-Face Down (Spring 1993 – September 1993)

Face Down was a hardcore band from Oakville, Ontario. No doubt that you will recognize the names of many of these members, as they would go on to great fame with their later musical endeavors. Through going to hardcore shows in the Hamilton, Ontario and Buffalo, New York areas, Matt Jones met Dave Buschemeyer and Tim Dywelska, who were both jamming together in Mississauga. They connected through similar influences; Gorilla Biscuits, Turning Point, Outspoken and a lot of the new metalcore wave, Snapscase, Framework and Earth Crisis. Matt set up a jam session at his parent’s place in Oakville with Tim and Dave in the spring of 1993.

After successfully writing a couple of songs, Matt brought in Oakville Trafalgar High School friends to complete the line-up. Ryan Page, Brian Taylor and Mike West had all previously played in a band together and brought it strong unity to the group. Mike and Brian would provide dual vocals, Tim and Dave were on guitars, Matt on bass and Ryan on drums. Most of the members were straight-edge (Dave, Tim and Matt), but the band itself was not.

When came time to naming the band, half of the members wanted “Face Down”, the other half wanted “Soul Glo”. They went with the first. But when they recorded their demo tape in August, they titled it “Soul Glo”. The tape would feature four songs; “Set Against”, “Borrowed Time”, “Can’t Stand By” and “Decision”.

But the two vocalists were soon going off to college and Face Down quickly booked three shows in two weeks to promote their new tape. Through local friends, they set up for Incision to come play a house show with them at Tim’s parent’s place in Mississauga, on August 19th 1993. The two bands immediately made a connection. During the show, Mike sneaked in a Tribe Called Quest chorus during one of their song’s breakdown. Face Down played their set twice, and just as they were finishing, Tim’s parents came back home from vacation. Five days later, August 24th, Face Down opened for Shotmaker in Toronto at a venue which has unfortunately been forgotten with time. Bryan wasn’t able to make it to this show and Mike handled all the vocals himself.

Only two days later, Mike and Bryan left to start university. So Matt brought it another Oakville Trafalgar High School friend, Tony Bright. Tony was also listening to the Buffalo bands and was an avid straight-edger. His first show with Face Down would be on August 28th 1993, opening for Chokehold and Incision at the Erin Mills United Church.

-Sun Still Burns (September 1993 – May 1994)

In early September, the band decided it was time for a name change. With Tony, the music would reflect a more straight-edge belief, and their influenced started focusing on Earth Crisis, Chokehold and Conviction. Face Down was repabtized “Sun Still Burns”. Sun Still Burns would play its first show on September 11th 1993, opening for Watershed in Toronto. On September 25th they would be back in Toronto, opening for Shark Graffiti.

Personal conflicts then started becoming too clear to ignore. Dave had a very abrasive personality and Ryan was given the job to fire him over the phone. Dave would go on to join Mike Charette in a short-lived band, Unheard. To replace Dave, Matt brought in another high school friend, Chris “Rance” Tekavcic. Chris wasn’t equipped to play shows and only had his own guitar. But the band had some extra equipment they were willing to lend him. They provided him with the Face Down demo and within a week he knew all four songs.

Sun Still Burns playing live at Corktown on October 10th 1993 with Chokehold, Burst of Silence and Slugfest

Sun Still Burns playing live at the Corktown Tavern, Hamilton Ontario. October 17th 1993 with Chokehold, Burst of Silence and Slugfest

Rance played his first show in Sun Still Burns somewhere around the Niagara Falls/Bufallo, New York region, opening for Slugfest. A couple of weeks later, Scott Vogel booked his band, Fadeaway, to play with them at the Corktown Tavern in Hamilton. As the show got closer, Scott switched his band over to make Slugfest play the Corktown, with Chokehold and Burst of Silence.

