“Glitter, unicorns, rainbows and Jell-O,“ jokes Face to Face singer and guitarist Trever Keith when asked what people should expect from the band’s show at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana this Wednesday (October 19).
Although some My Little Pony fans may be disappointed at the lack of sparkles on Wednesday night, fans of ‘90s punk rock will have little to complain about. Considering how Victorville’s favorite punks cut their teeth in just about every early ‘90s OC and IE music venue, it only seemed appropriate that they team up with some of the bands that played with them throughout the decades.
“This is a great bill with us and Voodoo Glow Skulls together,” Keith says. “We haven’t played together in almost five years, so it’ll be cool to play with those dudes again. We used to play with those dudes all the time when we were younger, and Death By Stereo is right there on the bill too.”
Like many of the fans sure to fill the Yost, Keith and his bandmates have morphed from a group of angry young men to a veteran crew in the punk rock scene. Of course, you can’t exactly see yourself growing up, so Keith doesn’t feel too different than he did 25 years ago.
“I remember being younger and asking people older than me what it felt like to be old, and they would tell me that it didn’t feel a whole lot different,” Keith says. “When you get older, people view you in a certain way, but you don’t always feel the way that you’re viewed. It’s almost like being trapped in an older person’s body in a weird way.
“The thing that’s great about it is to see that the music has some longevity,” Keith continues. “Last time we played in Santa Ana, we played with Guttermouth and this time we’re with Voodoo Glow Skulls. These are bands we’ve been playing with since 1992, so to see that we’re all still around and kicking 25 years into this thing, it’s really great. I don’t think any of us imagined we would be doing it for this long.”
Whether they’ve been eager twentysomethings or closing in on 50, Face to Face has always brought a level of intensity to their music that’s become their calling card. From 1992’s Don’t Turn Away to this year’s Protection, all nine Face to Face records keep the band’s signature sound and energy while continuing to expand and grow in new directions. It’s a form of consistency that longtime fans of the band appreciate, particularly considering that Keith is the only original member.
“The longer you’ve been a band, the more expectations people have when you put a record out,” Keith says. “With our ninth studio album, there are a lot of boxes for us to tick as a band because people have come to expect certain things of us. Protection is firmly rooted in the past with the music we started out doing, but it’s also a very current version of that. It’s a culmination of 25 years of being in a band, writing songs, and making records.”
But just because Protection is their latest record doesn’t mean Keith, bassist Scott Shiflett, guitarist Dennis Hill, and drummer Danny Thompson are going to spend all of Wednesday night rehashing the album. The vocalist believes it’s important to mix in tunes from across their catalog at each show, unlike some older bands that focus primarily on their new material while mixing in just a few hits from early records.
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“We look forward to playing a bunch of songs from the new-ish record, but you can also always expect to hear all of the songs off the old records,” Keith says. “We like to play a well-rounded set that covers the entire era of the band rather than just bombarding people with new material.”
While Keith and the rest of Face to Face enjoy the timelessness they share during their performances, not everything in their lives is exactly the same as it was a couple of decades ago. Nearing the mid-century mark often means having a family or other responsibilities outside of the band, which can make it tough to balance the punk rock lifestyle with the other aspects of adulthood.
“It’s not always easy, but it becomes something that you just learn how to do,” Keith says. “You schedule things to avoid conflicts, and you make it work. My family is used to me going on tour and making records, so it’s not a surprise. It’s a lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to. It’s never been easy, but it’s what we do.”
Face to Face with Voodoo Glow Skulls, Death by Stereo, and Toxic Energy. Yost Theater. October 19, 2016. Tickets available for $25.