Photo Credit: Tom Daly
Hitting the road inspires romantic notions, especially in the realm of rock and roll. There’s the promise of playing before a fresh audience every night, as well as the adventure of constantly seeing and experiencing new things. And while touring does have its share of pitfalls, some bands have managed to make it their bread and butter, pushing onward through van breakdowns or gear thefts just to get to the next show and keep the spirit alive.
Nashville garage-punk quartet Faux Ferocious is one such band, well known in underground circles for a high-energy live show and countless hours logged behind the wheel to deliver it. Yet the band spent just as much time in 2015 proving that it has the behind-the-scenes savvy to balance out its road-warrior reputation.
Ironically, after forming in Knoxville, TN, and releasing their own material for years—with the exception of a few releases on Los Angeles indie Mush Records—the group was approached by not one but two labels last year around the same time. They put out a self-titled album on cassette via Infinity Cat in August and another album, Blues Legends, on Burger Records in December.
“The Infinity Cat tape was a survey of what we had done over a few years in multiple houses, and Blues Legends was more like an album in terms of cohesion and the time span over which it was recorded,” the band writes in an email.
Though the group, consisting of singers and guitarists Jonathan Phillips and Terry Kane, bassist Dylan Palmer and drummer Reid Cummings, claims Blues Legends “was still recorded at several different houses and studios over several months,” there’s a clarity to the record that belies the band’s frenetically charged yet catchy punk tunes.
Take “Beaumont 1979,” for example, an update on the self-titled album’s “Beaumont,” which was originally recorded on a seven-track cassette recorder in 2014. “We then had the pleasure of re-recording it in August 2015 at Nashville's Welcome to 1979 studio with some help and guidance from Rodney Crowell and Dan Knobler—hence the name. It was a good chance to use some synthesizers they had that we otherwise wouldn't have had access to, and it had been rearranged in the year or so we played it live,” writes the group. (Whichever member answered Flagpole’s questions insisted that quotes be attributed to the band.)
The synths add a new psychedelic layer to the song, meeting at the late-‘60s crossroads of proto-punk and hard rock. As hazy as that combination may sound, working with esteemed country songwriter Crowell seemed to actually inspire a cleaner mix this go-‘round.
The Music City residency and slightly higher profile hasn’t prompted Faux Ferocious to settle down; in fact, they plan on staying just as busy this year, and they’ve managed to accrue enough of their own home recording equipment to achieve a satisfying level of fidelity. “We bought a quarter-inch reel-to-reel mixer combo and, while it also has only seven functioning tracks, we like having a certain weight to the decisions when mixing a song and the finality of it, as opposed to the infinitely editable world inside a computer program,” the band explains.
With plenty of new material to record, the band’s current jaunt through the Southeast and Midwest will provide the band with the perfect chance to work out any existing kinks in front of a live audience before heading back home, where the prospect of putting new tunes to tape offers just as much opportunity for exploration as venturing around the country.
Both aspects of music-making now firmly under their belt, one must wonder what new frontiers lie ahead for Faux Ferocious. “We hope to also transcend the physical plane and become beams of light,” the band writes. So, there is that.
FAUX FEROCIOUS Nashville, TN-based lo-fi rock band with garage-pop sensibilities. See story on p. 10.
SHEHEHE Local band that draws from old-school punk and arena rock to create a fist-pumping atmosphere.
DEEP STATE Members of Little Gold and Brothers play driving, punky, melodic guitar-rock.