Brett Scallions says getting back in front of Fuel "feels pretty rad. It's like putting those comfy shoes right back on. It feels good." Scallions and Fuel start a new chapter in the group's history with the March 4 release of "Puppet Strings," the band's first new release in seven years. Today (Feb. 20) Billboard exclusively premieres the track "Cold Summer" (listen below).
"Puppet Strings" comes after Scallions rejoined the band in 2010 after a four-year break -- during which he sang Doors songs with Robby Krieger and the late Ray Manzarek -- and co-founder and guitarist Carl Bell left by "mutual agreement" after recording one album, 2007's "Angels & Devils," without Scallions.
"I think getting away from Fuel for awhile was really good for me and my songwriting," Scallions says. "I told those guys, 'Hey, if you think you can do this without me, I give you my blessing.' I'm not going to wish ill will on anybody. Unfortunately for them it's not easy for any band to go out and succeed without the original singer. So now I feel like it's my turn to have the freedom of going out and making a record and calling it Fuel and being able to control the destiny of what we do."
Scallions feels confident that "Puppet Strings," produced by Eddie Wohl and moving Fuel from Epic to MegaForce Records, boasts "a number of songs that are a departure of what Fuel has been thought of as being. There's more blues-based songs on here than in the past. There's a little bit of punk rock and stuff in there as well. I find that refreshing because there are elements that weren't so apparent in previous Fuel records that are part of my musical makeup. I just feel like only the bands that are capable of re-inventing themselves are capable of surviving."
The vast majority of "Puppet Strings'" 10 tracks are fresh, but Scallions says "Cold Summer" actually dates back to the early '00s, prior to the "Natural Selection" album. "I recorded that song probably three or four times already and had kinda lost hope in it," Scallions says. "But then (Wohl) and the guys in the band heard it and said, 'Man, we gotta do that song!' 'Really?' I had a full-on hangover; it had been with me so long I was very indifferent about it. But we actually got it right this time. I played it for my wife and a number of other people and they were all like, 'Man, that's a hit! You've got to put this song on the record!' So I guess I'm outnumbered this time."
Fuel will celebrate "Puppet Strings" with a release-day show at the Viper Room in Hollywood, followed by a batch of spring dates with more expected to be added to the itinerary. The group will also be part of Carnival Cruise Line's Rockaholica Cruise departing Sept. 29 from Key West, Fla.
Here are many of Fuel's Spring 2014 Tour Dates:
March 4: Los Angeles, The Viper Room
March 7: Dallas, Hat Tricks
March 8: Adrmore, Okla., Heritage Hall
March 9: Corpus Christi, Tex, Brewster St. Ice House
March 11: Houston, Scout Bar
March 15: Glendale, Ariz., University of Phoenix
March 25: Birmingham, Ala., Iron Horse
March 29: Chicago, Home Bar
March 30: Minneapolis, Fine Line
April 11: Destin, Fla., Club LA
April 12: Orlando, Earthday Birthday
May 17: Columbus, Ohio, Rock On the Range