The Fray’s guitarist, David Welsh, reflects on 11 years of fame

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Eleven years have passed since The Fray gained national recognition with their first Top 10 hit “Over My Head (Cable Car).” But the band is back, releasing their upcoming album “Through the Years: The Best of The Fray,” on Nov. 4. The Daily Texan spoke with The Fray’s guitarist, David Welsh, about their journey and what’s next for the band.

DT: How has the band changed over the years?

DW: We were all very young when we started. Ben, the drummer, and I, when we signed the record label we couldn’t even drink yet, legally speaking. Eleven years later, since we really signed, we have changed a lot. We all now have children. Joe has a teenager. Life couldn’t be more different for us than when we started.

DT: Of your most popular songs in the album, which is your favorite to play?

DW: It’s not like I get a thrill from playing “How to Save a Life,” every day because we have played it a bunch of times. However, it is amazing to watch how people react to that song every night. Amnesia [“You Found Me”] is smaller with some pretty die-hard fans. These people have heard the song dozens of times, and they still really want to hear it.

At this point a lot of our songs get such good reactions from our fans that it keeps them from getting stale. You can only play a song so many times as a musician, but watching people's reaction is what keeps it going.

DT: What has been your favorite memory of playing with The Fray?

DW: We have done some things that stick out. Three or four years ago we did a run of four shows opening for U2, which was fascinating. It did kind of feel like we got to be a part of history, or at least be in the same room as history. We did a couple cool  politically type things, like I got to meet the president and that was cool.

We did a show on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the South China sea. It wasn’t a USO then but it was the same type of thing. They flew us in on one of those cargo planes, landed on the aircraft carrier and it felt really strange. We were on there for like 24 hours. That was definitely a unique experience. [The]  people that worked in [the] depths of this ship don’t come out to see the sun but every four months or something crazy — needless to say they were jazzed to have someone there to entertain them for a minute.

DT: Which song is the most meaningful to the band?

DW: I think all of us would have a different answer.  I think for me on a more personal level the most meaningful song on there would be “Heartbeat.” I just have fond memories of that recording time I had moved to Nashville, we recorded in Nashville and I had just started dating [the woman] who would become my wife.  

The Fray performed at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater on Oct. 30.