Kirsty, over at My Home Truths is an old school friend of mine, and on her blog today she was reminiscing about clubbing in Newcastle in the 1990s. Predictably, I hated clubbing, but I loved my alternative rock and I remembered being a big fan of FACEplant during their heyday.
So who the hell were FACEplant? (upper case FACE is the correct way to write it, by the way)
Well, all the copies of the street press that I had from the period I've long disposed of, so I have no references and my memories are vague at best.
To the best of my memory, they started by winning a TAFE-sponsored battle of the Bands in Newcastle in 1993 and won some studio time at Platinum Studios.
This is where I come in - you see, I studied sound engineering at Platinum in 1994, and my first practice at mixing multi-track masters was on the FACEplant demos they recorded at that studio. At that stage, I got to hear "Rose Coloured Glasses" and "Lost Son Emotion" for the first time, and, subsequently fell in love with those songs.
Over the next little while, they gigged hard up and down the NSW coast and, when Silverchair hit it big in 1994/5, the 'Plant were touted as the next big thing out of Newy. They issued a professionally recorded, independently pressed EP called "Upper Case FACE" around March 1995 in a limited edition of 2000 copies. It sold out within a matter of weeks and a re-press was ordered. I'm at a loss whether one actually was released or not.
During the year their sound took a turn towards the dark side - they turned from the moody surf grunge into a darker, Alice-In-Chains-styled slow rumble. I saw the band at the Wild Christmas party in December 1995 supporting the Screaming Jets and I couldn't believe the change in their style - perfect moshpit stuff in retrospect, but I wasn't too enthused at the time (I thought they were waaay better than the flaccid 'Jets that night though).
Early in 1996 they were signed to Shock Records with the view to reissuing the earlier EP and some new material, but that never materialised (to my knowledge) and then in August they played their farewell show and another great local act disappeared without seeing the fame and fortune I thought they deserved.
Still, I have my cherished copy of "Upper Case FACE" that still gets a run semi-regularly, hoping to see them live again and maybe to hear some of their other recordings (if any still exist).
I decided to do a YouTube search for some footage of them today and, to my surprised delight, there's a bunch of live clips. Here are a few for your enjoyment.
Plant ya FACE!!!