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Texas band thrilled about record contract


By ERIC SCHELKOPF - eschelkopf@nwnewsgroup.com

Unlike Chicago, the quiet farm town of Sulphur Springs, Texas, doesn’t have much of a music scene.

But the members of Texas band Fair To Midland have found themselves thrust into the spotlight after System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian signed them to his label, Serjical Strike.

“The reality of it really hasn’t sunk it yet,” lead singer Darroh Sudderth said. “I don’t know it will. It’s something we’ve worked toward.”

Fair To Midland will perform Tuesday at the House Of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, opening for Dir En Grey.

The show starts at 6 p.m., and tickets are $27.50, available through all Ticketmaster outlets.

Fair To Midland has released “The Drawn and Quartered” EP on the Serjical Strike label, and is working on a full-length album set for release in April.

Tankian had seen the band on stage, and was eager to sign them.

“I think he thought we put on a good live show,” Sudderth said. “I think like System of a Down, we have sincerely kind of strange music. We write songs the only way we know how. We’re not writing songs for the sake of being weird, eclectic or prog, or whatever you want to call it. He respected us as people and musicians.”

Like System of a Down, Fair To Midland’s music is adventurous and full of jolting chord changes that keep the listener interested.

System of a Down is one of the band’s biggest influences.

“I think the best bands manage to maintain their artistic integrity but still have commercial appeal,” Sudderth said. “System of a Down is a great example of that.”

Prior to getting signed, Fair To Midland released two critically-acclaimed independent records.

The band has been working with Grammy-winning producer David Bottrill on their full-length album. Bottrill has worked with the likes of Tool, Muse and King Crimson.

Bottrill has tried to hone in the band’s sound.

“I think it’s a lot more uniformed and disciplined,” Sudderth said. “It’s still pretty out there. He tried to look at each song separately and look at the scope of each song, and just try to keep it from going too far left or right.”

Sudderth creates an arresting stage presence as he flails around on stage with nervous energy. He just goes with the flow.

“I think it’s all about just exposing your vulnerabilities, doing everything that would embarrass you under normal circumstances,” Sudderth said.