Fueled By Ramen threw one of the year’s biggest celebrations in September in New York City. The two-night concert, which was in honor of their fifteenth birthday, featured Paramore, fun., the Swellers, Gym Class Heroes, This Providence, the Stereo, Cobra Starship and what turned out to be one of the last performances by the Academy Is… . To put an exclamation point on their celebratory year, FBR has released a sleek coffee table book/history lesson. Filled with essays, quotes, rare photographs and handy reference material—i.e., an exhaustive list of the label’s entire discography— The Fueled By Ramen 15th Anniversary Book is a grin-inducing read.
If you’re on the fence about picking up the book, however, here are four reasons why the FBR book is a perfect last-minute holiday gift.
It documents the label’s rich history—and pride in its past.
By now, it’s well-known that FBR began as a way for co-founders Vinnie Fiorello and John Janick to put out music from bands they loved. The book illustrates this early enthusiasm in the form of anecdotes; for instance, Fiorello describes how the music of early FBR bands such as the Hippos, the Impossibles and Animal Chin are intertwined with happy memories such as driving through the suburbs or watching an incredible live show. In a funny and touching essay, Animal Chin/the Stereo member Jamie Woolford (who also served as FBR’s art director) talks about how his mom was impressed that AC was on a 7-inch with the Descendents. And Paramore’s Hayley Williams reveals how excited she was to find out how many great bands FBR had long before her band was on the label.
It illustrates FBR’s passion.
From day one, the label’s unabashed enthusiasm for its bands—and music in general—stood out. Janick’s essay describes the musical lightning bolts he’s experienced—from signing Fall Out Boy to a record deal to Pete Wentz calling him one night stoked on Panic! At The Disco demos. But co-founder Fiorello’s essay resonates the most. “The thing I think gets forgotten every now and then is that when you start a label it’s because you love music you are passionate about it, you breathe it in and exhale it out,” he writes. “That passion drives you to not get paid and eat Ramen so you can make records for bands you believe in and ultimately, it takes you to places you never thought you could go. Business is business and music is music. Viva music.” Well said.
Naturally, the book features lots of label goodies and posters, all artfully arranged using a clean, minimalist design. The super-rare stuff, however, is a fan’s dream: Scruffy, early Fall Out Boy photos sit next to early, stylized (and stylish) album mock-ups for Take This To Your Grave , while the neatly arranged discography (with a photo of the Less Than Jake pie tin 7-inch!) is a treat. And (full disclosure) multiple outtakes from AP photoshoots with Paramore, Cobra Starship and Panic! At The Disco are also included, alongside rare candid photos of bands such as Gym Class Heroes, A Rocket To The Moon and the Academy Is…
The DVD packaged with the book.
The highlights of the DVD are high-quality clips of songs from FBR15’s first night—including Paramore’s “Here We Go Again” seguing into At The Drive-In, a song shot from the close-up perspective of Hayley Williams headbanging. Interviews with FBR bands about touring and being signed are entertaining, while a killer collection of music videos from FBR bands old (Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco) and newer (VersaEmerge, A Rocket To The Moon) rounds out the disc.