PETE FRY (FARCRY) INTERVIEW:
May 19, 2009
If you ever visited a rock forum, chances are you have come across Pete Fry. As someone who makes himself available to each and ever rock fan, Pete always seems to take the time to answer questions about his Farcry and RocKarma bands as well as anything else related to music. With Farcry’s recently released High Gear album the band perfectly captured the well-produced melodic sounds of the 80s, and in this interview Pete reveals how the band came together and that writing has begun for the follow-up.
Sleaze Roxx: How did Farcry come together?
Pete Fry: Basically John Kivel found me on the HeavyHarmonies.com message board where people were talking about one of my old demos. JK was familiar with the band and asked if I was the guitar player and if so, would I like to do a project with his label. Being familiar with Kivel Records and owning several of their products I was quick to say yes, and after a few months he had put together all the names and we went from there.
Sleaze Roxx: Was that initial contact what also got you the gig in RocKarma?
Pete Fry: Yes, that actually happened after we started putting together Farcry. Kivel wanted to use a song of mine (BadJune) for the Bring It! album and also wanted me to play the solo on it. After hearing the rough tracks and finding they needed a guitar player, I volunteered.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you now consider yourself a member of these bands or would you consider it session work?
Pete Fry: With both bands absolutely, which was Kivel’s intent to be a real band as opposed to the whole “project” mentality that seems to be going around these days. We’re already working on putting together the material for the next Farcry album. RocKarma is up in the air at this point because even though it is a band, it is very much Damon Kelly’s band and I’m not sure what his plans are right now.
Sleaze Roxx: How difficult is it to work on music when, especially in the case of RocKarma, the members live so far apart?
Pete Fry: It’s surprisingly not that much different than when I was in bands that lived in the same house. I’ve always come up with things and then brought them to the band for the most part as opposed to all sitting around creating together. The internet and computing in general are great tools for blasting out ideas and emailing them to other members. When it comes time for gigs, we do actually get together in person and rehearse like crazy!
Sleaze Roxx: Being able to bounce ideas back and forth through the internet probably cuts down on the infighting by being stuck in the same room all the time.
Pete Fry: Haha, this is true! It also allows you to make sure you’re sending it out when it’s ready as much as you want it to be rather than the half-formed ideas you may start messing around with in a rehearsal room.
Sleaze Roxx: I noticed you used some outside writers on High Gear, will the new CD you’re working on contain more of your own ideas?
Pete Fry: It depends on how prolific we are, haha… Seriously though that’s always my goal, but more importantly the higher priority is to have a well rounded album that’s got everything we want on it. If that means we need to tap some outside creative sources, it’s good with me.
I’ve already started talking to Jace Pawlak about collaborating on a few songs. I really dig his lyrics a lot.
Sleaze Roxx: I was going to say, my favorite song on the CD is Jason Pawlak’s Fine Line. But even though he was an outside writer don’t you think his songs fit the band perfectly?
Pete Fry: I really do actually, sometimes when you play other peoples’ material it’s hard to get the groove. Jace’s stuff is so good it’s almost impossible for me not to get the groove and play it with as much feeling as if I had written it myself.
Sleaze Roxx: Who came up with idea to record Jim Steinman’s Nowhere Fast, because Meat Loaf’s version really sucked.
Pete Fry: Haha, that was 100% John Kivel’s idea, and I wasn’t too sure of it at first, although I was quite familiar with the Fire Inc. version from the Streets of Fire soundtrack having seen the movie several times back in the day. Once it started coming together though I started to really dig it, and I think it’s got possibly the most powerful buildup on the album!
Sleaze Roxx: Aside with the confusing tracklisting on the High Gear CD, how happy are you with the way the album turned out?
Pete Fry: Haha, yeah that was the original tracklisting and it was unfortunately used by accident when going to print. Other than that I am EXTREMELY happy with the final product. It’s the best sounding album I’ve ever been involved with, and working with Ty Sims was by far the best recording experience I’ve ever had.
Sleaze Roxx: The music I have heard from you has always been that slick brand of melodic rock. Were those the types of bands that influenced you?
Pete Fry: Absolutely, I’m playing from the heart and as a result have never had to change my style! My biggest influences were all the usual 80’s culprits, Ratt, Dokken, Dio, Stryper, Tesla, Def Leppard, etc., etc., etc.
