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The Fray Handles The Pressures Of Success

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, June 26, 2009

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The Fray’s 2005 debut album, “How to Save a Life,” was a double-platinum smash. The title track and “Over My Head (Cable Car)” were Top 10 hits. The Denver group won all three digital categories at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards and was nominated for a pair of Grammy Awards in 2007.

That’s quite a bit of success right out of the box. So what kind of impact did it make on recording “The Fray,” the quartet’s follow-up outing that was released in early February?

“A very big one,” says drummer Ben Wysocki. “It’s not like we had memorized a formula or a recipe for a successful album. If we knew that, then it would’ve been easy to just plug those numbers back into the formula and do it again.

“But we had no idea how that happened on the first (album), so when everyone’s like, ‘Just do it again,’ well, we had no idea how we did it, so we had no idea how we were gonna do it again. It was pretty easy to get caught up in how numbers affect your belief in yourself.”

Guitarist Joe King agrees that “we’d be lying if we didn’t say we were nervous,” but says he and his bandmates allayed any fears fairly quickly. “It freaked us out to the point where we just said, ‘OK, let’s get writing again and see what happens,’ and once we got to that point, it went much smoother.”

“The Fray” certainly hasn’t disappointed; it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and has been certified gold in the U.S., with worldwide sales of more than 700,000 copies. It also yielded the hits “You Found Me,” which was used in a key “Grey’s Anatomy” scene last November, and “Never Say Never.”

The group plans to keep pushing the album on the road well into 2010, though it’s also contemplating an EP release of additional songs and is already starting to work up ideas for the third Fray album. But mostly, Wysocki, 24, says, it’s concentrating on presenting “the largest and most expensive stage production we’ve ever done.”

“But it’s great,” the drummer adds. “We’re kind of learning to fill our shows and grow into our years a little bit and really step it up as a performance.

“We’re figuring out not just how to make the show look great, but what it means for us to share our music with people on a nightly basis and create those moments and take people on a journey. So, hopefully, people will see a more mature side of us if they see us on this tour.”

The Fray, Jack’s Mannequin and Richard Swift perform at 7 p.m. Saturday (June 27) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $49.50 and $34.50 pavilion, $20.50 lawn with a $62 lawn four-pack. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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