As Friends Rust Bio:
In 1996, Jeronimo, Henry Olmino and Matt Crum - who were playing together under the moniker "Wayside" - recruited Damien Moyal, who had fronted Culture, Morning Again and Shai Hulud - and was also doing Bird of Ill Omen and Culture at the time - to step in on vocals. The sound was a distinct amalgamation of Samiam, Split Lip and Gorilla Biscuits. Much screamier than the following efforts, the band wrote quickly and passionately, and in no time was playing, kicking ass and taking numbers across Miami. AFR's first show was a Pixies tribute, where they covered "Hey" from the album 'Doolittle' and "The Sad Punk" off of 'Trompe Le Monde.' The band stepped into the studio to record the first of several efforts with acclaimed producer James Paul Wisner, and made off with a pretty impressive 6-song session. Four of these would later be released, while the other two remain unattainable. The band sent out demo cassettes (remember those?) to a plethora of labels, all of whom - including Doghouse Records (who later signed AFR) and Equal Vision Records (who released the band's finale) - turned them down. The band eventually split up, as Damien planned his move to Gainesville to pursue Culture, and the remaining members began to lay the foundation for Rocking Horse Winner.
By autumn of 1997, Damien was settling into Gainesville to begin his new life. While things in Culture were going well, he craved the speed and fun of a less heavy, dogmatic outfit. It just so happened that Steve Looker, guitarist for Culture, was a huge fan of AFR's ignored demo, and suggested that they put together a new line-up of the band, provided the original members were cool with it. They were, and the search for a new line-up began. Ironically, Steve never ended up playing with the band, as he left Gainesville to play in Morning Again. In early 1998, the team was assembled. Timothy Kirkpatrick, who had recently joined Culture on drums, assumed the same duties in the new AFR. Kaleb Stewart, who nobody in the band really knew at the time, but had mentioned to Damien once "Hey, if you ever need a bass player for anything..." stepped in on bass. The two guitarists at this point were Gordon Tarpley (also of Culture) and Joseph Simmons, who had played in Bird of Ill Omen with Damien, and had recently parted ways with Morning Again and moved to Gainesville to join Culture, in a strange "trade" for Steve Looker. Anyhow, this band quickly wrote a song - just one - and hopped into the studio with Gainesville's famous Rob MacGregor. The song was "Home is Where the Heart Aches" and was added to 4 of the 6 songs from the original line-up's recording, and released on Good Life Recordings as "The Fists of Time" EP. Gordon left, and was replaced by Peter Bartsocas, who was an old friend of Damien and Joe, and had also played in BOIO with them back in Miami. The band learned those older tunes, wrote a couple more new ones, and immediately began to tour. Discount took AFR out on the road with them in the summer of 1998, covering the east coast and midwest, twice over. As AFR had no van, Jim Reed (known admirably as "Diggler") took them in his Astro van. At the end of the summer, Peter left the band and was replaced by James Glayat (who had played with Tim in Roosevelt, way back in the day) and a new EP was recorded, co-released by Good Life Recordings and later by Doghouse Records. This EP - "6-Song CD" - was intended to be self-titled, but was mistakenly referred to as the "God Hour" EP by Good Life in all of their marketing materials. By autumn of 1998, Europe had already caught on to the enigma that would become As Friends Rust, and the band made plans to tour there in the winter. They recorded one more song - "The First Song on the Tape You Make Her" - for a split with Discount (Good Life Recordings), whom they brought along to Europe, to return the favor. The tour was a success. As the new EP's were just getting into fans' hands, the new songs proved to be bigger and catchier than the old, and the crowd response was deafening. This member roster would remain intact for several more years of touring, but unfortunately would record nothing else. Being poor, drinking and fighting ended up being what the band chose to do rather than actually writing songs or recording, so they toured virtually the same set for about three years. It never seemed to bother fans, though. Nonetheless, this era of the band would go down as the 'real' AFR, in terms of passion, performance and plain old fun. Cut to late summer of 2000. Following three years of relentless touring in the US and abroad (mostly abroad, actually), the band lost 3 key members in one fell swoop. Kaleb, Tim and James split, leaving only Joe and Damien to decide whether or not the pieces should be picked up, or the band should be laid to rest.
At the end of 2000, with a point to prove, Joe and Damien brought in new members. Chris 'Floyd' Beckham (who had played bass in Culture a couple of years earlier) stepped in on guitar. Little Alex, an old friend of Floyd's from Ohio came in on drums, and Guy (of Army of Ponch fame) played bass. Determined to release a full-length LP, which had not yet happened for the band, the new version of AFR began writing. And write they did. Demo versions of two songs ("Morningleaver" and "This is Me Hating You") were recorded at Rob MacGregor's studio for a limited edition Doghouse Fan Series 7". Soon after, Tom Rankine (another former Bird of Ill Omen member) joined in on bass, and Zach Swain (previously of Orlando's Carlisle) took over on drums. Within a few months, an album's worth of material had been amassed, and the band - still signed to Doghouse Records - headed into the studio with James Paul Wisner to record its first and only LP "Won." Recorded in summer of 2001 and released in early fall, the band began touring the album diligently, and by autumn was in Europe (with friends Strike Anywhere) showing off its new material, members and sound. The album was widely acclaimed, and the band was attracting the attention of a more mainstream audience and press. During this tour, a sold-out show at London's Camden Underworld was filmed and later released as a DVD on Punkervision.
Upon returning to the States, AFR started writing its next work, to be released as an EP for Equal Vision Records, who had proposed doing a one-off several years earlier. The band entered the studio - once again, with James Paul Wisner - in February 2002 to record what would be its final release, "A Young Trophy Band in the Parlance of Our Times." Tension was high within the band, as personalities and musical directions clashed. This final EP ended up being the band's most praised release. One week later, Damien - the only remaining founding member - quit the band. They continued under the name As Friends Rust for a few months, but eventually gave it up to pursue other endeavors.
In early 2008, the idea of doing a few reunion shows surfaced. As this notion was primarily propelled by the desire to relive that feeling that was so unique to the 'core' line up (the Coffee Black era roster), Tim, Kaleb, James, Joe and Damien didn't hesitate at all to begin ironing out the details. In August of 2008, the out-of-state members descended upon AFR's old stomping ground of Gainesville, Florida to rehearse and play a single, kick-ass US date at the Atlantic, organized by friend and former bassist Tom. Two days later, the boys were off to Europe, where they'd play six more shows with the help of Genet Bookings, before returning to their respective homes, jobs and loved ones. The tour, albeit brief, was incredible, and a true testament to the impact that the band never really was aware it had made, pulling all sorts of old souls out of the woodwork, and revealing an entirely new set of young faces who'd never seen the band live, or had been introduced to AFR's music postmortem.
This line up remains active today, albeit at a snail's pace due to geographical challenges. The band is currently writing new material, and will return to the road soon.