California punk rockers Unwritten Law have recently released their second live DVD for your visual and listening pleasure. This time around the band has teamed up with Suburban Noize Records to release Live & Lawless, a CD/DVD release that is more of a celebration of their success as a modern punk rock band rather then just another live show.
Recorded in March of 2008 at the historic Key Club on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, the band consisting of singer Scott Russo, guitarist Steve Morris, bassist Pat “PK” Kim, and temporary stand-in drummer Dylan Howard, make a point to play their hearts out to their hardcore fans.
Formed in the early nineties, Unwritten Law first started out as a speedier punk band but throughout the years they took different approaches to making music, and soon matured into more of a hard rock act. 1998’s self titled album had a couple of tracks that were put into heavy rotation on the radio but nothing more than that. In 2002, the band came out with Elva and their song “Seeing Red” became a chart topping hit.
Just one year later, the band was approached accidentally by VH1 (they meant to call Jimmy Eat World) to see if they would play some acoustic tracks. The result was Music In High Places, a part studio part live acoustic album that coincided with a separately released DVD called Live In Yellowstone.
Live & Lawless is the band’s first start-to-finish live DVD. This release also comes with a CD full of the tracks the band played that night in Hollywood. The CD has seventeen tracks plus a bonus track. The DVD covers the twenty-two song set and also contains some bonus footage.
The show starts with the band on stage in full force playing “Underground”. One of the first things I notice is that there are no bouncers in front of the stage and to me that is a nice thing to see. This show is strictly the band facing the fans. Hit songs “Teenage Suicide” and “Calin” were played to approving fans as they sang along as loud as they possibly could
The acoustic version of “Rest Of My Life” featured just Scott Russo and the crowd. His voice was on point throughout and did not crackle or show any signs of being tired even though sweat was dripping off his forehead. The rest of the band slowly snuck on stage where they smoothly depart into “She Says”. The crowd erupted as soon as they sang the refrain to the song.
“Before I Go” is a bonus treat to the crowd as the band starts a mini acoustic session with the entire band playing their acoustic instruments. I love the way this song sounds. They continue with “Elva” and surprisingly “Shallow”, a real old track by the band.
This was the first time I had heard the old school song performed acoustically and Scott Russo even admitted to the crowd that is was a special song they were going to play. I must say the song brought back some memories. Hearing the band slow the track down a bit and play it unplugged just made it that much more enjoyable. The only sad thing about this song is that I would guess two thirds of the crowd may never have heard this before. Arms waving and smiles were among the many but when it came time to sing along there was not as much partaking.
Before engaging in “Save Me” front man Scott Russo took a moment to spread some love to all the sardine packed fans in the front row. He asked everyone for some crowd participation before starting the song and just about everyone complied. With big thank yous it was clear that the concert was coming to an end.
Making this show even more memorable to myself, the very first song the band ever wrote, and one of my personal favorites, “CPH” closed out the show. Nothing like an oldie to wrap things up, especially when it was one of the first songs I heard as a teenager that caused me to become an Unwritten Law fan.
DVD bonus features included the music video for “Shoulda Know Better” as well as a intimate interview session with questions coming from the fans who were actually at the DVD shoot that evening. Hearing the story from Pennywise about Fletcher jumping a van into someone’s backyard was amusing. The band answered questions individually, shared their influences, decisions to change up their style, and even some more personal stories. The answer to how would Pat “PK” Kim look if he were bald had me laughing out loud as the bassist drew up a picture of himself.
There was not a dull moment throughout the entire live show. This DVD is pure evidence what a punk rock show should be. Seems like only yesterday a young punk rock me was in the crowd checking out Unwritten Law singing all of the songs they sang at the top of my lungs. Over ten years later, they still have it and show no signs of tiring out one bit.
Here’s a couple of clips from the DVD just for a small taste:
Any fan of punk rock music has probably heard of a certain SoCal punk rock band called Face To Face. Formed by Trever Keith in 1991 the band gained commercial success with their ideal punk rock style and soon achieved commercial success. Trever Keith was the only original member to stick through the good times and bad times and sadly the band decided to call it quits in 2003
With the decision to go their separate ways Trever Keith did not stop there. He continued on with his passion for music and started recording solo material as well as maintained his own record label. On top of that he worked on other band projects including Legion Of Doom, a mash-up project of out of this world proportions. He is without a doubt one of the busiest punk rockers out there and it not willing to call it quits anytime soon.
Recently I learned that Face To Face had reunited for a small tour and possibly more. I decided to get in touch with Trever Keith to ask him some questions of his past, present, and future. Trever Keith was more than happy to take time out of his busy day and answer some questions for me.
