Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Journey Of A Thousand Miles - Stephen TFS

JuHa West, Stuttgart, Germany April 27 2008, Photo: Rolf F

A dominant force in modern day straight edge hardcore, The First Step has been on the map for the past seven years as our friends as well as one of our favorite current bands. Over the next few weeks we will be bringing you a very comprehensive interview with singer Stephen St. Germain that covers the history of the band and will serve as their final interview. For now, we kick things off with Stephen giving some thoughts and insight into the upcoming final show on September 6 in Harrisburg, Pa. If you never caught them live, this looks like it might be your last shot. Don't miss it.

-Gordo DCXX

We've been a band for seven years, and there's been ups and downs, great periods, hard periods, and now we are at a real high point in the band. Not so much as far as popularity, but in terms of band solidarity and morale, so it gives a good fertile ground to say, "hey let's end this on a high point, together." Aaron is gonna go away on a 3 year Buddhist retreat, and we never thought of doing the band without him. So the choice is pretty clear that this needs to end. In true TFS form, there was a lot of theorizing about this, and it just seemed like the right thing.

It's tough with picking a last show because there was this big fest in Belgium and they wanted us to play it, and it would have been great, just a great show to be offered. So we have gotten some crazy weird show offers now with the band breaking up. But the reason we went with Harrisburg was because we were looking at either there or Baltimore, kind of a central area for the band. Even though we are from all over and have been for a long time, we know so many people in that area that it feels kinda like home. Doing it there shows that the band has come full circle. Mindset, who is playing with us, is from Maryland and we are good friends with them now. And we still have good friends in Maryland from when we first started. It's the old and the new. Plus the venue is great, we've had a great time playing there before, the kids there run it right, it just all comes together.

But with this being a last show, the way we are looking at this is yes, Aaron is going away for three years, and when he gets back, who knows what's gonna happen. I know he'll be the same guy, but it's tough to think everyone else will be right at the same place and that we could just pick back up as a functional band. So it's kinda like saying "this is it for now." We can't say we will never play again. If it works out, yeah definitely, of course we will play. It's not like we just have to end this band, or we are over it, or it is time to move on to better things. It's just that right now it makes sense.

Sevilla, Spain 2007, Photo: Guish

We are happy with the bill and the way the show is being set up. It would have been great if other friends' bands could have played too, but all the bands on the bill make sense for us. Mindset is a good band, younger guys, good friends, great energy. Warpriest is Andy Norton's new band and he was in TFS for a long time and is a really good friend, and he kinda represents a part of our larger group of friends. Hostage Calm is from CT and have been really supportive, they let us borrow their van on numerous occasions, and are a really good band that has been there for us in a big way. Get The Most, we have played with them a lot and we are really good friends with them. Breakthrough is Izzy and John, and they have been so important, it goes without saying, I mean Izzy was our original drummer and John has always been there as one of our very biggest supporters. We have always kinda had a family affair with the band, a group of people that have always been a part of it, either now or in the beginning. We wanted them there, and it looks like that will be the case, I hope.

The whole thought of TFS being over comes for me at a time of real personal evaluation. After seven years, with this band stopping, it's like, what am I gonna do? I've been playing a lot of songs on bass and writing, and that's been awesome, because I've always had to depend on other people, and now I can create something on my own. With singing, I don't think I'm John Joseph or Cappo or Smalley, but I think I can hold my own. I have a high expectation for singers – you have to be passionate but know how to open up to a crowd, and I tried to learn how to do that as best as I could. So I'm writing stuff but I think maybe I should just sing because I'm passionate about it. But right now, I'm also really excited to just go out with friends' bands as a roadie and not have so much responsibility. I just love hardcore though, so I'm sure it won't take long for me to end up doing something else.

As far as the other guys, Fred is still in Fired Up, but I'm not sure what they are doing. He and I have talked about just getting together and playing songs, nothing in particular but just playing, so that will be cool. Aram and Greg have some different ideas for a band, so there is talk, but I think right now the goal is to finish TFS in the right way. That's the way we want to do this.

JuHa West, Stuttgart, Germany April 27 2008, Photo: Rolf F

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