With the release of Shoot the Moon: The Essential Face to Face, earlier this week, it seemed appropriate to run an interview I did with the band in 1996 for my 'zine, Anti-Manifesto.
The album collects material from the band's 12 year career for a total of 19 essential tracks as well as 2 that were previously unreleased. The disc includes deluxe slipcase packaging as well as extensive liner notes and rare photos.
This interview took place in the Summer of 1996. The band was headlining the Warped Tour, which included Civ, Fishbone, NOFX, Rocket From the Crypt, Deftones, Guttermouth and Unwritten Law. Face to Face was supporting their sophomore release, Big Choice and was still riding high on the success of their single "Disconnected" from their debut, Don't Turn Away.
The band, who had been constantly surrounded by people requesting autographs all day, was gracious enough to invite me onto their tour bus and both vocalist/guitarist Trever Keith and (then) new bassist Scott "Topper" Schifflet took the time to speak with me. A friend of mine also comes in at one point in the interview.
What exactly caused the rift with Fat, you guys had one record with them, and then changed labels? Trever: We donât have a rift with Fat records, as a matter of fact, we get along great with everyone at Fat. Weâre still friends with Mike and Erin. Our deal with Fat was just for the one record, and then when we were up for the next record, we put it out on the table to see what labels were interested, and we took the deal we thought was the best. Fat made an offer, we just felt that we got a better offer from another label. So thatâs where we went. We donât have any bad feelings towards Fat or anything at all. We still get royalty checks twice a year
What happened to Matt Riddle? Trever: Matt left the band and Scott (Topper) joined the band. Matt is now playing with 22 Jacks and No Use for a Name. He also worked on the Pulley record
Trever: Kind of ironic.
Topper: We swapped gigs.
Could you give me a quick version of your bio? Whoâs in the band, how long youâve been around, what records you have out?
Itâs me, I play guitar and sing, Chad plays guitar, Rob Kurth plays drums, and Topper plays bass. Everyone sings backups. We formed in 91. We put out a record on Dr.Strange in 1992, and Fat records picked it up at the end of the year and since then weâve put out one other full length album called Big Choice and itâs on Victory [Music].
We have brand new album coming out September 10th, called Face to Face and itâs on A&M. I donât know what it will be in Canada
So, whatâs your new album like, have you kept the same style?
I donât think we ventured too far away from the Face to Face style. As far as the Big Choice record, which I think is a good record, but I got a lot of comments from people who were into Donât Turn Away who said they liked Big Choice, but that Donât Turn Away was better and I tend to agree.
We went a little further back into the Donât Turn Away-style, though weâve also done stuff weâve never done before, like the song today, "I Won't Lie Down" but weâre playing it because itâs different, fun and new for us.
We do go off on a couple of tangents, but itâs still what youâd expect from usâ¦ but better! Itâs recorded better, and we self-produced it, and I think weâre really good mixers.
How long did it take to record?
Well, this one is longer then any other record weâve done. From beginning to end, it was about three months. Not day after day, but we spent about two and a half weeks tracking it.
Do you ever feel strange in the punk scene? Like to just be labelled "skater music" or punk all the time?
Well, yeah, but thereâs not place Iâd rather be. If I had to be labelled. But I would like to see us branch out. Iâm sure every band would like to be seen as a band, and not just as part of a scene. Weâre definitly striving for that. Not to alienate anyone whose ever given us props in the past, because we donât want to alienate anyone whoâs ever bought the record or come to the show, because itâs put us where we are today. We just don't like to be pigeonholed.
Do you guys skate?
Well, we used to. Jeffâs the youngest guy in the band, and he still skates and he lives at the beach and surfs. Scott used to skate constantly. But do we now? Not really.
Whatâs it like signing autographs? Trever: You want the truth? Well, itâs incredibly embarrassing. But by going out and performing for the public, youâre offering yourself on the chopping block and itâs just part of the deal. I would feel much worse denying someone who was into the band and autograph then to just walk by and go "fuck you! I donât do that" If I wanted somebodyâs autograph and they told me no, Iâd feel really gypped.
Topper: I know it seems a little fucking silly and all, but when I was a little kid, I met Eddie Van Halen in an airport and laugh all you want, and I asked him for his autograph, and he was totally fucking cool to me. He signed my shirt and he talked to me. And as far as Iâm concerned, he could be a fucking dick, but he was so cool to me, it stoked my out to this day. I still have that shirt in a box somewhere. And you know, sure itâs silly. But it made me happy, and if it makes somebody else happy, sure autograph it.
Trever: Thatâs our opinion.
Topper: To be so fucking mean to someoneâ¦. I mean, I wonât grab a pen and run out to go sign, but it starts slow. Some little kid will ask for one and it snowballs. And then it gets silly, because youâre not even looking at them anymore.
Trever: You donât really like it, but you wonât say no.
Topper: I donât care until Iâve been signing for five minutes straight. Let me put it this way. Nine months ago I worked in a mailroom, shipping and recieving. Delivering to company bigwigs. And whatâs my signature worth? Nothing. But I had to sign office envelopes all the time. Itâs part of that job, and by god itâs part of this job.
What do you think of bands getting onto the internet? Trever: Well, itâs good, but I think weâre getting a little ahead of ourselves. Weâre going to end up with a lot of mole people. Weâve created something that could be useless. Like television.
Topper: The neat thing about culture is that they all are different and have different idenities. Now, with everyone zip-zapping across the internet, itâs just going to water down the social pool. Theyâll be no reason to go to anywhere [different].
Trever: It's like going to Japan where they have McDonalds on every corner too. But are we against having a page? No. Itâs cool.
Thanks for doing this interview, I notice that some bands like NOFX aren't doing them for some reason. Trever: They just donât do interviews.
Trever: Theyâre Anti-rock stars. And Iâm not going to bad mouth them, because I like them. I like the band and I like the guys.
Topper: Well, there is a point when you can take it too far. The pendulum swings both ways. This is fine. This is rock stars. Anti-rock stars, are just the same. Youâre still alienating people. And if youâve got some sort of hard core agenda, youâre still ignoring people. Itâs a lot easier to answer a simple question then just to say âno commentâ
Trever: I think the perception doesnât exactly work. They think that theyâre doing the opposite; being anti-rock stars, but you interpret it the same.
Paul (Aubin's friend): Well, sure I can see them being annoyed having to talk to a thousand people. But to not do interviews with zines, which supported them from the beginning, and to instead do an interview with Hit Parader, which I saw on the newstand back home. They can talk to them, but they canât talk to a small zine. It's hypocritical.
Trever: Let me go on the record and say, I fucking hate metal magazines and I hope they never print anything about us again. All they are, are teeny-bopper magazines read by thirteen year-old girls.
Topper: Nothing against thirteen year-old girls, mind you, I want that to go on the record as well.