January 13, 2013 Leave a comment
Originally published in The Patriot-News on Aug. 16, 2012.
A teen struggles with drugs, a battle erupts between brothers, a man debates his faith — these are just some of the stories told by the songs of The Fray, a piano-driven rock group known for its emotionally raw lyrics.
The group rose to fame in 2005 their single “Over My Head (Cable Car),” their ascent continued with the song “How to Save a Life,” which reached number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart and number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007.
Since then its music has appeared on TV shows including “NCIS” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
And now, the band is coming to Hershey. Singer, songwriter and pianist Isaac Slade, rhythm guitarist Joe King, drummer Ben Wysocki and lead guitarist Ben Welsh are coming down chocolate way to perform at the boy band driven Summer Mixtape Festival at Herhseypark Stadium on Aug. 17-18.
Slade spared a few minutes while waiting to catch a flight to chat about the festival, the band’s music and the importance of honesty.
What’s it like being on the same line-up as New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees at the Summer Mixtape Festival?
“This is news to me. [laughter] We played with New Kids at some enormous event in LA a while back. We had trailers next to [Donnie Wahlberg] and he was trying to sing and do his dance moves outside by himself in the parking lot. I wanted to film it so badly. He’s still got it.”
You talk about honesty a lot when talking about your music. How important is it for an artist to be honest?
“I think honesty is everything. You make a movie or write a book or write a script for a TV show or write a song that doesn’t tell the truth, especially given the onslaught of culture in these days, people just know. They can tell. It’s almost like a taste test…. it looks like the real thing until you take a bite of it and you just know right away…. I think the stuff that lasts the longest and the stuff that resonates the deepest and strongest all have honesty and truth built into the DNA.”
Isn’t that scary at all? Being completely honest with millions of people you don’t even know?
“I used to be really scared by it honestly. But there’s one comment somebody made to me. He’s like and old school singer and I asked him ‘How do you handle that fear of reading your journal in front of a bunch of people?’ He said the only time he’s nervous is if his song doesn’t cut to the bones, if the song isn’t giving stuff away. That’s when people check out and get bored. You have to be real otherwise the song is completely pointless.
“My job is not to get up and look good. My job is to get up and be real. Show them my scars and maybe even bleed in front of them.
“I think people want to know that their heroes and icons are real.”