|Related Articles: Music, All|
Francisco Fernandez of the Ferocious Few
Fighting the Good Fight
by David Johnson-Igra on Jul 27, 2010
The Ferocious Few are ready to fight the good fight. The Bay Area rock duo are reclaiming public spaces and defying the law in hopes of getting their name to the masses. From Oaklandís Art Walk to curbside Mission District performances, theyíve literally taken to the streets, feverously playing anywhere, everywhere, and all the time. Their efforts are paying off. The bandís debut LP, Juices, was released this April to much acclaim. Catch them at the Stud on August 7th and wherever the happen to pop up next. SF Station spoke with vocalist Francisco Fernandez in a phone interview.
SF Station (SFS): You guys really seem to be hitting the pavement, almost literally.
Francisco Fernandez (FF): Every single day for the last five years I think Iíve woken up and thought, ďWhereís the Ferocious Few in the minds of the people around me?Ē Iíve been trying to really engrain it to be just as relevant as any major headliners, because I would like to be a major headliner at some point.
SFS: So when did you go from passive to ferocious in terms of taking this music thing seriously?
FF: I started playing guitar when I was twenty in Berkeley. I would go to protests and stuff, and I was very inspired by all these groups of people that were together for a good cause that I didnít even know existed. I think that empowering myself was the best way to retaliate.
SFS: Originally, there was almost always a political undertone, or peoplesí voice in blues and rock ó was that a reason you took on that style of music?
FF: Really good blues and rock used to be the thing you listened to. Now itís all these genres of rock and blues that are really cheesed out into too many niches. It feels like the musicians are playing for themselves instead of the audience.
SFS: How do you try and avoid that?
FF: The way I choose songs is I play them on the street, and whichever ones people responded to more I keep playing. I always look for the reactions songs get, and I put more energy into those ones.
SFS: Now are you talking about a reaction from San Franciscoís ďRat Lady?Ē
FF: [laughs] Not the Rat Lady. The Rat Lady is kind of scary. Maybe she should be institutionalized in a mental health institution. Iím looking for applause and acceptance. I think people vibe well with more in-your-face music. Itís an intense experience to live in a city ó all these sounds, noises, and things going on. Places that were long-time San Francisco are turning into white-washed neighborhoods. Iím reacting to what I see and turning it into an art form rather than something negative.
SFS: Can you give an example?
FF: Outside Lands pops in Golden Gate Park, and weíre a local band and we want to play as much as anyone else, so we played outside of it. If there is an event or festival, I think we are just as relevant as a local band, so I can put myself where I want to be.
SFS: That sounds like impromptu theater. You take on a public space, and change the dynamic.
FF: I feel like music is about my experience and where I come from. To build communities, you have to share things like that. When Iím traveling, I want to take something with me to express who I am to the people that I am going to visit in their space instead of the old tradition of tourism where youíd go and take pictures ó youíre taking.
SFS: What communities are you reaching out to?
FF: I grew up in a theater called El Teatro Campensino, which is a Chicano theater that is based a lot in riling up people. They started their theater in the fields rallying workers together for a common cause, which was a farm workersí movement of unionizing farm workers and making living conditions better.
They used theater, and Iím using music. I havenít picked a cause yet. I feel like Iím still in what I call Navy Seal training. Iím training myself to be a stronger individual and force musically everyday.
SFS: What is a battle youíve won?
FF: We set up the Oakland Art Walk about a year and a half ago, and we didnít know how we were going to be met. Every time weíve played since the beginning, there has been a circle of people, up two hundred people that just surround around us in a circle.
SFS: What is a battle you lost?
FF: We started getting run off by this one cop on a bike. Every single day heíd start pulling up even faster. Weíd get an hour in, but then it was five minutes. You need an amplified sound permit. Basically, you canít practice your First Amendment right and play some rocking music on the street. Now, I donít think my guitar is any louder than a siren.
The Ferocious Few perform at The Stud on August 7th and Off the Grid at Fort Mason on August 21st. Visit them on line at, http://www.myspace.com/theferociousfew
by David Johnson-Igra on Jul 27, 2010