About a year earlier I had a short break between A&R positions at Elektra and Virgin Records when a trusted contact in Florida tipped me off about a DIY local band selling out larger and larger rooms.
I tracked down the demos and was floored – everything I heard was amazing and worth signing alone, but hidden around the 4th or 5th track down was Face Down, a scathing indictment of domestic violence. The moment I heard it I not only knew it was a hit, but one with a powerful message that had the potential to change lives:
“Do you feel like a man
When you push her around?
Do you feel better now, as she falls to the ground?”
“Face down in the dirt
She said “This doesn’t hurt”
She said “I finally had enough”
I HAD to work with the band and didn’t stop until I signed them to management. Used to having acts shopped to me, I became the shopper, literally stuffing packages and delivering them around NYC and LA. Reaction was immediate and days before we were to sign a major label deal, I joined Virgin Records as Senior A&R and we flipped the deal to my new label home. I was now managing, their label A&R, helped with production, sequenced the album, and more.
Listeners were deeply impacted by the album’s honesty about real issues facing young people today. Messages poured in from people of all walks of life and from around the world, that Face Down finally gave them the courage to speak out and share their experience, that they were not alone.
We teamed with The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) to help support their efforts to fight domestic violence and its effects on America’s younger generation, participated in a speech on Capitol Hill on behalf of teen suicide prevention and mental health parity, received a Proclamation from the Governor of the State of NY, and more.
Music has such power – so much can come from music, so much from one song.
The rest as they say.. a Platinum album, a tie for the longest-running song on Modern Rock radio (52 weeks/peak #3), the first song with screams to cross into the Billboard Hot 100 (Top 20), Top 10 on the Billboard US Mainstream Top 40 chart, the top-researching rock song of 2006, appearances on The Tonight Show, Kimmel, Z-100, a clothing line with Tony Hawk, and so much more.
Thanks so much to everyone that helped break this song, album, and artist, and made their success possible. I invested so much of myself, there were times when it was tough to wear opposite hats (management/label) in one building at the same time, but your effort was and is appreciated.
To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of this album, the band is on the road this Summer playing Don’t You Fake It in it’s entirety for the first time.
I’ll try and post some more photos and memories from the making of the song, album and video in the replies and over the Summer.