Interview with Dan DelVecchio ( Lead guitarist of Face The King )
First, tell me a little about yourselves. How did Face The King come into being?
Face The King began as a three piece band in 2009. Two fairly well acclaimed bands on Long Island – SEER and THE MERCURIAL had disbanded around this time, so it was time to start a new project for Eric and Joey. Before finding the right players to complete the lineup, they had gone through a few other guitar players and drummers. The timing was just right when I met them in late 2010, competing against them in a local unsigned band festival at The Crazy Donkey with my previous band – STEREO SERENADE. Right after STEREO SERENADE broke up I was looking for a project that had promise, and FACE THE KING was it. They asked me to fill in for their first show at Gramercy Theatre in New York City, to which I gladly accepted. After that, they asked me to be a permanent member – the rest is history.
After a year we began to make a mark on the music scene – expanding ourselves around the New York Tri State area. Around this time were looking for a new drummer to better fit the project when I suggested an old time childhood friend, Randy Palumbo – who had recently been the winner of the Sam Ash Drum Competition on Long Island. He had come from a well established prog band based out of New York, ETHEREALITY. As soon as he began to play at the audition, we knew he was the right fit.
What has been your biggest inspiration as a band?
Our biggest inspiration as a band has been both our journey and the fans who we take along with us. We live by the notion of treating each day of your life like it’s your last. We want to be able to look back on our lives without any regrets – which is a big part of why we insist on following our hearts and chasing our dream. We want to spread this message to the fans, who make all of our hard work and dedication worthwhile. It’s very reassuring to hear just how many people out there believe in Face The King as we do. It’s a truly humbling experience, and each step of the way helps shape who we are individually.
Who/what were some of your favorite artists that you had listened to that influenced your musical style and overall encouraged you to create Face The King?
Each of us in Face The King are influenced by different artists/musicians who helped shape our styles on our respective instruments. Growing up, my guitar playing has always been inspired by great legends such as Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Edge, Wes Montgomery and others. I’ve studied under various genres including rock, jazz, funk and metal. I’ve always been a very lead-oriented player, and credit my guitar teachers (Dennis DelGaudio, Chris Jusino, Artie Blaurock & Rick Stone) for my ability just as much as the greats I previously mentioned. The list goes on, but I’ll spare you for now.
Much of Eric’s inspiration comes from legendary singer/songwriters like Jeff Buckley and Glen Hansard. These are guys who are able to truly express and illustrate the emotion in their lyrics through a live performance. There is a difference between just singing a song, and selling a song – Eric knows how to sell it. For the guitar rig(s), both Eric and myself have borrowed elements from bands like U2, Coldplay, and Muse by adding unique bouncing delays and large guitar tones for that ethereal sound.
Similar to myself, Randy has studied under various genres of music including Rock, Metal, and Latin Jazz – but he loves to play Progressive more than anything. He’s a technical drummer, but one who can keep a groove with good dynamics. Mike Portnoy of Dream Theatre and Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree are two big influences on Randy’s style of playing.
As for Joey, his biggest idol in music has and will always be Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. After knowing this, it may make a lot more sense to people who wonder why a bass player would use so many effects pedals. As of recent, he incorporated KORG Kaoss pads into his setup. We’re always complaining about the ridiculous amount of noise he makes with his pedals at rehearsal, but the truth is these effects have always been a crucial component to our sound.
Put all these elements together and you get Face The King. As a band we’re heavily inspired by some of the great arena bands of both past and present – bands that created timeless music that has passed on or will pass on to more than one generation. The sound we’re going for is something larger than life – something that belongs in a stadium or coliseum. Some people refer to us as a “Wall of sound,” or an “American version of a British arena rock band.” Ultimately, we like to leave it up to the listeners to decide. Collectively our influences range from bands like Muse, U2, Radiohead, 30 Seconds To Mars, Kings of Leon, The Killers, Coldplay, Silversun Pickups, etc.
You guys are extremely close to your fans, always keeping in touch with them on multiple social media platforms. I think that is so great and refreshing to see. What are some of your favorite “fan moments”?
