Fightstar are a British
alternative rock band from London, England.
Since their inception the band has comprised Charlie Simpson
(vocals, guitar, keys), Alex
Westaway (guitar, vocals), Dan Haigh (bass) and Omar Abidi (drums).
Although generally considered a post-hardcore
band, Fightstar are also known
to implement varied music genres
, progressive rock
and acoustic rock
.The band currently release their
managements imprint label, Search and Destroy Records
which is distributed via PIAS Recordings.
During the band's initial emergence, they were faced with much
scepticism due to Simpson's former pop
career. However, they began to receive positive reactions to early
live shows and their debut EP
You Better When You Were Dead
(2005) was a critical
success. Since then, their three studio albums have obtained top 40
chartings and critical praise. Indeed, debut album Grand Unification
regarded as "one of the best British rock albums of the past
decade" by Paul Brannigan of weekly rock magazine Kerrang!
. Scottish publication, The Fly
, also said that the album
"remains one of the 21st Century’s ultimate rock debuts".
Nominations at the Kerrang! Awards
for 'Best British Newcomer' and 'Best
British Band' soon followed, before second album, One Day Son, This Will All
(2007), peaked at #27 on the UK Album Chart
. The follwing year, a b-sides compilation
(2008) was released. The four-piece then funded
and co-produced third album, Be
(2009), which became their highest charting album
after peaking at #20 in the UK.
Origins (2003 - 2004)
formed in the latter part of 2003 during a
party at Simpson's London home.
He was then still an active member of chart topping pop band Busted
Drummer Omar Abidi had been completing a sound engineering diploma
guitarist Alex Westaway had recently moved down to London after
dropping out of university
. Westaway had
also invited old school friend, bassist Dan Haigh, who at the time
was based in London working for a game
During the party, an impromptu jam
took place. Playing Rage Against the Machine
"Killing in the Name
" on a loop,
they bonded and subsequently attended a gig
a few days later. After the show, they
went back to Simpson's flat and began performing on acoustic guitars
and a v-drum kit
, which led to their first song
being written, titled "Too Much Punch".
In late 2004
Simpson had made the decision to
quit Busted, stating he wanted to do something his "heart was in".
In January 2005
, the split was
announced and the frontman immediately began playing shows with
Fightstar. This was followed by the release of their debut EP in
which was recorded during 2004
whilst he was still a member of the pop trio.
They Liked You Better When You Were Dead EP (2004 -
Fightstar's debut EP, They Liked You Better
When You Were Dead, was released on February 28, 2005,
following a rapid promotional tour of the UK.
release proved popular enough to warrant a reprinting on March 23,
2005. The first track, "Palahniuk's
", enjoyed heavy rotation on music video channels and
spent many weeks in charts based on video and radio requests.
was originally entitled "Out Swimming in the Flood", but was
renamed after the 2004
The EP was heavily influenced by the author
, with the band
naming a song after him ("Palahniuk's Laughter") and including a
drawing by Westaway of Edward Norton
character in the film adaptation
of Palahniuk's novel Fight
The release was via the band's own imprint label - Sandwich Leg
Records which was distributed through Universal Records
. Soon after the release
of the EP, they signed to Universal Island Records and started
recording their first full length LP.
Grand Unification (2005 - 2006)
The band during an in-store signing in
Fightstar went into the studio in October 2005 to start work on
their first full length offering. They re-recorded four songs from
their debut EP, which were 'Mono', 'Hazy Eyes', 'Lost Like Tears In
Rain' and 'Paint Your Target'.
The band's first single, "Paint Your Target
" was released
on June 13, 2005 in the UK, peaking at #9 in the singles chart.
Their second single, "Grand
Unification Part 1
" was released on October 31, 2005, and
peaked at #20 in the UK singles chart.
A new version of They Liked You Better When You Were Dead
was released in early 2006 through Deep
in America. This version contained nine tracks as
apposed to the UK's six.
In March 2006, they were listed by the US rock magazine
as one of the 100 bands to watch for that
The band released their first full-length album on 13 March 2006
through Island Records
. Produced and mixed by Colin Richardson
(Bullet for My Valentine
, Machine Head
, Funeral for a Friend
), the album
entered the midweek’s at #11 and ended up debuting at #28 in the UK
charts. Grand Unification
was released in America in March
2007, along with a full US tour.
