Fray (The) Biography
The Fray was formed in 2002, and currently consists of Isaac Slade (vocals and piano), Joe King (guitar and vocals), Dave Welsh (guitar) and Ben Wysocki (drums and percussion). They were influenced by their friends and family, including Robert Bogart.
In the spring of 2002, former schoolmates Isaac Slade and Joe King reconnected and began regular two-man jam sessions that led to writing songs. Isaac and Joe later added Zach Johnson on drums and Slade's brother Caleb on bass to the band. Caleb was the band's first (and only official) bass player but was eventually asked to leave. Caleb's departure from the band caused a rift in his relationship with Isaac and this rift later became the inspiration for "Over My Head (Cable Car)", which is about the brothers' wanting relationship. Following this, Johnson eventually left the band as well to attend an art school in New York.
Ben Wysocki, a former band mate of Isaac Slade, then became the drummer for The Fray. Later, Dave Welsh, who was another former band mate of Slade and Wysocki, was added to the band. Ben Wysocki and Dave Welsh were also former schoolmates of Ralston Valley High School in Arvada, Colorado. While the band has no official bass guitarist, Jeremy McCoy has been the touring bassist since March 2009. Prior to McCoy joining the touring fold, Dan Lavery of Tonic was the touring bassist from March 2007 to February 2009. Prior to Lavery, Jimmy Stofer, also a member of the band Hello Kavita, was employed as the band's touring bassist from 2005 through February 2007.
The band chose their name "The Fray" from a suggestion bowl that was placed at a graduation party for Caleb Slade. The members of the band first claimed that they found the name suitable because they frequently quarreled over the composition of the lyrics in their songs. However, they have since stated that the band is usually on good terms while composing music, and acknowledges contributions from all of its members.
In 2002, the band released Movement EP, a collection of four songs. Very few copies were pressed, and it is currently unavailable for purchase. The next year, they released Reason EP to some local critical acclaim, particularly by Denver's Westword alternative newsweekly. Despite these reviews, the band struggled to launch a single. Denver radio station KTCL rejected eight of their songs before the band decided to submit "Cable Car". The song found airplay on a KTCL radio show highlighting local bands, and the radio station received a large number of requests for it soon thereafter.
Later in 2005, the band was voted "Best New Band" by Denver readers of Westword, an alternative publication. Epic records found out about the band through Westword's original article, and sparked the interest of A&R man Daniel Davis. Epic Records officially signed the band on December 17, 2004, and released their debut album, How to Save a Life, in September 2005. The band changed the name of "Cable Car" to "Over My Head (Cable Car)", and by the end of 2005, it had become KTCL's most played song of the year. The song was also included on the soundtrack for the film Stealth.
In July 2005, The Fray opened for Weezer for ten concerts. At the conclusion of the Weezer tour, the band opened for Ben Folds for twelve shows. The Fray headlined their own tour in January 2006, playing with Mat Kearney and Cary Brothers.
"Over My Head (Cable Car)" became a top 40 hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in late 2005. It lasted three weeks on the chart and peaked at position #37. The single gained airplay nationally, entering the Billboard Hot 100 charts on the issue marked February 25, 2006. Fourteen weeks later it reached its peak position at #8 on the Hot 100 chart. On the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, the single reached the #2 position. The single also saw airplay on some Christian radio stations and spent several weeks on the R&R Christian charts, where it peaked at #27.
While "Cable Car" was rising on the charts the song "How to Save a Life" was first featured during a second season episode ("Superstition" aired March 19, 2006) of Grey's Anatomy, and then on a fifth season episode of Scrubs (aired April 25, 2006). "How to Save a Life", "Look After You", "You Found Me" and "Never Say Never" have been featured on the teen drama show One Tree Hill. It was also played at the end of Cold Case. "Look After You" was also featured in the 2008 movie Jumper as well as the first episode of the TV Series Journeyman. Despite not having been originally released as a single, "How to Save a Life" entered the Hot 100 chart on the issue marked April 15, 2006. The song was released as the band's second single. On August 18, 2006, ABC announced that the song would be used for the main advertising promotion for the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy. Only weeks after this promotion started, the song became The Fray's second Top 40 hit in the United States. The song reached the top three of the Hot 100 chart, surpassing the peak position of "Over My Head (Cable Car)", and has sold over one million downloads. "How to Save a Life" became a major hit internationally, topping the singles chart in Ireland and Canada. It also was the band's first hit in the United Kingdom, peaking in the top 5 in the UK Singles Chart and selling over 200,000 downloads.
