Fiction Plane frontman Joe Sumner began playing guitar when he was 10, but like many kids his age, he viewed his lessons as more of a chore than a means to a future musical career. Indeed, he might have hung it up right then and there, but after Nirvana broke through in 1991, the then 14-year-old Sumner got a glimpse of what it could be like to rock -- and he liked what he saw.
"I was like, 'OK, guitar is cool!,'" he says. "So, I stopped playing little classical things and started playing power chords, and then I started writing songs." In no time, he and future Fiction Plane bassist Dan Brown were in a band, whose repertoire consisted of a "bunch of Nirvana covers and then a bunch of completely formless songs which had no lyrics."
Sumner looks back fondly on these formative experiences as he awaits this week's release of Fiction Plane's MCA debut, "Everything Will Never Be OK." The fact that Sumner is son of former Police frontman Sting has always afforded the band a built-in level of interest, but Fiction Plane has reached this point in its budding career on its own terms.
It also helps that the set is one of the most musically satisfying rock debut albums in recent memory. Although Sumner's vocal range and singing style bear unmistakable resemblances to his father, he and his bandmates demonstrate an impressive range of songwriting, from the riveting post-hardcore movements of "Silence" and "Wise" to breathless melodic rockers such as "Cigarette" and "Listen to My Babe." The group will be on tour in North America throughout the spring.