We constantly say the fans are the heart and soul of Face The King, and that’s the honest truth. We realize that without them, we can’t continue doing this. We’ve been lucky enough to watch our fan base continuously grow over a short period of time. We interact with fans from all different parts of the world and we’re awestruck at how loyal and supportive they’ve been. On many occasions, a fan has sent over Starbucks gift cards to help feed us and our caffeine addiction on the road. Another great moment was the first time all the fans came on stage with us to sing along for our finale, “Colours.” However, a particular fan moment that especially stuck out to me was when a young girl wrote about us in her online blog. She was feeling scared while waiting to have surgery done, and wrote about how it was our music that helped her get through the whole thing. It was touching to read, knowing that the art we work so hard to create had such a positive impact on someone. It’s moments like these that let us realize how gratifying it is to create music. We do this because we love it, but more importantly we want to make the fans happy – it’s the only way we know we’re doing it right.
The latest EP, The Burning & The Falling Down, was produced by Steven Haigler. He has been credited with producing other works such as Brand New’s Deja Entendu, As Tall As Lions and technical work on numerous Pixies albums. What was it like working with someone like Steven? Was there anything he brought to the table that has made an impact on you?
Steve is a master of his art. Most bands never truly understand their full potential until they step into the studio with a great producer. A great producer will get the very best out of each member when it comes to laying down tracks, and Steve did just that. He’ll beat you up a little in the process, but you’ll be better for it. There were lots of things we were able to add to the tracks this time around as well, like keyboards, production effects and full orchestration. Essentially Steve helped bring to life the ideas we originally heard in our heads for this record.
My favorite thing about Steve is his analogies and ways of describing things. One thing he would often say is, “Let’s piss on some trees.” This translates to – leave your mark. Steve helped us understand the concept that once music is released, you can’t take it back – so make it count.
Since The Burning & The Falling Down, you have released your latest single, “You, Me & The Sound”. When can we expect to hear the rest of the EP?
It’s a surprise! A band has to have some mystery. However what we can tell you is we’re working as hard as we can to keep things moving along. Hurricane Sandy set us back a bit, but soon enough Randy will begin tracking more drums at Vudu Studios. We’re constantly writing new material as well, and we’ve been so happy with it that we’re considering either making our next EP a full length, or beginning work on the following EP immediately after “You, Me & the Sound,” is released. We’ll have to wait and see what happens! For all the fans who wish to hear the new material in the mean time, the best place to go is to a Face The King live show.
Is there any other exciting news regarding the future of Face The king? What can we expect from Face The King in the future?
There is without a doubt plenty to be excited for in the future for Face The King! In addition to the release of the new record, “You, Me & the Sound,” we’re working on a massive fundraiser to benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy. With the help of some of our sponsors – DBZ Guitars, Pigtronix, VOX Amplification and BEHRINGER, each company will be donating gear for us to raffle off to the fans. Each fan who gives to the benefit will get a raffle ticket ($5) – or multiple raffle tickets depending on how much you donate, making he/she eligible to win any one of the several prizes: One of which includes a DBZ Guitar signed by each member of Face The King. We’re really excited about this opportunity to give back to the community and to our fans. We’ll be revealing more details about it in our press release very soon.
Another thing we’re really stoked about is our attendance to the 2013 NAMM Convention in Anaheim, California. Thanks to BEHRINGER, KORG, VOX, DBZ Guitars, and others we’ll be flying out there this upcoming January. We’ll also be doing an acoustic performance at the booth for BEHRINGER, and possibly a performance at either the Marriott, Hilton, or Sheraton Hotel for the NAMM at Night Afterparty. Waiting for more details!
Lastly, we’ll be booking plenty more tour dates – and they could be anywhere! We have plenty in the works, including our next major New York City show – our biggest yet!
The rest we can’t reveal too much about, since you already know we’re a band who likes to keep mystery. But what we can tell you is we’re constantly looking to expand our horizons beyond the New York tri-state area. If a fan takes the initiative to help book us in their area then anywhere is possible. In addition we have several pending offers from companies who want to put us on the road full time with full backing – we’re just waiting to determine which is the right one. If we haven’t played near you yet, it may be sooner than you think!
What would you say each of your roles are in the group?
Eric is the mysterious, sarcastic, and prankster lead singer of Face The King. Most of the time no one will know where he is or what he’s doing – especially before a show. He’s also the earthy type who embraces things like camping, hiking, and sleeping on floors. I think if we ever got to stay at a hotel as good as the Four Seasons, he would still choose to sleep on the floor. When he’s not coming up with lyrics or practicing ancient meditation, he’s either managing the band or engaging in his most favorite past time – pulling a vicious prank. Other than unplugging our amps at practice when we’re not looking or switching my distortion off when I go to do backup vocals – he’ll do things more along the lines of covering Joey’s car in cold cuts on a cold winter night.
