Finger Eleven are without a doubt one of the most prolific forces in alternative rock today. We were lucky enough to catch drummer Rich Beddoe to talk about the past, present and future of the band before he went off to roam the London dungeon with his band mates on a rainy afternoon.
Looking back on an successful career and a great journey Rich is happy to reflect on the band’s steady progression into the rock mainstream, “when we started we were living at home with our families, and now we have families of our own, I think that the growth and maturity has always come through in the music, we still have that heavy rock edge, but with every new record it’s different”.
The previous night, Rich had played the band’s first UK show on their European tour supporting Kid Rock, he reflected eagerly on the experience. “You really feel a difference” he mentioned, “as I was on stage I thought ‘wow, I’m in London, and it’s unbelievable how lucky we are to be able to do this’.”Aside from being on stage Rich is very much enjoying his time over here as he was born in Cardiff, Wales. “This side of the pond for me is special,” he explained, “I came over the other day and took the bus tour around, I stopped by the Tower of London, and went to a pub and had a few pints and some fish and chips. I looked out the window and I’m like ‘fuck I’m in London’ it was a really cool moment”.
Following on from this tour, Finger Eleven are returning home to begin writing a new record, Rich remains positive about coming back in the new year and hopefully playing some festival dates. “We are in a nice spot right now were we can begin another record at home but over here the last record is still pretty new so we can hopefully pop back and forth, writing songs at home and doing tours here”.
The band has always enjoyed the ability to grow and develop alongside the ever changing music industry. Recently they released an ITunes originals collection, which sees the band performing rare material as well as providing a deeper insight into the inner workings of Finger Eleven. Rich explains, “there are some great new ways to showcase music that we wanted to take advantage of.” He continues to discuss how the band have been increasingly utilising the opportunities available within new media, even when writing songs for the last album. “The song-writing process varies from four guys in a room jamming out riffs to writing at home and sending files over the internet.” He adds, “for the last album especially we wanted to go to different locations, just to switch it up a little bit”.
Popular culture has also welcomed the Canadian five piece with open arms, in the past they have appeared on numerous TV shows including WWE wrestling and video games including SSX 3. Rich comments,“we always try to lend our music to at least something one of the guys is into, at least then we can live with it and sleep at night!” As they are avid gamers we asked Rich what kind of scenario F11 would be happy with if they could create their own game, “oh man [laughs] we would make characters out of all our favourite bands, and run around shooting bad bands.” A wholly new concept there then.
Moving on to talk about the lyrical drive behind Finger Eleven’s strong material, Rich explains that when Scott [Anderson, vocals] writes often his songs have a very personal significance, but that they can easily relate to the experiences of others. “One of the great things about his lyrics is that a song like ‘I’ll Keep Your Memory Vague’ may mean a certain thing to Scott but mean something completely different to a band member or fan.” He continues, “when you hear someone’s lyrics it’s like you can look into their soul” he adds, “it’s always neat to hear what comes out of Scott’s head, and we are often listening to them for the first time.” Rich also explains that though Scott writes alone when his lyrics are put to the music it is an exciting process, “we write the music, but we don’t know what journey the song will take until we hear the lyrics, and the song just comes together”.
One of their most talked about songs is ‘Paralyzer’, the chart-topping single from ‘Them vs. You vs. Me’ that was written in five minutes and is still taking them to new heights despite being released in 07. “It’s definitely the most fun to play live,” said Rich. “I think when a song does translate to a lot of people there’s a reason, and that song does really mean a lot to me personally, because it made a lot of our dreams come true.” He continues, “we never knew that song would do what it has done”.
What keeps F11 going after so many years together? “The reason we are here is not to sell millions of records and be rich and famous, it’s because we love being in a band, making songs and being on stage together,” Rich explained. Giving advice to younger acts coming out he said, “it’s a tough industry and all you are ever going to have are your band mates and the music that you create, you have to hang in there through the lows because hopefully in the future there will be some highs.” Reflecting on how far his band have come he added, “If you want to be broke, and have the best job in the world and have the best time of your life then be in a rock band, write as many songs as you can, get in the van and play as many shows as you can, when you’re in a big fancy tour bus you want to look back and remember when you were in the van breaking down at the side of the road”.
Finger Eleven are currently on tour in Europe. For more information please check out their website and Myspace.