Alive and well

After nearly two decades, Chico veterans Fallon still rock

METUUULL <br>Fallon bassist Frankie “Swa” Bedene gets the crowd riled up at Off Limits for one of several CD release parties for the band’s latest disc <i>Back From the Dead</i>. (Inset) Fallon is, from left: Ken Bedene, Steve Lujan, Jimmy Scott and Frankie “Swa.”

Fallon bassist Frankie “Swa” Bedene gets the crowd riled up at Off Limits for one of several CD release parties for the band’s latest disc Back From the Dead. (Inset) Fallon is, from left: Ken Bedene, Steve Lujan, Jimmy Scott and Frankie “Swa.”

Photo By Charles H. Peckham V

Fallon began playing metal 17 years ago, while the members were still in high school, sending a shiver of infamy down the spine of the Chico scene with their brand of old-school metal and rock-star lifestyles. And the vets have stayed true to their roots for nearly two decades, drawing influence from metal gods like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slayer.

The band has kept a low profile over the past few years, until recently, when the request to do the soundtrack for a fighting video series awoke the sleeping Fallon. Now older and wiser, the band will play a handful of shows to celebrate the release of its latest disc, Back From the Dead.

If there’s anyone who shouldn’t be relating this story, it’s me. I’m the type of person metal-heads eat for breakfast. This became horrifically obvious to me last Friday, when I attended Fallon’s CD release show at Off Limits dressed in a sweater and riding cap.

I also was intrigued when sitting down with the band for an interview, where guitarist/vocalist Jimmy Scott and guitarist Steve Lujan remarked favorably on 16-year-old drummer Ken Bedene’s shirt, which features the screen-print of a voluptuous woman. Ken’s father, bassist/ vocalist Frankie “Swa” Bedene, smiled and said he recently bought the shirt for Ken in Amsterdam’s red-light district. (When I was Ken’s age, I wasn’t even allowed to watch R-rated movies.)

All in all, though, Fallon was the nicest group of guys I could hope to interview. It’s just their music that scares me.

CN&R: Tell me about this new CD.
Frankie “Swa”: Last year, around the end of the year, we saw an old friend, who’d been looking for us. He says, “I’ve been doing this underground fighting stuff, where we film people in back yards and stuff and we need some heavy music and stuff. Is Fallon still jamming?” We’d been working with a new drummer for about six months and writing a bunch of new material, and he gave us a really good excuse to get back in the studio. [Laughs.]

Jimmy Scott: Felony Fights is the name of the DVD series.

Frankie “Swa”: Yeah, and actually they shot a music video for our song on the new DVD, which is Felony Fights 5.

So Ken, you’re basically the new member; when did you start drumming?
Ken Bedene: Jeez, I don’t even know. Not that long ago.

Steve Lujan: It’s funny though, because he’s always known our music, but one day Frank calls me and says, “Hey, I’ve found a new drummer.” I say, “Who?” He says, “Ken.” I said, “What?” But we showed up, and he already knew all the songs.

Jimmy Scott: I remember when his feet couldn’t even reach the pedals. Once he could, though—boy, look out! [Laughs.]

Steve Lujan: We’d been having a lot of problems with finding a drummer for a while. They’d all be into drugs, or getting married or something. We had such a hard time finding a drummer that we eventually had to breed one. [Laughs from everyone.]

Jimmy Scott: There was a period of almost three years where we didn’t play. We’d get together and jam, but we pretty much realized we couldn’t find a drummer to play with us. Then Dimebag [Darrell, guitarist for Pantera] got shot, and we were all hating life. So we decided to just do one show basically as a tribute to Dimebag, and it felt so good that we decided to get back together, and it just snowballed from there with the DVD and everything.

Frankie “Swa”: We’ve all matured, too. We’ve always been known as a band of excesses and partying and all that stuff. We’ve mellowed since then and have become a more solid, better band.

How has having families affected the band?
Jimmy Scott: If they’re not behind you, it ain’t gonna happen. My wife is very supportive, and I think it’s actually harder on them. You know, I go to work all damn day doing drywall. I go home, take a shower and go to band practice. Mentally, she’s the one that’s got to put up with me when I do this.

Frankie “Swa”: Our families have always been into what we’re doing. Unless there’s some cute girls at shows. Then my wife gets upset.