B: So I guess my first question would have to be what finally prompted Face To Face (F2F) to reunite for a few tours? I remember reading an interview a while back that you did not think it was going to happen.
TK: Scott [Shiflett] and I missed it and the offers started getting a lot more interesting.
Any specific offers in general?
Bamboozle 08 in Los Angeles was the clincher.
Who is all playing alongside you when you tour?
Scott of course. Sometimes Chad Yaro (depending on his availability, LA area shows are the most likely) and Danny Thompson on drums.
Any chance of expanding the tour? I see that F2F is playing some shows in California in November as well as a few select dates overseas in 2009.
As long as there is an interest from fans, we will be back out playing shows. We’re not looking at being back out on the road full time for F2F, but we are definitely planning some more stuff for 2009. We’ll just see how it goes.
Does this reunion tour mean there is a possibility that F2F might be back to record new material?
I suppose there is a remote chance. Although there are no plans.
Any real reason why F2F ultimately called it quits?
A desire to try some other projects and a sense that we had really run our course as a band. We didn’t want to overstay our welcome. But the fans have proved that the reality of that is completely the opposite. So we’re back as long as there is a demand.
Enough about F2F, let’s talk about you and your continuing vision with music. Even after the band departed you continued forward. You released a solo album on your own record label. Can you tell me a little bit about both?
I have a label called Antagonist. I had an indie distribution deal that was a complete disaster. I’m out of it now. My plans for Antagonist are sort of changing with the landscape, but I at least know it’s a place for me to release my own music in the future.
My debut solo record was in limited release but is currently not available. I had initially had it available for download for $5.00 on my website and I pressed up about 1,000 limited edition CDs for sale only at shows.
These were things I wanted to do for the core fans. I am looking at an “official” release for early/mid 2009.
Will your “official” solo release be under your label or has anyone else shown interest is having it on their label?
There is interest, but it will be an Antagonist release regardless of whether I’m involved with another label or not.
You toured in support of your solo release. How were the shows you played at? Were there a lot of old school punkers there checking you out? Were a lot of people asking about the band you used to front?
Most of the shows were amazing. They were small sized clubs. Some were better attended than others but most of the time that really didn’t matter. The people that came were so cool. I made a point of hanging out a bit after every show and it was really something special. Many of these people are F2F fans but also really appreciated the work I am doing on my own and that was really the point of this small club tour; to really just get out there for the die hard fans and get the music to them first. Now my challenge is spreading it to a bigger audience.
Any plans for a second solo release?
Sure but give me a chance to promote this one properly first!
What is Viva Death all about?
It was a project that Scott and I thought up about 5 years ago. The first record was really a joint effort but on the second record it started to become more of Scott’s thing. He is just now finishing up the third Viva Death record which from what I’ve heard so far is amazing. He played all of the instruments on this one, even drums. It’s really a testament to what an amazing musician Scott is. You can check out his MySpace for more info. www.myspace.com/vivadeathmusic
I have read about a possible other project in the works as well called Pablum? Not much is known about them. Anything you might like to share?
Pablum is just an early name for my solo effort. I decided to go with my own name for simplicity.
How did you become involved with mashing up songs in Legion Of Doom?
Chad Blinman is a longtime friend. I sort of convinced him to start this mash-up thing while him and I had some downtime. We really started digging in and get hooked into the project. We decided to give ourselves a name and some soundtrack and remix work followed. It’s a project that is an amazing creative outlet for us that is unlike anything else we’re involved in. It’s something I look forward to doing for a long time. There are many ideas in the works for Legion of Doom.
Where did the idea come from to do such a thing, mash up emo/punk songs and even add a little hip-hop action? I admit the first time I heard it I was hooked?
Well I’d be lying if I said it was all my idea. I was doing some work with Darren Doane at the time and we always had this knack for discussing all sorts of crazy ideas for projects and stuff. He had this idea to do DJ style mash-ups of emo/hardcore bands. Since he’s in film and music videos he didn’t really have the know how to pull off such an idea so I ran with it.
The CD Incorporated is out of print and pretty much impossible to find. Do you think you would ever consider re-releasing it?
We don’t have the permission from labels or publishers to release the CD, so probably not. Come to think of it, who made those first CDs anyway?
So you had nothing to do with the CD being released or do you have no comment? Haha.
What is your favorite mash-up so far that you have helped create? I personally love the Coheed vs. Senses Fail mash-up called “Devil In A Blue Dress”. It seems like the two songs were meant to be mashed.
