Fans key to Finger 11's success

Guitar Hero and booze don't hurt either

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Finger Eleven vs. you vs. me at Guitar Hero " who would win?

According to Finger Eleven drummer Rich Beddoe, there’s no doubt who would take the title: singer Scott Anderson.

“It’s funny; I’m the worst at it, and Scott’s the best"and he doesn’t even know how to play guitar.”

While Finger Eleven has been busy promoting its latest album, Them Vs. You Vs. Me, Beddoe says the band always finds time to squeeze in a little Guitar Hero. The band sometimes even plays with fans at meet-and-greets.

“It’s always been important for us to have a relationship with our fans, especially in this day where people get into listening to other bands so quickly,” Beddoe says. “We work to build a relationship with people out there.

“We want to make sure we keep our job,” he adds with a laugh. “I think it’s fun to interact with fans … You have to do whatever you can to let the fans know how much you appreciate them.”

Beddoe says Finger Eleven " which also includes Anderson, James Black, Rick Jackett and Sean Anderson " owes its longevity to its fans.

“I’m grateful we’ve had a long enough career to be able to grow so much. Most bands that don’t change, that keep writing the same music, usually have a short career. We will always keep changing; we never want to make the same record twice.”

Beddoe says the band doesn’t consciously change its sound.

“People forget that just because you’re a band in the spotlight, it doesn’t mean you aren’t growing up just like everyone else. We just feel differently about things, and new experiences change us and our music … If you look back seven years ago to anything in your life, you’ll see how different you were. That’s sort of like the band.”

From the heavy rock songs on Greyest of the Blue Skies to the soft ballads on its 2003 self-titled album, Finger Eleven has constantly revamped its image and sound.

According to Beddoe, the band also spent lots of time revamping Them vs. You vs. Me. One song in particular, “Talk to the Walls,” was often changed.

“We wrote it eight times,” he says. “We didn’t feel we got it right the first couple times, so we stripped it right down. We were still revising when we got into the studio. By that time, I’ll admit I was sick of it and felt like saying, ‘Screw it, lets move on.’ But there was something about it that made everybody hang onto it, and now it’s one of my favourites.”

Similarly, he says the band spent a long time revising the hit single “Paralyzer.”

“We wanted to do it right; there are so many ways of doing it wrong,” he says. “And as we [were] reworking the bridge, the record company got really involved because they thought it could be a single. When you have that many people involved, there are just that many more opinions about the song, and it takes longer [to finish.]

“[Recording] is such a long process and such a pain in the ass, but it’s worth it.”

The album’s title reflects the band’s frustrations.

“[The title Them vs. You vs. Me] represents the struggle between us and record companies, this never-ending story, this revolving door of arguments, of people having an opinion about your band. The name is reflective of how we were feeling at the time.”

Like many others, Finger Eleven thinks the best way to rid itself of stress is drinking. According to Beddoe, he’s the band’s champion.

“I’ve had lots of practice. Plus, I was born in Wales. It’s in the blood. But I think we can all hang pretty good.

“We’re pretty legendary amongst the bands we have toured with for our rowdy behaviour,” he says. “The other night we went drinking with Sum 41 and my sweater somehow ended up becoming sweatbands for everyone. That’s pretty typical of a night on the road.”

Finger Eleven was scheduled to perform at the John Labatt Centre on Oct. 30. The show has since been cancelled.

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