Far From Westfall
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Far From Westfall


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Westfall Far From Failing"

Having already attracted fans like Breaking Benjamin’s lead guitarist Aaron Finks, Far From Westfall frontman Ed Buto has but one request—to hit the big-time before he goes deaf.

Growing up in Milford, Pa., vocalist/guitarist and senior Marketing major Buto embraced music as a means of abating boredom. With senior Communication Design majors Drew Gurian on drums and Matt Coyle on lead guitar, FFW played their first gig two and a half years ago in Westfall, Pa. Opening for Blessed Union of Souls, and admittedly practicing twice in the two months prior to the show, their debut was nerve wracking. “[It was like] I was glued my first time on stage,” said Buto, who has since shaken stiff postures and now moves freely through their performances.

“Now we’re more confident, we have more experience and chemistry,” said Gurian. With the addition of bassist and junior Theatre major Adam Kissinger last summer, FFWestfall has been living up to their name racking up gigs at Shorty’s and the Kutztown Pub, and upcoming dates at the Continental in New York’s Greenwich Village and Crocodile Rock in Allentown, and the Grape St. Pub near Philadelphia, through aggressive self-promotion. Under 514 Management, a nod to their old residence at the Cliffs where the original three members first met, FFWestfall has relied on word-of-mouth advertising and booking gigs from their home to further their career.

During their latest gig on Saturday, April 23 at Madison’s on Main in Emmaus, Pa., their chemistry and musical ingenuity permeated the opacity of the dimly lit lounge. Buto’s face visibly contorted as the gruff-voiced singer growled his way through a cover of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” as well as a collection of original material and other band favorites. Coyle strummed his Strat furiously, occasionally tapping the floor peddles with his socked foot and trying to channel Hendrix for an extended solo. While Kissinger embraced his bass tenderly, pulling the neck close to his ear, Gurian banged mercilessly at his drums, wearing his lucky “Yocco’s” T-shirt and a playful smile on his face.

Buto works the crowd, fervently pounding the mic stand when his puts his guitar down for a few numbers, but occasionally turns to face the rest of the band. Throughout all three sets the members exchange glances, converging around Gurian’s drum set to begin one song as if they’re in a team huddle. The band camaraderie is as palpable on-stage as if they were just four friends jamming in their basement.

FFW alternates between covers, giving Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” a rougher sound, and original material from Breathe Out, their first EP, and In the Absence of Warmth, their sophomore effort due out May 6. The professionally pressed Absence is a step up from their debut, which was individually copied in the Sharadin Communication Design Lab, with a tighter ensemble and a crisper sound.

Tucked away in a renovated barn in Fleetwood, Pa., which serves as Gurian’s home, FFWestfall recorded Absence over two frigid weeks, with 12-14 hour work days, in Jan. 2005, with the help of producer Tim College and assistant engineer Rachel Russell, out of Harrisburg. “It snowed through our whole recording session,” said Buto. “It was like recording outside.”

Opting to take most of the money they receive for playing live events and funneling it back into the band to cover recording costs and other expenses, FFWestfall is steadily accruing enough equipment to play anywhere. “Moving up, you’re always going to have expenses,” said Gurian.

For their first summer tour, ear-plugs are at the top of the list. “I’d love to go major,” said Buto. “I just hope we get big before we’re deaf. - The Keystone

"Far From Westfall not far from the bigtime"

Ah, the college life. Making friends, attending class, going to the bar…or in the case of Kutztown band Far From Westfall, playing at the bar. "Myself, Drew, and Matt started out a couple of years ago," said Buto. "The first show we played was back at my home in the Poconos, and it just flourished from there."

Flourish, indeed. Shortly after playing their first gig, the band picked up Kissinger, and since then, the band has been playing regularly and even released a demo CD. These accomplishments helped guide the way to Far From Westfall's current projects: a stronger follow-up CD, due out in April, and a summer tour.

The CD Far From Westfall completed their upcoming CD in phases, the first of which began with pre-production in November 2004. The band worked with some friends from the Berklee School of Music to help fine-tune their sound and material, which lead to a two-week recording session in the band's practice barn at the end of January 2005.

"The last CD was the first CD we recorded. It was a learning experience, and the goal of the last CD was to get something down," said Buto. Gurian added thatthe first CD was a demo to get the band into venues.

