11 FACTS ABOUT THE SELF-TITLED NEW ALBUM
We know you’re so busy that pre-chewed fast food is starting to sound like a good idea. We also know that most band bios are impenetrable pieces of crap. That’s why we’ve broken everything you need to know about Finger Eleven and the new album into easy-to-digest bite-sized bits.
Fact 1: It took a long time to make this album.
Scott (Vocals): We wanted to make sure we got it right. Every day for 18 months we wrote and rehearsed and pieced together demos. Once we had some musical ideas on tape, I’d ride around in the Prelude with the stereo up way too loud. Lyrical inspirations were scribbled down on receipts, ATM slips, my arm - whatever was handy. The words to “Therapy” came to me in a supermarket parking lot. In the end, we had 30 songs to choose from.
James (Guitar): A lot of the record came together in a miniature castle in rural Ontario northwest of Toronto. It was a cool and really medieval place to work - except for the flies.
Rick (Guitar): The place was infested. It was plague-like. There were big pots of yellow fly bait everywhere, but they didn’t help much. I thought the fuckers were going to eat us.
Fact 2: This album was produced by Johnny K (Disturbed).
Rich (Drums): He’s amazing. We were actually a little reluctant to meet with him at first, but as soon as we started talking musically, it became clear that we could make a pretty cool record with this guy. Johnny knows that it’s all about capturing an attitude and a vibe, so he insisted on making sure that things came together as organically as possible. There’s very little post-production on the album - and if you listen really closely, you can hear some minor mistakes. Johnny insisted on leaving those in because it made everything so much more real.
Sean (Bass): We went down to Johnny’s studio in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. It’s this 10,000 square-foot loft in a building where they used to pack meat. He and a carpenter buddy hand-built the place themselves - and they managed to get rid of all the flies...
Fact 3: Foosball was an important component to this record.
James: Johnny has a foosball table set up outside the studio. Whenever we ran into a roadblock or whenever tensions got too high, we’d blow off steam and settle our differences over the foosball table.
Scott: Here’s a hint: Work your 5-man. If you can do that, then you own the game.
Fact 4: There are some strange banging sounds on “Good Times.”
Rick: We were working on the song at The Village Recorder in West L.A. and realized that we needed some extra percussion. So we started banging on anything we could find: chairs, water cooler jugs, folding chairs - and, uh, one of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s guitars.
Scott: We kind of “borrowed” it.
Sean: We also “borrowed” Axl Rose’s rehearsal piano for that song. It was recorded in the same theater where the Beatles used to meditate with the Maharishi.
Fact 5: Beer and cigarettes played a major role on this record.
Scott: Oh yeah... The vocal take for “One Thing” was done under the influence of a lot of beer. I don't remember singing a single note.
Rick: Also, the song was written at the country mansion of a friend whose ancestor allegedly invented the cigarette filter. So, clearly, the song would never have been possible without the contributions of booze and smokes.
Fact 6: Finger Eleven maintains their own “Fan Phone.”
Sean: When we went down to Chicago to record, we left the number of a cell phone on our website for fans to call to talk or offer support or ask questions or bitch or whatever. The idea was to give our fans a direct connection to us during the recording process.
Rich: We got hundreds of calls, some from as far away as South Africa. It was very inspiring.
Fact 7: Finger Eleven means more than you think.
Scott: “Finger Eleven” has NOTHING to do with your dick. It’s a lyrical fragment from a song called “Thin Spirits” (from Finger Eleven’s debut Tip). It's really about personal choice based on instinct, despite consequences or outside opinions. NOT dicks.
Fact 8: Everyone in the band is a video game addict.
Rick: Yeah, pretty much. We are connoisseurs of all video games and video systems: X-Box, Playstation (1 AND 2), Game Cube - we got it all. There was a lot of Vice City and Baldur’s Gate going on in the studio.
Scott: And we’ve got a very cool PC, complete with one gig of RAM and an ATI 9700 Pro video card. It’s a pretty sweet game rig.
Fact 9: Don’t call Finger Eleven a “nü metal band.”
Scott: We’re not “nü metal.” Simple as that. We’re not heavy for the sake of being heavy. We don’t believe in screams without melody. And we’re not that depressed as individuals.
James: You should see our CD collection. Collectively we have thousands of CDs, ranging from Genesis and Johnny Cash to Tool and Faith No More.
Rich: I first met James while waiting to sneak backstage to get an autograph after an Alice in Chains show in Toronto.
Fact 10: Rich has his drums custom made by a local craftsman.
Rich: There’s this dude who runs a shop called U Drum behind a sub shop in a strip mall in a town called Waterdown. He creates some of the best-sounding kits I’ve ever played.
Fact 11: There’s a bonus DVD with this album.
Rick: It’s pretty cool. It comes with live tunes, behind-the-scenes shots of us at home and footage of us working at the studio in Chicago and L.A. It’s a cool way to see what it’s really like to be in F11.
NEED SOME DEEP BACKGROUND? NO SWEAT!
1. The band is from Burlington, Ontario, a city of about 150,000 on Lake Ontario about 30 miles west of Toronto and 70 miles from Buffalo.
2. Most of the members have known each other since high school. Although they don’t like to talk about it, two of the guys (we’ll let you guess which two) didn’t get along back then and there were some playground brawls. But all is now forgiven.
3. James has conceived every Finger Eleven record cover and layout to date. The new artwork was pieced together with digital photos taken over the course of the band’s writing period (nearly two years).
4. The guys have played their share of covers over the years. The list ranges from Frank Black and Bad Religion to Depeche Mode (“Walking In My Shoes” remains a fave).
5. Finger Eleven issued their first record entitled Tip in 1997 (complete with the single and video, “Above”). America got the album the following September but with a couple of changes. For example, the song Canadians know as “Consolation Day” was re-titled and re-recorded as “Awake and Dreaming.”
6. The second Finger Eleven album, The Greyest of Blue Skies, was released in July 2000. It featured the big Finger Eleven song, “Drag You Down.” It was produced by Arnold Lanni, a guy best known for his work with Our Lady Peace.
7. Finger Eleven’s “Sad Exchange” appears on Daredevil: The Album.
8. There has only been one line-up change in the group’s history. Rich replaced Rob Gommerman on drums in 1998.
9. The band gets support from a network of street teams, groups of hardcore fans that do their best to promote Finger Eleven however they can. These fabulous fans are rewarded with things like sound-check parties.
10. Finger Eleven was chosen to tour Canada with Ozzy Osbourne and Voivod in 2003.
11. Finger Eleven keeps fastidious records of everything they do and everything that’s written about them along with tour diaries, audio, video and even examples of James’ artwork. Everything is neatly stored at www.fingereleven.com. Oh wait, you're already here. Rock on