Interview: Face to Face
Seven years ago, Face To Face announced they were hanging it up. Not one to miss an opportunity, I managed to add a well-timed detour to a family trip so I could check out one of their final shows. Had a blast, got some closure on the matter. Done deal. Except that this spring, the reformed band released their seventh studio album Laugh Now, Laugh Later and embarked on a full North American tour with Strung Out. I felt compelled to track them down at Black Cat in Washington, DC and give them a hard time for Brett Favre-ing me like that.
Also, listen to the album’s first single, “It’s Not All About You” right here:
Would you grace us with a doodle?
Trever (vocals/guitar): Aw, not me man. Scott?
Scott (bass/vocals): What are you talking about, doodle? Alright, fine. Fuck.
T: Look, he’s got a little self-portrait of him, and then the rest of the band. I look terrible, it’s not as good as Corey Miller’s portraits of us [In the artwork for the new CD].
S: Corey’s alright…
So gentlemen, I saw you play a show at The Norva in Norfolk, VA in the summer of 2004. You called that tour “The Only Goodbye.” Did you guys jinx yourselves or something? What gives?
T: No, it was actually called “The Only Goodbye” because we’re never going to do another farewell tour.
S: Actually, I call this the “Still Saying Goodbye Tour,” we’re still in the middle of it.
Well, what was it that got you guys back out here?
S: Mortgage payments!
T: Well, we broke the band up because we were just at a point where we wanted to do other things, and we felt we needed to break the band up completely to have people take our other projects seriously. It probably was a little drastic. In hindsight, I don’t think it was the best thing to do, we probably should have called it a hiatus or a break or whatever. But after four years or however long that was, nothing really took the place of what Face To Face is, and we’d really missed it. Our fans missed it too, so there wasn’t any good reason not to put the band back together, because we were willing and able, and now we’re having a great time out here. We don’t take what we have for granted as much anymore; we appreciate the band more, having gone through that whole experience.
There certainly were a number of side bands. After the mixed reception Face To Face once received for the change in artistic direction on Ignorance Is Bliss, were those side projects started to help you get those other feelings out of your system?
T: I don’t know if I’d say we were getting that out of our system, but it gave us a place to put it. Like you said, Ignorance Is Bliss didn’t really fit in the context of Face To Face – [laughs] although a lot of people claim it’s their favorite record ten years later – but it’s something that we’re capable of doing, it just didn’t mesh with our discography. So we did use those side projects to kind of develop our other ideas.
What’s the most meaningful compliment your band has gotten over the years?
S: People playing our songs at their weddings, that’s nice…people have named their kids after Trever, although they spell it with an ‘o’…and you get the odd funeral song thing sometimes…
T: Sometimes someone’ll tell you that you’re the reason they started a band, that’s always amazing. I don’t know what the most complimentary thing has ever been, but having been around for a while, you’ll get that sort of ‘elder statesman’ thing going, and it’s very cool, we really appreciate it.
What is the first album you each bought?
S: First one I ever bought with my own cash? KISS’ Love Gun. Sorry, not a punk rock first record.
T: No, that’s cool. My first record I ever bought with my own money was Foreigner’s Head Games.
S: [laughs] You’re lame!
Those are some sexy album covers. So, you guys have always been a pretty tight live act. Do you have real rigorous rehearsals?
T: We have in the past, but lately we’re doing so much of our classic material that – at least for Scott and I – it’s pure muscle memory, it came right back after a few hours. We rehearsed pretty extensively before Warped Tour last summer, and we were also working on the new record. But before this, we rehearsed for a day and were pretty much good to go.
Your Live release is held up by many as one of the better live recording of the genre. Do you have a favorite live record to listen to?
Danny (drums): KISS Alive II.
T: I don’t generally care for live records…I think the shows are meant to be a moment in time you have with the band.
It’s definitely something that’s very hard to get right. How’s touring with Strung Out been so far?
T: Pretty mellow, actually. We’re doing such a crazy schedule: after one show got cancelled, we’re up to three days off in sixty shows. Everyone’s conserving energy to get through it all.
Face To Face or Strung Out: who has better ink?
T: I think we probably have more ink, right?
S: I mean, I’ve got some…these other three dudes are covered.
T: Hard to say. Probably them?
Who has more black shirts?
T: We do! I think they were late to the party on that.
What’s an item you can’t tour without?
T: Earbuds. Gotta shut out the world at night so I don’t have to hear all the snoring and farting.
Free association time: Groundhogs, street justice, _________?
T: Bill Murray. Sorry, I was only listening to the first one.
Laugh Now, Laugh Later: out now on Antagonist Records