"We're hoping that with this CD, it's a better representation of what we really sound like now," said Buto. "We put a lot more time into it, we're more developed as musicians now, and after having the first experience, we were all a lot more familiar with the atmosphere of recording. We knew what to expect, so we could really focus on the songs."

And with a better product under their belts, the marketing goals and opportunities have become larger in scope. "This is a better product to get into bigger venues in Allentown and Philadelphia," said Gurian. And despite some bits of uncertainty, Far From Westfall also plans to send the CD to some local radio stations and record labels. "This is our first attempt at that," Gurian said. "We'll see what happens."

The Tour The intended summer tour could bump Far From Westfall from the "local" band category to the "regional" band roster. But without the financial support of a major label--or any label, for that matter--how does the band intend to accomplish a summer tour?

"Self-booked, self-promoted, self-everything," said Buto. "We compiled a list of venues that we think will fit in with what we like to play, and we're in the process of contacting them and setting everything up." And if all goes as planned, the summer tour will take Far From Westfall as far north as Boston and as far south as Ocean City.

The major push for a summer tour is to get into venues rather than bars. And the members of Far From Westfall emphasize this difference. "We want to get into places where the intent is to hear music," says Buto, "not where the primary intent is to get drunk and the secondary intent is to hear music." And what are the band members looking for in a venue crowd? "A more receptive audience," Buto said, "and people who want to get something out of the music."

The Music "We're a rock alternative band," Buto said to generically describe the band. "We play a lot of shows where there's a three- or four-hour set, and instead of getting other bands to open, we'll just play the three or four hours straight and play all of our originals and fill the rest of the time with covers."

To be more specific, darker and heavier songs make up about half of Far From Westfall's original repertoire, while lighter, more alt-based songs comprise the other half. The band cites a variety of influences and musical stylings that helped shape their sound, the most pronounced of which is mid-90s rock. And, perhaps most importantly, Far From Westfall wants to play "something new that that age group [early- to mid-20s] can respond to," said Buto. - Merge Digital

"Kutztown Represent"

It was just after noon on the Saturday that we made our appearance at Far From Westfall’s practice studio in Fleetwood. It was unnatural for us to be out of bed that early on a Saturday afternoon, so at first we were confused to find that the “studio” was actually home to FFW’s drummer, Drew Gurian (among others).

The sounds of FFW were already blaring as we walked through the door of the house that, with its high-vaulted ceilings and “the biggest mantle in Berks County,” made us feel like we had just walked into a hunting lodge. (We only wish you could’ve seen the huge rack that hung over the fireplace.) Gurian, positioned behind his drum kit, was accompanied by guitarist Matt Coyle set up by the minibar, with singer Ed Buto crooning into his mic and bassist Adam Kissinger running from one end of the slightly cluttered room to the other, all while Tim College (the Berklee College grad who’s producing FFW’s upcoming EP) recorded the sounds and occasionally called out constructive criticism from the comfort of one of the many couches in the joint.

“The last time we [recorded], we did it in a basement in New Jersey,” said the mild-mannered Coyle. “It was very nice, but at the same time it was just a basement; our energy just wasn’t there.” So FFW decided that the second EP would be done at home.

And while the guys are free to jump around as much as they want, particularly Kissinger (who we suspect might not have the physical ability to stand still), recording in the “lodge” has its disadvantages – like the fact that Kissinger has the freedom to climb the wrought iron staircase and play his bass from above all the action.

Disadvantages aside, FFW is psyched for the new album to come out, which College estimates will happen sometime late-March, early-April 2005. The 2-year-old band is currently trying its hand at pre-production – something that didn’t exist when the guys (sans Kissinger, the “random bass guy for hire” who just joined the group this past summer) recorded their first EP over a weekend.

Another difference this time ‘round is the music. Based on hearing the first EP and then witnessing, firsthand, the new collection of tunes FFW is preparing to release, we could hear the change from “hey, they sound exactly like Creed,” to “well, the vocal melody in that one part of that one song sounded sort of like Velvet Revolver ... sort of.”

“Comparison” is almost a dirty word to the members of FFW. With his sweet, baritone voice taking charge on every song, Buto confessed that being compared to other musicians, even the ones they take influence from, is “something we all fear.” The band is often compared to Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, but someone once implied to Buto that the guys sound like Nickelback – which to this day he thinks was just really stupid. We agree.

