Hold Fast (Acoustic Sessions) (7/27/18)

Fat Wreck Chords and legendary West Coast rock band face to face have announced the band’s forthcoming album, Hold Fast (Acoustic Sessions). Out on FridayJuly 27, the album is a career-spanning collection of some of the band’s signature songs, jumping from 1992’s classic Don’t Turn Away to the band’s most recent effort, 2016’s Protection, reimagined into a body of work serving as the band’s first-ever acoustic album. Illustrating the sheer breadth of frontman Trever Keith’s songwriting capacity, Hold Fast (Acoustic Sessions) distills these beloved tracks down to their simplest form, allowing for Keith’s craft to be put on full display.  

When you think of West Coast punk rock, there aren’t many names more culturally resonant thanface to face, the melodic-punk group formed by frontman Trever Keith 27 years ago. The band has weathered the shifting sands of punk rock and pop culture more times than anyone can count, and here they are, nearly three decades later, not only still going strong but finding new and exciting ways to keep their band and their fans invigorated.

“During last year’s Econo-Live tour, we included a VIP package for the first time ever,” Keith says. “I wanted to do something more than just signing autographs or taking pictures, so we added an acoustic set every night before the show. What came out of that experience was this realization that our songs, when stripped down, had a really cool identity that didn’t exist the way that we play them as a full band, punk-rock style. We started to notice this connection with the people who were watching, and we started thinking, ‘Maybe we should record this.’”

So Keith and his band—longtime bassist Scott Shiflett, drummer Danny Thompson and guitarist Dennis Hill—did just that, booking a studio during an off-day on tour to capture this raw, stripped-down snapshot of their catalog. From there, the band approached Fat about releasing the album, but even though the label was supportive of the project, Keith himself wasn’t happy with the result. He decided to scrap the original sessions and have the band hit the studio once more, this time with more songs and refined arrangements that include guest musicians (including accomplished pedal-steel player Gary Brandin and Dirty Heads percussionist Jon Olazabal) and unique instrumentation such as mandolin, piano and harmonium.

“We’re a band that isn’t afraid to try new things and stretch out beyond what people define as punk rock – it’s part of our career ethic and something we will never change,” Keith continues. “An acoustic record is something we never would have done in 1994 because it wasn’t ‘punk rock’ then, but the world has changed, our supporters have changed, we’ve changed, and the timing just feels right.”