Fun in 2012
|Origin||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Years active||2008–2015 (hiatus)|
Fun (stylized fun.) was an American indie pop band based in New York City. The band was formed by Nate Ruess (former lead singer of The Format), Andrew Dost (formerly of Anathallo), and Jack Antonoff (of Steel Train and Bleachers). To date, Fun has released two albums: Aim and Ignite in August 2009 and Some Nights in February 2012.
The band is best known for three hit singles from Some Nights: Grammy Award-winning "We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monáe, "Some Nights", and "Carry On". "We Are Young" reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Digital Songs charts. It also peaked at number one in the United Kingdom. "Some Nights" was released as the album's second single in June 2012, peaking at number three on the Hot 100 chart and becoming Fun's second Top 10 single, as well as the band's second song to reach platinum status in the United States.
Fun's song "We Are Young" won the Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year in 2013. Additionally, Fun was a nominee for four other Grammy Awards: Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo or Group Performance (both for "We Are Young") along with Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album (both for Some Nights).
2008: Career beginnings and formation
In February 2008, Nate Ruess's former band The Format split up. Immediately afterwards, Nate Ruess asked Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff to join his new project. Dost had toured with The Format and provided various instrumentation, and Ruess met Antonoff after The Format toured with Steel Train. The three began working together in New Jersey within a week. Ruess sang melodies while the other two provided music for them. The first demo song the band recorded was "Benson Hedges", which was made available free in Spin's August 20, 2008 article on the band. In November 2008, fun embarked on their first tour opening for Jack's Mannequin. Their first show was played in Denver, Colorado on November 5, 2008. A couple of early demos and covers from other bands were performed. Fun then approached Steven McDonald, who produced The Format's album Dog Problems with Ruess, to produce their debut album. McDonald was enthusiastic about the project and stated, "I can’t believe what we’re working on here. This crushes anything I’ve ever done."
2009–2010: Aim and Ignite
Recording took place in the fall of 2008. The band's first single, "At Least I'm Not as Sad As I Used to Be" was made available as a free download on the band's Myspace page on April 6, 2009. Aim and Ignite was released on August 25, 2009 and received positive reviews. AbsolutePunk.net's Drew Beringer praised the album, stating it was "what a pop album 'should' sound like" and "the most essential pop album of 2009." Allmusic called the album "progressive, but in the best possible way" and admired Ruess's lyrics for "investigating the larger truths of life...with a witty approach that keeps the songs bubbling merrily along on a positive note". Dave de Sylvia of Sputnikmusic wrote, "Aim and Ignite isn’t the most consistent pop album around," but he ultimately commended the album as "a superbly mixed and arranged album made by musicians who clearly understand the limits and potential of pop music". Estella Hung of PopMatters was less impressed with the album. She praised songs "Be Calm" and "The Gambler", but criticized the lyrics and production of the album's early tracks. Hung concluded that while Aim and Ignite is "pretty original to say the least", it "fails to live up to the Format’s last outing." Popdose's Ken Shane called the album "an interesting and unusual listen." Shane applauded the album's songwriting and said "many of the songs are really good," but he objected to the "cute" production, desiring to hear the band "in a more stripped-down form." He ended his review with: "I have a similar problem with Dr. Dog, a band that was recommended to me by a number of people. I think much of their recorded work is too fussed over, but when I saw them live and their sound was more stripped down out of necessity, emphasizing their powerful songwriting, I thought they were wonderful. Perhaps the same fate awaits me with Fun." In reviewing the album, The Washington Post called some of the arrangements "theatrical, much like those on Panic! at the Disco's 2005 debut". The album reached number 26 on Sputnikmusic's top 50 albums of 2009. The album peaked at 71 on the U.S. album charts.
Fun began its first North American tour on November 8, 2008, opening for Jack's Mannequin as well as opening for them again in February 2010, followed by their first U.K. appearances in March. In April 2010, Fun supported Paramore's headline tour. The band then embarked on a full U.K. tour in May. On August 4, 2010, Fun announced that they had signed with label Fueled by Ramen. In 2010, Fun's single "Walking the Dog" was used in a commercial for the travel site Expedia.com. Will Noon (formerly of Straylight Run) played drums with Fun on tour, according to Noon's Twitter page. To celebrate the Paramore U.K. tour and the band's new single "Walking the Dog", Hassle Records gave away a free download of an acoustic version of the track.
