Los Angeles post rock outfit Failure has made waves throughout the music world since their return to the music world in 2013 and releasing The Heart Is A Monster a year later. During the band’s inactivity from 1997 to 2013, each member of the band had kept busy working in music in different formats.
Drummer Kellii Scott spoke about their time away from Failure and reassessing their values as musicians following the demise of their band, and moving forward at the same time.
“Yeah I’m sure you’ve been in relationships that didn’t work. One of the easiest things to do after that is get in another relationship. Especially when not unlike love when you’ve been playing music your whole life, it’s your calling and it’s not something you can live without.”
“For the three of us, the obvious next choice was mourn for a little while and then get back on the horse. Inevitably as much as we love playing music, the only way we get to continue playing music is if we’re making some kind of living out of it. I’d much rather be doing that than some nine to five job that I’m not in love with.”
Then he shared what he was involved with during his time away from Failure. Even while he was bouncing from band to band throughout that time, he began to understand what he was truly seeking within the music he was playing and the outcome he sought after at the same time.
“After Failure I had the Blinker The Star stuff with Jordon Zadorozny. That lasted for three or four years and it was more of the same. It was a lot of really hard work, uphill battle and finally I got tired of it. I made a decision that I was going to figure out another way to continue playing music and have all of the other things that everybody else gets to have in life, like a committed relationship you get to maintain, a nice apartment you can pay rent and all of us not being turned off all the time. I needed to grow up and it didn’t seem that continuing in bands was going to be lucrative. I really needed my life changed. I was at it for another six years or so before I even joined Failure.”
“I moved to LA in 1987 and had a bunch of bands before that. I was always a band guy. That’s definitely where my heart is. It just became too painful after a while. I had to find an easier way to get to where I wanted to be in my personal life.”
He immediately found gigs with an assortment of bands throughout that time period and immediately became a highly in demand session drummer at the same time.
“After the demise of Blinker [The Star] also I really had to figure out another way to continue doing what I love to do, but grow up at the same time. I have been in the session world. I was doing all of Linda Perry’s records for years, like the Christina Aguilera stuff, James Blunt, Leona Lewis, and everybody from Bette Midler to Faith Hill after that.”
“I also did Veruca Salt for a little while. I did some of the previous records in the 90s, and Louise [Post] and I remained friends and her guitar player Stephen [Fitzpatrick] as well. I ran into Stephen one day around 2005 or 2006. We did a record and did some touring together.”
Another much talked about project Scott was involved in was Enemy, a project he and one time bandmate Troy Van Leeuwen had at one time. He explained what that project was about, and the back story of this project.
“That was Troy [Van Leeuwen] and I had a couple of bands together. That one started off as Troy and I, right before Troy joined Failure. He and I were playing in a couple of other bands, but we had started working on that right before he joined Failure, and which made it a no brainer for him to join. He was a really big fan and already knew all of the songs.”
“Then it was one of those projects because he was in Failure so we had to work on it. Then when Failure broke up we worked on it a little bit more. Then I took off with Blinker [the Star] and he did a couple of shows and I think recorded a few more things with another friend of ours, Alec Puro. Eddie Nappi came into the band playing bass, who has been a longtime friend of ours. He was in Handsome also for a while.”
“Then of course I was playing with A Perfect Circle for a minute and left, and then Troy joined and that put it on hold some more. So it’s this big long project. It took us roughly about ten years to finish it and finally put that record out. The release of that it and all of that was a disaster. Unfortunately not too many people ever got to get their hands on or hear that record.”
What about Ken Andrews and Greg Edwards during the band’s time away? “Ken [Andrews] did Year of the Rabbit, ON and his solo record, and all through that time he was also a really sought out producer/engineer/mixer. And Greg [Edwards] – obviously he stuck with the Autolux thing for all of these years, which is good for him.”
Lastly, the Failure members were involved on a short lived project called the Replicants, and their self titled covers album that was released back in 1995. While Scott was not involved in the project, Andrews and Edwards took part on this record while he was playing on a separate record involving members who would ultimately take part on the Replicants album as well. The other irony was that this album was recorded while Failure was recording one of their albums.
“I wasn’t involved with the Replicants. That took place right after we finished Fantastic Planet. Oddly when we were starting Fantastic Planet and learning how to use this studio that we had just bought, those guys were getting together and recording covers. Paul D’Amour was involved in that.”
“During that period, Paul had played some of their demos to a friend of ours over at Zoo Entertainment, which was also Tool’s label. The guy was Matt Marshall. He was like ‘oh I’ll give you a record deal for you guys to finish a whole record of this kind of stuff. It’s pretty cool.’ ”
“So while that was going on, I was working on the Lusk record with Paul D’Amour and Chris Pittman (Guns N Roses) and Brad Laner (Medicine) and Greg also was playing. The two of them, Paul and Greg, were doing double duties on the Lusk record and the Replicants stuff. A lot of that is either programming or Greg is playing drums on that.”
“It was Ken and Greg; Chris Pitman, who’s in Guns N Roses now. He’s another great friend of ours. He’s also on the Lusk project. Maynard (James Keenan) came in and did some stuff on it (on ‘Silly Love Songs’). I think Brad Laner worked on some of that also. I’m not entirely sure about that.”
“We would play a lot of those songs on tour back in the day. We were kind of thinking about doing some of them on this tour but we forfeited that idea to play some of the hardcore Failure fan-ish stuff off of the records.”