Why Fatherhood Is Responsible for Failure's Reunion

Categories: Interview, Q&A

Priscilla Chavez

Father's Day is just around the corner (June 15 for you slackers), and whether you've had the pleasure of yielding your own spawn or owe it to your old man for teaching you life hacks, there's a new reason to love fatherhood -- it revived Failure.

The whole disillusioned '90s grunge umbrella covered the likes of many a garage band, but none is more underrated than Failure. The three-piece rock group is headlining its first tour in nearly 15 years and nearly two decades since the release of its last and most popular album -- the raw, melodic and soaring, ambitious Fantastic Planet that explored nearly every wavelength the genre was headed over the next few decades.

After seven years together, the band split in '97. The members went their separate ways in the biz. Front man Ken Andrews produced music for ON, Pete Yorn and Candlebox as well as Chris Cornell's James Bond theme. The remaining band members went on to play in numerous bands, including Queens of the Stone Age and A Perfect Circle. Guitarist Greg Edwards graduated to an experimental rock group called Autolux that shared the stage with Nine Inch Nails, The White Stripes, Beck, Deerhoof and Thom Yorke.

It would take nearly a decade of lunches and catching up before Andrews and Edwards rekindled their friendship, Failure and the chemistry behind Fantastic Planet in an 27-stop reunion tour expected to lead into the group's fourth studio album's release in 2015. The band's Tree of Stars Tour stops in Tempe a few days before Father's Day -- June 13 at The Marquee. Edwards fielded a few questions from Up on the Sun about fatherhood, getting distracted onstage and the new Failure album.

As the story goes, you reached out to Ken Andrews about nine years ago and that's where this reunion all started. What made you pick up the phone?

I don't think I reached out to him, but I've heard that somewhere. [Andrews recently said it in an interview.] We just sort reconnected. I think we had lunch together nine years ago and then we hung out very sporadically. It wasn't until we were both married with children that our families wanted to hang out together and that led to us spending more time together and that naturally evolved into rekindling the band.

Do you guys share any dad-like hobbies, then?

Not really, no. No, not like cigars or a man cave. Just the studio. We should pick up some. I know what you mean.

Failure's following has grown quite a bit since the band broke up. Your first reunion show sold out L.A.'s El Rey Theatre really quickly. What was going through your head during that time?

I think we were surprised at how quickly it sold out, and it was amusing for us how familiar people were with our songs. You hear a lot of performers talking about how a performance is a relationship with the audience and feeding off the audience. I've never really experienced that or got into that point of view, but I have to say at that El Rey show and on this headlining tour that's definitely an element of the show every night. The audience is doing a lot of the work for us.

Is the new fandom like when you break up with a girl and all of a sudden everything changes -- she wants you back at all costs, etc.?

Who's the girl -- the band or the audience? [laughs] We made some records that had a lot of depth. And people who maybe weren't around to see us tour or perform any of that stuff, it just became maybe a little mythical to people who really love the records.

What came first -- the idea of returning to the road or the studio?

It was always headed toward going back to the studio and trying to write and record something as Failure. We put the reunion show in there as an intermediary along that path, which gave us something to shoot for that was very much more quantifiable than writing new material. We saw we could play those songs and it would be fun to play maybe one small club show.

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