2011–2015: Some Nights and hiatus
On May 17, 2011, the band released "C'mon" as a joint single with Panic! at the Disco, for whom they opened on their 2011 Vices & Virtues Tour. On November 7, 2011, the band announced that their next album would be titled Some Nights. Its first single, called "We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monáe, has since been used in several other media, including television series Gossip Girl, 90210, Glee, and Chuck; commercials for Chevrolet and Apple; and in the trailer for Judd Apatow's film This Is 40. On December 12, 2011, the band's song "One Foot" was available for instant streaming and free download on Nylon's website.
On February 13, 2012, the band released an album stream of Some Nights on their website along with a note from Ruess thanking fans for their ongoing support. Ruess states he is "over the moon about what you're about to hear and falling asleep knowing that as soon as I wake up, this will no longer be a dream." It was released on February 21, 2012 through Fueled by Ramen. The band kicked off the start of their North American tour in support of Some Nights on February 29.
On March 7, 2012, Fun's single "We Are Young" reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This makes Fun the first multi-member rock band to have a No. 1 Billboard debut on the Hot 100 since Nickelback's "How You Remind Me". On April 11, 2012, Billboard.com announced that Fun's "We Are Young" also made Digital Sales history. As the song was at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a sixth consecutive week, it has become the first, and at this time only, song that has ever gained 300,000+ downloads for seven weeks straight. The music video for the album's third single, "Carry On", was released in October 2012 and was the third song from Some Nights to enter the Billboard Hot 100. The group performed "Some Nights" and "Carry On" on Saturday Night Live on November 3, and then performed "We Are Young" on the 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards on November 11.
The group performed at the 55th Grammy Awards, held February 10, 2013. Entertainment Weekly predicted that "We Are Young" would bring home the Grammy in the categories Record of the Year and Song of the Year (writing, of the latter, "'We Are Young' is the kind of anthem this category is made for"), and that Some Nights would win for Best Pop Vocal Album. "We Are Young" won the Grammy for Song of the Year and was nominated for Record of the Year. Fun also won the Grammy for Best New Artist. Ruess, after winning for "We Are Young", jokingly said, "I don't know what I was thinking, writing the chorus for this song. If this is in HD, everybody can see our faces, and we are not very young." On February 26, 2013, Fun released the music video for "Why Am I the One", the fourth single from the album.
In September 2013, the band joined British rock legends Queen for a special version of Queen's hit "Somebody to Love" then as a duet with the more modern version of the band in the form of Queen + Adam Lambert for "Fat Bottomed Girls" at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. In December 2013, Fun digitally released Before Shane Went To Bangkok: Live in The USA, a live EP with songs from both Aim and Ignite and Some Nights, as well as a recording of "What the Fuck", previously unreleased by the band. A vinyl release of the EP was released in March 2014.
In 2014, the band announced they are working on writing new material for an upcoming and unnamed album, however there was no time frame. On June 18, 2014, Fun performed a new song "Harsh Light" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. This song was later released on Nate Ruess' solo album, Grand Romantic.
On February 4, 2015, the band announced on its Facebook page and their official website that they are not splitting up, but are taking some time off to pursue other projects:
First and foremost, to answer the question that has been raised most often: Fun is not breaking up. Fun was founded by the 3 of us at a time when we were coming out of our own bands. One thing that has always been so special about Fun is that we exist as 3 individuals in music who come together to do something collaborative. We make Fun records when we are super inspired to do so. Currently, Nate is working on his first solo album, Andrew is scoring films, and Jack is on tour and working on Bleachers music. The 3 of us have always followed inspiration wherever it leads us. Sometimes that inspiration leads to Fun music, sometimes it leads to musical endeavors outside of Fun. We see all of it as part of the ecosystem that makes Fun, fun.
Ruess' debut solo album, Grand Romantic, was released on June 15, 2015.
|Band members||Years active||Instruments|
|Jack Antonoff||2008–present||vocals, lead guitar, drums, percussion, piano|
|Andrew Dost||2008–present||piano, guitar, keyboards, flugelhorn, trumpet, glockenspiel, vocals, drums, bass guitar|
|Nate Ruess||2008–present||lead vocals, sampler|
|Touring musicians||Years active||Instruments|
|Nate Harold||2009–2015||bass guitar|
|Emily Moore||2009–2015||guitar, vocals, keyboards, saxophone, maracas, violin|
|Jessica Martins||2008||guitar, vocals, keyboards|
|Will Yates||2009||bass guitar|
|Am Wheeldon||2008||bass guitar|
|Ryan Mann Jr.||2009||bass guitar|
|Ian Hare||2010||bass guitar|
|George Roth||2011||bass guitar|
Awards and nominations
In 2010, they won Best Pop/Rock Song at the Independent Music Awards for "All the Pretty Girls".
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