Until the first tremors hit last month, renowned Canadian rockers Finger Eleven were riding on a low profile, nearly dormant since their last quake in 2003.
Now they’re back and making noise with their lead single “Paralyzer” from their new release Them Vs. You Vs. Me.
The band is about to commence their Canadian tour with Strata and Inward Eye, kicking it all off in Quebec’s capital.
Guitarist Rick Jackett took some time out to talk while wrapping up their US tour with Evanescence in Providence, RI.
Finger Eleven has been together for over 10 years now. A lot of bands spin off solo projects or simply break up; they just don’t seem to last this long. What’s the secret to staying together and being a collective, successful band?
Our secret is just not giving up! Just continuing to make the music we want to make and trying not to compromise anything within the band. We respect each other and run the band like a democracy. There’s not one leader of the band telling others how to act. But the biggest part is being friends.
Friends before business?
Oh yeah! The business side of the band isn’t something that we really worry about too much. Most of our decisions are made about music and not money.
How do you find that balance between friends and business?
That’s a side that nobody really thinks about when starting a band. Most times when you start a band you just want to play music with your friends. Then you become self-employed and you are running a business. But for us, being business partners with your friends is pretty easy. Like I said, we run everything like a democracy and that’s how decisions are made. Fair.
You were just on tour in the US with Evanescence?
Yes, it was great! The shows are incredible. It was a big stadium tour and the fans were really into it. I get pretty stunned when I’m on stage watching people singing our songs back. That stops me in my tracks! It was a fun, easy tour. We’re friends with Amy and the band it’s been awesome.
Must be a real rock show! Do you have any wild tour stories to share?
Our merch-man went to the hospital today, but that wasn’t because of the BB guns we bought! [Laughs] Each show is like a little adventure that piles up.
But it’s weird, it’s hard to think of one because something is happening everyday that seems wild and crazy if you weren’t on the road. But when you are on the road it seems very normal.
If I was home right now or if we were talking in a bar it would come naturally to me. It’s like trying to pick your favorite record; I can’t think of it, my mind blanks.
Thinking of favorite records, John Lennon comes to my mind and you recently covered his song “Look At Me”. Why did the band decide to record that song?
The recording was for Amnesty International online. The reason we chose “Look At Me” is simply because we like the song. They told us we could pick any solo John Lennon song. Because the original was a very barebones acoustic song, we thought we could add some sounds to it without screwing with the actual song.
The band was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last month. What was that like?
That was the second time we got to do that and it’s a really amazing feeling. I never thought we’d be playing the Tonight Show. It wasn’t part of our long term goal, but when it arrived it was just amazing.
Speaking of television, your songs were featured in a few movies and videogames even. How does it feel hearing your songs on TV or on the big screen in successful films like Daredevil?
It’s pretty close to the same feeling you get when you hear your song on the radio or TV. It’s just a little larger than life and the song feels bigger than you ever thought it could actually feel. It’s amazing.
And it’s good to be involved in all the different types of media, especially nowadays; it’s such a good way to get your music out there and heard.
“Paralyzer” is getting great air play and Them Vs. You Vs. Me has received a great response. Can you tell us about the album title?
“Them Vs. You Vs. Me” is also a song title on the album. The expression summed up an outside pressure that trickled down on us. Outside of the band there are pressures between managers and labels. Everyone wanted the record to be as good as it could be and that pressure translated down to the band members and we put that pressure on each other.
If someone were to pick up your album and they could only listen to one song, which track would you hope that they’d listen to?
That would be hard! The record is so different from song to song, so if you did only listen to one song on the record you wouldn’t get a full feel of what it’s about. But my favorite song on the record is “I’ll Keep Your Memory Vague”.
What is that song about?
You’ll have to ask Scott, he wrote the lyrics.
But it’s open for interpretation. That is the beauty of music.
The lead single off the album is called “Paralyzer”. What are your weaknesses, things that paralyze you?
Not much! We don’t have any real fears.
Finger Eleven plays Le National
Saturday, April 28 with Strata.