FAQ was the reason I drove 20 miles to Kalamazoo every weekend, and to many, the jet fuel that drove the Kazoo music scene in the late 80’s, early 90’s. With crowd-drawing lives hows and truly infectious punk/pop songs, everybody knew FAQ was going to be the first big band out of Kalamazoo.
Robert Lewis – fashionbuddha.com
A collection of colleges percolating in paper mill waste and the human overflow from one of the winter-water-wonderland’s largest mental institutions, Kalamazoo, Michigan ain’t exactly the rock and roll center of the universe. Nonetheless in the summer of 1986, a small group of friends formed a small punk rock band and dubbed themselves FA-Q.
They found a guy named Brent who was more of a screamer than singer that fit well with their high angst – high-energy music. At the time the burgeoning scene was bubbling with activity and FA-Q became the eminent punk band in town. They spent 2 years garnering a large following all over Michigan with their “We’ll play anywhere” attitude. However times and styles were as they say, “a changing”.
In early 1989 the band parted with lead singer Brent and joined with Geoff adding not only a different voice but also a second guitar. Their music was becoming less 3-chord speed-fests and more well crafted songs. They kept their heaviness and punk ethics, and slowly evolved in to what would eventually be classified as “Grunge”.
The next 5 years had Fa-Q changing their name to just FAQ and reluctantly deciding that the 3 letters should stand for “Foolish American Quartet”. The guys worked doing self-promotion, booking their own tours, and producing their records. Along the way they kept gathering legions of loyal fans across the Midwest and kept showing up in the media and on local college radio play lists. By this time they had put out 5 records, were selling out large theaters and toured along with and opened for many of today’s contemporaries like, Afghan Whigs, L7, Faith No More, Nirvana, Green Day and Danzig. It wasn’t long before the music industry took notice.
And here is where it gets a little fuzzy. On the eve of signing a deal with Polygram records the band broke up. Some say it was because of drugs, or a girl, or even musical differences. These days I’m not even sure myself. Could have been all of them. All I remember is the good times. The people and cities. The bands and music. The smell of a tour van after day 20 of a 40-day tour. I wouldn’t do it again, but it was a blast nonetheless.