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About Failure
Failure lyrics

Failure was an American rock band (often also classified as alternative rock and/or space rock) that was active from 1990 to 1997, during which they recorded and released three critically-acclaimed albums. They are often compared to other hard rock bands from that time that were similarly labeled as "alternative", such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, or Bush, but are distinguished by their meticulous attention to textural sonic detail, inventive use of guitar effects and signal processing, and the overall expansive sound design of their later albums. Although mainstream success narrowly eluded them, they still have many dedicated fans, many of whom are fellow musicians and peers within the music industry.


History


Failure was formed in 1990 by Ken Andrews (vocals/guitars) and Greg Edwards (bass/guitar). Andrews and Edwards met one another through classified ads in Los Angeles, and started recording 4-track demos and playing gigs around LA with drummer Robert Gauss. During 1991, the band made some studio recordings with producer Paul Lani (who had previously worked with Enuff Z'nuff) and engineer Randy Pekich; four of the tracks from those sessions were released by the now-defunct label Sweet Smelling Records on a pair of 7-inch vinyl singles, "Pro-Catastrophe," "Dipped In Anger," "Count My Eyes," and "Comfort".


In 1992, Failure signed with Slash Records (an LA-based independent label whose releases were manufactured and distributed by Warner Bros. in the United States), and went to Minnesota to record their debut album with notorious producer Steve Albini at Pachyderm Studio that summer. Comfort was released in September 1992, and around this same time, they went on their first of several tours with Tool.


Both the band and Albini were unsatisfied with the sound of Comfort, so when the band went back into the studio in 1993, Andrews and Edwards took on the role of producers themselves. Midway through these sessions, Gauss left the band, so Edwards played some drums himself, until a replacement was found in Kellii Scott. Their second album, Magnified, was released in March 1994; a promotional video (the band's first) was made for the single "Undone", but it received little airtime, if any, on any of the traditional music video outlets. Critics took note of the sonic and musical advances achieved on Magnified, and other more well-known musicians also began singing Failure's praises. That year, they again went on tour with Tool, and during Failure's set each night, Tool guitarist Adam Jones came onstage to play rhythm guitar on the Comfort track "Macaque".


Anxious to build on the momentum afforded to them by the relative success of Magnified, Andrews, Edwards, and Scott began recording again in 1995, this time in a rented home owned by Lita Ford in the hills just outside of LA. With the band again producing themselves, and Andrews handling the lion's share of the engineering himself, the situation allowed the band to take far more time in recording than they ever had before, and follow their instincts as far as they chose without outside interference. As the recordings neared completion, they received word that their label's distribution deal with Warner had expired and would not be renewed. Since Failure was essentially sidelined while the owners of Slash were trying to negotiate a new distribution deal, the band members kept themselves busy with outside projects: Andrews and Edwards (and friends) recorded an album of covers under the name Replicants; Andrews produced albums for Blinker the Star and Molly McGuire (the Kansas City-based rock band, not the LA-based singer-songwriter); Scott did some session work. Meanwhile, the band continued to "unofficially" shop the record to other labels and industry personnel, while hoping that Warner would step up and release the album. In the spring of 1996, Warner did exactly that, agreeing to keep the Slash imprint one last time for Failure, and Fantastic Planet was released that August. Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, a friend and former bandmate of Scott's, joined Failure around the time of the album's release. The album's first single, "Stuck on You" (an ironically catchy mid-tempo track that metaphorically compares love to a nagging tune stuck in one's head), became a minor alternative-radio hit and achieved light to medium rotation on MTV, but failed to chart significantly. The song peaked at #31 on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and #23 on the Modern Rock chart. Other songs, such as "Saturday Saviour" and "Pitiful", received some airplay from more adventurous-minded DJs, but no more videos were made for any of the album's tracks, and due to the state of disarray at their label at that time, little effort was put into its promotion.


In 1997, the band were asked by friends in the industrial rock band God Lives Underwater to contribute a track for a Depeche Mode tribute album that they were assembling; Failure chose to cover the 1990 hit "Enjoy the Silence", a worldwide smash and Depeche Mode's best-selling and most well-known single. The members of Depeche Mode were reportedly very pleased with the album, and with the Failure track particularly; Andrew Fletcher said that he actually prefers their cover over his band's original version. That summer, Failure also joined the Lollapalooza tour, during what became the last of that tour's travelling years. They were originally playing the side stage, but were promoted to the main stage to fill in for another band who had dropped out of the tour.


On November 19, 1997, Failure officially announced that they had disbanded, citing personal differences. In 2004, although the band had been inactive for many years, Andrews and Edwards got together to collaborate on a CD/DVD set entitled Golden, which collects demos, outtakes, touring footage, both of the band's videos, and other rare material from the band's active period. Another posthumous compilation, a 2-CD set titled Essentials, was assembled for release in 2006; the first disc contains selected tracks from Failure's three studio albums, and the second disc features the first official CD release of all four songs from their two pre-Slash singles, and the complete demos for Magnified.


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