NEW YORK (Billboard) – When one of Framing Hanley's guitarists quit the band because of health issues earlier this year, the group never imagined a practice session with his future replacement would result in an out-of-left-field hit.
"We came home from tour in April, and we were trying to get our new guitar player, Ryan, in the band. We wanted to see how things would work out between us musically," lead vocalist Kenneth Nixon said. "During rehearsal, I'd mentioned we should cover Lil Wayne's 'Lollipop' at our next show. Next thing I knew, Ryan was playing the intro on his guitar and an hour later we had our own rock rendition of it."
The band played the reimagined track at a show in its hometown of Nashville a few days later, and shortly after that, fans began requesting it via the act's MySpace page. The demand prompted Framing Hanley to record the song and upload it. "The plays went through the roof," Nixon said.
The song, which will be available on a rerelease of Framing Hanley's debut album, "The Moment," due November 18 from Silent Majority, is No. 37 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. Thus, rapper Lil Wayne, a ubiquitous presence on Billboard's pop and R&B/hip-hop charts, scores his first appearance on a Billboard rock tally.
Other songs on the album include "Built for Sin," about a girl battling addiction, and "Home," which relates to the group members' own experiences of being away from their loved ones while on tour.
Originally called Embers Fade, Framing Hanley was formed by high school friends Chris Vest (drums) and Luke McDuffee (bass). The two met Nixon in college and released a five-song EP, "With October Came the Fall," later that year. In 2006, they teamed up with former Creed bassist Brett Hestla, who agreed to record two tracks with them: "Hear Me Now" and "Wave Goodbye." The former became their first official single.
In January 2007, manager Jeff Hanson (Creed, Paramore, Sevendust) heard a demo of "Hear Me Now" and offered the group a deal with his independent label Silent Majority. The subsequent name change was a tribute to a friend the band had lost in a car accident a few months prior.
Framing Hanley recently began a month-long North American tour with Theory of a Deadman.
Nixon is hoping Lil Wayne, who plays guitar himself and is an avowed rock 'n' roll fan, is happy with the band's take on the track.
"I love Wayne," Nixon said. "He's the originator, and I hope he believes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."