Way Cool

Miles Zuniga of the Austin trio Fastball became a guitar player thanks to a, well, religious epiphany. "I started playing guitar because I didn’t want to sing," he says. Come again? "I was raised Catholic – real Catholic, Friday as well as Sunday mass. They made us all sing in the choir. I was 11 when I noticed the guys playing guitar in the choir didn’t sing. They got to sit down and be first in the communion line. I picked up on the perks of guitar early on."

Twenty years later, people are listening carefully to Zuniga, thanks to the stylish songcraft of Fastball’s sophomore album, All the Pain Money Can Buy (Hollywood). Among such hooky rockers as "Fire Escape" and "Charlie the Methadone Man" is the album’s headline-grabber and opening track, "The Way," which bassist Tony Scalzo wrote from a true story about an elderly Texas couple who disappeared while driving on vacation and were later found dead.

"Tony was having trouble trying to write something for the record," says Zuniga. "He called our A&R guy, who said, 'Why don’t you do what the Beatles used to do? They’d look at the newspaper and write songs from that.' So he tried it and found the story about this couple that had disappeared."

Zuniga says it hasn’t been hard to track the "The Way’s" success on radio. "If everybody goes crazy when we perform it, we know they’ve been playing it in that city. In Minneapolis we played the song, and it was like Beatlemania."

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