Austin is a great music city. It helps there's a university there with a built in audience. But there are a lot of college towns with little going on. Austin is also the host to the annual South By Southwest Music Conference (S x SW). Music heavyweights and countless lightweights descend for a week of business, music and fun.
6th Avenue, which contains venue after venue, is blocked off so people can stroll from show to show without getting run over - which is good since many of them are wasted beyond belief.
It was in Austin, Tony Scalzo (bass/vocals), Miles Zuniza (guitar/vocals) and Joey Shuffield (drums and percussion) started out. After conquering Texas as Magneto U.S.A. they were signed to Hollywood Records which led to the obligatory name change. Fortunate, since their old name made them sound like a Styx cover band. And there was no future there.
From "All The Pain Money Can Buy," their second CD, "The Way" took off. It was the story of a couple of senior citizens taking off with ever knowing "the way." Not only was it a lyrically inventive song; the effects on the guitar solo (including massive reverb) made an immediate impact. The combination of staccato piano and jangling guitar was irresistible. Aside from the effects, Zuniza nailed a hot piece of playing. Not to get overlooked, "Fire Escape" and "Sooner or Later" were also outstanding Rock tracks.
"Fire Escape" opened with ringing guitars and a chord progression that rolled right over the rhythm. The verses were a list of "I don't want to…" type phrases with the chorus "I'll be the rain on your fire escape…," blending both vocal and guitar hooks. "Sooner Or Later" featured rumbling guitars, a tough rhythm, a tight guitar riff and throaty vocals.
1996 Make Your Mama Proud
1998 All The Pain Money Can Buy
2000 The Harsh Light Of Day
2004 Keep Your Wig On
2009 Little White Lies
Fastball's second album "All The Pain Money Can Buy" is their best. With the incredibly catchy "The Way" is also has "G.O.D. (Good Old Days)" and "Fire Escape." It's a toss up between the follow up "Harsh Light Of Day" and the group's debut "Make Your Mama Proud" for second place. The debut has more energy including the speed metal romps "Human Torch" and the title track. "Harsh Light Of Day" features "You're The Ocean," another hook laden Rocker, and "Wind Me Up."