Last Friday I was able to get out of work in time to catch a little bit of Far From Finished‘s set at The Blank Club in San Jose, California. The guys followed Anti-Social, and warmed the stage for the legendary Swingin’ Utters.
After the show, I got the chance to do a little impromptu interview with vocalist Steve Neary and lead guitarist Dave Siegel of Far From Finished. In the interview the guys discuss their origins, the songwriting process, and their adventures in Montana among other topics.
Far From Finished’s latest album is their 2010 record “Forgettable”, which was released through Old Shoe Records.
Tell us a little bit about where Far From Finished began, and what you guys are all about.
Steve: The band started in New York when we were about 17, and it had pretty much all different guys in the band. Then we graduated high school, and we had to make a decision. We wanted to play in a band, so should we move to downtown New York City, or do we move to Boston? And we all kind of grew up listening to a lot of bands from Boston, so we figured we would go up there and it would be an easier battle to get shows ‘cuz it was a smaller area. We had been up there, going up to see bands and we had friends in bands, since we were like 14 or 15 so we already had known some people. So it was kind of easy, we just kind of slipped in.
Currently we have Eric Widing and Eric Perkins from Smart Bomb playing guitar and drums, Dave Siegel playing guitar, and Pesky playing bass. Pesky and Dave have been around for uh …
Dave: Yea I did the last record with them. I’ve been in for around two years, and Pesky’s been in for about four or five.
S: It’s been a revolving door.
Who have been the permanent members?
S: Um, that’s a hard one. I’ve been around for awhile. So I guess I’m permanent.
D: Marc Cannata kind of started the band – he just left like a year ago.
S: Yea, he’s got another project going on.
The music on your recordings, is that the current lineup, or are they all different?
S: The last recording [“Forgettable”] included myself and Dave, Marc on drums, Pesky on bass, and Oscar on guitar. Everything before that was just me, Pesky, and Marc, and a couple of other people playing guitar. We had Marc Orrell (Dropkick Murphys) playing guitar on “Living In The Fallout”, Paul Christian played on “Living In The Fallout” too.
Do you feel like you guys have a pretty solid lineup right now?
S: To be honest, yea! Right now, aside from all the van troubles, the tour has been a lot of fun. I’ve never really wanted to come out [on tour] and just be like, “yea it’s been fun,” but I’m having fun every night. I think the chemistry between the guys is really good.
How long have you been on your current tour?
S: Three or four weeks? We’ve just got another week left, then we’re heading back home. We’re going to start recording this EP that we have been working on. We’re trying to fit that in between this and our February tour with The Queers.
S: Yea. We have demos of like five or six songs.
So back to this February tour you just mentioned…
S: Yea, we have a tour coming up in February with The Queers and The Ataris on the East Coast and Canada. We have the tourdates but we were told not to announce them yet until everything is finalized [everything has since been finalized, and the tourdates are available to check out here].
Going back to the current tour, is there a memorable moment that stands out?
S: (laughs) There’s probably a bunch of those.
D: Probably our time spent at the mechanics shops. We’ve probably been to about four. Like sleepovers. Unfortunately we’ve missed two shows with the Utters because of van troubles. We were really bummed about that ‘cuz we were trying to make every show. The van’s been stalling out, and we keep going to different places and they keep telling us different things.
Now before the interview, Dave pointed out a must-have from your collection. The 2007 release “Living In The Fallout”. Why did you single out this album?
D: I’ll do a little preface. I became a fan of the band first. I went to school for recording, and through one of the old organ players, my friend Brendan Lynch, he kind of introduced me to Marc and I started doing demos for “Forgettable”, and that’s how I got into the band. But, I gotta say that “Living In The Fallout” is one of my desert island records. I absolutely love it. I’m kind of like, living the dream, playing in the band that made that record. I like every one of the songs.
S: Isn’t he an awesome guy to have in the band?
Yea man, I think it’s great. And the audience really feels that energy and love for what you’re doing.
S: One thing to say about the Swingin’ Utters. We would not be a band if it were not for the Utters. Not to sound cheesy or corny, but it’s true. They were like the band that me and Marc grew up listening to, and fell in love with it. And we still do. The way they write their songs is great, it’s just awesome.
When I heard you play the Cock Sparrer cover “We’re Coming Back” as your second-to-last song, I had a new-found love for you. I have been privileged enough to see Cock Sparrer a couple times in my day, and you almost know for certain that they’re going to play that song as their encore. What inspired you to choose that as your final song? Are their plans to make this a constant last song/encore?
S: Well we were trying a bunch of different covers. We did a Misfits cover, a Dictators cover, a Jabbers cover, and Cock Sparrer. And we were just like, let’s do that one. I mean, ‘cuz we haven’t toured in a year and like, maybe we could do this. It’ll be for us. We’ve got a great lineup, we’re really proud of it, and we’re coming back. We’re here.
