About Face to Face
Face to Face was formed in the early 90s by Trever Keith (Guitar, Vocals), Matt Riddle (Bass, Backing Vocals) and Rob Kurth (Drums, Backing Vocals). Starting their career on Dr. Strange Records, they released songs on the 12″ limited edition picture disc called “A Strange Compilation” as well as the first pressing of the classic “Don’t Turn Away”. As their popularity grew in California, so did their demand for their records. In hopes of gaining better distribution, the band re-released “Don’t Turn Away” on a tiny little label headed by NOFX frontman, Fat Mike and his wife Erin called “Fat Wreck Chords”. The 3-piece went on tour with Lagwagon in Europe and decided that a 4th member to the band would fill out their sound. Enter: Chad Yaro.
After Chad joins the band and the group moves to Victory Music (who went bankrupt in 1995) the next album face to face releases is an EP called “Over It” which is a collection of b-sides and redone “Don’t Turn Away” songs with an extra guitar player. “Over It” was taken out of print in 1996. Their next full length entitled “Big Choice” includes a redone, faster version of “Disconnected” plus a whole slew of raging punk rock anthems. Disconnected appeared in the movie Tank Girl (as well as later in National Lapoon’s Senior Trip). The band tours with bands such as The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and The Offspring to promote the record.
The stay on Victory Music ends and face to face moves to A&M Records in 1996, with a change to their line-up. Matt Riddle left the band and Scott Shiflett took his place and has remained ever since in the bass player spot. The band prepares for recording their Self Titled debut on A&M by going on a tiny club tour they called “Econolive” to beat the songs into shape in front of crowds. This also marks the beginning of face to face’s involvement with another small indie label, Vagrant Records, where they start a small label of their own called “Lady Luck Records” and release a 10″ EP (appropriately titled Econolive) through it, documenting the small club tour. The release of the Self-Titled record and a tour with No Doubt bring face to face into another arena, one of restlessness with their sound. Taking a break from touring, face to face records the “Live” record at the Roxy in 1997, playing two shows to two sold out Roxy crowds and taking the best songs from the live atmosphere. They release the record through “Lady Luck” and Vagrant Records. This is also Rob Kurth’s last recording with the band, as he parts ways after its release. Pete Parada joins the band before recording the fourth full length on drums.
For their fourth full-length release, entitled Ignorance is Bliss, the band moves from A&M to Beyond Records, and moves away from the sound of earlier recordings. Described as “clearly the band’s best songwriting effort, hinting with a greater persistency at the universality lying just beneath the band’s surface” by Aversion webzine, this record pushes the boundaries of what face to face brought its fans in the past. Also in 1999, the band records “Standards and Practices” a covers record that is initially released to the foreign market and then in 2001 it is released domestically in the US. Face to face met the demand for digital music and file sharing head on, when in 2000, they posted 16 songs on www.mp3.com and had fans vote on which songs they liked the best. After almost 2 million votes, the top 12 voted for songs were put out as their next full length, entitled “Reactionary”. They also embark on a tour sponsored by the file sharing visionary company Napster, in the fall of that year. Chad Yaro departs the band on amicable terms, leaving them as a three piece once again. The year 2002 has brought face to face to longtime friends, Vagrant Records, to release a split CD with the Dropkick Murphy’s and their newest release “How to Ruin Everything” due April 9th. Who knows what we can expect next from face to face, whatever it is, expect it to be sonically riveting.