There is the old Fuel - the late 1990s alternative rock powerhouse that dominated radio with hits like "Shimmer," and "Hemorrhage" - and then there is the new, re-booted Fuel, with three new members and a more raw, even bluesy sound.
This time around, frontman Brett Scallions has nothing to prove. When taking the stage with new members Andy Andersson on guitar, Brad Stewart on bass and recent addition Shannon Boone (of Puddle of Mudd) on drums, the goal Scallions says, is to keep the music stripped down.
"I feel like, at times, fans get cheated," says Scallions, speaking before a concert at the Concrete Street Pavilion in Corpus Christi, Texas. "With certain performers, you know, bands will have the kitchen sink on a protocol rig. I get it, sometimes you have to - like with (the rock band) Filter, they have to have that, they're such an industrial band. But us? We're a straightforward, rock 'n' roll band. I don't want to layer. I think live is supposed to be live. We're just four guys on the stage. What you see is what you get."
Fuel will make a stop in Wildwood this weekend to headline the upcoming WJSE 106.3-FM and Philadelphia Soul Summer Slam Sports and Music Festival, a daylong event taking place Saturday, Aug. 24, along the beach between Mariner's Landing Amusement Pier at Schellenger Avenue and Adventure Pier at Spencer Avenue.
In addition to headliner Fuel, the concert will feature fellow late '90s alternative rock bands Hoobastank and Alien Ant Farm, who are performing together all summer as part of their "Big Night Our" tour. The ska/punk band Ballyhoo and other local bands will also be performing.
The concert will take place in conjunction with the Philadelphia Soul Summer Slam, now in its eighth consecutive year, and a large flag football tournament organized by the Philadelphia Sport and Social Club. The men's 7-on-7 and co-ed 8-on-8 flag football tournament will begin at 9 a.m. on the beach.
Soul players, coaches, the Soulmates and team mascot, Soulman, will all be in attendance, in addition to interactive games and rides for kids.
The 13,000 available free tickets for the concert sold out within 36 hours. VIP and Cabana passes are still available for purchase. The enthusiasm from fans proves there is a demand for more concerts such as this one, says Coastal Broadcasting's owner Bob Maschio.
"Quite honestly, being a family resort in Wildwood, we felt it necessary to wean away from the 1950s and '60s and start gauging a new audience," says Maschio. "These bands (appeal to people) between 30 to 49 years of age - the perfect demographic. They all know these bands. They all know their hits. These are the bands that started a movement."
For all of original Fuel's all-out rock, re-booted Fuel is "bluesier-based music," Scallions says, with elements of country, jazz and even punk rock. The freedom to move between genres was learned in part during his three years fronting Riders on the Storm, a re-boot of The Doors featuring original Doors members Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger.
"We just try to make a record that is diverse," Scallions says. "One thing I always loved about records I listened to growing up - they could be the heaviest band in the in the world, and then back off and be a country band, or play a little jazzy thing, almost opera at times."
A new Fuel album is finished, Scallions says, though details about a first single or release date are still being worked out. For now, Fuelies - as the fans call themselves - can expect to hear all the classic Fuel hits from their multi-platinum albums "Sunburn" and "Something Like Human" when they come to Wildwood beach.
"We've been playing a new song in the set lately - but I'm not so sure how much new stuff (we'll play)," Scallions says. "I'm not going to take anything away from what original Fuel was," Scallions says. "We had a great chemistry. Now, things are a little different. I'm the only original member, and these guys are different players, you know? Their styles are different. They've helped transform me into something different."