Destroy All Vampires [My Chemical Romance vs. A Static Lullaby mash-up]
Just curious on how Cleveland artist Derek Hess was recruited to draw up the cover for the CD?
That was another Darren Doane connection. I met Derek through Darren.
A couple of the Legion Of Doom songs were featured in movies such as Saw II and Resident Evil: Extinction. Any plans on having more mixes pop up in future movies?
I’d love to. Nothing confirmed at the moment. The last thing we did for a film is a placement in the movie Pathology which just came out on DVD.
Eyes Front is a movie released on Antagonist Films. Any relation to your own Antagonist Records Label? What all did you contribute to the film? Is this just the beginning of you working a little more in depth with a movie?
Antagonist Films is the same company as Antagonist Records. The Legion of Doom did all of the original music for the film and I was a producer on the film. I would love to do more work in film, but I’m not currently involved in any projects at the moment.
How did you land the role of producing the movie (Eyes Front)? Have you had previous experience producing film?
Again Darren Doane was the one who got me involved with the film. I have had no previous experience.
Speaking of movies it seems like you take samples from older movies and add them to the mix, how do you come across some of those?
There are websites with such material. Just gotta know where to look.
Have you seen any of the fan made videos of Legion Of Doom mash-ups on YouTube? What do you think about your fans creating them?
One of the most satisfying things about creating something is knowing that people really get it. Seeing those music videos to me is proof that people out there are really getting what we’re doing and they’re taking it up a level by adding their own creativity. It’s a humbling experience.
What is next for Legion Of Doom? Would you/have you considered touring? Will there be another CD released?
We’re getting ready to release an entire album of new original material.
When you look at all that you have accomplished musically, how does that make you feel? Any advise to share with anyone looking to be successful in a musical career whether it be creating or remixing?
I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I feel lucky to have had some success and I am proud of the body of work I have created. And on the other hand I want to achieve more both as an artist and performer. The only advice I could give is you have to be relentless.
What’s next for Trever Keith?
Look for Trever Keith’s official release of his solo album in early/mid 2009. For more information about what cities Face To Face is touring or to check out all the projects Trever Keith is currently involved in check out the following links:
The Faint bring yet another installment of their new wave/dance/indie tunes to your ears with Fasciinatiion. Once a solid staple to Saddle Creek Records, the band parted ways in spring of 2008 stating they would be releasing material on their own label blank.wav. This is their first album in four years and is also the first to be entirely fashioned by The Faint. Fasciinatiion proves that this five-some has no problem doing things all by themselves.
Formed in Omaha, Nebraska around 1995 the band lured me in thanks to the release of 1999’s Blank Wave-Arcade. Their unique sound that had similarities to 80’s dance but with indie rock and even a little punk rock flair; something I had not found myself getting into before. Soon thereafter, I was listening to them on almost a daily basis. They were one of the original bands that introduced me to Saddle Creek records and helped get the indie label some well deserved recognition.
I was excited to check out their latest release seeing how I really have not listened to The Faint in quite some time. Fasciinatiion started out strong with “Get Seduced” refreshing me on their dance rock style. Their electronic rock music was not missed by my ears. It would appear even after four years the band still has it.
“The Geeks Were Right”, the band’s first single off the album, was my favorite track. The more indie pressed song reminded me of She Wants Revenge and Interpol, but heavy on the electronic side. The music video for the song is extremely interesting too almost visualizing what a Max Headroom acid flashback might look like. Even better there are remixes of this track floating around on the internet; my favorite was “The Geeks Were Right (Does It Offend You? Yeah Remix).
The album seemed to stray away from the Faint’s unique sound I had grown accustomed to with more experimental tracks like “Machine In The Ghost” and “Fulcrum And Lever”. The vocals were a tad too robotic for me and the sounds were too experimental and unhurried.
The funky “Psycho” saved the album for me as it took direction back away from the slow, unusual songs previously mentioned. Deep blimps and bleeps at the beginning of the song kind of exceeded it’s welcome, but soon it mellowed out building for an good listen. “I Treat You Wrong”, with poor lyrics, really was a good track but was nothing to dance about.
I really feel that The Faint created a roller coaster effect on Fasciinatiion. The album does not seem nearly as constant and up-tempo as prior releases nor was there any of that punk rock flair that could be heard on Wet From Birth. It is one of their more unique albums, but certainly not their best effort. I am not saying this album is bad, but it does not compare to their more recent efforts.
I’ve had a few days off now and it all comes to an end in less than 5 hours. I took some time away from work to be with friends as one of us was getting married. I normally do not like weddings as they are very formal and of course I am not a church goer.
