"I know we've never met except on the Internet/I got the camera by the bed/So is yours up yet?" "Losin' It"
Fallbrooke have fully embraced the new media in their quest for rock stardom, as can be heard on their self-titled RMR Music Group debut and the first single, "Losin' It," an anthem that begins with ringing U2/Coldplay-style guitars before detailing a technology-fueled long-distance romance which takes place from start to finish on webcams.
"I wrote that song for this girl I'd been talking to, but never met in person. I was really crazy about her," laughs Eric McNeely, who started Fallbrooke back in South Florida with long-term friend Kevin Schwarz before relocating to Los Angeles at the invitation of RMR Music Group's Paul Palmer, co-founder of Trauma Records, the label of both No Doubt and Bush.
"Losin' It" has already been receiving Top 40 airplay around the country. The video, shot from the point-of-view of a webcam and featuring Mandy Jiroux of the Miley and Mandy Show as a teen involved in an online romance, has been viewed over 500,000 times, with more than 320,000 profile views on MySpace. The band also does a weekly segment on Stickam.com that has attracted more than 11,000 views per show.
"We're online all day, any chance we get," says Kevin, "messaging fans, adding new people. It's hard to imagine doing this without it."
"We answer every single message from our fans," adds Eric. "We try to keep it personal, just put the good vibe out there and let people know we're here to play music, and more importantly, to connect. We're on every single social network you can think of."
Growing up on a variety of bands from Jimmy Eat World and Third Eye Blind to Deftones and Pantera, Eric first started playing guitar at 13, then writing songs at 14, and forming a series of bands shortly afterward with his friends and brother.
By the time he hooked up with Kevin--a huge fan of Smashing Pumpkins and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin--and added lead guitarist Chris Gustin and bassist Augusto Vega, Eric's song palette began to grow to include moody ballads like "Condition: Response," the acoustic melodies and yearning regret of the romantic "I Tried" and the epic poetic imagery of "Safe," all delivered with the group's distinctive four-part harmonies.
Produced by the hit songwriting team Rock Mafia's Antonina Armato and Tim James (who have worked with everyone from Mariah Carey to Miley Cyrus), the band's new album represents an impressive advance over their previous indie release, 26 Seconds, which Eric and Kevin recorded by themselves on a laptop.
"Antonina and Tim definitely taught me a lot about writing hit songs, how it works," says Eric about the producers. "When we first came out here, we were like deer in headlights. We really had an education on the music business. We've gained a lot of discipline. You need so much attention to detail. They're great people. They really, really care and we're grateful to have worked with them."
With their official debut album underway, Fallbrooke are ready to take the next step. Veteran record exec Paul Palmer is taking the long-term view he did in breaking No Doubt and Bush. "We believe in artist development here," he says. "And what we're doing now is just the same, but we are embracing new media technology, with a creative video and an album that does the band's music justice."
"We can't wait to tour," says Kevin. "Our main goal is to play everywhere for everyone."
"We never fail to get a great response from audiences," nods Eric. "I have a great feeling about going on tour. We just want to keep growing, keep progressing and be successful. That's always been my main focus...and writing songs like crazy.
With Fallbrooke, Eric, Kevin, Chris, and Augusto are confident that this is the right combination.
"We're musically compatible," says Kevin, "and now we're sharing the same house, so we better get along."
Eric McNeely: Vocals/guitarist
Kevin Schwarz: Drums/vocals
Augusto Vega: Bass
Chris Gustin: Lead guitar