faux ferocious
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faux ferocious

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Rock Punk

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After a rigorous year of booking shows around town and with a new EP, A Thousand Trucks, available for download, Knoxville’s Faux Ferocious seem poised to spread their short and punchy pop-rock style to audiences across state lines. By sharing what they’ve been listening to lately, the members of the band provide some insight into their disorienting and appealing sound.

Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm
King Cobra: The Chicago Sessions (Fuel 2000, 2004)

Ike does it best. He has the nicest hair on the cover of this album, complemented by a beautiful sunburst Stratocaster. Songs about high-school love, unstoppable grooves, acne-inducing falsetto, gut-wrenching baritone. I like to listen to this in bubble baths and sing the way Cory Haim sings “Ain’t Got No Home” by Clarence “Frogman” Henry in The Lost Boys. (Guitarist/keyboardist Terry Kane)

The Flatlanders
More a Legend Than a Band (Rounder, 1990)

Pure, unadulterated country music, sung by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the guy who plays Smokey in The Big Lebowski. The musical saw on every song of the album can make you feel like a bird in shallow water. It has been a struggle lately to not play it. (Guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Phillips)

Cotton Jones

Daytrotter Session (Daytrotter, 2009)

Personally I don’t think it’s anyone’s business why I like Cotton Jones. I mean, maybe it’s because he is really tall, though I’m not sure if he is or not. (Drummer Reid Cummings)

The Gories
I Know You Fine, But How You Doin’ (New Rose, 1990)

The term “garage rock” might apply to this Detroit band, if it weren’t for the fact that they have little or no interest in garages or structures of any kind. (Bassist Dylan Palmer)

- Metro Pulse


Whether it is from a street-corner classical guitarist or simply turning on one’s radio, music can be heard just about anywhere.

Many people are inspired by the music around them and decide to pick up the trade themselves. The majority of these aspiring musicians start out with small-time garage bands and slowly gain fame as they continue to play.

Faux Ferocious is one such band from the Knoxville area.

The band is made up of singer/guitarist Johnathan Phillips, bassist Dylan Palmer, guitarist/keyboardist Terry Kane and drummer Reid Cummings.

Although Cummings and Phillips had played together in high school, the rest of the bandmates came together by chance. “We just all had the same tastes, and we wanted to play,” Phillips said.

The intriguing nature of the band doesn’t end there, though. The process of choosing the name Faux Ferocious is as mysterious to the band as it is to their fans. “We were kind of at a loss for a name and had a show rapidly approaching,” Phillips said.

Like many artists who change their sound, Phillips hasn’t always played the music that one can find at a Faux Ferocious show. “(I was) in sort of a blues band in high school,” Phillips said. “I was sick of playing that stuff (after awhile) and wanted to get into some weirder rock.”

With the help of Kane, the band was able to hone its skills into a group with real stage presence.

“Originally it was the three of us,” Phillips said. “We couldn’t even play a show that way and then he joined and we have been pretty consistent since then.”

On top of all the demands that come with trying to make it to the “big time” with a band, three of the four Ferocious members are also students at UT. As one can imagine, this adds time constraints to the pressure of controlling the band. “We manage to (practice) twice a week in the evenings,” Phillips said. “Everyone gets their (other obligations) done before the sun goes down and then we … get together.”

There is one thing that has held the band back, though. The band has been together for two years and still haven’t released a complete album. The band is working on changing this fact, but the process isn’t always easy.

“We just recorded some really good songs in Nashville,” Phillips said. “We have mentioned in the past that we never really felt sure about releasing, but we for sure want to release these.”

Through the time that the band has worked together, it has been able to sort out any kinks that might upset the flow of any performance. “We’re kind of at that point now where we don’t have to be looking at each other to get the parts right,” Phillips said. “We can now perform (our songs), instead of just reciting them.”

