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Face to Face – Catching Up with Trever Keith


Face to Face – Catching Up with Trever Keith

After Face to Face finished their encore and walked backstage, I closed out my tab at the bar and walked back to their dressing room wondering what I was going to say to Trever Keith (singer/guitarist) to close out the night. After thanking people, grabbing a set list, and shaking some hands I finally told Trever “awesome show, great interview, glad that you guys are back…and thanks for not being a dick like everyone says you are”.

Face to Face has been one of my top favorite bands since I first heard “Don’t Turn Away” my freshman year of high school in 1994. The albums that followed brought out more and more of the talent this band had to offer and none more than the self entitled “Face to Face”. That album brought such classics as “Blind”, “I Wont Lie Down”, and “Walk the Walk”. It really is a shame the band never really got the recognition that many other punk bands that preceded them received, considering the band carried such top musicians (in my opinion the top punk bass player you will ever see, Scott Shiflett) and songwriters. Sure in my opinion some albums didn’t have all the “hits” people were accustomed to from their early works and perhaps they did stray from their formula on their later albums, but over all the talent of the band always shined through. So needless to say I was heartbroken when the band broke up in 2004 with little or no hope in ever playing again with a tour entitled “The Only Goodbye Tour”. All the fans were left with after the goodbye tour was a new documentary showcasing the bands history entitled “Shoot the Moon” and a greatest hits CD entitled the same. So needless to say when word got around that they would be touring in support of their seventh album entitled “Laugh Now, Laugh Later”, I sprung to my computer to check all Texas dates….Austin….score.

After a few phone calls not only was I able to secure an interview with the band, but a private performance for the Lounge Sessions which are recorded and posted as a medium for artists to get exposure with new crowds. After then confirming with Trever a week before the Austin date that they would be playing the KROQ Weenie Roast the following day after the Austin show, it had become very clear that perhaps they wouldn’t have time for the Lounge since they would be flying out literally hours after their set. Sad, but alas we still had the interview. So after we did the preshow interview and the band played their amazing set, there I was stumbling into their dressing room to tell them overall thanks for being great guys and musicians and wished them further success on their tour. And as far as the “being a dick” comment, Trever and the guys just laughed and Trever simply told me “man, I get thought of that way all the time and I really don’t know where it came from!”

Trever Keith Interview

Was the “It’s Not All About You” video independently made?
“That’s the video I had some guys in Brazil start working on for me actually during my solo record and for whatever reason, it didn’t pan out, so I just took the same concept and applied it to the first single of this record and we partnered up with some other guys and turned it around faster.”

Are you guys still doing the Legion of Doom thing?
“Well I produced it, along with my partner Chad Blemith, who did a lot of the technical work on it. I also produced the mix and that’s another end of the whole making music thing that’s a lot of fun for me too. When I took time off from making music in Face to Face, it was cool to work in a totally different capacity outside of singing and playing guitar.”

Did you help produce your early Face to Face albums?
“Starting at around the self-titled record was the first record I got actively involved in the production side of it, just because I was really unhappy with the way that the second album came out. The songs are great. I love the songs and I’m super happy with that for the most part, but just the overall production. I don’t think it sounds very good.”

And the self-titled?
“That one was a lot better. That is due really not much to me, more in large part to Ron St. Jemaine who mixed the album. Just in terms of like getting into making different guitar sounds, using different amps, and choosing which microphones to use and all that kind of technical stuff I think have a lot to do with how that record sounds. I really didn’t know what I was doing very much on that record. It was only when I started producing for other bands. I did two No Motive records and some other stuff for Vagrant … and I got better at production through that.”

On The First Seven Years tape, you state that you guys had a good time with NOFX on tour, but on the Shoot The Moon documentary, it kind of indicated that you did leave on bad terms with Fat Wreck Chords. Did you leave on bad terms with Fat Wreck Chords?
“Umm, no, I wouldn’t say that we left on bad terms with Fat Wreck Chords. It was more a matter of, at the time Mike’s (Fat Mike) label was a new label and was growing and he made us an offer, and we thought we could probably get offers that could suit us better. So we went to other labels and we ultimately did find labels that made offers that were better for us … At the time, to make it work in our situation, we wanted an X amount of dollars so that we could put in a band and go on tour and make a record and we wanted to commit to the band full time and be able to quit our day jobs. And that was the kind of record deal we were looking for. It wasn’t for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but we just wanted to get to a point where we could at least go tour for 6 months or whatever and I know I have X amount of my bills covered and lets hope we go sell t-shirts. Fat Wreck Chords became a label that was capable of doing that and they did it for lots of bands … It was the NOFX EP, then it was Lagwagon, and we were the third band on the label. So by the time Strung Out and Propaghandi got signed … then they were more in a position to get tour support and stuff like that, where it really wasn’t offered to us.”

So what made you guys decide to come back?
“Luckily the audience and the fans still care enough that we are able to come back and do this however many years later. It’s awesome. I mean we feel really stoked and privileged to be able to do that so you know… What I’m about to say it that this tour in many ways has been so much more of a punk rock tour than a lot of the tours we did even leading up to the breakup, because now we’re coming through and everything has changed at a lot of these venues just across the board. Fewer people are going to live shows … So a lot of the clubs that we’ve been playing at from the smaller ones even to the bigger ones, we’ll show up and there won’t be barricades, and there’s fu*kers up on stage going crazy a lot of nights and that’s something that I think by, at least by the end of our self-titled touring run, there was a barricade at every show So we were totally used to not having people on stage forever, so this time around, we had to get used to that again. But you know it’s what we started out doing. You can let it piss you off or be an asshole about it. What I like to do is make it a part of the show and just enjoy it. Or if someone comes up and is being a dipshit, just berate them in front of the audience. It’s usually easier to get the audience to turn on them, because you have the power of everyone, rather than you acting like a bitch and going and punching some girl on stage.”

You got a new drummer this time around? How is the situation?
“Well Danny has now been playing with us for about three years, so it doesn’t feel too brand new to us. When we first reformed, we were just going to do a few festivals every year. We did Fun Fun Fun Fest a few years ago and it was FUN, no pun intended, haha … This is the first record he’s recorded with us … But Danny’s maybe the best drummer we’ve ever had as a musician, but also just in terms for being the right guy for the band. I wish I would have found him 20 years ago, because he’s totally just like one of us. I mean he came into the band, personality wise and just fit in from the first moment.”

Just to leave on a current topic? Who do you think is going to win it? Mavericks or Heat?
“I’m in Texas so I’m going to have to go with the Mavericks. The Mavericks made a pretty good comeback last night … They definitely got that momentum. (After Game 2 in Miami, where Mavs tied the series at one game a piece, to later win the NBA Finals!)”

Interview and Story By: Michael Perez

Photo By: Jeremy Davis

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