was first aired during a second season episode of Grey’s Anatomy and then on a fifth season episode of Scrubs. Despite not having been released as a single the song entered the Hot 100 on the 15th of April 2006. The song was released as the second single. On the 18th of August 2006 ABC announced that the song would be used for the main advertising promotion for the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. How To Save A Life was inspired by Slade’s experience as a mentor trying to help a crack addicted teen.

The song peaked at number 3 on the Hot 100 chart and it tied for the seventh longest charting single of all time on the Hot 100 chart with Santana’s Smooth for 58 consecutive weeks.

The third single “Look After You”was released and it was the first single from The Fray to miss the Top 40 and their fourth single “All At Once” failed to enter the Hot 100 chart.

The success of the first two singles was enough to launch the band into mainstream success. How To Save A Life reached the Number 15 spot on the US Billboard 200 chart and the album was certified the best-selling digital album of all time breaking the record previously held by Coldplay’s X&Y album.

The Fray promoted the album by launching an extensive worldwide tour and by releasing a live album called “Live At The Electric Factory: Bootleg No.1” on the 18th of July 2006. How To Save A Life was re-released as a CD/DVD set with exclusive content. On the 4th of September 2007, the band released another live album “Acoustic in Nashville: Bootleg No.2. The band released a live cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” as a Christmas single in 2006.

The Fray released their self-titled second album on the 3rd of February 2009, the lead single from the album You Found Me debuted online on the 9th of December 2009 and the song debuted at number 28 on the Hot 100 chart and the song peaked at number 7. It is the band’s third single to sell 2 million digital downloads in the US. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart selling 179,000 copies in its first week of release. Q challenged the band to write a song within 24 hours in celebration of Valentine’s Day and the song was called “Be The One”. The demo of the song was released worldwide on the band’s official website on the 11th of November 2009. The band also covered Kanye West’s song “Heartless” and both of these songs were included in the deluxe edition of the band’s second album.The Fray’s third live album was released on the 7th of April 2009 “The Fray: Live from Soho”. Never Say Never was released as the second single off of the album and Syndicate the third single off the album was released on the 12th of January 2010.

The Fray collaborated with Timbaland on his album Shock Value II which was released on the 8th of December 2009. The band was featured on the song “Undertow” and I happen to love the mixture that Timbaland and The Fray created on this song.

The Fray’s third album Scars and Stories was released in early 2012 and the band is now busy writing and recording their fourth album with a target release date for Christmas 2013.

I have respect for The Fray’s music, because it is emotive, sensitive and thoughtful. It evokes strong emotions within the listener. I don’t think I have ever listened to the song “Happiness” without slightly tearing up. Another powerful song from the band is “Say When” which takes the listener on a journey through love and war.

You can follow The Fray on Twitter:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K


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