Trever Keith would like to clarify something. It was not an acrimonious spat over artistic differences that ended his band Face To Face's thirteen year punk reign in 2004.
"It's more accurate to say it was an amicable parting," corrects the singer-guitarist and founding member of the LA quartet. "It felt like the band at the time had gotten into too much of a pattern and it became a little bit mundane because we were just putting out records and going on tour to the same cities to the same people. I didn't feel like were making real progress."
The writing was on the wall for the Orange County punks in 2001 when the loss of long-time guitarist Chad Yaro reduced them to a trio. Almost out of steam, Face To Face released the last of its seven albums in 2002, officially disbanding the following year before a round of farewell shows in 2004. Keith says he and bassist Scott Shiflett, the group's two principal songwriters, were now free to pursue other musical interests.
"The break-up really helped facilitate that and get us going," he says.
In the aftermath, Keith teamed up with FTF producer Chad Blinman to form Legion of Doom, a sample-based electro-punk project that spawned a download-only album Incorporated in 2006.
Shiflett meanwhile toyed with his own projects Viva Death and Pablum while moonlighting in party punk collective Me First & The Gimme Gimmes. Drummer Pete Parada joined Saves The Day and more recently, The Offspring.
By 2007 however, Keith and Shiflett began discussing the possibility of a reunion. "We were talking on the phone about how much we missed the band and how much fun it would be do shows again - and it all kind of went from there," he says.
With significant offers from promoters pouring in and guitarist Yaro coaxed out of retirement, Face To Face was back in business.
"We needed to get together and have some rehearsals and shake off some of the cobwebs but as far as the memory is concerned a lot of chords just came back to me," says Keith. "I didn't even have to think about them - the hands just go to the right frets after all the years of doing it. So it's been really easy to jump back in the saddle although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little more sore the next day."
Eschewing low-key club dates, Face To Face hurled themselves back into the live scene before a crowd of 20,000 at Southern California's Bamboozle festival in April 2008.
An appearance at Belgium's Groezrock festival followed as did select Canadian dates plus a brief tour of Orange County.
"We're having the time of our lives right now!" enthuses Keith. "The crowds are singing back the words to the songs louder than we're playing them on stage. It's amazing, absolutely amazing!"
At this point, there are no plans for a new album although "I wouldn't say that it's out of the question completely", says Keith. For the moment, he's too busy reliving the skate-punk glory days of the 90s when Face To Face and their punk-rock peers Bad Religion, NOFX and Lagwagon revelled in their prime.
"Putting the band back together has helped solidify our identity particularly for what Face To Face is and what we've become known as to our fans," says Keith, now in his late 30s. "And the time away really made us and the fans more appreciative of what the band did mean. So I'm hoping we can go out there and continue to make that great connection with the audience and enjoy music together."