You might have already heard FFW jam out locally at Shorty’s in Kutztown or Madison’s On Main in Emmaus – two of the band’s favorite places to rock – but with the promise of a great new EP out, FFW has its sights set higher, like Croc Rock, The Sterling and Banana Joe’s (in the summer, of course).

Don’t get us wrong, FFW loves its local haunts; Kissinger boldly claims that Madison’s “is f--king awesome,” while Coyle calmly talks about its intimate setting and the always-changing fan base that comes through there. But like any local band that’s even semi-serious about its music, FFW wants to hit up bigger music venues where people actually go to listen to music and get drunk, not vice versa.

Now that you know the history, here’s a story: When Pearl Jam played in Reading for October’s Vote For Change Tour, FFW happened to be playing at The Brass Lantern (which is also in Reading). Gurian broke one of his drumsticks during the set, and a drunken patron got ahold of the pieces. After the set, the drunk approached Gurian and said, “My bitch ex-girlfriend is at the Pearl Jam concert, and when she comes back to tell me how cool it was, I’ll show her this [drumstick].” Hey, all the praise in the world from music execs doesn’t amount to jack when you’ve got a wasted guy worshipping your busted up equipment. - Pulse Weekly

"4-Star Review"

Kutztown is home to several craft stores and a lot of farmland. It’s home to a university and a main street with shops and eateries. It’s also home to Far From Westfall, a pop-rock band whose sound is reminiscent of mid-90s guitar rock (e.g., Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Creed).

The best thing about Far From Westfall’s music is Ed Buto’s stellar vocals. Buto avoids the average pitfalls of most of today’s hard-rock-pop frontmen by staying away from the Eddie Vedder-like inflection. His deep baritone pushes through the guitar chunk and thick bass to provide the perfect voice of the band. Far From Westfall makes a good first step with this six-song EP. (Key tracks: Enough’s Enough, Cold Morning.) - Pulse Weekly


In The Absence of Warmth EP, 2005
Airplay on PA's 95.1 WZZO, and several Web Radio Stations

Breathe Out EP, 2004
Airplay on Web Radio


Feeling a bit camera shy


In 2002, a group of unrehearsed college kids sat in a beer store parking lot, too young to buy booze. Later that day they would play their first real gig together. Friends and family in attendance, Synergy took the stage in Westfall, Pennsylvania to open for the Blessid Union of Souls.

A few months later, the guys returned to school and began booking shows in local bars. Though the crowd consisted mostly of familiar faces, their enthusiasm for playing music was undeniable. Continuing to perform under the name Synergy, the group gathered a small, loyal fan base.

Ed Buto (lead vocals, guitar), Matt Coyle (lead guitar, vocals), Drew Gurian (drums), and Drew Pritchard (bass guitar), decided to change the name of the band from Synergy to Far From Westfall. The name now represented their commitment to continuing the growth of what they had started. Today it reminds them how far they’ve come from the nervous, inexperienced band that took the stage that day in Westfall, PA.

Under the new name they undertook their first studio recording in the winter of 2003. The resulting Breathe Out E.P. was complete in spring 2004 and gave them a solid foundation as an up and coming original band in their hometown. Far From Westfall was primed to expand the fan base and quickly found outlets for their music in larger regional clubs.

Adam Kissinger, formerly of the Cynikals, joined Far From Westfall in the summer of 2004 to replace former bassist Drew Pritchard. Coming from a punk background, he helped to bring refreshing and new depth to the group’s sound. The guys soon began playing out again with an entirely new chemistry that would finalize their lineup.

The fall of 2004 would prove a time of tremendous growth for Far From Westfall. Building upon their growing following with relentless bookings of local and regional shows, the band simultaneously recorded in the winter of 2004/05. May of 2005 saw the release of the band’s second EP, In The Absence of Warmth. Recorded entirely at their own practice space, the six songs on the EP are a prime example of the band’s diehard, DIY attitude. Since the release through multiple internet retailers, the band has gained both domestic and international sales and exposure.

Regionally, Far From Westfall has been stirring up the scene, constantly moving into bigger and better clubs. Headlining venues like Philadelphia's Grape Street Pub, playing Crocodile Rock Cafe in Allentown, PA, opening for national acts like Better Than Ezra, and getting airplayon PA's 95.1 WZZO and multiple internet radio outlets have all helped to bring the band to a new level of awareness in the public eye. With the continuation of constant gigs, fan support, and media, the band has a very bright future ahead.