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Failure

The founding force and career-long creative core of Failure consisted of multi-instrumentalists Ken Andrews and Greg Edwards, a '90s songwriting team practically unrivaled within the claustrophobic confines of post-grunge American rock. The two constantly switched guitar and bass duties in the studio while Andrews took lead vocal duties on the group's three recordings -- Edwards has been credited in interviews with having come up with most of Failure's lyrics. When the group performed live, Edwards played bass while Andrews managed most guitar duties, but in the studio, they would interchange often, with Edwards adding keyboard work and even some drumming. As the group matured and their recording chops sharpened, Andrews became the band's producer/engineer and even began selling his services in this capacity with fine results. Failure was handed near-universal critical praise for their songwriting and sparse, yet cinematic musical arrangements. Their music certainly owed something to song-driven, moody artists like Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots, but Failure also had many melodic and thematic qualities that were unique and compelling. Failure was both grounded in a heavy breed of pure pop and ambitious experimentalism -- the combination of which defies description just as it exudes an instant familiarity. It all amounted to a rare and sweet form of rock artistry.

Andrews and Edwards met via a classified ad in Los Angeles in 1990 and soon began trading four-track ideas. The pair signed with Warner Bros. imprint Slash Records shortly after they began playing clubs around L.A. Drummer Robert Gauss was added to the lineup and Failure entered the studio with renowned producer Steve Albini to record their debut, Comfort. The combination of talents seemed like a sure thing, but Albini's minimal production philosophy proved to be a mismatch with Failure's more structured creative approach. The results were very unsatisfactory for the band as Comfort was sonically dominated by Albini's bombastic drum mix and generally noisy aesthetic. Andrews convinced Slash to allow him greater production control over the group's 1994 follow-up Magnified, and the vastly superior effort proved the musician's studio instincts to be accurate. Halfway through the recording of Magnified, Gauss left the band and Kellii Scott came in to finish off the sessions. The new drummer stayed on to become a solid recording and performing contributor. The rock press took note of the amazing sonic and musical advances achieved on Magnified just as dozens of musical artists also began singing the group's praises. Failure was subsequently offered a choice opening slots with the likes of Tool and even main stage status on Lollapalooza. Edwards and Andrews even recorded the one-off covers project Replicants with members of Tool (with Andrews at the helm of the recording console). The clarity and inventiveness displayed by Andrews' mixes did not go unnoticed either and soon the musician was producing and engineering records for the likes of Blinker the Star and Sony's Molly McGuire. Even though Failure hadn't received much media attention -- besides the uniformly positive reviews -- the group had managed to build up some commercial momentum and their final release, Fantastic Planet, was met with much anticipation. When the band went out to tour in support of the new record, Troy Van Leeuwen joined up as second guitarist to help recreate the discs more sophisticated arrangements. The first single from this 1996 masterpiece, "Stuck on You," became a minor alt-radio and MTV hit. It seemed that the public had picked up on the enthusiasm that so many critics and musicians shared. The song -- an ironically catchy number about the power of a catchy song to stick in a listener's head -- peeked at undeservingly low chart positions. No second single was ever introduced to build on what "Stuck on You" had begun. Their best-selling record, Fantastic Planet, stalled at sales numbers well below the break-even point and it looked like Failure had committed their third strike commercially. Andrews and Edwards announced the demise of the group (due to personal differences and other reasons that were reported to have nothing to do with record sales) about a year later. Andrews went on to form the one-manned outfit ON and continued his lucrative producing/engineering career that has included projects with Ednaswap, Skycycle, Creeper Lagoon, and Tenacious D. Edwards went on to form the well-received Autolux. Scott has since played with Ice Man, Guns N' Roses, and eventually joined as a permanent member of Blinker the Star. Van Leeuwen played with Enemy and then helped form A Perfect Circle. It's little surprise that musicians capable of creating such transcendent rock were in such demand once they had the opportunity to share their many talents. ~ Vincent Jeffries, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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So influential. Paved the way for some of my early favorites like cave in and quicksand.
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Saw them live in May and they were way better than what I expected. Absolutely amazing! Wish I could relive that night!
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THEY'RE BACK TOGETHER AND ON TOUR NOW! (June 2014)
Search -Failure - Tree of Stars tour
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The 90's rocked @ GreyEyez76 I miss those days. Great time for music