I feel like I canceled some plans too in order to attend the wedding. I thought I told Matt that I was going to hook up with him sometime this weekend as he and his friend were going to be in Kent for We The People Fest. I told Matt that my wife and I were possibly going to see Hawthorne Heights and Ben Taylor play at the fest on Friday and also check out the rest of the event but in turn we decided to crash the wedding rehearsal party. Saturday was an all day event for the wedding, and Sunday we were too pooped to go out there and see the final day, plus the Cleveland Browns were playing. (Finally, a win!)
Sorry Matt… I hope it was a good time. I hope you can forgive me and tell me a little about it…if you went.
I am sorry too, Chuck Norris, as I know you were speaking on Sunday. I know you wanted me to be there.
So let me tell you a little about the wedding…
My friends Sam and Ryan decided to tie the knot. Sam is a few years younger than me and I have known him for a while. He grew up in the same city as I did. I met him through friends and thanks to beer and punk rock music we became friends.
Sam met Ryan, they fell in love, and got married. They had a wedding locally and my wife and I were invited along with plenty of friends. The neat thing about the wedding is that it was sort of a punk rock wedding with a lot of guests being in local punk rock acts at one time or currently. Sam wore Chuck Taylors as did the groomsmen and when the happy couple entered the reception hall “Hey Ho Let’s Go” was played.
I sat at a table with my friends who some were also members of The Facials. They are a Cleveland punk rock band that has played tons of shows in Cleveland and Akron as well has opened for Rancid and UK Subs. They are currently working on a new album and I will be sure to share it once it is pressed.
Also as the wedding were friends of mine who were once in the now defunct punk acts such as the Narcoleptics X5, the Beat Kids, and Novallos. Its been a while since some of the bands played local shows. It was awesome to see that even that some of the bands separated that they still remained friends. The groom was actually a member of all three of the bands.
At one time during the day, the former drummer of Novallos, Ryan, was sitting next to me at a bar in between the wedding and reception, and we were talking about how he moved to Colorado and recently moved back. Before long we started talking about music. He asked me if I was at the Warped Tour this summer and when I said I was he asked if I saw a band called 3OH3!. I said hell yes.
I told Ryan that I loved 3OH3! and caught their entire set at the Warped Tour. Knowing that they were from Colorado I already knew what he was going to tell me. He knew them. I was stoked to hear Ryan tell stories about them. He then told me that they would be playing in Cleveland in November and asked me and my wife if we wanted to hang out with them. I thought that was pretty awesome. We shall see what happens.
The band is relatively new but has been making a strong impact on many music lovers. Their mix of emo, punk, and crunk really made me a fan. I reviewed their debut Want and will post it in my archives on here.
If I do happen to kick it with 3OH3! I will be sure to let you all know how it was.
I was just killing some time tonight when I came upon a post on Punknews.Org stating that Face To Face has started a reunion tour. Excuse me??? Apparently I have been out of the loop because I thought the band called it quits for good in 2002. I really hadn’t heard anything from them since.
Face To Face is a So.Cal punk rock band that was one of my favorites in the late nineties. Their one song that got major attention was “Disconnected”…
I am not sure yet if the band is going to only tour a couple of cities at this time in the US and overseas or if they will take it one step further and create and album together. I would love to see a new Face To Face album as they are one of those punk bands I wish never broke up.
I have been aware that front man Trevor Keith has been doing his own thing since the band split. In fact he has been doing a few things…a few things I was not entirely aware of.
First there is his solo material he has been working on and his label Antagonist Records. I had no idea Trevor Keith has been working on creating music on his own. Earlier this year he released his solo album Melancholics Anonymous. The album is available on his website via download for 5 bucks or you can send him some of your cold hard cash and he’ll send you a CD if he has any left. I am going to be dishing out 5 bucks myself so I can check it out. He has the album streaming on his site and from what I hear I like so far.
Then there is Legion Of Doom, a mash-up project like no other featuring Trevor Keith and producer Chad Blinman. The duo remixes emo, punk, and hip hop songs as well as creates original material, some of which have been featured in films. I have been a fan of this project for a couple of year now when I accidentally came across a remix of Senses Fail and Coheed & Cambira….
I love the sound of the two bands clashing together, it’s perfect (but you have to like the bands to appreciate it too of course). I also got a kick out of Claudo’s shorter hair on the video…. This song and others were released on Legion Of Doom’s debut CD called Incorporated. The CD is well out of print but you can find it out there in the digital world, I know I did.