Concert Reviews

Members of Face to Face and Strung Out Remember Their First Show Experiences

Welcome to My First Show, where we give bands a chance to talk about the first shows they ever attended -- no matter how uncool and embarrassing those tales may be.

For those disappointed about the lineup for the Warped Tour lineup for this year -- as in, too many young bands and not enough heritage acts -- the upcoming Face to Face and Strung Out show at the Granada Theater this weekend might be the best kind of substitute.

Only a few weeks ago, Face to Face released their seventh proper album, Laugh Now, Laugh Later, after a four-year break from touring and recording. With a retooled lineup (guitarist Chad Yaro is back, along with a new drummer named Danny Thompson), the band will deliver the pop-punk classics people want to hear.

The same can be said with Strung Out, which is touring in advance of the July release of a new compilation of their best-known songs, called Top Contenders.

Since both bands have been around since the early '90s, they've racked up plenty of show memories. But we wondered about the first show experiences for Trever Keith from Face to Face as well as Jordan Burns, Jake Kiley, and Chris Aiken from Strung Out.

Definitely plenty of interesting stuff to hear about, especially with how Chris Aiken joined Strung Out. Hear what the guys had to say after the jump.

Do you remember the first show you ever saw? Were your parents with you?
Trever Keith: I saw Social Distortion and Fear at Fender's Ballroom in 1984. No parents.
Jordan Burns: I think it was a Bad Religion show with Mad Society. (Yeah, who remembers them?) My parents were for sure not with me.
Jake Kiley: The first show I remember seeing would have been a talent show at my elementary school. I was probably about 8 at the time. I don't think anybody even played real instruments. It was all lip-syncing and shit.
Chris Aiken: My first show was in ninth grade. I went to see a local Thousand Oaks band called Dead and Bloated play in the valley at the infamous Country Club in Reseda. It was my friend from English class Eric Stambaugh. Eric loved and looked just like Dave Mustaine -- a full-on metalhead! Dead and Bloated was a band that were seniors who went to our school but were playing shows with bands like Kreator, Corrosion of Conformity and Excel all the time. They really taught me as a young aspiring musician that you can make it as your own band.
What was the first show you paid your own money for?
Trever Keith:
Same one mentioned above.
Jordan Burns: Well, I was a connected lil' punk rocker, so I never paid to go to punk rock shows. I always managed to get in. I can't recall what the first concert woulda been that I actually paid to get into. It was most likely Rush at the L.A. Forum.
Jake Kiley: That was Metallica. September 22, 1988.
Chris Aiken: The first show that I "paid" to see was Metallica at the Forum in L.A. on the Black Album tour. I bought my friend a ticket for his birthday and, of course, one for me, too. I didn't have a car at the time and I knew my friend did have a car and a birthday coming up, so it all worked out. I think every hesher from my high school was at that show. We had a great time and so did everyone else. And what better way to top off a night with Metallica then to hit up Denny's on the way home? Grand Slam!

Trever, what do you remember about the first Face to Face show?
Trever Keith:
We played a keg party at our buddy's screen-printing warehouse. We covered the Misfits and the Plimsouls.

Jordan, how about your first show with Strung Out, all those years ago?
Jordan Burns: I think one of our first shows ever for me was playing with Pennywise in Colorado. We rented a small car to go do those first few shows with those guys. We had no equipment with us -- just a few dozen T-shirts, the first ones we ever made. Forest green with a white OG logo on them. The show was sold out and we killed it!

Jake, your first show with Strung Out?
Jake Kiley: The first show l played with Strung Out was at the Anti Club in Hollywood, around November 1992. I was super stoked for it since it was my first show playing at a real club, but the band had to sneak me in since it was 21-and-over and l was only 17.

Chris, you're the "new" kid in Strung Out. What about your first show with them?
Chris Aiken:
My fist show with Strung Out was January 30, 1999, at the Ventura Theater. Strung Out had recently let go of their previous bass player Jim Cherry and had been looking for a replacement. I was buying weed from Jake at the time and knew about the open position. So I borrowed my friend Tyler Rebbe's bass and started learning songs. I jammed with the whole band the Wednesday and Thursday before the show. I was so nervous jamming with them, but also excited as hell. We played a sold-out show at the Ventura Theater that Saturday and the Glass House the following day. All my friends came to support me, which was really a meant a lot to me. I needed it! I was so out of my mind nervous. "Just don't fuck up," I kept saying. It's funny; that first show, I barely moved around at all. Just made a few steps here and there. Then, the next day at the Glass House, I was a full-on maniac on stage. I remember I broke my bass strap that night and Chris from Ill Repute saved my ass and ran onstage and duct taped my strap to my bass. Thanks again, Chris!
And Trever, what do you remember about the first Face to Face show with Chad Yaro back and Danny Thompson on drums?
Trever Keith:
We were so stoked to back out playing again. It felt like we were three feet off of the ground for the entire night!

Face to Face and Strung Out, along with Blitzkid and The Darlings, play the Granada on Sunday, June 5.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs

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