Feature Interviews - Music >
Features Interviews F
to J > Fastball
FLIP THEIR WIG
BY SHEILA LUSSIER
All rights reserved. Posted: July 19, 2004.
Zuniga and fellow singer/songwriter Tony Scalzo founded the Austin,
TX-based band Fastball nearly a decade ago. They have had much success with
five studio albums under their belts and such hit singles as “The Way” and
“Out of My Head” (both from their
breakthrough 1998 album
the Pain Money Can Buy.)
has just put out their first album in four years.
LA traffic allowed me to actually get where I was going on time. Of course,
my drive to interview Fastball’s singer/songwriter and guitarist Miles Zuniga,
wasn’t completely devoid of troubles: The venue, Spaceland, wasn’t even
open yet, and the band had only just arrived a moment before I did. After a
quick introduction and one of the most frightening jaywalks in LA history,
we settled down at a coffee shop and began discussing the
band's career and their new album,
Your Wig On.
Your last album
(The Harsh Light
was made in the year 2000. What have
you been doing since?
Well, I moved to Nashville to write country songs,
and I even got a few cuts. The very first song I wrote when I came to
Nashville got cut and I thought, ‘Wow, this is easy.’ I thought, ‘this is
going to be like shooting fish in a barrel,' but of course, that wasn’t the
case. I just got lucky.
Who was your cut for?
Vassar. He’s a nice guy. I was lucky to write with some of the biggest
songwriters there: Jeff Steel, Bob De Piero, Clay Wiseman and Al Anderson.
If you look on the country charts their songs are all over it. I was writing
with those people, but they write hundreds of songs a year, and only
something like ten percent of their songs get cut. Even maybe smaller than
that, and they’re huge songwriters! A guy like me, you know, I wasn’t
writing a hundred songs, but I was writing a lot more than I
[had] and that
was a very valuable thing. I started thinking about song writing as a
vocation. Before I would just write songs if we had to make a new record or
when the mood struck me.
Did you become friends with other entertainers that
moved to Nashville?
friends with all the pop rock crowd. Like the guy from Tonic, the band
Sixpence None the Richer live there, and Bobby Bare, Jr.
Did any of the guys in your band move to Nashville?
all stayed in Texas. I lived in LA before that. I get bored staying in one
How did you come up with the title
Your Wig On?
all of our other records had really long titles and really serious-sounding
titles, like All the Pain Money Could Buy or The Harsh Light of
Day. I thought we were perceived as a little more serious than we really
are, so I wanted to make sure that at least the title of the record
reflected that we have a sense of humor.
I noticed that Tony Scalzo also sings lead vocals. How
do you decide who is going to sing which song?
he is a better singer than me--or at least he is a better singer for certain
kinds of material. I am good for a song like, “Perfect World” or a song like
“Red Light.” There are songs he does that I can’t do, like the song “I Get
High.” He sings really beautifully on that song. I think he is definitely
like a showcase singer when we started writing songs together. Before we
wrote our own songs: I wrote my songs, he wrote his. So it was only natural
that I sang my songs and he sang his.
Does the drummer, Joey Shuffield, write any of the
What is one of your favorite songs on your new CD?
easy. I like “‘Til I Get it Right” the best because it’s kind of crazy. It
is definitely the most let-your-hair-down type of song. The ending is real
Who would you say some of your musical influences are?
easy to hear The Beatles, but we also like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Lucinda
Williams, lots of English music like The Cure, The Clash. Well,
heavy metal... I’m not sure if it is an influence, but we all listen to
a lot of it.
So what kind of CD’s do you currently listen to?
Yeah, what's in your car?
recently bought the Franz Ferdinand record, and the new Los Lobos. It is
really good, but I also like listening to stuff that is not rock music, like
Do you guys think you’re more of a live band?
are totally different worlds. Live shows... well, you could record a live
show and it might not really sound all that good, we probably could because
we can sing and stuff, but it’s just a different realm when you’re trying to
entertain people, so it’s a different job. When you’re making a record
you’re trying to bring things to life for the first time.
What do you think your band’s biggest strengths are?
can sing, I think we write pretty good songs, and we are a rockin’ little
that night, I headed back to Spaceland to see the band perform.
The show was a little club gig to prepare for the band's
upcoming tour, which starts in Boston in August. They did
most of their new songs and some of their old hits, of
course burning down the house with “Out Of My Head” and “The Way.”
They did another older single, “She Comes
'Round” which they wrote for
the movie The Other Sister. The band did
the song in honor of it being Ringo Starr's
birthday. Miles jokingly said, “If John and George
could hear, they'd be rolling in their graves.”
Having big shoes to fill, I think they did a
wonderful job. When Tony and Miles sing together
they harmonize beautifully, the show was both upbeat and melodic. You could
definitely hear the Beatles influences,
as well as a little country and a little
blues. It's good to have
us Let us know what you
Return to the features page