FTM Rocks On: Locally based band Fair To Midland looks to be headed for the big time with record contract, album recording session
From Staff Reports

Fair To Midland members and founders Andrew Sudderth (left) and Cliff Campbell rocked the crowd at a concert in the Civic Center in 2001. The band was scheduled to leave today for Toronto to record an album on Serjical Strike records, headed by System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian.
File Photo

August 13, 2006 - If you're an FTM freak, you probably need read no further.

But if you're unfamiliar with the band Fair to Midland, listen up: This quintet from Sulphur Springs just might be the next overnight sensation in metal-tinged music, and it's only taken them about eight years to do it.

The band — founded by members Andrew Sudderth (vocals) and Cliff Campbell (guitars) in Sulphur Springs around 1998 — signed a deal in April with Serjical Strike records. While not a well-known label, Serjical Strike records has an impressive pedigree: It's headed by Serj Tankian, the frontman for System Of A Down.

Now, Fair To Midland — which also includes Brett Stowers (drums), Jon Dicken (bass) and Matt Langley (keyboards) — is about to start the process of recording a new album.

According to a post by FTM drummer Brett Stowers on the band's website (www.ftmband.com), they left today for Toronto to record their next full-length album with David Bottrill, who has three Grammy Awards and has worked with such bands as Tool, Godsmack, Mudvayne, Staind and many others.

FTM, as the band is better known to its fans, will be in Toronto for about two months, then head to Los Angeles for another month or so.

The deal with Serjical Strike puts to rest FTM's distinction as one of the best unsigned bands around.

According to a press release from Serjical Strike, FTM generated an independently recorded and distributed album - inter.funda.stifle - and toured throughout the United States in support of it. After hearing inter.funda.stifle, Tankian was anxious to see the band perform and had the opportunity to do so January at the famed Roxy Theater on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, followed by a second show 2 nights later in Malibu. Seeing the live show had Tankian itching to be involved with the band through his label, as well as offering to executive produce FTM’s next studio offering.

“They are one of the best live unsigned bands I have ever seen. Their songs are moody and dynamic, not dependent on one catchy beat or emotion to present their art,” said Tankian in the press release about why he signed the band.

Some of the music on inter.funda.stifle will probably be incorporated into the new album, Stowers wrote in a post to the FTM website in June.

"The release is likely to be a mix of the best of inter.funda.stifle and the best of the new songs we're writing right now," he wrote. "There is plenty of good stuff on IFS that we feel could benefit from the better production and arrangement we have access to now that we're working with a label."

It's long been known that FTM generated a solid fan base not just on the power of their music, but also with a compelling, energetic stage presence. That was something press release issued from Serjical Strike made clear was one of the reasons for signing the band:

"With a sound that has been described as a ' … mutant offspring of Rush, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, The Mars Volta, Gary Numan and Pantera; grown up and having run off to start their own volcano-worshipping doomsday cult in the desert ... ' (Rob Gary, The Indie Scoop), FAIR TO MIDLAND have crafted a live show that is as invigorating as it is enlightening by fusing visceral energy and amazing musicianship that has gripped all that have seen them play, including Tankian."

As one fan wrote on the website message boards, "Schweet!"

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