Vintage Guitar Magazine
4-24-03
Dan Forte

I was never a big fan of Fastball's work, but until Live From Jupiter Records I'd never heard
the multi-platinum trio stripped down to the bare essentials. Either the band has matured or they were
over-produced and over-imaged during their major-label foray (or both). Here, their songs take center
stage, with crisp sound and production from engineer Paul Minor. The bass-less, unplugged set was
recorded live (and mixed directly to 2-track DAT) at an Austin record store, with Miles Zuniga's lead
work confined to acoustic, and Tony Scalzo switching to piano for several songs. The pair collaborated
on the Lennon-esque "Falling Upstairs" and "I Get High," which would sit comfortably in the Band's
catalog, while Zuniga co-wrote two songs with former NRBQ guitarist Al Anderson. I still think the
melody of their hit, "The Way," sounds suspiciously like "Delilah," but it's given a bolero/cha-cha
treatment here that transcends the familiar All The Pain Money Can Buy version. Considering the
music industry's woes, this may be the wave of the future. From gig to product took exactly two weeks
and cost next to nothing. With Scalzo's High Noon-inspired cover drawing and a co-op arrangement
with producer and the record store cum label, they've virtually cut out any middle men. And, most
important, this is the group's best effort to date. The label proclaims its dedication to "the
empowerment of the independent musician," declaring, "The revolution in music is now." I can only
add: It's about time!

ORDER FASTBALL LIVE FROM:

JUPITERRECORDS.COM

TEXASMUSICROUNDUP.COM
 

Austin Chronicle
Phases and Stages
BY RAOUL HERNANDEZ
February 28, 2003:

Fastball
Live From Jupiter Records
(Jupiter)

Fastball has always been about songwriting. Songwriting credits. All three of the Austin trio's
major label releases leapfrog compositions by the guitarist and  bassist, each of whom sings his own
contribution: Scalzo, Zuniga, Scalzo, Zuniga, Scalzo, Zuniga -- with fewexceptions. Given this polarization
that ultimately led to Zuniga's leaving Fastball last summer, "Songs 2,6 & 8 by Tony Scalzo and Miles Zuniga" is
the best line on the reunited group's fourth and possibly best outing, the new Live From Jupiter Records.
That one of these collaborations, the hemp-friendly "I Get High," is as fine as Scalzo's wistful vocal, makes the turn of
events that much more heartening. The jaunty, Loudon Wainwright-like "Mercenary Girl" and bronze medallion
"Falling Upstairs" do nothing to discourage the trend, especially within the friendly confines of a 32-minute,
hit-peppered, unplugged set.

More striking, however, is the coming together of the two longtime bandmates on the
songs themselves. When Scalzo intones the perfect harmony counterpoint on
Zuniga's opener "Fire Escape," a complementary note not heard since the band's
 1996 debut is struck. Again and again, in fact, to riveting effect on the band's
breakthrough, Scalzo's "The Way," zinged with a Mediterranean flourish here.
 Zuniga's Nashville souvenirs, the twang-tripped "Just Another Place" and
 "Airstream," smack of Music City cubicle confections, but his "Life" could've used
Fastball's former parent corporation, Disney, paying radio programmers all the way
 to Hitsville. Instead, Hyde Park indie record store Jupiter Records becomes a label
 with Live. What's next, drummer Joey Shuffield's solo album? (Texas Union
Theatre, Thursday, March 13, 11pm)

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