Joey is the loud, noisy, yet loveable teddy bear bass player of Face The King. All of us have our moments of goofing off, but I think Joey does it the most. He’s constantly cracking jokes to which we all admit are most of the time hilarious. He’s the kind of guy that makes his presence known whenever entering a room – I guess that’s the mild way of putting it. Because of his assertive personality, it also makes him warm and welcoming to a lot of people. Everywhere we go there is always someone we run into who knows him. When he’s not goofing off, he’s essentially the band’s gear head. He loves to talk about gear, it’s all he does. He’s like our Q from the James Bond movies – always introducing us to new gadgets, effects pedals and other flashy toys to help modify our sound.
Randy, otherwise known to the band as “The Randylion,” is both the drummer and emotional roller coaster of the band. He’s business, he’s goofy, he’s philosophical, technical, passionate, and at times even a hot head all in one. He’s all over the place. I think that’s what makes him such a great drummer – when he plays he let’s all of his emotions out on the kit. If he didn’t have a drum kit to help release some of the tension, I’d be a little worried for the safety of the human race. Joking aside – he has many layers. From my experience playing in bands so far, I can say this about most drummers. We call him “The Randylion,” because he’s tough on the outside, but soft on the inside…kind of like a dandelion. It makes sense to us at least. My favorite is when he’ll start getting really philosophical when explaining something he’s really passionate about. Never a dull moment with The Randylion.
As for myself, well I’m just a perfect bowl of sunshine. …Of course I’m kidding. Out of all the members in the band I’d say I relate to Randy the most in that I have different sides. The only difference is I may be at both extreme ends of the spectrum. On one end I can be all business – always wanting to be proactive and get things done on time. I’m constantly making lists of things that we need to get done. When you’re a part of a serious up and coming project like this with no one to back you but yourselves, it’s always important to ask the question, “What are we not doing right now?” On the other end, I can be the biggest goofball you’ll ever know. I’ll either start shredding while people are talking, make strange noises, or do impersonations during rehearsal. Other than playing guitar, impersonations are what I’m most known for among my band mates and close friends. Billy Cosby, Robert DeNiro, Arnold and T-Pain are usually the fan favorites.
Face The King obviously has a very bright future, but what has been some of the brightest moments for you guys so far?
Several come to mind! Traveling to Anaheim, California for the NAMM Convention last January was definitely one of them. It’s still the farthest distance we’ve traveled to play a show, not to mention it was a memorable experience that helped push Face The King to new heights. We got the chance to expand our networking circle by gaining the interest of several new sponsors, perform in front of music industry professionals, and even meet some of our biggest idols in music! It was surreal. We’re stoked to perform again next month.
Another bright moment was winning the Ernie Ball Battle of the bands twice in a row – giving us the opportunity to perform at both Vans Warped Tour at Nassau Colisseum, and the Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival at NY State Fair grounds – all in the same summer! We got to share the stage with plenty of heavy hitters like Shinedown, Staind, Godsmack, Adelita’s Way, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, We The Kings and others. It was absolutely nuts – while it was happening I may have been in a state of denial. For the first time I felt this was the place where we belonged: on a massive stage with a massive sound system – the way our music is meant to be heard.
Last but certainly not least, receiving a full sponsorship from DBZ Guitars was a big deal for us. The owner, Jeff Diamente, has been true believer of Face The King and we can’t thank him enough for all he’s done for us. It’s a huge honor to see someone like Jeff so willing to help out an up and coming band such as ourselves. My white DBZ Bolero is my main axe now, and I can’t live without it. It both plays and sounds amazing in combination with my Orange Rockerverb 50. We’re very much looking forward to visiting the DBZ booth at NAMM this January.
What is your biggest goal or dream that you wish to fulfill with Face The King?
We all want this for our lives, and we’ll stop at nothing. We want to be on the road, full time with full backing – touring the country and eventually, the whole world. We want to make new fans every show until Face The King is a household name. My personal lifelong dream – even before Face The King, has always been to play a sold out show at Madison Square Garden. If there is a band that has a remote chance in making this dream come to life, I believe it’s Face The King.