Christie Front Drive was an emo band formed in Denver, Colorado formed in 1993. The band consisted of Eric Richter on guitar and lead vocals, Jason Begin on guitar and some backing screamed vocals, Kerry McDonald on bass and occasional backing vocals and Ron Marschall on drums and was active until 1997 (with a couple reunion shows afterwards.) Along with the far more successful Sunny Day Real Estate, they were one of the first bands to mix the sound of emo, then a very small offshoot of punk music with a very nascent scene, with the then popular "college rock" style of Alternative Rock, thus producing the style commonly known today as Midwestern Emonote Today this style is so copied it's easy to forget it was ever a fresh and unique thing and for this reason CFD are often overlooked even by fans of the modern day "emo revival" although they still retain a very dedicated cult following.
The band's most defining feature is perhaps Richter's very subdued and often muffled style of singing, because of this their lyrics are just as unintelligible as "cookie monster" death metal growls. To add more confusion, with the exception of a single song ("Bag") from a compilation, none of their lyrics were printed in the liner notes, thus resulting in the lyrics being Shrouded in Myth not only during the band's lifespan but until almost a decade later when Richter published some of them online. Remember that Tropes Are Not Bad, as many believe that Richter's vocal style and the unclear lyrics actually added to the depth and beauty of their music.
Like many emo bands of the era, they started out releasing only a series of 7-inch records, (a split with Jimmy Eat World in a musical example of Retroactive Recognition, another split with a now mostly forgotten band called Sineater, and a 7-inch of their own), in addition to a 6-song EP.note These records are now all long out of print, although the songs from them were released on a compilation CD commonly called Anthology, which today is also out of print.note In 1995 they also released a split 10-inch with another emo band named Boy's Life, with their three songs on it often regarded as their best work. After the release of a few comp tracksnote , the band played their last show in 1997, with the posthumous release of their only true full length, officially a self-titled album but commonly referred to as Stereo later. Eric Richter still had a pretty immense musical career afterwards, playing in various other bands with radically different sounds, ranging from the electronica project Antarctica, an upbeat Power Pop band known as The 101, and most recently the Post-Hardcore band Highness. He also played in a band called Golden City that had a somewhat similar sound to CFD but with a more cleaned up recording and intelligible vocals.
Despite a confusing pattern of out of print records and re-releases, the band's music is thankfully now available from most streaming services and digital music stores. If you're a fan of the emo revival, it is highly recommended.
- Untitled 7-inch (1994)
- Split 7-inch with Sineater (1995)
- Split 7-inch with Jimmy Eat World (1995)
- First 12-inch (originally released as untitled) (1995)
- Split 10-inch with Boy's Life (1995)
- Self-titled full length, commonly referred to as Stereo (1997)
- Self-titled compilation of early works, commonly referred to as Anthology (1998)
Christie Front Drive provides examples of:
- Black Sheep Hit: Using the word "hit" very loosely as they received no mainstream radio play, however their cover of The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme got them much attention and is even a Signature Song of sorts. Somewhat averted in this sense, since despite being a cover it actually sounds very much like their other works and it's commonly stated that it sounds exactly like a song they wrote.
- Careful with That Axe: Like most emo bands of the era, they weren't afraid to throw screaming vocals into an otherwise melodic song.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The screaming and very raw production of their early records sounds out of place in comparison to their later works.
- Emo Music: One of the first bands to take "emocore" tropes and use them while playing Alternative Rock instead of Hardcore Punk, thus becoming one of the Trope Codifier for it as we know it today.
- Epic Rocking: "Saturday", the opening track to their final album isn't terribly long clocking in at just over six and a half minutes, but has this feel due to the very long intro and buildup from a minimalist piano track.
- Later Installment Weirdness: The electronica elements in their final album are pretty alien in comparison to their previous work, even if most of their general sound is otherwise very much intact.
- Mind Screw: The unclear lyrics have this effect...even the published ones are still very much this, they're quite unclear on what they are referring to and often consist of incomplete sentences.
- New Sound Album: Their final release is a bit different from their previous works, consisting of many instrumental interludes and a bit of electronica influence.
- No Title: Basically all of their releases, in line with the early emo style. The sole exception is their final full length, and even that is merely a Self-Titled Album.
- Non-Appearing Title: Most of their songs apparentely, the only ones where the lyrics are confirmed to appear in the title are "November" and "About Two Days"note
- Precision F-Strike: "November" opens with these lines:Still the sameFucked for what you've done
- Shrouded in Myth: The actual lyrics, since with the exception of a single compilation track, they weren't even printed in the notes for their albums. Finally averted with the final record almost a decade after the band's demise when Eric finally published them online...still the case with their earlier works.
It's in my soulIt's in my heartI guess I've always been thereI guess I've never been there
- Word of God is that many of their songs didn't even have consistent lyrics and they often changed with Eric's mood, hence he saw no need to write them down.
- The lyrics to "Valentine" being one exception, they are intelligible enough to be identifiable as simply many repetitions of:
- Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Occasionally some words are intelligible in the lyrics and totally stand out.
- Unbuilt Trope: Sounds quite different from any style or wave of emo that came after them, due to the vocal style, unclear, vague and minimalist lyrics, and production that's not only quite rough but also uses some pretty unorthodox mixes. Whether this makes it better or worse than what followed is hotly debated.
- The Unintelligible: Eric sings in a somewhat unusual mumbled style, and the vocals are usually low in the mix well drowned out by the music. For this reason making out the entirety of the lyrics is virtually impossible.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Most of the ones we know clearly fall into this category.