After supporting Evanescence for the best part of the last two months, Finger Eleven seem to finally found a place they can call home. Born and bred over in Ontario, Canada the band have family in Wales, Scotland and Liverpool and with the multi-cultural make up of Old Blighty it’s not too far removed from what they know and love. Plus of cause there’s that love / hate relationship with America, which seems to be as evident over in Canada as it is here. One thing’s for sure though, they seem to be winning over the ‘fresh vulnerable minds’ on the Evanescence tour. We found out how.
Q: Coming out with Evanescence for your first British Tour. It’s a big step up from what you’re used to?
Rick: Yeah. This is our first tour over here. We’ve played one show in London before, but we’ve been waiting a long time for this. The response over here is pretty cool because were so used to playing over in Canada and the States, but over here people in the main don’t even know who we are. With the Evanescence fans they’re fresh vulnerable minds as well, for a lot of fans this will have been their first rock concert.
Q: Coming over from a country like Canada where there is a huge melting pot of different cultures, I guess it’s very similar to Britain in that respect. There’s the same diversity of ethnic backgrounds and culture?
Rick: I think Canada is very European. There are a lot of immigrants from the beginning of time and over time these people just assimilate into our culture. French Canadian or Scottish Canadian, Anglo Canadian. There is a lot of ’I am Canadian’ kind of statements but I think that’s the beer speaking most of the time. But probably the identity of Canada is it’s multi-culturalism, you can be who you want to be here.
James: I think there is this quest for Canadians to figure out if we're not American then what are we. Everyone goes on about the Canadian Spirit, but no one knows exactly what that is.
Q: And the one thing that brings the different ethnic groups together in Canada is the fact that you all hate America?
Rick: We live pretty near to America, about 45 minutes from the border. We’ve seen too many faces and met too many good friends to really hate America. And I don’t think it’s a hatred of America, it more a pride thing like Scotland is with England. When you actually go into the States and get to hang out with people, the people themselves are awesome and some of the coolest people and smartest people I’ve ever met in my life. It’s just the way to the country is represented to the rest of the world and that’s nothing to do with the individuals themselves.
Q: Even though this is your first tour of the UK you’ve set up this mass method of communication where fans could contact you in the studio from all over the world. You’re really blurring the boundaries between the band and the fans there.
Rick: That was kind of cool. Since we’ve been over here we’ve had kids come up to us after the show and introduce themselves as people we spoke to while recording the album. And to actually have those fans who have actively had to seek out this music that wasn’t available in this country till this new album came out is amazing.
Where the idea came from was through looking on message boards and seeing people speak shit. It was like if you have a problem then call us because what would happen is that someone would have a question and someone that didn’t know an answer would make up an answer. If people had no way of knowing the truth then we thought we’d give them a direct line so they could ask us.
James: It was strange at times cos there were so many phone calls where we actually had to convince them it was us. Like we’d go to the effort of putting a number on our site and then pay someone to pretend to be us. And one guy was too nervous to call so he got drunk and then when he called he was too drunk to talk.
Q: You took a two stage recording process on this album. Demo-ing it up in a castle back home before coming down to Lincoln Park, Chicago to record with Johnny K from Disturbed. Opening up the Finger Eleven sound to new ears and hearing a new perspective.
Scott: It was cool because there are certain things that are on there that we just couldn’t figure out. We had the idea down of what we wanted to do and Johnny helped us to really nail down the sound we wanted. Johnny really knows his stuff cos he’s been doing it for years and Disturbed was…not a fluke because they’ve worked really hard for it…but the guy has been involved on about 75,000 recordings and just happened to go off with Disturbed and it allowed him to go off and do it full time.
Q: With each Finger 11 album there’s very much a whole concept that goes with it through to the artwork, which you keep within the band.
James: Were just comfortable with what the five of us to together. There’s no great master plan. Maybe when we get to the stage of doing bigger shows we’ll be able to put on a performance like Pink Floyd.
Q: And I guess it won’t be long before you get to that stage?
Rick: The way it works with is simple. We just want it sound the way we want it to sound. You see other bands that are told to sound this way, look this way, whatever and with us it’s never really been a problem. We trust ourselves enough to go the right way.
Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride - www.karenmcbride.com
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