Tag Archives: Interview

Trever Keith vs. Me – An interview with Face To Face front man Trever Keith

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.

Trever Keith
Trever Keith

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.

Trever Keith
Trever Keith

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!

Face To Face
Face To Face

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?

Face To Face is back...but for how long???
Face To Face might just be touring at a city near you.

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.

No comment.

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?

World domination.

The Legion Of Doom
The Legion Of Doom

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:

www.facetofacemusic.com www.treverkeith.com www.the-legion-of-doom.com

Interview: Derek Hess

One of my goals this year was to have an article I did featured in a magazine.  I achieved that goal earlier this year with help from Cleveland artist Derek Hess.  He was kind enough to answer some questions and the article first appeared on DeviantNation.com (NSFW 18+).  To my surprise I submitted the article to a music magazine and it appeared in a June 2008 issue of Hails And Horns.  I was thrilled to have the article take up three pages of a metal magazine that was in color.  The issue is now a back issue now but I am sure you can grab a copy on Interpunk.com.

I thought I would post it here for anyone interested:

Derek Hess print "Burnt Out"
Derek Hess "Burned Out"

Derek Hess is one hell of an artist.  Throughout the years, this pro-Cleveland resident has created some memorable works of drawings, CD cover art, and even concert fliers that have art collectors going mad.  His work is commonly known through the music and tattoo scene and is even featured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Louvre in Paris.

The easiest way to describe his art is to see it for yourself with help from the Derek Hess website.  His art is a little dark and a little ingenious.  Some works are dark lines morphed into faceless humans holding bleeding hearts while others show more empathy and detail.

Many bands have had the privilege to have Derek Hess’ art grace the covers of their CDs.  His  art showcases have traveled the globe entertaining many.  There really is not anyone quite like him.

Not only has he has great success with his drawing abilities but Derek Hess also launched the successful clothing line Sthress Clothing and even helped formulate the Sthress Fest music festival.

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Derek Hess.  He was more than kind to answer some questions I have been pondering over for quite some time.


Derek Hess "Noose Proof"
Derek Hess "Noose Halo"

First and foremost, I am just curious how you got your start as an artist.

I booked a club here in Cleveland [called] the Euclid tavern from 1989 through 1995.  At the same time I was studying printmaking at the Cleveland Institute of Art.  Since the shows were my responsibility, I started making fliers to promote them, which then became prints.  The two came together beautifully, the union of two of my favorite things, music and art.

Do you have any artist influences that helped motivate you?

My father, Heinrich Kley, and Gil Kane all were big influences on my art.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up?  Were you into the music scene as a kid in Cleveland?

Metal.  I was born in 1964, so when I turned 13 it was the big three: Kiss, Queen, and Aerosmith  (only up to draw the line), which then lead to Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, UFO, Judas Priest, AC/DC, [Led] Zeppelin, etc…  I was into the scene here when I got a little older, mostly the metal scene, then in the mid-eighties there was an awesome crossover scene where the metal kids and the hardcore kids would attend both shows.  One night I might be at a Voivod or Raven show, and then the next night Circle Jerks or the Dead Kennedy’s.

I remember when I was a kid seeing your concert flyers of your work posted all over the concert venues and coffee shops (Arabica coffee house in Coventry).  Most notably Cop Shoot Cop and Helmet stick out the most to me when I think back.  How were you able to create these posters for these now classic artists?

Those were shows I booked at the euc [Euclid Tavern].

When did the concert flyers become less of an advertisement and more of an art?  How did this come to be?

It [fliers] happened in the 60’s with the psychedelic posters.  The counter culture at the time was just that, counter the culture, so they made the poster works of art to go against the gain of strict graphics.

You seemed to have kept a low key for a while and soon your artwork exploded all over the music and art scene.  Can you tell me a particular piece you drew that possibly gained you a lot of attention?

I guess there were several things, a story in Newsweek in the early 90’s, the Louvre [in France] requesting a body of my work around the same time, the grand opening concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame poster, and the two Converge CD cover[s] are a few that come to mind.

Speaking of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Louvre in Paris, some of your artwork is showcased at both locations.  How does it feel to have your work on display at these two impressive museums?

