face to face chose the Offspring’s producer for its Big Choice



You can’t believe everything you read in those record-company bios, and sometimes you can’t believe any of it, but now and again it’s fun to pick out intriguing tidbits and find out whether they’re true or not.

Like the line in face to face’s Victory Records bumf that claims the band tours with only its playing members—no tour manager, not even a roadie. When singer/songwriter/guitarist Trever Keith phones from face to face’s home base of Victorville, a small California town with a music scene taken up entirely by his band and another one called Chunk, I call him on it.

“Well, things changed a little since the bio,” says Keith with a laugh. “Since the bio we’ve done so much touring this last year that the need has grown for a tour manager, who also doubles as our soundman. And on this last tour my uncle has decided to come out with us, and he kinda helps us set up our equipment.”

Just because they’ve hired a roadie and someone who can look after the books and the sound doesn’t mean the members of face to face have hit the big time, but there are other factors signifying upward progression. The group recently released its major-label debut, Big Choice, and is traversing North America in a converted airport bus. (That part of the bio is true.) Since forming in ’91, face to face has put in massive road time, opening for the likes of NOFX and Pennywise as well as current chartbusters the Offspring and Green Day, whose amazing success Keith ponders.

“I think it was just a matter of time before Green Day happened in a large way,” he says. “They’re an excellent band, they write great songs, and I’ve been listening to them for years and hoping someday the public would catch on. As for the Offspring, I couldn’t tell ya; I have no idea. I guess it just depends on where the public is at the time, and if they like a particular song. Stranger things have happened.”

Although Keith claims to be at a loss as to why the Offspring are so huge, that mystery didn’t stop his band from hiring Thom Wilson—producer of the Offspring’s megaplatinum Smash—to helm Big Choice. But Keith swears Wilson didn’t bring any lucrative production secrets from the Smash sessions to bear on face to face’s record.

“Not at all,” he says. “Matter of fact, Thom Wilson was great to work with because he managed to step outside of the project for the most part and let us do whatever we wanted with it. It was almost like not really working with a producer. It was fantastic.”

Originally a trio, face to face added 23-year-old guitarist Chad Yaro to the fold after a ’94 European tour with Lagwagon made them realize how full a band with two guitars could sound. Bolstered by that extra axe—and a new roadie to string it—they’ll be returning to Vancouver for the fourth time with a headlining show at the Commodore on Monday (September 25).

“The last time we were there we did a show that was a little out of the ordinary for us,” recalls Keith. “We had the opportunity to open for Ice Cube at the Commodore, which was pretty interesting, but it was kind of a gyp for the people that are actually fans of ours, ’cause the ticket price was really expensive, and they might not have wanted to go see Ice Cube. So we’re comin’ back for our own people now.”

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