When Trever Keith founded Face to Face in the early '90s, he never would have expected the band become staples in the Southern California punk scene, nevertheless one of its living legends. Now, nearly 25 years into the band's career, Face to Face will be playing their first three albums front to back at a three night stint at the Observatory.
Now residing in Nashville, Keith figured in order for the band to forge ahead with their next record, it made sense to look at the past first. Keith promises that the band will dig deep into their catalog and play rarities in addition to the albums slated for that particular night. Calling Orange County the optimal place to test out this format, the singer has always had an affinity for the area since it was one of the first place to take to the band.
"I like it better than L.A. for a look back," he says over the phone. "We didn't play L.A. a lot and it didn't work for us as a band until we became more popular. We played mostly Orange County and the Inland Empire as a young band. I think it's more fitting we take it back there."
With tentative plans to work with Bill Stevenson from The Descendents on their eighth record in Colorado, we caught up with Keith ahead of the shows to see why exactly the time was right to celebrate the band's classic records.
OC Weekly (Daniel Kohn): Why is the time right to do these shows?
Trever Keith: I don't know if there's a specific reason to why now is a better time than any time. It was just something we wanted to do and the opportunity presented itself. We never have done full album shows before and as we rapidly approach our 25th anniversary, which is in 2015, we're starting to think about these nostalgic type ideas for shows and stuff like that. I guess we're becoming prematurely nostalgic. Another thing is that we've begun writing new songs for our new record. I like thinking about, revisiting and rehearsing these songs. It's putting us in a headspace to create some music that's a little bit more in touch with the early days of the band. It's a little self-serving too at the same time.
Would you ever consider touring behind this concept of three nights and three albums?
Yeah. I've been doing this long enough to know that you never say never to anything. I usually will say something that I'll never do, and I end up doing it. Never say never. We don't have any plans to make it a full blown tour but it could be fun, sure.
Which of the three records are most excited to revisit and play?
For me, it's Don't Turn Away. It's is the first one and it's interesting because I don't sit around often playing songs from that record. We do a bunch of songs – about half – in our regular set, but the songs that we don't play from that record I haven't thought about or even attempted to play in a really long time. It's been cool to go back and revisit the music and reconnecting with the songs and sentiment on that level, it reminds me of what it was like to write those songs and put me back in that time. It's been cool to remember what it was like at the beginning.
What do you think the enduring legacy of those three albums are? Are you comfortable presenting the albums again in this type of way?
Oh yeah. I'm definitely comfortable. I never thought twenty-something years down the road from when I was writing that these songs would have the impact on people, and some people consider this to be one of their favorite punk rock albums. It's cool to know that this music has had the kind of connection with people, so like I said when we were writing and rehearsing this stuff in a little shed, we never would have thought that it could have turned into what it has today.
Are any of the former members invited to come on-stage to play with the current lineup?
I've been talking with Matt (bassist Matt Riddle) and he said he was interested. I'm hoping he'll come down and play some songs on the Don't Turn Away night. I can't make any guarantees, but I'm looking forward to him showing up and sitting in with us and a couple of songs.