KNITTING FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT
[POSTPONED] Face To Face
Unfortunately, Face To Face at the 9th St. Parallel at Knitting Factory on April 14th has been postponed.
Please hang on to your tickets as they will still be valid for the new date to be announced.
Whoever said that you can’t go home again never told face to face. The melodic punk institution, who will celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band throughout 2016, return to Fat Wreck Chords—the same label who released their classic debut Don’t Turn Away—for their ninth full length studio album, Protection. As Trever Keith explains, this wasn’t coincidence.
“The decision to go back to Fat was a no brainer,” he says. “We knew we wanted to make a more back-to-basics punk rock record, something more like our early days. Fat Wreck Chords was an obvious choice. After 25 successful years in punk rock, it’s a label that speaks for itself. In lots of ways it feels like coming home.” Protection draws from the energy and passion of face to face’s early records but is filtered through Keith’s unique worldview as a true “lifer” in punk rock, someone whose songs have influenced an entire generation of bands. The result is an urgent and powerful 11-song effort that borrows from the melody and angst of the band’s early days with lyrics that are thoughtfully written from the perspective of a “40 something” veteran punk rocker, from “Double Crossed” and “Say What You Want” (Keith’s personal favorites) to the vicious barb “14:59” and the emotionally moving “Bent But Not Broken.”
“‘14:59’ is a commentary on Western culture and its obsession in the past few decades with reality-based fame that comes for people who have no skill other than just being famous. I think it’s disgusting. I hate it,” Keith remarks. “‘Bent But Not Broken’ is about people who aren’t willing to listen to opposing viewpoints because they are so mired in their own beliefs, they can’t see they are bent.” There’s even a rare burst of motivational positivity in “Keep Your Chin Up.” Credit can be shared with Bill Stevenson, who in addition to being Descendents’ erstwhile drummer, has produced classic albums and fan favorites from NOFX, Propagandhi, Anti-Flag and more. face to face worked with him at his studio, the Blasting Room, and the results exceeded everyone’s expectations. Amazingly, Stevenson is the first outside producer face to face has worked with in nearly two decades, as the band usually self-produces their work, but Keith said the partnership was nothing short of incredible. “It was a fantastic experience,” he says. “Bill was great to work with. I met Bill on the Warped Tour something like 15 years ago, but we never really had spent time together until now, and we hit it off great.”
With that trust in place, it allowed face to face to spend less time in the control room and more time focusing on their performances and on the songs themselves, resulting in what feels like an instant classic from the first listen. “This is the first time where [bassist] Scott [Shiflett] and I were willing to take a reduced role [in production],” Keith says. We were laid back, open minded, and open to suggestions. Bill’s influence on the song arrangements and background vocals was key in giving the record the sound that it has. Not every idea Bill had ended up being used, but we certainly listened to everything that Bill, Jason Livermore and Andrew Berlin had to say and I think it’s a better record for it.”
Since returning from their self-imposed hiatus in 2008, face to face has been on a tear, touring worldwide and writing tons of new music; Protection is their third full-length in five years, outpacing the output of many of their peers and devotees alike. face to face still has a lot to say, and the band has no plans on slowing down. “To celebrate our 25th anniversary as a band in 2016, we plan on re-releasing special edition vinyl copies of our early albums, plus playing as many shows as possible to promote Protection,” Keith says. Why does the band continue to work so hard when so many others are content to coast through their careers? Because Keith knows face to face isn’t just an outlet for him to vent his frustrations—it’s also a safe space for thousands of fans who need his songs in their lives. “I love the idea that our music can take people out of the grind of their daily lives for a little while and that we can connect emotionally,” admits Keith. “It’s an awesome and powerful thing.”
Have you ever heard the inarguable sound of what materializes when you let fate direct the future? What if that sound was influenced by twenty years of British and American punk cultures colliding? For the members of Sharp Shock, growing up with the bands that defined music with an honesty and passion that can be rarely found in modern times, cleared a very obvious path for what they wanted to do with their own lives. Sometimes in music, the storybook tale of determination, sacrifice and despair can be thrown around hastily. To some, those three things describe a reality that very few can truly understand, and for the members of Sharp Shock, they are only a few attributes that make up their unique story.
Having all played in bands from a young age, the work ethic it takes to move your life around the world just isn’t something that most people possess. Playing in garages to arenas and back again, sleeping on floors and in vans for the better part of the last fifteen years, they found their way to Southern California and were pushed only by that dream so many end up letting slip away.
Singer/Guitarist Davey Warsop (Beat Union, Suedehead) and bass player/vocals Dan Smith (The Dear & Departed) are UK exports. Smith by way of New Zealand and also widely known for his achievement in the tattoo world, they both moved to California in the early 2000’s without knowing each other. Korey Kingston (The Aggrolites/Suedehead), a San Diegan drummer raised on a healthy diet of Reggae, Ska and a West Coast view on that same upbringing, would end up completing this trio perfectly. Despite their different geographical beginnings, they quickly realized they were all very much from the same place. “The timing couldn’t have been better” says Smith. “As the story goes, both myself and Korey reached out to Davey by way of text message, coincidentally within a minute of each other, suggesting we start something. We hadn't even met, so i think Davey saw that as some kind of synchronicity, perhaps too much of a coincidence for him to ignore. Then before we knew it, we were already in the studio recording”.
It was only a matter of time before the hiatus they were all experiencing and this coincidence would essentially bring them together. Musically, it is exactly what you might expect kids schooled early on The Jam and Stiff Little Fingers would sound like. Then, submerse that in the sun drenched beach cities of Southern Californian surf,skate and punk culture and the sounds of The Descendents or early Green Day and you will find Sharp Shock. The way the band formed can only be described as organic and after some time away from playing and being rather disheartened with the machine of the music industry and not knowing where they fit in, they all agreed to take much more of a DIY approach this time. Warsop, having produced and engineered countless records over the years at Hurley studios shortly after moving to the US, was a key piece in the productivity of self producing the debut album. “We tracked the majority of this record live, to keep the performances honest and fun. Like our name suggests, we’re trying to keep everything about this band direct and to the point. From the songwriting being short and snappy, to us being a trio…we don’t want to overcomplicate anything.” says Warsop. Sharp Shock had their first record under their belt within a very short amount of time and it would be no surprise if a second wasn’t too far away. “This feels like it did when i was covering my favorite bands in my garage as a kid. We are doing only what we know…and doing it from the heart” say Smith.
Unlearn Everything will be released via Heart & Skull Records this summer.