Senses Fail Biography
Formation and From the Depths of Dreams EP (2002–2003)
Senses Fail began in 2002 after Buddy Nielsen posted an advertisement on the Internet to recruit members for the band, but the band line-up was not complete till the following year. The advertisement attracted attention from Dan Trapp, only 15 at the time, who after reading the article contacted friends Dave Miller and Garrett Zablocki. The line-up was later completed by Tokyo Rose ex-drummer Mike Glita who filled the role of bassist in the band.
The band took their musical influences of punk and hardcore and mixed them with poetry, emotion, literature, religion, eastern philosophy and spirituality to create their own sound and image. The name "Senses Fail" is derived from the Buddhist belief in Nirvana. Lead singer Nielsen explains, "In Buddhism, they believe that being alive is hell, and the only way to reach Nirvana is to ultimately have no attachments to anything. So, people go out and live in the middle of the woods and they don't eat and don't drink. They just meditate because they've reached such a high level where they're not attached to love, relationships or anything. And if you want to reach the highest level of being and see God, you have to have all your senses fail".
Building a local fan base by playing any gig they could find from skate parks and clubs to churches, they soon entered the studio and started to record. Their first release, From the Depths of Dreams, was a six-track EP that was originally released on ECA Records on August 16, 2002. It originally started as two three-song demo CDs, but was later joined together to make one release by producer John Naclerio. The independent release did very well and caught the attention of some record labels. They signed to Drive-Thru Records, and reissued their EP on April 29, 2003 with two extra tracks, improved mixing and new cover art. The release saw much success, and sold enough copies to peak at #144 on the Billboard chart. In support of the EP, Senses Fail toured with such bands as Finch, The Used, Millencolin, and The Starting Line.
Let It Enfold You (2004–2005)
Senses Fail started working on their debut album, Let It Enfold You in early 2004. During this time, lead singer and song writer Buddy Nielsen was 20 years old. They worked with producer Steve Evetts (Saves the Day, A Static Lullaby, Every Time I Die) on their new label Vagrant Records. The lyrics are derived from a wide variety of sources. The title of the album was taken from a poem written by Charles Bukowski, the song "Irony of Dying on Your Birthday" is about the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell, and parts of the song "Slow Dance" include lines of the Dao De Jing. Nielsen stated that, "We just love making music and writing good songs. I feel like I've got a lot more to say and we've got a lot more to contribute. But even if things ended tomorrow, we've gotten 10 times further than we ever expected to get and that makes us feel like we've succeeded regardless of what happens from here on". Let It Enfold You was released on September 7, 2004 on Vagrant and Drive Thru Records. The album has sold over 300,000 copies.
Let It Enfold You saw the release of two singles: "Buried a Lie" and "Rum Is for Drinking, Not for Burning". The music video for "Buried a Lie" was filmed on the set of a soap opera called "Guiding Light". Nielsen's mother shot the video and was also the link between Senses Fail and the soap as she used to act in the show. The release of the video started attracting mainstream success for the band. During this time period Senses Fail could be found in magazines such as Kerrang!, Rolling Stone, Spin and were even featured on the cover of Alternative Press.
The band toured extensively in support of the release. They were added to Warped Tour in 2004, 2005, and 2006, and 2009, and played on the main stage for the latter two editions of the tour. They were also included on the first Taste of Chaos tour in 2005 with such notable acts as The Used, My Chemical Romance, and Killswitch Engage. They also headlined a few tours of their own during this time with The Early November from Drive Thru and Emanuel from Vagrant.
The album was reissued in November 2005 with bonus tracks and new album art. In addition to the original track listing, it featured acoustic versions of songs from the album, an unreleased track, and a cover of Suicidal Tendencies song "Institutionalized".
In 2005, the band's web site announced the departure, by mutual agreement, of guitarist Dave Miller. He was replaced by Heath Saraceno, previously the guitarist and vocalist of the band Midtown. Miller started his own record label called DMI (Dave Miller Industries) in September 2006.
The song "Lady in a Blue Dress", from this album, was released as a downloadable track on the Rock Band Network on March 4, 2010.
Still Searching (2006–2007)
After taking a break from touring, and acquiring a new lineup, Senses Fail began to write their second studio album. The new album, titled Still Searching was produced by Brian McTernan (Thrice, Cave In) and mixed by Chris Lord-Alge. This album eased up on the aggression on previous albums and showed more emotion. On the subject of the new songs, Nielson explained, "I like my lyrics to be open to interpretation, but I didn’t want to paint pictures of things no one was going to understand; I want our fans to be able to relate. At some point, we all start examining our lives. If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you".
In support of the new album, the band toured on the Taste of Chaos again. In 2006 they toured with the Taste of Chaos International, and in 2007 Senses Fail returned to North America for the 2007 Taste of Chaos tour. In the summer of 2007 they also participated in a few dates of the Zumiez Couch Tour alongside From Autumn to Ashes. They headlined in late 2006 with Saosin and Bleeding Through as supporters. On October 5, 2007, Senses Fail began a 33-city co-headlining tour with New Found Glory which started in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also in the tour was Set Your Goals. The tour ended on November 24, 2007 in San Diego, California.
On November 13, 2007, Senses Fail released a deluxe version of Still Searching, which featured new art, behind-the-scenes DVD featuring footage from the band's headlining tour last fall, two additional previously digital-only songs, three new songs, and a cover of The Cranberries's song 'Salvation'.
On December 8, 2007, Senses Fail's bassist Mike Glita left the band to pursue his side project Knights in Paris. He has since announced, on Myspace, that he has started a band called Love Automatic, and will continue to pursue the side project.
The song Can't Be Saved, from this album, is featured in the game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
Life Is Not a Waiting Room (2008–2009)
Their new album, Life Is Not a Waiting Room was released on October 7, 2008 through Vagrant, and began a nationwide tour the day after. On November 21, Senses Fail did an online interview with Ultimate Guitar, talking about the evolution of the band, their new bassist and the album.
On June 30, 2009, it was announced that guitarist Heath Saraceno will be leaving the band after the 2009 Warped Tour, stating: "I've shared many great times with these guys over the past four years or so. We've made two records I'm very proud of, toured the world and the States countless times, and I've made friends with people I would not have met otherwise. These guys from Jersey (and Atlanta by way of Florida) have turned into some of my closest friends, and I will miss seeing them as often as I've been able to".
The Fire (2010)
Senses Fail began work on their fourth studio album, and follow up to Life Is Not a Waiting Room. Around this time the band also announced that Zack Roach would be replacing guitarist Heath Saraceno. They began recording their new album, titled The Fire, at Salad Days Studio with Brian McTernan in June 2010 with a tentative release date later that year. According to Nielsen, the album "is a reaction and a release of a whirlwind of emotions that came from fighting for what we love and dealing with change and growth both personally and creatively". The Fire will be released in the UK on October 25, 2010 through Hassle Records and elsewhere on October 26 through Vagrant Records. Senses Fail posted a new song online titled "Saint Anthony" on their myspace on August 26, 2010, Vagrant Records also released songs 'The Fire' and 'New Year's Eve' via their YouTube channel. On October 18, 2010, the band released all of the tracks from "The Fire" on their myspace.