When Faber Drive decided to submit a song to Vancouver radio station 99.3 The Fox's battle of the bands last year, their goal wasn't to win the contest. They weren't even sure they were good enough to enter. In fact, when frontman Faber brought his band's CD to the station on the deadline day for submissions, he came close to giving up and going back home.
'I actually got back in my car and pulled away,' he says. 'Then I decided to go back, so I turned the car around and I got up in the office just before it closed and handed in the disc.'
It was the best move of the band's career. The station chose the song, 'Sex and Love,' as one of the 20 best submissions out of more than 500, then played the song on the radio in a head to head contest against the other qualifiers. Soon, Faber Drive (then called simply Faber) were in the top 10, and, after live competitions at local clubs, they won 1st place and were voted the best band in Vancouver.
It's easy to see why. 'Sex and Love' is the kind of song that's equally enthralling whether blasting from car speakers, an iPod, a home stereo or a concert PA. A sinuous blend of bobbing basslines, passionate singing and 'ba-ba-baaa' background vocals, the cut is pretty representative of the rest of Faber Drive's debut album 'SEVEN SECOND SURGERY' (Universal Republic Records).
The first single 'Second Chance' builds from a mid-paced tug-and-release verse into an exultant refrain that encapsulates the regret and frustration of backing out of a relationship prematurely: 'Instead of holding you, I was holding out/ I should have let you in, but I let you down.'
And 'Tongue Tied (Little Good Luck)' is a dynamic rock ballad about trying in vain to say the right thing at the right time. As 'tongue-tied' as Faber is in the song, his yearning anxiety is matched with romantic optimism.
'We like to put hope into people,' says drummer Red Bull. 'We don't want to be one of those bands that has no message.'
One of the most poignant messages on 'SEVEN SECOND SURGERY' comes in 'Sleepless (Never Let Her Go).' Initially, the track started as a self-loathing confession to a loved one, but Faber felt the message wasn't powerful enough, so he and the band rewrote the song about the horrors of domestic abuse. 'It's from the child's point of view,' says Faber. 'It means a lot to us because it's a real issue. My parents used to fight a lot when I was growing up. They were never abusive, but it was hard, so I can imagine how painful it must be for kids from abusive families.'
Before forming Faber in 2004, Faber taught guitar and drum lessons in Mission, British Columbia and wrote and recorded on the side. His first drum student was Red Bull, who took instruction for three years until he and Faber decided to form a band. 'I remember when I first started telling people, my own brother said, 'Dude, you're crazy. He sucks,'' remembers Faber with a smirk. 'And I said, 'I know but soon that'll change. Just watch. He's really consistent and a hard worker.' And now, Red's by far one of the best drummers in Vancouver.'
Around the same time as Faber started jamming with Red, the singer hooked up with Hinder producers Brian Howes and Joey Moi, who were blown away by Faber's acoustic demos. So, Howes asked if he could co-write with Faber and Moi offered to start preproduction. Then, Faber filled in the gaps in the band's lineup. Faber's brother recommended guitarist David Hinsley, whose aggressive playing style gives the band's tunes extra intensity. But at first, Faber wasn't impressed by Hinsley's performance.
'We jammed for maybe 10 minutes, and I said, 'Okay, I don't think you're really what I'm looking for,'' recalls Faber. 'I walked out, and my brother called me and said, 'Dude, what are you doing, man? You gotta try him one more time.' So, I went over to Hinsley's house a couple nights later, and we jammed from seven 'til two in the morning, and it was amazing, we totally hit it off.'
Bassist Jeremy 'Krikit' Liddle was last to join. Faber and Red saw Liddle performing onstage at an Easter Sunday church service and were impressed by his range and tone. So, Faber went up to him after the service and gave the bassist his phone number. 'He didn't realize I was trying to get him to play bass for us,' Faber says. 'He thought I was trying to get him to come back to church more often. He was gonna stop going because he had started drinking and didn't feel it was right to be playing bass in church when he was partying at night. When he realized I wasn't from the church, he was stoked.'
The band jammed with Liddle three days before the band's first gig. The bassist learned all of the songs quickly and pulled them off without hesitation. It was an auspicious beginning. Since then, Faber Drive toured Canada with MxPx, Hedley, Hurst and opened for Nickelback in Victoria before an audience of 10,000. 'It was pretty amazing to play in a place that big and hear the crowd screaming your lyrics back at you,' Faber said.
Faber Drive wrote 'SEVEN SECOND SURGERY' over the past three years. Some tracks were penned in the back of a refurbished '70s school bus they took on tour with Hedley, others were crafted with Howes at Moi's studio. They recorded their first track with Moi, 'Cement Head,' in 2004 and over the next three years, returned numerous times to track the rest of the album. After winning the Fox Seeds competition, they changed their name to Faber Drive to avoid potential legal issues. One of the names they considered before electing Faber Drive was Seven Second Surgery, but they decided it made a better album title than band name.
'A seven second surgery is a quick fix,' Faber explains. 'A lot of bands come and go so fast, so this is a sarcastic way of saying that if you think that's what we are, fine, but we're gonna be around for a while.'
With irresistible melodies, churning rhythms and thought provoking lyrics, songs like 'Second Chance,' 'Sleepless (Never Let Her Go,' and 'You'll Make It' (about the world's struggle for self-improvement) invite comparisons to some of Faber Drive's favorite bands - U2, The Police, Def Leppard. But while some of the musical elements are familiar, 'SEVEN SECOND SURGERY' is refreshing, expressive and life-affirming.
'Our music is everything to us,' Faber says, "and through it we really want to make a difference and promote hope and say that we understand that life can be hard and unfair, but you can make it better if you so choose."