The Fray has released three live albums, and lead singer Isaac Slade admits there is a sense of vulnerability that needs to be overlooked in order to allow the masses to hear your work live and raw. Yet, it was that same feeling of vulnerability that Slade thinks prohibited the band from meeting its expectations on The Fray’s second, self-titled album.
“We wanted to swing for the ball as hard as we could on (The Fray) and I feel like we were a little afraid to,” admitted Slade on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “Maybe the pressure to do a ‘How to Save a Life’ number two or to not really own up to who we actually are… it is a little bit of, I think, an embarrassment that we’re like so mainstream, commercial, yunno, on TV shows and stuff, and all of our friends are like, Indie Rock bands.”
The “sophomore slump” feelings only motivated the Denver-based band to work harder on its third studio album, Scars & Stories. The Fray teamed up with producer Brendan O’Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam) and Slade said it was a learning experience.
“He kicked our ass a little bit,” the front man said of O’Brien. “I’d get in to these artistic, self-doubt tail spins and he’d just kind of slap me across the face and be like, ‘Just get in there and do it the best you can because that’s all you can do!’”
In addition to the figurative sparring between the producer and the band, there was some argument amongst The Fray themselves, particularly on the choice for the first single from Scars.
“There’s another song called, ‘Run for Your Life’ that I think is probably my favorite song on the record,” said Slade. “It’s real ballad-y, beautiful, and heart wrenching and kind of like, whatever you think of The Fray to be, kind of our cliché.”
Slade is confident that the song will elicit tears from listeners and that it will be “exciting to release to the public,” but ultimately the band decided to go in a more upbeat direction with “Heartbeat” – a track inspired by the real life events of the genocide and exile in Rwanda.
Scars & Stories is scheduled for a February 7, 2012 release.