Eager to get rid of the of the old songs, in November they rented out a 4-track recorded for a second demo. Their second tape, “I Don’t Believe” would feature four songs; “Insight”, “I Don’t Believe”, “Never Again” and “Misguided”. This demo was a huge success and they started gaining praise from every hardcore fan in Ontario and upstate New York. This same month, Matt would join the members of Incision as their new bassist as they changed name to “Rebirth“.

Rebirth would play its first show on December 12th at the No Rules Cafe in Burlington, accompanied by Sun Still Burns, Chokehold, Burst of Silence and Basket Case. In the new year, Sun Still Burns would be a sensation. The many bands that shared the stage with them included Slowpoke, Shroud, Everlast, and more with Chokehold, Burst of Silence and Slugfest. Sun Still Burns even drove down to play a show in Chicago, set up by Adam Bishop (with either Shroud or Everlast, which ever he was doing at the time). In January of 1994, Rebirth changed name again to “Grade”, who would themselves play some shows with Sun Still Burns.

Sun Still Burns playing live at Stardust Billiards on March 5th 1994 with Slowpoke, Chokehold and Grade (their first show under the new name)

Sun Still Burns playing live at Stardust Billiards on March 5th 1994 with Slowpoke, Chokehold and Grade (their first show under the new name)

By March or April of 1994 the band had three new songs composed and wanted to record them. They eagerly booked a day or two of studio time with Atilla Turi at Mainway Studio, where their friends Grade had recorded both Incision demos. That weekend, they recorded three brand new songs; “When the Fire’s Out”, “Lost & Found” and “No Shame”, and re-recorded three of the four songs from their first demo; “Never Again”, “I Don’t Believe” and “Misguided”. The band had been listening to Earth Crisis’ “Firestorm” demo quite a bit, as can be heard on the first song on the tape, “When the Fire’s Out”. The lyrics are almost identical to that of “Firestorm”.

Sun Still Burns created by Darryl DeHaan in 1993 or 1994

Sun Still Burns created by Darryl DeHaan in 1993 or 1994

In late April, Adam Bishop contact Sun Still Burns again, offering them to put out their debut 7″ on his new record label, Contention Records. Adam made plans for them to come down to the States on the last weekend of May to talk business and sign the contracts. That specific weekend was chosen because both Sun Still Burns and Adam’s band, Everlast, were booked to play the 1994 edition of Madison, Wisconsin’s A New Hope Hardcore Festival.

In May, Sun Still Burns finished writing the two brand new songs that were to appear on their upcoming 7″;  “Balance” and “Reveal”. When the end of the month approached, the band still had no van and turned to local friends Burst of Silence for help. Burst of Silence had a van with some room left for a few guitar cases and two more passengers. They agreed to share Burst of Silence’s amps and drums at the show. Tim, Matt and their guitars and bass would travel with Burst of Silence, while Mike West offered to drive down to show with Ryan, Rance and Tony and his girlfriend. Once in Wisconsin, Tim and Matt even stayed at a different hotel, following Burst of Silence wherever they had to go.

Once at the fest on Friday, the bands were given their playing times and dates. That years’ event was to featured A Chorus of Disapproval, Ascend, Ashes, Autumn, Bloodlet, Bowel, Burst of Silence, Ceilishrine, Chokehold, Cornerstone, Earth Crisis, Edgewise, Endpoint, Everlast, Eyes of the Blind, Failsafe, Falling Forward, Guilt, Integrity, Jasta 14, Mean Season, Metroschifter, None Left Standing, Point of View, Rain, Ressurection, Ricochet, Ringworm, Silence, Split Lip, Strife, Sun Still Burns, Threadbare, Transcend, Undertow and Within a Lie. However due to incredibly poor planning, the promoter failed to confirm the dates for nearly half of the bands, and many failed to show up. If anyone is able to confirm which bands did play, please leave a comment!

