Finch Buck Warped Tour To Get Weird On New LP

Band is skipping festival circuit to work on next album.

Fans who have only recently discovered the driving, passionate sounds of Finch had better get their fill now.

Like most bands, the Temecula, California, quintet has been making the early-summer radio-festival rounds, with shows scheduled through Sunday supporting its latest album, What It Is to Burn. Unlike their peers, however, Finch won't then embark on Ozzfest, Warped Tour or Lollapalooza. Instead of dropping a third single on the heels of two successful ones and following it up with some extensive roadwork, they're doing the unthinkable: dropping out of sight.

"It's all about a natural progression," guitarist Randy Strohmeyer said. "We're not trying to blow up. We're just trying to be a band and do our thing."

And Finch's thing, much to the delight of longtime fans of the 15-month-old debut, is working on their new album. They've got a handful of songs written so far, most of them penned while on the road, and have played a few of them recently. Pre-production for the as-yet-untitled effort will run through July, and in August they'll track the songs with producer Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat World, Creeper Lagoon), who also helmed What It Is to Burn. Strohmeyer said he hopes to have the album out by late this year or early next.

Finch — Strohmeyer, singer Nate Barcalow, guitarist Alex Linares, bassist Derek Doherty and drummer Alex Pappas — were actually scheduled to play the main stage of this year's Warped Tour, but voluntarily withdrew from the trek. Despite the rumors, they are not breaking up. The thought of spending another summer playing the avant-thrasher "Project Mayhem" and caustic "Grey Matter," as well as the singles "Letters to You" and the title track, was too much to bear for the band, which also saw the retread as a disservice to longtime Finch fans.

"We've been playing these songs way longer than the record's been out, like for probably two years," Strohmeyer said. "We just felt like it was time to make new songs. And I think a lot of people are going to be more excited about that than us playing Warped Tour again."

Strohmeyer facilitated Finch's label deal through an association with siblings Richard and Stefanie Reines of Drive-Thru Records, whom he used to receive advice on his fledging outfit. Eventually, the connection berthed a showcase that yielded a deal with major-label-distributed Drive-Thru and the Falling Into Place EP in October 2001.

The band has always stuck to its independent guns, and with the release of What It Is to Burn in March 2001, it has karmic results to show for the effort. Independent stations took a chance and played the little known band's track "Letters to You," and the buzz on Finch spread scattershot throughout the country.

"Independent radio stations are the people who give people like us a chance," Strohmeyer said. "When we first put out our album, independent stations all around the country picked up 'Letters to You.' It was so random because we weren't expecting it at all. ... With those stations [and major labels], everybody holds something over somebody else's head, and I think that really sucks.

"For us, it was cool because we didn't have anything to offer them, but they just played ['Letters'] because they liked our band," he added.

Before they go away, Finch are leaving the fans with "What It Is to Burn," a song Strohmeyer considers their best and most representative track. And he expects the new album to up the ante even further.

"We really want to stay the same mentality," he said of the new one. "Just progress as musicians. I think the next album will be a lot more mature and a lot more intricate, and a little bit more weird."