I could spend a lot of time listing influences, I listened to (and continue to) a lot of music!
Sleaze Roxx: It seems music like this is making a bit of a comeback, but how difficult is it for a newer band like Farcry to sell CDs and pack clubs?
Pete Fry: I agree, and I couldn’t be happier that more people are listening to it. My only complaint is that I still read a lot of comments stating that nothing good is coming out anymore, and the music scene sucks these days, etc. I think it’s more like it was when I first started listening to this stuff, it’s more of a passionate underground. Nobody’s selling a million albums anymore, but it doesn’t mean people aren’t making good albums, because they absolutely are in my opinion. Farcry is doing really well in today’s terms and it takes good music, a quality production and some legwork. I’m out selling myself everywhere I can. Gigs can be tougher because we have to make a lot of strategic decisions around where and when we want to play and can we recoup our expenses, maybe even make a little money. Tough business, but then it always was!
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve noticed you on several message boards ‘selling yourself’. Not spamming, but actually being accessible to fans and joining discussions. It seems like such a simple thing for a musician to do. Isn’t it the little things like that that a new band has to do to reach their audience?
Pete Fry: I really think so, especially if you don’t have a big label and/or a huge marketing budget. But really, I love talking to the fans because when it comes down to it, I’m one too! Music is a huge part of my life and has been since I was about 6!
Sleaze Roxx: Being a music fan first, and now having met and played with some of your idols, have any of them exceeded or tainted your views of them?
Pete Fry: I’d say at this point that none of them have tainted my views at all, and pretty much all of them have exceeded. It’s so cool to be able to play on the same stage with these guys, but even cooler to be able to chat with them and see where they’re coming from. Honestly I’ve seen more “rockstar attitudes” back in the day from all the other nobody bands on the same bills as us!
Sleaze Roxx: What bands were you a part of back in the day and is there any chance of ever releasing some of that older stuff?
Pete Fry: The only band that released anything with enough production value to even be considered would’ve been Shotgun Alli, with whom I did a 5 song demo produced by Scott Metaxas, my first experience with a real producer, and with excellent results I think. Not a whole lot of possibility of getting that released as I really don’t talk to those guys that much other than the drummer on occasion, plus we don’t seem to have the masters any longer, but never say never in this business, right?
Sleaze Roxx: Hard rock music has always been ‘sex, drugs and rock’n’roll’. Did you ever get caught up in all that?
Pete Fry: The 80’s/early 90’s were crazy times and we all did some crazy shit. Most of us made it through the other side thankfully. The music was always VERY important but I won’t lie, the lifestyle was right up there with the priorities as well…
Sleaze Roxx: With that being said, what is the craziest band moment you encountered (and not to get yourself in trouble with the wife)?
Pete Fry: Haha, no worries, she knows a fair amount about my past. Probably the craziest thing I can think of right now, which doesn’t sound as crazy as it felt back then was way back in the day, the other guitarist’s car got towed down at the Jersey shore and we broke into the impound lot and stole it back.
Sleaze Roxx: Back to Farcry, does the band have any shows lined up?
Pete Fry: We’ve got two definites and we’re working on more as we speak. First off we’ll be playing the Dakota Rock Fest in Sioux Falls, SD on July 24th-25th where you can see over the weekend bands such as Dokken, White Lion, April Wine, Head East, Skid Row, etc. We’ll be playing Friday evening (the 24th). We’ll also be playing at Maximum Capacity in Chicopee, MA on August 14th with Dokken and Tango Down (another Kivel act). We’ll have more but for right now, that’s what’s confirmed.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you have a timetable for when the next Farcry CD will come out?
Pete Fry: No exact timing yet and I’m scared to guess based on the first one taking over two years, but we are hoping to get back in the studio before the end of this year.
Sleaze Roxx: Finally…when your career comes to an end, what one song would you like people to remember you by, and what song do you wish would just disappear?
Pete Fry: Haha, great question! Sadly I’m going to “take the piss” as my English friends would say… with regard to what I want people to remember me by, I’m not sure I’ve written my magnum opus just yet, but stay tuned I’ve got a few more albums in me yet… maybe even a few more than a few more… with regard to what I would want to disappear I can honestly say none of them, not that they were all great by any means, but they do a great job of showing where my head was at at that point in time… apparently I’ve always liked cheese…
Thanks to Pete Fry