In case you missed it, SoCal punk legends Face To Face played a string of shows in California just after Christmas, their first US dates in quite a while. But these weren’t just any shows. Instead, they were billed the “Triple Crown” shows, and they featured the band performing their first three full-lengths (1992′s Don’t Turn Away, 1994′s Big Choice and 1996′s Face to Face) in their entirety over the course of three nights in the same venue.
Inspired by the success of those shows, the band announced a mini-tour of sorts, in which they’ll be playing the three “Triple Crown” albums over three nights in four select cities: New York, Denver, Chicago and Dallas. For the third time in his Dying Scene career, your favorite resident Face To Face fanboy traded emails with frontman Trever Keith, this time to discuss the importance of the “Triple Crown” dates, and how revisiting the old material is helping the band shape what comes next. Head below to check it out.
Face To Face released their last album, Three Chords and a Half Truth, back in 2013 on Rise Records. There are details in our interview about when you may expect to hear something new…and as always, we’ll keep you posted!
Dying Scene (Jay Stone): Alright, let’s start at the beginning of the “Triple Crown” idea of playing three nights in the same venue and featuring Don’t Turn Away, Big Choice and the self-titled album in full on successive nights. What was the catalyst for the initial idea?
People have been asking about us doing a whole album show for a while now. We didn’t have a new record out to promote but we wanted to play shows show it was a good excuse to play shows and also a good way to put us back in the headspace of the early material which has definitely inspired the sound of the new songs we’re writing right now.
Perhaps this is the fanboy side of me asking, but why the decision to play those three albums? I certainly get Don’t Turn Away because it was the first album, but I could see a case being made for each of the pre-hiatus albums getting a turn at some point (especially those of us with strong affinities for Reactionary and HTRE).
The first three records are a very specific era of the band. IIB was a turning point for us in lots of ways and although we have stayed a punk rock band, IIB has had some influence on our songwriting. I feel like there was an innocence in the first three albums that you won’t find on any records after. We’re all very proud of our entire catalog and I’m not saying that IIB and the records that followed aren’t good, but we matured and developed as songwriters and as a band.
Does the Big Choice night include the bonus tracks (“Disconnected” and “Bikeage”)?
Of course. They were called “bonus tracks” at the time as a political move. The label wanted us to add Disconnected and we didn’t want to, but we didn’t want to hurt any momentum we were gaining as a band. So adding “Bikeage” and calling them bonus tracks was our way to justify it to ourselves. As a result, those songs are really just part of the overall record.
Will you be playing a longer set with newer tracks once the evening’s “Triple Crown” album has been played?
No we’re sticking to the older material. Everything is supposed to be pre 1996. So we’re playing b-sides, covers, and outtakes from the era as well. But you never know what may crop up in an encore…
You played the first three shows in Santa Ana just after Christmas. Even though a couple of you guys have relocated over the years, California seems like a natural place to start. Word on the street (okay, on Facebook) is that the shows kicked a lot of ass. What’s your take on how they went?
Everything about the shows exceeded my expectations. The energy from the audience was electric. I felt like I was out of my own body while we were performing. It was almost transcendent in a way. That may seem a little bit excessive in describing a punk rock show, but it really was remarkable. It has everything to do with our fans.
There are a lot of songs from the three “triple crown” albums that have been staples of your live shows for decades (obviously “Disconnected,” “Pastel,” “You Lied,” “Velocity,” etc) but there are some that, at least in my experience either haven’t been played in a long time or haven’t really been played ever. What’s it been like to revisit some of those deeper tracks?
To be honest I had to re-learn some of those since I hadn’t played them in so long. It took a minute to figure out how I played them. But at the end of the day it’s three chord punk rock. I made quick work of it. I will say that it did bring back some memories of rehearsing and recording the songs from way back which I didn’t really expect.
Are there songs that’s you’re glad you get to dust off because you thought they were underrated? At the same time…are there songs you were kinda hoping to not have to play again?
Yeah I was happy to dust off songs like “Take it Back” and “No Authority” which I have always really liked but for whatever reason we just don’t play live. I would say the only reason to dread any of those old songs is when they become physically demanding. “Late” is fast and has a lot of rhythm parts which can burn the forearm a bit !(ha ha)
I can’t say for certain I’ve ever heard songs like “Handout” or “Nothing New” or “Everything is Everything” in forever. Was taking them out of regular rotation based on crowd reaction or on personal preference…or do I just have a bad memory?
No nothing negative really. I think as a band develops a larger catalog certain songs just gravitate up. You want your shows to be energetic and dynamic. Its just better for the show to play the songs that resonate best with audiences. You can’t play them all so you tend to play the ones that get the best reactions.
Matt Riddle rather famously made an appearance at the Cali “Triple Crown” shows. Can show-goers in Chicago, Dallas, Denver or NYC expect any surprises in the works?
Well Matt live in SoCal so that was easy. I can’t really say that there will be any surprises, but you never know…
Are there bands that you wish would do a sort of “Triple Crown” run of shows of their own? Who are they and what three albums would you pick?
First three from all
Any plan to bring the “Triple Crown” idea overseas to some of your more popular places to play, or to hit the road in the US with a longer tour this year?
No idea. We weren’t really planning on doing anything outside of Southern California and now we’re taking it to four more cities. We’ll have to see how things go.
When last we heard, you guys were due to begin recording album #9 (10 if you count Standards & Practices) at the Blasting Room with the great Bill Stephenson this month. Is that still the plan? What can we expect from the new material…or is that for interview #4?
We don’t count S&P as an album. Its a compilation of covers. We have plans to begin recording with Bill at The Blasting Room in Oct. We’re writing songs that sound more like the real early stuff.