Last week Funeral For A Friend finished the main portion of their ‘Last Chance to Dance’ UK tour. As they prepare for one final farewell in London next month, and following on from our recent ‘Best Of’ playlist, longtime FFAF fan Adam Lewis from Cumbria punk band COLT 45 penned his memories of the influential post-hardcore band.
Adam discusses FFAF’s importance and impact over the past 15 years and what he has learned from playing with them whilst part of COLT 45. To be more precise, it is FFAF’s unrelenting work ethic that Lewis admires the most. It’s something he’s adopted for his own band as the Carlisle trio have always carried themselves with a “substance over style” attitude. Their forthcoming EP, ‘Snakes & Ladders,’ combines that aforementioned DIY mentality with gritty punk rock anthems delivered with complete honesty.
Here’s what Adam had to say about FFAF…
‘Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation’ was a big album for me, it came along at an important time. Like many 17 year olds, I was confused, largely uninterested in school and sick of the pressure to have a future all mapped out. I had absolutely no idea how to turn this passion for playing music with my mates in to anything more than the highlight of my weekends. Growing up in the 90’s, I’d developed a pretty eclectic taste spanning punk, indie, metal and pop but I felt there was scarce opportunity to do anything about it from the confines of 6th form and the relatively modest Carlisle music scene.
And so arrived Funeral For A Friend, combining all the hooks and energy of punk with the riffs and power of metal and the odd hardcore breakdown thrown in for good measure. This was before Facebook folks. This wasn’t about YouTube views or a ‘crazy as shit’ front man, it wasn’t about the “apparel” or the tattoos. Rock Sound still had Neurosis on the cover and laughed their tits off at Good Charlotte. Most “rock” bands today make Good Charlotte look like Neurosis. It was a different time is what I’m saying. Substance still just about prevailed over style.
Funeral had created their own thing, and nobody could fuck with it. You couldn’t help but dig it. A heavy band that wasn’t cramming as many double kick gallops as physically possible in to every bar. Clean and dirty vocals, poppy as hell melodies and angry guttural shouting. Upbeat pop punk and crushing hardcore. Anthemic choruses and brutal riffs. It all just fit together so perfectly.
The attraction didn’t end with the music. These were five dudes from South Wales, a community not unlike my own in Cumbria. It gave me confidence to keep practicing and learning, and the idea that maybe I could have a bash at making my own music properly.
Fast forward 13 odd years and here we are with so many Funeral albums and EP’s to look back on and enjoy. Some were better than others, and I suspect there’ll be many fans reluctant to budge from the “they never topped Casually Dressed” gang, and that’s fair enough – the set lists for their farewell shows suggest likewise. I’m lucky to have shared a stage or two with them over the years, and seen them perform live more times than I can remember – the first being a tiny Carlisle Brickyard show with Million Dead supporting back in 2003. Despite numerous line-up changes, they have always stuck to their guns and done things on their own terms, they were always the band they wanted to be and that to me is what it’s all about. New bands take heed: your songs and songs alone will stand the test of time, your social media followers will not. So make sure you make the music you want to hear and not what somebody else thinks.
‘Snakes & Ladders’ EP by COLT 45 is released April 29th on Visible Noise Records.
COLT 45 are also supporters of the Cumbria Community Founation.