Faux Ferocious will perform in concert with Jeff the Brotherhood and Heavy Cream at the Pilot Light on Nov. 30.
- Daily Beacon


"When Jonathan Phillips of Faux Ferocious writes a song, he sticks to the essentials. By favoring short and simple pop numbers over solo-driven and jam-based ballads, Phillips and his group have quickly accumulated a sizable audience, drawn to the band’s ADD style of garage rock—a throwback to the days of simple but effective chord structure.

“A lot of the times when we first come up with a song, it lasts like seven minutes,” Phillips says. “But after we practice and play it live a few times, we really just cut out what isn’t necessary. Sometimes we’ll jam, but we generally just try and keep things short and to the point. And it’s great because we can play 10 songs in the time that it takes a lot of bands to play two.”

Three of the band’s four members—Phillips on guitar and vocals, Dylan Palmer on bass, Reid Cummings on drums, and Terry Kane on guitar and keyboards—are from Nashville. They’ve played together for three years. Their energetic and disheveled approach—bouncing back and forth between fuzzy guitars, kazoos, and synchronized handclaps—embodies the dizzy yet natural melding of the members’ personalities. It’s a mismatched but seamless dynamic."

Carey Hodges

- Metro Pulse


"The music of Faux Ferocious packs a rock 'n' roll wallop. Garage rock in nature, the band compiles what could be climaxes to most songs into succinct, high-energy, pop-length tracks. With song structures simple in nature, the band excels in applying potential solos as brief flashes between verses, exhibiting its musical potential without allowing any over-embellishment to derail the songs' direct and explosive impact."

Jer Cole

- Knoxville News Sentinel


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Faux Ferocious was formed in Knoxville in the winter of 2007. Four Irish kids who were in to jazz but didn't want to get involved in a jazz practice, got together to try to re-order the jazz establishment by making pop music out of guitars and drums. The results were a long time in the making, first the group assembled and then a few years later it had established an identity and was no longer four aloof strangers, it was one unit capable of transplanting itself (if only to return shortly thereafter) to the reaches of the region. Due to various financial schemes of dubious providence they have been in newspapers and rock-clubs alike, even simultaneously.

The sound has been healthy and rather rootless, changing with the moods / interests of its participants (again lanky, temperamental Irishmen + fiscal / social conservatives). One revelatory group was The Sonics, a group that captured rock and pop instrumentation with piercing and distorted vocalizing and an overall feel that didn't intentionally shy from melodiousness while working with the best aspects of the strange, car-containing, pigeon-holing, popular adjective: garage. The Sonics had the energy and cohesion the group wanted, it was just the right fringe of filth on an otherwise freshly laundered corduroy shirt. And so some debt of gratitude is owed to them.

Formed in Knoxville in 2007 and moved to Nashville in 2010, the group's members (faux ferocious, again social moderates / fiscal half-wits) think of themselves as fit ambassadors, well-toned travelers, tan entertainers, lonesome athletes and above all grateful guests, who are able to give themselves over completely to the requisite gyrations and seemingly epileptic convulsions of a first-rate rock show. Alas, they "don't know if [they] are in a garden or not," but don't judge them or trust them, just love them and hear them.

Their first ep was recorded with Nashville stalwart Joel J. Dahl of De Novo Dahl. The group learned respect from Joel and developed an adoration for his style and presence. After that the band moved on to record with Zach Wilson film maker, record producer and musical kingpin. Zach regaled us with stories of life in the popular group Tim, Chad and Sherry and what it is like to have Pavement ask you to play ATP with them. We stayed up late and watched We Fun the Atlanta music documentary that Zach work so hard on. It was an inspirational moment for the four young Irish men.

Having shared the stage with Daniel Pujol, Jeff the Brotherhood, Heavy Cream, De Novo Dahl, How I Became the Bomb, Ecstatic Peace Darlings The Entrance Band and a spot at the 2010 Next Big Nashville, Faux Ferocious has groped in the dark and seen the light; paid no attention to signage and learned needed lessons. Now they are prepared to move on.