Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
Sound description: Alternative rock with a big arena guitar sound, à la U2 or, more accurately (if less known), Big Country.
RIYL: U2, Jeff Buckley, Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day, Scarlet Symphony, Big Country
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- Musician Interviews · Nov. 4, 2004
Inception: San Diego, 1996
Current Status: Playing around town, with a new album <em>Too Broken to Break,</em> available at their regular website to anyone who fills out their mailing list form.
Influences: U2, Jeff Buckley, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day
Fono formed outside London in 1996. Thanks to some early demos that won them a contest, their first gig was in front of 50,000 people opening for Bon Jovi at the Milton Keynes Bowl. After touring the U.S. with the Goo Goo Dolls and Tonic, the band's creative core (guitarist Del Currie, drummer Andy Ridley) migrated to San Diego in March 2002, recruiting two Americans (guitarist Soren Engen, bassist/singer Cindy Cate, aka Cindy Milliman) to fill out the new Fono.
The foursome live spread out between downtown and Clairemont with their own 1200-square-foot studio facilities on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard near 163. "We had a fully equipped studio on Scripps Poway Parkway that burned down during the  fires," says Del Currie. "We lost everything -- all our instruments, amps, a '74 Les Paul Special [guitar], tour souvenirs, computers. All I had left was an acoustic guitar I'd brought home. Just the day before, we had dropped off the masters to a new CD we were working on. We thought the studio would be a safer place to keep them than our houses." The band found out about the fires via a 6 a.m. phone call the following day. "Later we went out there to the spot and there was nothing left, just dust. You couldn't even tell what anything used to be -- the heat was so great that everything just melted, even the metal."
Thanks to a sponsorship deal with a guitar manufacturer ("We all play Gibsons; mine's a Firebird"), Fono began replacing their equipment and were able to move to their new studio by February 2004 ("This place is so fireproof -- there's not a tree within a mile of the place"). Their seven-song CD It's the Way That You Use It(2004) included three songs that are survivors from sessions at the destroyed recording studio. Alan Sanderson (Rolling Stones, Weezer, Green Day) produced, and the mastering was completed by Bill Dooley (Madonna, Deftones).