fuel

Fuel.

In the weeks leading up to the band's 1997 performance at Millersville University, Fuel had been ironing out details with Sony in anticipation of signing a record deal on the label’s unit 550 Music.

The Lancaster show ended up being where the rock band made things official.

“We went into our dressing room, which was a locker room,” says Brett Scallions, Fuel’s frontman. “They threw a contract, which looked like some type of law book. It was huge. … It was a cool moment there, to be putting ink to paper on our first major recording contract.”



Fuel will return to Lancaster Saturday, when the band headlines the Rock at the Park Festival at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The show is presented by AMT Concerts, a division of American Music Theatre.

The hard rock band formed in Kenton, Tennessee, in 1994 before relocating to Harrisburg, where it performed on the nightclub circuit as Reel to Real. The band also was known briefly as Small the Joy before settling on the name Fuel in 1996.

Fuel hit it big with the 1998 album “Sunburn,” which included its breakout hit “Shimmer.” Such hits as “Hemmorrhage (In My Hands),” “Bad Day” and “Falls on Me” followed.

The original lineup ceased in 1997 when drummer Jody Abbot left Fuel. The lineup shifted several times from then until 2008, including Scallions’ exit in 2006.

“I’ve always been the type of person with the mentality of, if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, then why are you doing it?” Scallions says. “So, I needed to clear my head and explore new things. I just wasn’t having a good time.”

During his time away from Fuel, Scallions performed with bands The X’s, Circus Diablo and World Fire Brigade. In 2007, he teamed up with original Doors members Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger in Riders of the Storm, a project dedicated to keeping the ’60s band’s music alive.

Scallions says the experience taught him how to jam. Each performance with Manzarek and Krieger was different thanks to lengthy jam sessions in some of the songs.

“They taught me to keep an eye on everybody else on stage because you weren’t sure what was going to happen,” Scallions says. “It was so nice, and that was refreshing. There was an energy to it that was, for me, it was kind of foreign to me, to be honest with you, because Fuel was never really like that.”

Scallions says he took what he learned from that experience to apply to Fuel’s current incarnation. Scallions briefly reunited with original Fuel bassist Jeff Abercrombie in 2009 for Re-Fueled, playing the bands hits. Re-Fueled disbanded a year later.

These days, Scallions is the only original Fuel member in the band. Fuel is Scallions, former Puddle of Mudd drummer Shannon Boone, bassist Phil Buckman and guitarist Kemble Walters. Scallions says his bandmates aren’t just fantastic players, but everyone’s compatible in terms of personality, too.

“You’re building a family when you put together a group of guys like this,” Scallions says. “You’re not just seeing each other on the stage. You also got to see each other at the hotel and at the airport and in the van ride or the tour bus, wherever that might be.”

As for his former bandmates, Scallions speaks with respect as he wishes them well. He says he’s had great conversations with some of them in recent years, and he still keeps in touch with Abercrombie.

“We’re all kind of doing our own things and what’s best for us and our lives at this point,” Scallions says.

In 2017, Fuel began celebrating the 10th anniversary of “Sunburn,” the record that introduced its music to a national audience. Fuel will perform the album in full Saturday. The band’s set will include a few songs from other albums, as well.

Revisiting the album has reminded Scallions about some previously forgotten songs, particularly “It’s Come to This” and “Hideaway.”

“There were a few songs in there that were really cool and exciting for me to be able to play again,” Scallions says. “It’s fun to kind of go back and think about the time when the making of the record and just the history of developing it and finishing it.”

Fuel’s last release was “Puppet Strings” in 2014. Scallions says he’s taking advantage of the band’s lighter-than-average tour schedule this summer to work on new music. He’s also been enjoying the extra time with his family, with whom he lives in Los Angeles.

While the band’s journey hasn’t been perfectly linear, Scallions is happy with where he and Fuel are at today.

“I’m having a blast with the guys that I’m playing with now, and we’re so tight and just really solid at playing this music, you know? It’s a good time,” Scallions says. “Everybody’s enjoying it, the fans are having a great time, and ultimately, that’s all that matters.”

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