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Failure Biography

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Failure In-depth Biography

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, All Music Guide

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