Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Alt rock group Framing Hanley reunited and ready to play

Band is happy to be revisiting Fort Wayne

Chris Hupe

Whatzup Features Writer

Published April 28, 2021

Framing Hanley released three albums prior to breaking up in 2015, selling more than 200,000 units and garnering over 150 million streams.

The band reunited a couple of years later with new energy and three new members, recording a new album, Envy, and releasing it in February of last year.

They are set to show off some of those new songs, along with some old favorites, when they appear May 7 at the Rockstar Lounge in Fort Wayne with opening act Identity Unknown.

COVID Killed the Album Drop

When Framing Hanley disbanded in 2015, it was a true break up. Singer Kenneth Nixon had lost his passion for music. There were no plans to ever put the band back together.

But three years later, when he and guitarist Ryan Belcher got together to simply write songs without a particular project in mind, it quickly became evident that they were writing another Framing Hanley album.

That album was originally scheduled to be released in 2018, but according to Nixon, who was recently interviewed by Whatzup, it kept getting pushed back for one reason or another.

As fortune would have it, the album came out on February 21, 2020, just as COVID-19 was poking its ugly head into the consciousness of the world, practically killing the album before it ever had a chance for life.

“It turns out releasing your comeback album two weeks before a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic hits is not a good sales strategy,” he said. “Putting it out when we did ended up being the worst thing we could have possibly done, but we’ve got a killer fanbase and they’re aware of the album. I think we have plans to do a re-release of it, though, when everything goes back to normal.”

While it may have been overshadowed by a catastrophic worldwide event, Nixon thinks Envy is worthy of the time and effort the band will take to support it, allowing rock fans a chance to give it the attention it deserves.

“Every band probably says this, but it is absolutely our best album to date,” Nixon said. “It has the best material, the best songwriting and cohesiveness. It’s also the first album we’ve done with this collection of guys, and I think that everyone brought something to the table that changed the recipe in so many ways.”

Expanding Horizons

The album still has the familiar Framing Hanley sound, but with a more mature, developed sound.

“I’ve always said that if we were a band that didn’t keep expanding our horizons, we’d not only be doing our fans a disservice, but ourselves as well. I definitely feel like we took a step forward in that regard.”

A lot of bands used the lockdown to write and record new music, but Nixon says that wasn’t the case for his band.

“In many ways it was a huge morale killer,” he said. “We had our album release show in our hometown and it was a very, very special night. Lots of people travelled from all over the world to be at that show and we were firing on all cylinders. We had dates booked for the rest of the year. Then, two weeks later, COVID happened and everything got shut down.”

It was a depressing year for the whole band.

So the chance to get back into a rehearsal room to prepare for upcoming live shows was a relief, finally playing the songs that they so badly wanted to present to audiences last year.

In the early days of social media, Myspace played a big part in Framing Hanley’s initial success. But Nixon admits that he now is not as up to date on those type of platforms as he might like to be.

“I feel like I’m that old guy now,” he laughed.

Now a father of three and with a career outside of music as well as inside, Nixon feels he could do better at promoting his band and his music through social media, but he fears that if he went whole-heartedly into doing that, he might find himself back to the point where he despised the industry again.

“I think the more I get into that, the more it becomes a business-type venture, and I want it to just be a passion project again.”

Back to Fort Wayne

Nixon is looking forward to the band’s stop in Fort Wayne since this city has always held a special place in his heart. 98.9 The Bear was one of the first radio stations in the country to get behind the band. The first couple of tours Framing Hanley were on came through Piere’s.

“We were lucky enough to have people who were there to see the bands we were touring with at the time latch on to our music and become fans of our band, too,” he said. “It was always special going through there because the shows were always packed and we just made some really good friends there.”

Nixon says the band is more than ready to rock the Summit City again, overflowing with a bunch of pent-up aggression that needs to be let out.

“It’s going to be a kick-ass rock show,” he said. “We’re all aware that there are going to be a lot of people that haven’t heard these new songs, but I look at it as a challenge to go out there with these guys and show them who Framing Hanley is in 2021. We want to win them over with the new material before we play the old stuff.”

Regardless of which songs you are hoping they play, Nixon said he will just be happy that you’ve made the effort to be there in person because that gives Framing Hanley a chance to show off how far they have come since their last album was released back in 2015.

“We want to put the focus on making sure this album does reach the masses and anything we can do make that happen, we will try to do. We’ve still got the same FH sound, but this album is really special. We’re really excited to finally get out there to give it the support it really deserves.”

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