For some bands, it takes decades to regroup after a breakup. But for Victorville, Calif., punk stalwart Face To Face, a 2004 breakup didn’t last so long.
“Three to four years in, we were starting to get antsy. (Bassist) Scott (Shiflett) and I had been trying other musical projects, but it didn’t satisfy the same need as Face To Face does. Before we knew it, we were back in full swing,” says frontman and founder Trever Keith by phone at the beginning of the tour for the group’s new album, “Three Chords and a Half Truth.”
Face To Face plays Amos’ Southend Wednesday. According to Keith, it’s the group’s first Charlotte headlining date since playing the long-defunct Pterodactyl in the early ’90s.
Formed in 1991, Face To Face made an impact on the Southern California pop-punk sound that eventually took over airwaves. On “Three Chords and a Half Truth,” the band could have just cranked out more of the signature hard-charging sing-along anthems it’s known for. There are still some, but other cuts carry on a Clash-like feel, while a few touch on rockabilly, British punk and new wave.
“We wanted to explore different types of instrumentation and arrangements we hadn’t tried before,” Keith says. “We didn’t rely solely on upbeat, really fast tempos. It was a challenge to us to try different rhythms and tempos that were a little slower, to see if we could get the same power and energy. It’s a tip of the hat to the Clash and the Jam, Stiff Little Fingers.”
Keith didn’t grow up a punk, though.
“We were super-isolated in Victorville,” he says. “Metal was my thing through high school. I didn’t start getting into punk rock until late teens and early 20s. I hadn’t heard of Bad Religion and the Descendents. I didn’t realize there was this melodic punk rock out there. I was a little bit of a late bloomer.”
Keith’s influences at 44 are quite varied. He loves the Smiths and Morrissey and grew up on “cheesy ’80s new wave.” He listens predominantly to rock and classic jazz artists like Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, but he’s been exploring Nashville’s history since moving there with his wife three years ago.
“I’ve always been a Johnny Cash fan, but I wanted to get a little more of an understanding of the early roots country,” he says. “I’ve become a huge fan of Hank (Williams) Sr. and early Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, Johnny Paycheck.”
He enjoys the city’s music scene so much he invited his Nashville neighbors to support Face To Face on tour (not that any of them could be described as country).
“I love the really cool and very supportive music and arts scene there, where everybody seems super cool and wants to collaborate,” he says. “It’s nothing like what Los Angeles is. For me as a musician, I like that, and as human, I like the slower pace and less traffic.”
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