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With Miles Zuniga and Tony Scalzo evenly dividing songwriting and lead vocal duties, and drummer Joey Shuffield supplying the laser-guided groove, Fastball's 1998 breakthrough, "All The Pain Money Can Buy," propelled the group into the big leagues. Led by the smash singles "The Way" and "Out of My Head," the album notched platinum-plus sales and earned critical praise from all quarters.
"We now have the resources to stretch our ideas further," says Scalzo. "I like the word 'expansive,' because it implies that you're still true to your original roots while growing into new areas. It's not a departure…it's building on a foundation."
The group strikes a delicate balance between pushing the envelope and simply letting each song speak for itself. "We don't shackle our sound in the pursuit of success," says Shuffield. "All three of us are drawn to rock and melodic, pop-oriented stuff – along with a stiff dose of heavy metal. By doing what comes naturally, we can add other elements and still retain the spark that made a song idea sound so cool in the first place."
Aided by a growing "extended family" of musicians, the core of Fastball has remained unchanged since the group first formed in late 1994. When Austin native and ex Wild Seeds drummer Shuffield introduced Zuniga (from Laredo, TX) to Scalzo, a refugee from California's Orange County punk maelstrom. Based in Austin, the group built a strong regional following before signing a deal with Hollywood Records. Their 1996 debut "Make Your Mama Proud" set the stage for their wildly successful 1998 sophomore album.
Fueled by "The Way" (which dominated the #1 spot on Billboard's Modern Rock Chart for seven weeks and was a top 5 hit on Billboard's Top 40 Chart), "Out of My Head," (a top 10 hit on Billboard's Top 40 Chart and a top 10 hit at Adult Top 40 for 29 weeks) and "Fire Escape," "All the Pain Money Can Buy" (which stayed on Billboard's Top 200 Album Chart for a year) catapulted Fastball to national acclaim.
The group earned two Grammy nominations ("Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" for "The Way" and "Best Long Form Video" for "They Wanted The Highway") and an MTV Award nomination as "Best New Artist." Treks with Everclear, Goo Goo Dolls, Sugar Ray, Marcy Playground, and the 1998 H.O.R.D.E. tour confirmed the big-time arrival of Fastball.
The group was surprised by the huge success. "We never set out to be a radio band," admits Shuffield. "We simply wanted to make music that we could be proud of – sales be damned. Miles and Tony just happen to write tunes that lots of people can really sink their teeth into. Now, the stakes are a little higher, but we still feel the same way as before: we need to be happy with our music before we can expect other people to like it."
Find out for yourself why Fastball has established a well-deserved reputation for taking creative risks…and in turn, offering great musical rewards.
Hit songs include --
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