Released in 1999, The Monroe Doctrine would end up becoming Farside's studio swan song. Featuring such songs as "Better Than Crying," "Moral Straightjacket," and the should-have-a-hit "I Hope You're Unhappy," the Orange County, California melodic superheroes went out with a bang.
Farside: Into the Studio is a new documentary chronicling the band's recording sessions for The Monroe Doctrine. It's the latest project from Evan Jacobs, the director of the Orange County Hardcore Scenester documentary, and is a must-see for any fan of the Revelation Records legends.
I spoke with Evan about the project and how it all came together.
How did your relationship with the guys in Farside begin?
In my mind, it began back in 1990, when I walked into the Country Club in Reseda. They were opening for Judge, Carry Nation, and a bunch of other bands and I heard them playing. In particular, I heard “Keep My Soul Awake” and I never forgot the melody of the chorus. So, I continued to go and see them whenever I could throughout that year.
Then one night, myself, Joe Nelson (Triggerman, Winds of Promise, Trust Records), and MC (the guitarist of our band, Ice) went to see Farside at a party in Irvine. We drove up in my parents Subaru to find out exactly where the show was and [Farside vocalist/guitarist] Popeye was outside talking to people.
After talking for a bit, it was time to go to the house where the party was happening and Popeye needed a ride … to his own show! So he just jumped in the car with us and myself and MC asked him a bunch of questions about when their 7-inch was coming out. We’ve been talking ever since!
When did the idea to put the documentary come to you?
I was actually shooting a different movie when I shot the footage of Farside in the studio in 1997. I was in film school and I was really into the “arty” stuff like Andy Warhol’s Empire, and other films that just showed people doing things for long periods of time with or without any story or explanation.
I was trying to make a movie called Orange County, Ca. It aspired to somehow show the underbelly of Orange County, and my plan was just to shoot a lot of footage and edit a movie together. In fact, in Farside: Into the Studio I even say, “I have no idea where this is going.”
How receptive were they to having you put it together?
It wasn’t until this past summer that I found this footage. For some reason, I couldn’t find it after I used some of it in my documentary, Orange County Hardcore Scenester. Once I realized that I had it I called Popeye and told him what my plans were. Then I told [Farside guitarist/vocalist] Kevin [Murphy] when I interviewed him for my YouTube video series, Orange County Hardcore Scenester: Aftermath.
I think I even told [Farside drummer] Bob [Bob Beshear] when I hung out with him last summer, and I may have told [Farside bassist, Kevin] Chu over coffee and donuts. Popeye seemed surprised that I would take the time to do it, but I was stoked that I got the chance to do it. It’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever edited because Farside is such a great band; they’re such great people.
Despite the fact that they never broke out in a huge commercial way, Farside is one of those bands that many folks I know are very passionate about. Why do you think Farside’s music, and The Monroe Doctrine, resonates so deeply with people to this day?
They are legitimately great people. Farside… Popeye, Kevin, Chu and Bob are the genuine article. They are all different and I think all of that comes out in this music that is deeply personal and relatable. Their music is timeless and imminently re-listenable. What they did was special and their recordings reflect that.
So if you like Farside, every time you listen to them it taps into that special quality that they had. Listen to their interviews on the Where It Went podcast. The specialness that was created when these 4 people came together is still there. That’s why what they did continues to resonate so deeply.
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