In early 1995, Newcastle Live’s Dan Beazley headed to SoundWorld in Hunter Street Mall to pick up a copy of Upper Case Face, the debut EP from local band, FACEplant. He’d been to the band’s gig a week before and couldn’t get their song, Rose Coloured Glasses out of his head. More than 20 years on, Dan chats to FACEplant frontman Paul Coxon about the bands return to the stage at The Cambridge Hotel on May 14, and what the future holds.
DAN: I reported for Newcastle Live, back at the beginning of March, that you guys were back for a reunion show. But I’ve since read that this is anything BUT a reunion show and we’ll be seeing a lot more of FACEplant in the future. What’s the plan at this stage?
PAUL: We (FACEplant) got together about six months ago to discuss the possibility of having a jam. Everyone was a bit reluctant and held their cards very close to their chests considering we had been down this path about two years earlier. And it sucked!!!!
This time we did it a bit differently, instead of turning up to the rehearsal room with our full arsenal of amps and drums ready to demolish anything that dared get in our way we decided to strip it all right back. Our very first rehearsal was actually through headphones, in Michael’s bed room so that we wouldn’t wake his daughter. It was something new for us. Instead of walking out of a rehearsal room with blood running out of our ears we could dissect every piece of every song and really get things tight.
The Jams were going really well and the songs sounded better than they ever had.
At this point we needed a goal, so I decided to call up our old mate from Big Apachee, Marcus Write and told him we wanted to do a gig. We had no idea of what the original music scene was like now or even if there was one. We booked a gig for the 14th of March at The Small Ballroom with a capacity of 200 people. Within 48 hrs we had to move the show to our old haunt of the Cambridge hotel due to the instant overwhelming response we were getting, not only through social media but also people contacting us directly and bands wanting to be on the bill.
After months of “quiet rehearsals” it was time to turn it back up and get the gig fitness back. We have been at NOVOTONE in Carrington and rehearsing intensely, the songs have evolved and we are all completely in love with them.
The way they are sounding, it would be criminal to not continue playing them. Not to mention we are having an absolute ball.
So I guess the short answer to your question would be. This is not a reunion, it is the return of FACEplant, and it has never felt so right.
We have a few gigs in the pipe line for Sydney shows and there is also talk of a run around the country supporting an international act.
DAN: I had just started my first band when you guys released Rose Coloured Glasses. I loved that song so much, and fully believed you guys were “the next biggest thing” to come out of Newcastle, but the follow up never came. What happened?
PAUL: I believe the main contributing factor that lead to FACEplant’s implosion was that we played ourselves to death. We played so many gigs that I can barely remember any of them. And if we were not playing or driving to play somewhere we were rehearsing 6 – 8 hrs a day 3 to 4 days a week. It was too much.
DAN: The rumour is that you guys plan to head into the studio following the gig at the Cambridge on May 14. Is that true, and if so, who will you be working with and where will it be recorded?
PAUL: Yes, we are defiantly going into the studio. Which one? That’s still being discussed, we have done the pre-production getting ready for our May 14 gig and the songs are exactly the way we want them. Being grownups now with jobs, money shouldn’t be the deciding factor as to where we record. We are looking forward to it and will be sooner than later.
DAN: I’ve read that you guys recorded a follow up to Uppercase Face at Troy Horse studios, but it was never released. Will you guys be playing any of that at the Cambo show? / Will any of this material end up on a future release?
PAUL: Yes and absolutely!
I believe we need to record everything. There is a new vibe about all the songs that needs to be captured. Our only regret was that we never had any recording to document who we “really” were. Upper Case Face was ok for the period it was released but didn’t scratch the surface on who we really were.
DAN: Craig Wilson from Swamp House Photography shot you guys at a recent rehearsal. He told me you guys were sounding “FAT”. Do you think having a frontman who plays bass guitar changes the sound you produce compared to band with a singer who plays guitar or doesn’t play and instrument at all?
PAUL: It does sound pretty “FAT!” (I hope that was a complement!)
I don’t consider myself to be a front man. I’m a bass player that sings our songs. I have learnt to disengage the two and neither seem to effect the other.
Maybe singing without the bass would allow more room for variance or vocal acrobatics, if you are that way inclined.
DAN: Have you been working on any new material, and if so, have you approached writing in the same way you did back in the day, or has it changed?
PAUL: We have got new songs and re-worked songs. It helps being better players now.
Back in the day we just jammed and we’d tape the tune we came up with on an old ghetto blaster, take the tape home and make up the melody and words then bring it back and see if it worked.
Not that much has changed except that you now can record it on a mobile phone and everyone in the band has 20 years’ worth of new songs that we need to sort through.
FACEplant play the Cambridge Hotel on May 14, tickets are on sale now!
PHOTO CREDIT: Swamp House Photography