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90's were a great time for music(multi- l a y e r e d genres for me tastes)
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First time hearing these guys, I'm digging this!
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falch6
There's no FAIL in Failure!!
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jaredparkhur s t
I'll see them in March with Tool in PHX!!!!
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They are as well for me, Matt38101. FAILURE's Fantastic Planet and the entire discography of HUM have forever changed my life and taste in music. Then there's Shiner, Houston, The Stella Link, Centaur, Someday I....
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Hum and Failure, two of my all time favorites
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Fantastic Planet has earned its spot in rock history. Nothing less for the authenticity of such an angelic rock album. These guys did more for me musically, then they will ever know.
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robreynolds1 3
Deep music. Exceptional talent. Underrated at the time.
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jn31431
This band is so deep and heavy. I really haved liked them for over a 1 1/2 years now. I got the chance to stand in front of Greg Edwards at an Autolux show in LA. He melted my mind with his extreme musicianship . Such a great band, Check em out!
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Awesome.
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Loved them in the 90's. Understand them more today.
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never paid attention to them back in the day...of course that was my mistake...gr e a t music
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How can you write about Failure and not mention them as a Space Rock band, and how their break up helped grow other Space Rock bands?
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stellar_cons o r t i u m
Man, how did I not know about "Comfort" or "Golden"? I'll definitely be checking them out. New independent band with detectable Failure influences: The Sugar Fire (thesugarfir e . c o m ) , on iTunes and Amazon. Great stuff. Thanks for the info! Cheers
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what a great band.....
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i think i remember hearing these guys back in the day but didn't pay that much attention to them. glad i could rediscover them through pandora.
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Along with Comfort, Pandora unfortunatel y does not mention "Golden: Unreleased Sounds And Images", a reunion of sorts from 2004 between Ken, Greg, Kelli, Robert, Troy, and others who participated in Failure. Not only does it contain excellently remastered demo tracks and outtakes (most of which are INCREDIBLE pieces of music), but also a 45-minute documentary DVD (with commentary tracks from Ken & Greg), music videos, and photographs. Highly, highly reccomended for fans of the band.
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copsyco
While I mostly agree with the above, my first listen to the song "screenman" on Comfort is what got me to really open my eyes to there more complicated and incredibly brilliant other offerings on Magnifired and Fantastic Planet. I cant figure out how this band slipped through the cracks other than there obviously not considered Grunge and at the time that was considered The 'IT' sound in the buisness. I love the band and consider it a complete success dispite the name!
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jarien13
they left off a disc, "Comfort"
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Ken Andrew's solo album, Secrets of the Lost Satellite, is also excellent.
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I agree with you dislimb. This is without a doubt the most underated band of the 90's.
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they're awesome
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The most underrated band of my generation.
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robin2048
If you like Ken Andrews, check out Year of the Rabbit, as well as On. I'll check out Autolux as Spitz suggests.
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listen to autolux
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dean.randell
I concur- picked up Fantastic Planet in the bargain bin on a whim some years ago- had never even heard of the group. Awesome disk- one of my all time favorites now.
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Got into them after finding out they were one of Cave In's influences. Fantastic Planet is awesome. Bold choice of band name too, maybe too bold.
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Highly underrated! This band is phenomenal and should be heard by everyone!

N*
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missing the Comfort cd
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No love for Greg? Except for their early years when Robert Gauss composed the drum beats, Failure has always been a songwriting duo. Both Ken AND Greg are phenominal artists, and through their combined vision, we are blessed with such masterpieces as FP and Magnified.
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Thank you Ken Andrews for Fantastic Planet. One of the best albums ever made. More people should hear it.

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