To promote the album, The Fray have performed on several TV shows including The Tonight Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Rove Live in Australia. They also released a live album, Live at the Electric Factory: Bootleg No. 1, on July 18, 2006. The concert was recorded on May 21, 2006 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On September 19, they re-released How to Save a Life as a CD/DVD set with exclusive content including a documentary on the making of the album. On April 28, 2007, The Fray performed at Grad Nite, an event for graduating high school seniors at Disney's Magic Kingdom.
As of January 8, 2007, their debut album has sold over 2,000,000 copies in the United States, and has been certified Double Platinum by the RIAA. The single "Over My Head (Cable Car)" has sold 1.3 million digital tracks, and the single "How to Save a Life" has sold over 1.2. The Fray won all three awards in the digital category at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, including digital album and digital songs artist of the year. They also performed "How to Save a Life" at the event. On December 7, 2006, the band was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal ("Over My Head (Cable Car)") and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal ("How to Save a Life").
The band released a live cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" to iTunes as a 2006 Christmas single. The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #50, due to a large number of digital downloads. This marks the first time this song has charted on the Hot 100. "Look After You" was released as the band's third official single, peaking at position 59. In 2007, The Fray sold in the UK and Ireland 150,000 units of their latest album and single ("How To Save A Life") in one month. They worked with Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization, for their 2007 summer tour.
On September 4, 2007, the band released another live album, Acoustic in Nashville: Bootleg No. 2, which was recorded late 2006. The album could only be purchased with the original CD from Target but was made available on the iTunes Music Store on November 13, 2007. On Tuesday, October 16, the band re-released their 2003 EP, Reason.
The band finished recording their self-titled second album (The Fray) at the end of July 2008 for a February 3, 2009 release. The album was produced by Aaron Johnson and Mike Flynn, the same production duo from the band's debut album. The Fray filmed a music video in Chicago, for their first single, "You Found Me", directed by Josh Forbes, which debuted on VH1.com on December 9, 2008. A documentary, titled Fair Fight, directed by the band's longtime photographer and documentary filmmaker Rod Blackhurst will be sold with the first 300,000 copies of the second album. The Fray debuted their new single "You Found Me" on November 20, during a commercial break of the show Grey's Anatomy. It was a one-minute promo with scenes from the upcoming season of ABC's Lost, and was also made available on iTunes. The band performed the song live at the 2008 American Music Awards on November 23, and have already shot acoustic video performances of the songs from the second album. The album became available for preorder on November 21. The Fray also performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live on December 17, 2008, Good Morning America on February 3, 2009, as well as a small-venue tour to preview the new album starting around the middle of December. You Found Me was the number one of the Australian ARIA charts for three consecutive weeks. "By the way, U2 are the best band in the world" - quote from Isaac Slade. "when you look at those guys, they just take your breath away, album sales dont mean anything to us, we want to take peoples breath away just lokk those old Irish boys, hopefully we will."
Indicative of the growing practice of musicians using the Internet to spur music sales, several videos from The Fray's new album, directed by Rod Blackhurst, were given to Comcast.net's Music page before they became available to television. Among them were acoustic versions of "You Found Me," "Say When," and "Enough for Now," and live versions of "You Found Me," "Never Say Never" and "Absolute."
The Fray have reached the number one spot on the Billboard charts selling 179,000 copies with the debut of their LP record, The Fray.
In February, The Fray wrote a new song called "Be the One," which was written in one day and may be a future B-side. They have also recently covered Kanye West's song Heartless. The cover managed to chart at number seventy-nine on the Billboard Hot 100.
On March 14, The Fray confirmed on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown that their next single will be Never Say Never. They have filmed a video for this single, and has since been released on the internet only via their Myspace on April 24. It premiered everywhere else on May 5, 2009. On May 30, 2009, the music video itself premiered on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown at the number 20 position.
The Fray appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on July 27, playing "Never Say Never."