(From left) Danny Thompson, Trever Keith, Scott Shiflett, and Dennis Hill.
El Modena High School

Trever Keith: “Face to Face: 25 Years of SoCal Punk, The Visual History”

Trever Keith, frontman of the SoCal-based punk band Face to Face shares how his hardcore following prompted the creation of the book, “Face to Face: 25 Years of SoCal Punk, The Visual History.”

On January 12, 2018, Keith, alongside band members Scott Shiflett, Dennis Hill, Danny Thompson, and co-author Aaron Tanner, hosted a book signing at The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles. Eager fans wearing Face to Face merchandise, and many sporting tattoos of the band’s logo, walked the second floor of the Last Bookstore looking at artwork spanning the band’s twenty-five year history and mingled with current members along with contributing artist, such as Billy Skelly, Taz, and Corey Miller. Fans then proceeded to the first floor to meet the band and receive the much anticipated autographs that would be penned within the pages of the new book — a book, curated by Keith and Tanner, fused with fan photography, memorabilia, and recollections of the band from the last twenty-five years.

 The Victorville-founded band, originally composed of Trever Keith, Matt Riddle, and Rob Kurth, developed their punk sound by integrating elements of the Hermosa Beach punk band the Descendents, and honing their own unique sound to establish themselves as a founding band of the Inland Empire scene, alongside Voodoo Glow Skulls and Guttermouth. Heavy touring in their early years, which included a tour of Europe with Lagwagon, and radio support of the band’s single “Disconnected,” by Los Angeles’ influential radio station KROQ, and participation in the Vans Warped Tour, garnered the band local, national, and international attention and thousands of dedicated fans.   

Following a brief hiatus from 2005-2007, the band reformed and released “Laugh Now, Laugh Later” (2011), “Three Chords and a Half Truth” (2013) and their latest full-length studio album “Protection” (2016) released on the label Fat Wreck Chords, which was produced by Bill Stevenson of the Descendents and Jason Livermore. Face to Face appears not to be slowing down as they have recently toured North American, Europe/UK, and recently South America.

What sparked the idea to commemorate twenty-five years of Face to Face with a book that showcases the visual history of the band?

“When we were on tour, about a year ago in Canada, we were talking about a way to work on some kind of a project that would show people who weren’t familiar with the band what kind of a really dedicated and supportive following we have. And we don’t really feel responsible for it, we feel lucky to have one, and we wanted a way to communicate to people that may not be familiar with our band, or might not know what an amazing and supportive group of people that have been following us and supporting us for the past twenty-five years. So our original thought was to do a documentary from the viewpoint of the listener, and just have people talk about the band and maybe the experiences they have, or maybe different reasons why they listen to [our] records, or what effect we may or may not of had on them over the years.” – Keith said. 

“Around the same time we were thinking of making the documentary, I connected with Aaron, who is an old friend of mine, more of an acquaintance, but he’s become more of a closer friend in recent years. I was on a chain email of his, and he said, ‘Hey, I’m doing this book series now. My company is now focusing on books.’ And a lightbulb went off in my head, and I’m like, ‘Maybe a book would be a better idea than a documentary,’ because a documentary is difficult to produce and put together, and we’ve already done some DVDs. So I reached out to Aaron about doing a book, and he liked the idea. And it wasn’t really hard to convince him! Aaron had a relationship from my solo record, so he wasn’t super familiar with Face to Face. He comes from a little bit of a different musical background, he’s more of like an indie rock guy, but once he started doing a little investigating about Face to Face he became more familiar with us he got more and more excited about the book. And so it’s just kind of been this thing that has taken on a little bit of a life of its own. I mean it’s turned into something way better and bigger than I would have imagine, culminating with this event.” -Keith continued. 

How did you and Aaron Tanner curate what photographs, memorabilia, etc. to include in the book?

“Aaron really did the lion’s share of the work accumulating all the material, so I gave him all of the contact information I had for certain people, but he went out and found quite a few people that I hadn’t even talked for twenty or more years, and he started putting together just this massive base of things. And, you know, he sent me the original draft and I might of had just a very few minor changes, like, ‘Don’t use this photo, maybe use this one. Let’s use this quote, not that one.’ But really the bulk of it was just Aaron’s good taste and it really had very few revisions from me. I’m really the only one that oversaw the final product, so it went from Aaron to me and to the press.”

What is in store for Face to Face over the next twenty-five years?

“I think it would be a miracle if we were still around for another twenty-five years, but we did take a brief hiatus and at the time we thought we were breaking the band up, and we didn’t play for about four or five years. I think we all feel like it was a huge mistake. We tried some other projects, solo records, and other side projects, and stuff which still remained, like Face to Face has always been the one..there’s just something special about these people and this music. And not just the band, but the people that have supported the band, and buy the records and come to the shows; there’s something undeniably special about that entire connection and phenomenon that, you know, there’s nothing else like it. There’s really nothing else we’ve experienced that can replace it, and so we’ve learned to recognize that over the years, so I think we cherish it more now, maybe [more] than we’ve ever had. And as long as it’s something people continue to enjoy, and we continue to enjoy, we’ll do it for as long as we can.”

Purchase the book “Face to Face: 25 Years of SoCal Punk, The Visual History” on Melodic Virtue, and catch Face to Face on tour with Less Than Jake this spring.