S: Exactly. It’s kind of corny, but hey, it’s a good song anyways.
For sure. Now, you finished the set with “Roses and Razorblades”, a song from your 2007 album “Living In The Fallout”. Is this a classic ending song, or do you switch it up?
S: Well, we change up our set every night, just to keep it interesting for us, we just decided to close with that tonight.
Do you have a favorite song to play live?
S: I like playing “Disaster”, which we didn’t actually get to play tonight.
D: Yea, that’s one of my favorites. It’s the opening song on “Living In The Fallout”.
S & D: (in unison) Australia!
Everybody always says Australia. Australia and Japan. What the hell! Anywhere stateside?
S: Well, I would actually like to go back to Bozeman, Montana. We did two little shows there. Before then I had never even heard of the place.
Well Montana doesn’t really strike my eye as having a huge….anything…except space.
S: I know! But we did two club shows at a venue like this [The Blank Club, San Jose CA], and they were both sold out. An early show and a late show. I was like, dude, this is fucking awesome! Why have we never been here before?! And we haven’t been back since.
D: Montana is actually our drummer’s favorite state. It’s beautiful. Actually, we were on Warped Tour last year and we were trying to find a little swimming hole…
S: This is a funny story. Alright, so there’s not a lot of showering that happens on tour, so during the summer, we’re always looking for a little rope swing, or some place to just have fun, cool down and have some beers or something. So we searched “watering hole” and we ended up finding literally like a mountain stream. But the cul-de-sac that the water came out of was like 10 feet high; it was huge. It was rushing out water at probably like 30-40 mph and dumping into this one spot that was probably like a 20 foot diameter. You could jump off of it. We were all partying, jumping off, and the cops show up. We didn’t get tickets I don’t think.
D: That was in Montana, but actually before that, we were looking things up on Google Maps or something, and we found this lake. And we were like, sweet! We’re going to this lake! So we get in the van and we’re like, we have to find this lake! We’re going down this road, and we see another truck on the side, so we stop. He was obviously a local, so we ask him where this lake? He give us this weird look, like there was a grimace on his face and he’s like, “Alright, I know where that is,” and he gave us directions. And we’re all pumped, “this is happening, this is happening…”
S: People are all getting their shaving bags ready like, “Let’s do this!”
D: Busting out the swimsuits! So we take a left, we’re going down this gravely road, there’s like a house every 500 feet or so, and we get to the spot on the GPS where this lake should be, and it’s literally a puddle. It had dried up. And we’re like, ahhh, now we understand the grimace. See, now that’s proof that the temperature in those areas is going up!
S: That’s where all the rain comes from in Montana, from that little fucking puddle.
Are you getting on the topic of global warming now?! Haha, does Far From Finished see themselves as a political band?
S: Not really, but I mean politics is everywhere. I can’t open my mouth, I can’t talk to you, without it being political, in my mind at least. We don’t really try to be a political band [some guy interrupts Steve’s train of thought with his beautiful harmonica playing], but I think we’re a band more about inner struggles than outer struggles.
D: Lately, it’s been mostly everybody pitching in…
S: We’ve probably written about three songs so far just on this tour, and for those the music has definitely come before the lyrics.
Just strumming around on your down time.
S: Yea, I’m not a good guitar player really, but I like to learn, and try and write some stuff. Then I’ll give to this guy [Dave] and he’ll make it awesome.
D: But yea, it’s been great. We’ll try and come up with this nice progression that might inspire some lyrics. The great thing is that before, Marc Cannata was kind of like the majority of the driving force for the writing process of the band. The current iteration of the band now is everybody writing together, collaborating. Which is awesome. I feel like that’s how it should be for a band. A band, not just one or two people. It’s cool, it really feels like a band of people on the same page.
S: Like I said, the chemistry is right. And I never really used the word chemistry before, but I’ve realized, it’s right. No one is a green thumb on touring, everyone is seasoned about it. We find those 25-30 minutes, just sitting with the acoustic and writing something.
S: By the way…I “liked” the Dying Scene on Facebook. You guys show up in my feed, and I gotta say, it’s not as annoying as Punknews.org. Just kidding!
Haha, thanks! I think…Anyway, I could keep talking for forever, so is there anything else you would like to add in closing?
S: Just check out our tour in February with The Queers and The Ataris and our upcoming EP in the works.
D: Stay tuned, we’re going to be recording that in the spring, and hopefully have it out in late spring, early summer.
S: And just one more thing, I’d like to shout out to Dave McWane from Big D & The Kids Table, who was diagnosed with throat cancer. That really bums me out, that guy’s an inspiration. He’s a true artist. I really wish him the best.
Thank you Dave and Steve for taking the time to chat with me. And thanks for “Living In The Fallout”! I love it!