Shadows Fall

Shadows Fall singer Brian Fair was still recovering from strep throat and laryngitis when he talked to Pollstar about the band’s early days and current tour in support of its latest release, The War Within. Despite the obvious setback, Fair wasn’t ruffled.

“We’ve been touring pretty much since we finished the record. The first day this tour, I could feel it coming on and I ended up going to the doctor,” he said. “I told him I wasn’t going to cancel anything, I wasn’t going to take a day off. I’d just sit there wrapped in a blanket with a little notepad and pen and not talk the entire day.”

That kind of dedication defines the Massachusetts-based quintet that formed nearly a decade ago.

Fair, guitarists Matt Bachand and Jonathan Donais, bassist Paul Romanko and drummer Jason Bittner form the ideal lineup that’s been a few years in the making.

“The five of us together have become almost like a band of brothers. We’re so close and such good friends and now have such a feel for each other as musicians, it’s perfect,” Fair said. “We are going to be on the road all the time. If those personalities can’t click, it’s impossible. We were lucky enough to have all the pieces fall into place.”

When Shadows Fall started out, Fair said the band and its hardcore/metal sound ended up on some pretty inconceivable lineups. That turned out to be just the ticket.

“We started booking our own tours and playing anywhere we could with anybody. We didn’t care how bizarre of a bill it was,” he said. “We shared the stage with so many random types of bands. That was the key for us – just getting out in front of as many people as possible. We were out there working nonstop.

“We were living so ghetto, you can’t even imagine. We were in a shitty van for a year, playing in people’s basements, VFW halls, anything. We played a soup kitchen in New Hampshire. It didn’t matter; we’d play anywhere.”

It was that hard work and versatility that brought Shadows Fall to the attention of The Agency Group’s Jeremy Holgersen. The agent had kept an eye on the group and said feedback from promoters and other bands was more than positive.

“They were a band who’d been on tour with various bands of mine that were different genres, everything from hardcore to metal to emo to emocore. They were one of those bands that didn’t fit into one genre because they blend so much different music together,” Holgersen told Pollstar.

“It just made sense for them to go on all these different bills because they had so many different influences and they gained fans in every genre,” he said. “You go to any type of show – from a Taking Back Sunday show to a Slayer show – and you’ll see Shadows Fall T-shirts.”

Shadows Fall

He added he liked the group’s attitude and work ethic.

“They work really hard. After seeing them live, that’s what kind of solidified it. I hadn’t seen anyone with that kind of power onstage.”

Fair said the band clicked with Holgersen from the start.

“Jeremy is probably the only booking agent I’ve met that I have complete, 100 percent trust in because there was no bullshit. He was close to our age, as well, and came out of the same scene. He was a fan, first and foremost,” the singer said. “He came to our shows and he was friends with our manager, as well. He was booking Hatebreed and they had nothing but amazing things to say about him. Once we hung out with him, we knew.

“You don’t have to explain certain things about the scene to him. And him being a fan and understanding our music, he knows what will work and what won’t.”

About those bizarre lineups Fair mentioned earlier… Now they’re part of what Shadows Fall looks forward to when it hits the road.

“We’ve ended up on a couple of festivals that were really like emo or something – just really different – going on between bands like Taking Back Sunday. On paper, it really didn’t look like it made sense, but it was the funniest show,” Fair said. “Coming out of the scene we came out of, there was more of that kind of crossover in general because it was such a small scene.

“Even when we book tours, we always try to have a variety. We always try to bring bands from different themes who will, hopefully, open their fans’ eyes up to what we’re doing and vice-versa.”

The band will take a short break from the road for the holidays before heading back out to tour Europe, New Zealand and possibly Puerto Rico. A U.S. tour with Slipknot is planned for the spring as well as European festivals, and the list goes on through next fall.

That’s all good for Shadows Fall.

“We’re going to be on tour forever, so everyone come on down and don’t be afraid to buy us a beer,” Fair laughed. “We won’t say no.”