Since they were kids born in Buffalo, New York brothers Ben, Edward, Joe, and Kurt Doerfel, collectively known as Fuel on Fire have defied the ordinary.
Growing up in the shadow of the mist from Niagara Falls, the Doerfel youngsters were home schooled by Cheryl, the family matriarch and a music teacher by trade. As part of the children’s daily schoolwork she incorporated music lessons on various instruments.
It became evident early on that the Doerfel kids were born to play. Tom, their dad, began having them work up traditional bluegrass songs and with him on stand-up bass, Cheryl on guitar, daughter Kim on fiddle, oldest son TJ with his banjo, Edward on mandolin, and ginger-headed Ben on guitar, the Doerfel Family Bluegrass Band was born.
They got so good they took the show on the road and before the boys even had hair in their armpits, crammed in various, vans, RV’s and buses, the Doerfels made the rounds at fairs, festivals, and any other stage they could make a living on.
They stopped for a short while in Branson, Missouri and recorded an album produced by Ben Isaacs of The Isaacs fame. By now the kids were performing without mom and dad; Brother Joe taking over on stand-up bass.
After playing a few shows in Key West, Florida while visiting a family member there, the Doerfels fell in love with the southernmost and began to play several beach bars in residency, younger brother Kurt now in the band behind the drums. They even released a song and video called “Big Pine Song” sharing their affection for the island that became their home.
As they came of age, their taste in music morphed from Bill Monroe to Switchfoot, U2, and the aforementioned Coldplay, and their sharp-as-knives musicianship gave them the tools to bring the music in their heads to life. In Key West, they developed a reputation as a must-see. Even TJs 3-year-old boy Jake got into the act, bringing the house down on a regular basis singing and playing mandolin.
Kim got married and started a family. TJ did too. And then there were four Doerfels left in the band. With their new sound and direction, Edward, Ben, Joe, and Kurt changed the band’s name in 2017 to Fuel on Fire.
Before moving to Nashville permanently, Ben and Edward, who share lead vocal duties and are guitarist and keyboard/mandolin player of the band respectively, spent a year making monthly trips to write with some of the best songwriter/producers in town. The result is their 2017 Think EP, a self-produced project featuring songs Ben and Edward co-wrote with the likes of Zac Maloy (Daughtry, Plain White T’s, Carrie Underwood), Brock Berryhill (Twenty One Pilots, Halestorm), and Terry Sawchuk (Alanis Morrisette, Smash Mouth).
Their love for making music is perhaps matched only by their love for hockey. As fans, they love the Nashville Predators (and nostalgically the Buffalo Sabres). As players, they’re ready to take on all comers. They play in a Nashville hockey league with other musicians including members of the heavy rock band Slipknot. The fact that they’re all sporting their original teeth stands as testament to their prowess on the ice.
With their latest single and video release Heartbreak, Fuel on Fire’s future continues to burn brightly.