Further singles taken from this album were "Waste a Moment", "Grand
Unification (Part 1)" and "Hazy Eyes". The band also played a
slot at the Download Festival at
Park Race Track and also headlined the Sunday of
Welsh rock music festival The
Full Ponty under Biffy Clyro and
Funeral for a Friend.
toured with Funeral for a Friend for three months in 2006 covering
such places as Australia, Japan and the
They have also covered Metallica
Messiah" and Deftones
' "My Own Summer" for
magazine free CD
giveaways during 2006, as well as covering Deftones' "Minerva"
, which is available on
vinyl version of the "Waste A Moment"
The band released Grand
, in the US and Canada on April 17, 2007. The
release differs from the British and Japanese versions by including
the "Hazy Eyes
" B-Side and "Fight For Us"
as a 14th track.
One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours (2007 - 2008)
After leaving Island records due to a disagreement over the bands
artistic direction, Fightstar signed to an independent label called
Institute Records which was a division of Gut Records
to release their second album.
hit the road for an extensive tour beginning at Glasgow Barrowlands on October 8, 2006 with a supporting cast including
The Blackout, The Receiving End of Sirens and
recorded One Day
Son, This Will All Be Yours in LA with
producer Matt Wallace who has also
produced Faith No More, Satchel, Deftones and Sugarcult.
Lead vocalist, guitarist and co-songwriter, Charlie Simpson in
The album was released on
September 24, 2007.
The first single from One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours
was called "99
". It was released
as a free download-only single on 23 April 2007, and is available
from a microsite, launched by Fightstar. The music video for
" was shown on Scuzz
and Kerrang TV.
The second single to be taken from the album was "We Apologise for Nothing
single reached number 1 in the UK Independent Chart. The music
video for the third single, "Deathcar
made available on the band's MySpace on 22 November 2007. Although
appearing to be a low budget video, the version on MySpace is an
edited, "clean" version. After the release of the "uncut" version
of the video on 28 November 2007, Charlie Simpson confirmed via a
live forum chat on the band's official website that due to the last
minute planning to release "Deathcar" a budget of only £500 was
available. The band however confirmed they are "100% happy" with
the shoot and enjoyed the change of making a lo-fi video.
"Deathcar" went on to debut at #2 on both the UK Indie and Rock
The fourth single, "Floods
made its debut at No.3 in the UK Indie Chart. They also performed
BBC Radio 1
live sessions on this single
campaign for Colin Murray and Dan P Carter. The band went on a 10
date UK tour during May with support from London four piece
and unsigned Essex band
We Are The Ocean
included a date at Carling Academy Islington on 29 May, and at the Leeds Slam Dunk Festival on
The last single from the album was titled "I Am The Message
". It was released on 16
June 2008 as a double A side single with the other side being the
bands cover of "Waiting For Superman", which was recorded for the
Colin Murray Show on Radio 1. This was the band's first single to
be added to the Radio 1 playlist.
Alternate Endings (2008)
On 11 August 2008, the band released a b-sides
album called Alternate Endings
. It features a
selection of the band's b-sides, live radio sessions, covers and a
previously unreleased track.
Then, at Download festival
the four-piece told press they would be returning to the studio in
August to start recording their next album due for early 2009 and
that they already have at least four songs demoed. The album’s name
was confirmed as Be
. The band recorded a cover of "Fear of the Dark
" for an Iron Maiden
cover CD called Maiden Heaven: A Tribute
to Iron Maiden
, featuring various artists, which was given
away with the July 16 issue of Kerrang!
headlined the Rocksound Cave stage on the Saturday at Guilfest, and
festival's Mainstage in 2008.
Due to Gut Records going into administration at the end of 2008,
Fightstar decided to put out their new album Be Human
their own, in a joint venture with their management company Raw
Power on a label called Search and Destroy. The new record was
distributed through PIAS Records
. In an
interview Charlie Simpson said "This was something that we had
always wanted to do and figured this would be the perfect time to
do it. It is an exciting prospect to be able to own the rights to
our own record with the music industry changing at such a rapid
pace, I think it's something that more bands will be looking to do
in the future."
Be Human (2008 - present)
Lead guitarist and co-songwriter, Alex
Fightstar released their first single from the new album Be Human,
"The English Way
", on 3 November
2008 and it reached number 1 in the UK rock chart. The video was
played on Kerrang! and Scuzz T.V. stations and also reached number
1 on the MTV2
top 10. The album was co-produced
by the band along with Carl Bown, in Bown's state of the art
Chesterfield based studio; Treehouse Studios. In interviews leading
up to the album release, the band commented that the new record
would be "quite different" from their previous releases. Charlie
Simpson stated they wanted to experiment with more of a "rock
opera" sound including full strings and choir. However, he also
pointed out that although it may be different, it will remain
Fightstar and still include their trademark dark and heavy
The band supported Feeder
first part of their UK tour, which started on 21 October 2008.