Burst of Silence would play on Saturday the 28th, with local and newer bands, while Sun Still Burns would play on Sunday the 29th with all the main attractions. Although some members of Burst of Silence would claim that they had to return a borrowed van, the fact was that they were jealousy that a younger band was getting a better spot than them. Burst of Silence had been around for three and a half years by then and Sun Still Burns was just hitting its first anniversary. Right after playing their set that Saturday afternoon, the members of Burst of Silence told Matt and Tim that they were leaving, and if they wanted a ride, they were free to jump back in, knowing ahead of time that they couldn’t accept the ride if Sun Still Burns was to play the fest. But this not only left two of the members without a ride home, it left the whole band without equipment to play their set.

Sun Still Burns was forced to beg around hoping someone would lend them the missing amps and drums. I believe that Everlast most likely provided them with the material. After their show, Tim and Matt were dropped off at the local bus station to endure a sixteen hour trip back home. It is unsure if anything was finalized with Contention Records or if the meeting was cancelled. By then, Tony had given up straight-edge and they were the only two remaining members following the trend. Already angered about the negative events of the weekend,  they decided that the band was over and that they would announce the news to the others when they made it back home.

“Balance” and “Reveal” were never properly recorded, and Adam’s label never released any Sun Still Burns material. Adam would go on to play in Extinction and Arma Angelus. After Sun Still Burns broke up, Matt continued playing in Grade. Tim would rejoin Dave three months later and start New Day Rising.

Flyer for the compilation, designed by Dave Buschemeyer

Flyer for the compilation, designed by Dave Buschemeyer

Through out 1996 and 1997, Dave Buschemeyer compiled the compilation “Benefit Compilation for the Animal Defense League of Buffalo“. The compilation was a “best of” sorts to the Ontario hardcore bands of the era. For this, he selected the Sun Still Burns song “No Shame”. However, after multiple financial fall outs, the compilation was never released.

I have yet to track down all of the Face Down and Sun Still Burns recordings. So for now, enjoy Sun Still Burn’s second demo.

-Show Listing (Currently very incomplete)

As Face Down

  1. 1993-08-19 Tim Dywelska’s House (Mississauga, ON) Incision
  2. 1993-08-24 ??? (Toronto, ON) Shotmaker
  3. 1993-08-28 Erin Mills United Church (Mississauga, ON) Chokehold, Incision

As Sun Still Burns

  1. 1993-09-11 ??? (Toronto, ON) Watershed
  2. 1993-09-25 ??? (Toronto, ON) Shark Graffiti
  3. 1993-10-17 Corktown Tavern (Hamilton, ON) Chokehold, Fadeaway, Burst of Silence, Slugfest
  4. 1993-12-12 No Rules Cafe (Burlington, ON) Chokehold, Burst of Silence, Rebirth, Basket Case, Blunt, Manhunt
  5. 1994-01-15 Grapes ‘N’ Things (Hamilton, ON) Chokehold, Ricochet, Rebirth, Basket Case, Empathy, Fadeaway
  6. 1994-03-05 Stardust Billiards (Port Credit, ON) Chokehold, Slowpoke, Grade
  7. 1994-03-26 No Rules Cafe (Burlington, ON) Chokehold, Against All Hope, Basket Case
  8. 1994-04-30 Bradley Wesley United Methodist Church (Bradley, IL) Chokehold, Daybreak, Everlast, One Nation Under
  9. 1994-05-29 A New Hope Hardcore Festival, The Barrymore Theatre (Madison, WI) Strife, Failsafe, Ascend, Ceilishrine, Autumn, Threadbare, None Left Standing, Eleventh Hour, Transcend, Ashes, Undertow, A Chorus Of Disapproval, Chokehold (On 27th: Strife, Eyes of the Blind, Falling Forward, Guilt, Metroschifter, Edgewise, Point Of View. On 28th: Burst of Silence, Cornerstone, Jasta 14, Everlast, Rain, Ricochet, Within A Lie, Mean Season, Ressurection, Ringworm, Integrity, Strife. On Unknown: Bloodlet, Bowel, Earth Crisis, Endpoint, Silence, Split Lip)
  10. 1994-06-12 The Lost Horizon (Syracuse, NY) Into Another, Foundation, Soulstice