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The Fray was formed in the spring of 2002 by Joe King and Isaac Slade, schoolmates who grew up together in Denver and even sang in the same school choir. Several years after graduation and following stints in various local bands, King and Slade started collaborating informally. Before long, the casual sessions led to the formation of the Fray.
Guitarist King and Slade, who plays piano, both
share lead vocal and songwriting duties. "Although we started working on our songs separately," says Slade, "most of our new songs are true collaborations."
In less than a year, The Fray went from being virtually unknowns to the top of Denver's A-list. In October 2003, the music editor of Westword, Denver's biggest alt-weekly, stumbled across a rough mix of their studio work, loved it and dropped a mention in his weekly column. As music editor Dave Herrera wrote when he first heard their music, "Moments like that remind me why I've spent my life searching for the sounds and people that move me."
The Fray's work, both on stage and in studio, generated an accelerating buzz unlike anything Colorado had seen before. Word of mouth caused people to check them out and once they did, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
The Fray garnered an early following through impressive area gigs and the support of local radio, which led to a listener-driven campaign to get the band a record contract. With strong word-of-mouth, the band won "Best New Band" honors from Denver's Westword magazine and got substantial airplay on two of Denver's top rock stations - the demo version of "Over My Head (Cable Car)" became KTCL's top 30 most played song of 2004 in just 4 months.
The Fray headlined Boulder's storied Fox Theatre and Denver's Gothic Theatre. Bolstered by new recordings, produced at Coup Studios in Boulder, label execs on both coasts expressed interest in the band. The band signed to Epic Records in 2004. Fittingly, instead of closing the deal in an office or hotel room, they signed on the dotted line onstage at the
Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado.
The Fray's tight arrangements, haunting melodies and evocative lyrics result in a sound that is extremely polished by any standards. The Fray doesn't fit easily into any niche, and they don't need to: word of mouth has been good enough. The songs stand on their own, no clever marketing or catering to genres necessary.
The group's organic rise to fame is key to their long range plans: "I think it's vital to the longevity of a band," Joe King says. "Of course, Denver is where it all started, but word spread across the country before radio stations were playing us. I remember on our first headlining tour, we would play cities where we weren't on the radio at all, and the venue would be full of people singing our lyrics." He adds, "Some people think we came out of nowhere quickly, but we had been working hard for four years before the mainstream public had heard about us."
Dave Welsh adds, "The grassroots is where music lives and breathes, where it finds its energy and its passion. Music can still exist when it becomes mainstream, but only if it has firm roots with the fans at home. I think you become a musician at home, and simply refine that skill on the road as a touring, major label band."
The first single from "How to Save a Life," "Over My Head (Cable Car)" climbed into the top 10 on the Billboard singles chart, has been certified platinum.
It turns out that The Fray's music has resonated with lots of people: they were one of the most licensed bands of 2006, with their music being featured on Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, What About Brian, NCIS, One Tree Hill and Bones as well as in HBO's summer promos. Joe King: "I would say my favorite so far would be the
HBO spot and the Grey's Anatomy spot, both using ‘How To Save A Life.' I remember last year seeing the Aqualung HBO spot and was shocked and almost jealous by how good it was. I called our managers and asked if we could get a spot like that, and I remember him saying, 'That's a tough one.' When I watched our HBO spot I didn't move, I don't even remember breathing because I had the
Hits include: "You Found Me", "Never Say Never",
"Absolute", "Over My Head (Cable Car)",
"Look After You", "All At Once",
"How To Save A Life", "Syndicate", "Heartbeat",
"Love Don't Die", "Break
The Fray may be available for your next special event!
Genre: Rock 1
Genre: Rock 3
.Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. / AdultAlternativePopRock
.American Trad Rock. / AmericanTradRock
.Alternative/Indie Rock. / AlternativeIndieRock
.Piano Rock. / PianoRock
x00s, x10s, x20s
Formed: ..in Colorado / formed nColorado
Formed: ..in Denver / formed DenverCO
Formed: in 2002
Based: ..in US
Based: ..in Colorado / based n Colorado