Drummer Jason Bowld had filled in for drummer Omar Abidi on their
UK tour, while he recovered from a broken wrist. Abidi returned to
touring with the band early in 2009. Due to Abidi's hand injury,
Simpson filled in to play drums on six tracks for the new
Next single, "Mercury Summer
released on 6 April 2009, as announced on their MySpace page on 2
February 2009. Tracks include; Mercury Summer, Athea, We Left
Tracks Of Fire, Mercury Summer (Acoustic) and Mercury Summer (Nero
vs. Ohms remix) which was half produced by Abidi. Athea being a
b-side to the physical cd and We Left Tracks Of Fire a b-side on
the 7" Vinyl, all available to purchase online at various online
stores and websites. Later that week on 4 February, they announced
a 12-date UK tour with support from In
Case of Fire
and Laruso. The video for "Mercury Summer" debuted
on their MySpace page on 25 February.
The reception for the single was extremely positive, with the song
reaching the A List on the Radio 1 Playlist and remaining there for
4 weeks. It was also received well after the band featured on BBC2
music show Sound
. "Mercury Summer"
was also added to the daytime playlist at XFM Radio and was picked
for Ian Camfield's Record of The Week. Emma Scott and Kerrang Radio
station also made "Mercury Summer" her Record of The Week.
On 7 April 2009 the NME
website announced that
Fightstar were to perform at the Download Festival
. Then on 26 May 2009, it
was announced by the official website that Fightstar will also be
playing the main stage at the Reading and Leeds
On 9 April 2009 the final album version of "Colours Bleed To Red"
was played on the Colin Murray
Murray said about the previous single "Mercury Summer
" "It's only when you hear it
in the context of the album that it makes total sense.' 'It's
actually a little bit more experimental while at the same time
being a bit mainstream" he also said that Be Human
"Quintessential Fightstar with all these new parts to it. Very
impressed with it indeed."
It was then rumoured that, Be Human
, would be re-released
in late 2009 and it is believed the new, deluxe version could
contain four or five new songs. One of the new songs could be a
cover version of Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield," which the band
performed informally earlier in the year in the BBC Radio1 Live
Lounge. The cover was met with great approval and Sparks herself
said on radio that she was a fan of Fightstar and believed they
should cover the song.
On the 12th October the band posted pictures on their myspace site
from their latest music video shoot for new song "A City on Fire
". The song subsequently was
played for the first time during Fearne
's show on Radio 1 on October
and the offical video premiered on the bands MySpace
on October 24
which was directed by the team at Sitcom Soldiers. The single will
be released as a digital download
on December 7, while the band have since confirmed the deluxe
re-release of Be Human
will be available in February
Musical style and influences
Fightstar's sound has generally been regarded as "post-hardcore
". The genre
is described as a "balance of dissonance
and melody, in part channeling the loud and fast hardcore ethos
into more measured, subtle forms of tension and release". Charlie
Simpson has echoed this sentiment by describing the bands musical
aim as trying to "combine the light and dark shades, to make
something utterly brutal and really heavy, and on the other side
have something really delicate and beautiful. The fusion of those
things is what Fightstar does."
Their music has also been described as "alternative rock
" and more recently,
tendencies with third album, Be
elements. The band states they
are largely influenced by film scores
as well as artists such as Deftones
, Explosions in the Sky
,, The Cure
, and Jeff
During 2009, Kerrang! Magazine
wrote about the band, "Backed by
bassist Dan Haigh, guitarist Al Westaway and drummer Omar Abidi,
their first EP
demonstranted a love of
, a sound that has shaped their
subsequent releases despite moves into more metallic
, hardcore and now inventive
territory. It's been an impressive
journey for Simpson, first regarded with scepticism to one that is
now thought of as the leader of one of the country's finest rock
bands. It's been a voyage achieved through the sheer love of what
he does, combined with hard work and a thick skin.
- Official Members
||Best British Newcomer
||Best British Band
- NME (Magazine) 12 February 2005, p.38 Exclusive! The First Interview
- Alternative Press (Magazine) April 2006 #213 FIGHTSTAR
- Outburn (Magazine) July 2007 #39, p.30. "Our whole aim in music is to combine the light and the