Striving for individualism 

Facing New York has had plenty of opportunities to make more money. While music-industry people have offered lucrative deals in exchange for control over their work, the band members passed, wanting to remain true to themselves.

Howard Roark, a character in Ayn Rand’s "The Fountainhead" (an inspiration for the group’s name) dealt with a similar struggle. Members of the group shared and admired Roark’s control of creative decisions even at the expense of money, says guitarist, keyboardist and lead singer Eric Frederic.

"It’s a powerful thing we wanted to go with," he says "We have a declaration to be the best live band in America."

As a result of shady promoters, the band members have experienced rough tours, awful enough to nearly break them. But they are still finding ways to make every detail in shows special and vary the set every performance.

Recently at SXSW in Austin, Texas, the band was seen on Sixth Street wearing sandwich boards and passing out fliers promoting shows. Frederic says the band has learned that chasing label representatives doesn’t work. Instead, Facing New York is focused on getting people to attend shows and having fun.

Before returning to the Bay Area, the band toured the Rio Grande Valley, ate 20 carne asada tacos in 24 hours, hopped the border and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with locals. Everyone in the group is enjoying time off before headlining at the Bottom of the Hill on Friday.

"It’s weird when you come back," Frederic says. "The best thing is your own bed. Second is eating your own cereal for breakfast instead of scraps. The San Francisco Bay Area is, like, hands-down, the raddest place in North America for all of touring. It feels great to be back." On the downside, the full-time Cal student faces a heavy load of makeup work.

Preparing to record its next album, the group is determined to work with producer Steve Albini, who’s worked with Joanna Newsom and Cheap Trick. They want this next album to be more sparse and minimal, different from the current prog-rock and ’70s sound.

"We feel like we have this weird kindred spirit," Frederic says. "We’ve never met him but we hope he’ll dig the sound of the band. It’ll make sense with the music and if it does, we’ll work it out."

Facing New York

Where: Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $10

Contact: (415) 621-4455 or www.bottomofthehill.com

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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