Well, very honored and lucky.

Seriously, what has kept you in Cleveland all these years?  Seems to me when people get big in this area they usually pack up and leave.

I’m pro Cleveland.  The people here are real, most tours stop here, and the Browns have no logo on their helmets.  They play on natural turf in an open air stadium on the shores of Lake Erie in the elements as it should be.  I’ve been to many places, but nowhere else I’d like to live, except Germany, Switzerland, Detroit, and Omaha.

Derek Hess "Hemorrhage"
Derek Hess "Hemorrhage"

One thing I have always admired about you is your prices for your work seem to be affordable.  I have been to recent shows and have purchased posters for a mere $15.  Friends of mine have gotten actual prints for less than $300.   Not that I am complaining, but why do you sell your work for so cheap?

I feel art should be available to the masses.  Not everyone has the money to purchase big ticket items but they still want a piece of art.  Prints only cost so much to produce and artist that charge huge prices for prints and posters are being unfair to the buyer.

Your art has also become a staple in the tattoo community.  How does it feel to have your artwork become a permanent piece on someone’s body?

Extremely flattering.

Speaking of flattering, you were voted one of Cleveland’s sexiest men of 2007.  Any thoughts on that?

Yeah, must have been slim pickings last year.

Your clothing line Strhess is amazing and I see a lot of people including myself sporting it.  How did the idea for a clothing line come about?  How does it feel to run into someone on the street wearing your art?

We realized not everyone could afford $200 for a print or even $50 for a print so we wanted to develop something that was in a price range that everyone could afford.  It always feels good to see someone wearing Strhess [clothing], but at the same time I can’t… like… it’s a little weird…ha ha.

You helped illustrate some comic books in the past.  Can you give me a little incite of how that came to be?

I’ve only done three covers for Captain America which was a huge honor since he’s been my all time favorite [super hero].  They [Marvel] came to me about the job which was really cool.  Apparently one of the Marvel guys saw an interview I did in a tattoo magazine and they showed one of my cap [Captain America] tattoos, so he hit me up.

Aside from creating prints and shirts you also have drawn out CD covers for bands.  What are some of your favorites?  I myself dig the Converge cover you did.

Yeah, I like that Converge one too.  The first Murder Your Darlings from 2005 [is another].  I’m pretty happy with the In Flames one too.

Derek Hess Flyer
Derek Hess "Clutch Flyer"

Do you still do artwork for any bands?  Can you tell me who you may have recently worked with?

Yeah, but I really haven’t been doing posters much anymore.  I’m working on a CD cover right now for Since Yesterday, they’re a hardcore band from Turkey.

You actually had some of your artwork banned by Wal-Mart.  I believe it was the Methods Of Mayhem CD cover art?  How was it working with Tommy Lee?

It was very cool, and Tommy was the easiest client to work for.   Everything I sent him he was all about [with] no changes.  They [Tommy and crew] were “off the hook, go with it”.

You seem to surround yourself around the emo, hardcore, indie scene.  What is it about those genres of music you like so much?

Well, it’s fresh (or was when it started).   The content of the music is solid, as is the presentation.

What was it like to be on LA Ink?  Did you see more people checking out your website after that episode premiered?

It was cool.  I was a little weirded out having my shirt off for the country to see….maybe I’ll get some modeling jobs out of it 😉  The web site did get a ton of hits the night it aired and the MySpace page got like 600 new friend requests.  TV is good.

Photo by
Photo by Eric Mull for ClevelandMagazine.Com

You have a lot of art shows worldwide these days at various galleries, where was your first overseas show and how did it turn out?


May of 1999 in Hamburg, and it was great.  I’ve always done well in Germany.  You can check out all shows, past, present, and future in chronological order in my exhibits page (off of my news page) on www.derekhess.com.

What is next for Derek Hess?

We have several books in the works, and [will] continue to do the gallery shows.

If someone has never heard of you, Derek Hess before, how would you describe your artwork to them?

Overrated.

For more info on Derek Hess visit www.derekhess.com

For more info on the new Derek Hess book or to order it visit StrhessPress.Com