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The Fire Drills tap former 29th Street Disciples frontman Ben Roy to take over frontman duties

This item's a little close to home, but the news is too noteworthy not to share: The Fire Drills have a new frontman. The outfit, which features longtime Backbeat contributor Jason Heller, has tapped renowned funnyman and former 29th Street Disciples frontman Ben Roy to take over lead vocals.

The reconfigured lineup will make its debut at Lost Lake on Saturday, January 22, with the Gamits and Reckless Nights. The gig, the band's first in over a year, will not only mark Roy's debut at the helm, but will also feature a set of completely new songs.

Last year, around the time that bassist Nick Anderson took some maternity leave, Heller and frontman Brandon Richier worked on revamping the band's sound, "cranking down the speed and distortion," as Heller puts it, "and shooting for a cleaner, janglier, less punk-oriented version of power pop." And only one of the songs from the group's previous incarnation, "Cheap Lies," made the cut.

Dissatisfied with vocals on the new material, Richier phoned up Roy, his former bandmate, and asked him to try out for the Fire Drills. "It wound up being a perfect fit," says Heller. "Ben's a really energetic dude with a super soulful voice, and it really complements the wimpier, poppier songs we've been writing lately. It's a great balance."

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