25 Years after they released their first album, Face To Face is still going strong. They recently dropped “Protection”, a near flawless album that sees them reunited with Fat Wreck Chords, the label where it all started. Here’s an email interview we did with vocalist/guitarist Trever Keith about the band’s anniversary year and their new album.
PRT: First of all… happy 25th birthday and congrats on the new album!
Trever: Thank you!
PRT: With “Protection” you wanted to make a more back-to-basics album much like your early albums. Was that a difficult thing to accomplish? Because obviously you have 25 years of experience now.
Trever: It was only difficult in the sense that we are 25 years older. But I think we were successful in tapping in to the energy and angst of our early stuff.
PRT: It is your third album since you reunited. The first one came out on Rise Records, the second on People Like You Records (at least in Europe) and now you’re with Fat Wreck. Does this feel like a more natural fit for you?
Trever: Fat Wreck is a great punk rock label. It's so good to be back with people who actually know how to make and market a punk rock record. It's as natural as any band/label relationship can be.
PRT: “Protection” is the first album in a long time where you worked with outside help. What made you decide to work with them after having self-produced everything for so long?
Trever: It was really more of an opportunity we seized upon. I had wanted to work with Bill for a while. I finally just emailed him and asked. He was receptive and as we worked through the details, everybody got more and more excited about the record.
PRT: Was it hard not to meddle too much at first after having been very hands-on for years?
Trever: A little bit, but I had to keep reminding myself that it was our choice to be working with Bill and Jason at The Blasting Room, so we should let them do what they do.
PRT: With songs like “Fourteen Fifty-Nine” and “Bent But Not Broken”, you obviously still have plenty to vent about. Which made me wonder… do you find that you get angry about things more now or faster than 25 years ago?
Trever: Actually the opposite. I think age lends itself to a little more surliness, but you can either be bitter as you age or more accepting. I'd rather not be bitter. Doesn't mean I can't vent about the stuff that I dislike though!
PRT: I honestly didn’t expect the burst of positivity that is “Keep Your Chin Up”. Can you tell me a little bit more about where that song came from?
Trever: I think ultimately the themes to all of our songs are positive. They are usually just presented in a way that highlights a negative to get there. Keep Your Chin Up just goes right for the positivity. It probably comes from my role as a husband and a father more than from being an angsty punk rocker.
PRT: Back to the 25th anniversary as a band… to celebrate the occasion you will be re-releasing your older albums through your own label and playing a ton of shows. Is there anything else in the works that we should keep an eye out for?
Trever: We are working with Vannen watches to issue a limited edition custom watch as well. They are more like urban art than watches. Super cool.
PRT: Speaking of shows, you did those “Triple Crown” shows in 2014/2015. What was that like? Did you still know all of the songs or did you have to figure some of them out again?
Trever: For our set, I am just looking forward to playing the new material from PROTECTION and maybe throwing out a couple of rare older songs. I was approached by an old friend to sit in on another band's set as well. Not sure if I can announce that yet so I'll have to limit the details.
Trever: No regrets. Even the “bad” decisions we may have made during our career up until this point should be regarded as learning experiences. You can't change the past so why live with regrets?