It all began in a cramped NY bedroom in the Fall of 1986. Heavily influenced by the straight edge bands of the early to mid-eighties, Steven Keeley (vocals), Jeff Terranova (bass) and Jon Field (guitar) played covers of Agnostic Front, Uniform Choice, 7 Seconds & Crippled Youth that were the beginnings of what would become Up Front in early 1987. They played their first two shows on February 6th & 7th, 1987 with Wide Awake, Aware & Crippled Youth at Images in Brewster NY, and the legendary Anthrax in Norwalk, CT.
March of '87 saw the addition of high school friend Dan Pettit as a permanent drummer. Over the next nine months Up Front played whenever possible in NY & CT with bands like Aware, Wide Awake, Verbal Assualt, Uniform Choice, Breakdown, Straight Ahead, Youth Of Today, Token Entry, Rest In Pieces, Underdog, Leeway, Gorilla Biscuits, Warzone, 76% Uncertain & many more. In December Jim Eaton replaced Dan on drums.
Songwriting and playing became faster and tighter with the new line-up, and many new songs were written and old songs dropped over the next few months. In March 1988, Up Front recorded 3 songs for Chris Daily's new label Smorgasbord Records. These songs appeared on the "X Marks the Spot" 7" compilation that was released later that Spring. More shows followed, and on September 3rd & 4th the band went into the studio to record the "Spirit" LP.
In December 1988, Steve abruptly announced he was leaving the band. As the search started for a new vocalist, the "Spirit" LP was released on Smorgasbord Records. By January 1989 friend Roger Lambert had been recruited on vocals. On March 17th, 1989 the new lineup was unveiled at a show at The Anthrax featuring Bold, Beyond, Turning Point and Face Up.
As dates were being set for a US tour in the Summer of 1989, Jim announced he was leaving the band. With only about a month before leaving for a 5 week tour, Ari Katz was found through mutual friends and took over drumming. After some frantic practicing and a few hometown shows in NY and NJ, Up Front's summer tour began with a show on WNYU's legendary hardcore show Crucial Chaos on June 22nd 1989 with tourmates Unit Pride. The 10 day tour brought the two bands across the northeast and out to Cleveland. One broken down 1971 Dodge van and a few cancelled shows later, the two bands returned to NY for a weekend of shows at The Anthrax in CT that included the Aaron Straw Benefit on July 9th featuring Sick Of It All, Underdog, Supertouch, Wide Awake, Inside Out and Within. With just a few days to rest, Up Front hit the road again on July 14th, this time with Insted, for a 28 date tour that would take them to California and back. The first half of the tour was shared with Insted and Gorilla Biscuits, and culminated on August 4th in a show at Fender's Ballroom in California with Youth Of Today, Judge, Bold, Gorilla Biscuits, Insted, Supertouch and Chain Of Strength. The next night they played Gilman Street in Berkley with Judge, Bold and Supertouch. While in California friend Mike Hartsfield expressed interest in handling the next release from Up Front on his label New Age Records. Tentative plans were made to finish writing material for a new 7 inch by the winter. A handful of shows on the way back were shared with friends Release from NJ. The tour came to a close with a hometown show (Roger and Ari were living in NJ) at City Gardens with Social Distortion, Insight and Chain Of Strength.
At the close of the tour, the band took some much needed time off, during which Ari and Roger parted ways with the band. They went on to form Courage early in 1990. So, in November of 1989 Up Front once again began the search for a new drummer and singer.
1990 began with a new drummer - Tim Schmoyer had first met the band when they stayed at his parent's house in Buffalo NY the preceding Summer. January was spent practicing the old songs and looking for a new singer. Unfortunately the search for a new singer lasted well into the Spring. So Roger was asked to come back and do a few shows in May and June of 1990. Although Roger's new singing style fit the more melodic new songs well, he and the band again parted ways after 6 shows. Frustrated by the lack of progress the band decided Jeff should take over vocals so that the New Age Records 7" they had been planning for almost a year could get rolling. Attempts at finding a bass player proved futile, so Jeff decided to stick with vocals & bass for the recording. Finally, in October of 1990 the "Daybreak" 7" was recorded. By this time Jeff had decided to stick with vocals, and the search for a new bass player began.
The search for a complete band ended in December 1990 with Rich Ryder joining on bass. On March 23rd, 1991 Up Front emerged from the dead at Syracuse University's (Club)Underground. Before the dust had a chance to settle on Rich, they concentrated their efforts on planning another Summer tour of the U.S. On July 29th 1991, armed with Finnigan the gnome, and roadie extraordinaire Shagger Dave, Up Front embarked on a month long tour, playing shows with Outspoken, Edgewise, Burn, Chorus Of Disapproval, Strife, Farside, Drift Again & Lifetime among others.
After much discussion during the Fall of 1991 Jon decided to move out of state to go to college, so the band decided to call it quits. On Friday November 8th, Up Front played what had originally been billed as their last show ever. But, a few weeks before, Tim had received a call from M.A.D. Productions in Europe asking Up Front to go on a two week European tour that winter. A few weeks later they received a fax with the confirmed dates. So in December they were on a flight to Germany. They were met by driver Losi at the airport in Frankfurt and spent the next few days trying to decide what was stranger: the language difference, the small cars, the people on bikes in the airport, the toilets, the endless piles of broken glass on the floors after shows, people yelling "no stopping" no matter how many songs they played, the piles of food before every show, bread and cheese for breakfast every day, foozeballmania, or their roadie Todd Ransick. The band received a warm welcome in Germany, then was off to Italy to see friends Freddy and Think Twice. An amazing drive through the Alps followed, on the way to a show in Vienna, Austria. The remaining shows were split between Austria and Germany. About this time, the band struck up a friendship with Intricate, who they had been playing and sharing equipment with throughout the tour. One of the best shows of the tour was in former East German city Leipzig. As one of the first bands to play there after the unification of East and West Germany, they got an extremely warm welcome from both the people who ran the club and the kids at the show. The last two shows of the tour brought some welcome conversation with fellow Americans Quicksand, including what Up Front assumed was their last show ever in Aurich, Germany on January 11th, 1992.
Upon return from the European tour Up Front was no more. Jeff and Tim moved to Boston to play with roadie Todd and Vic Bondi in the band Eidolon. Right before Jon left for college in August 1992, the band recorded for a posthumous 7" on Striving For Togetherness Records. "Changes" came out late in 1992, and it's four songs were a good representation of the varying styles of the dozen or so new songs they had when they broke up.
After a break in which former members either started new bands (Eidolon, Grip, V. Card) or moved to various states (MN, KS, VA), Steve and Jon began writing songs. In the Spring of 1994 the "What Fire Does" 7" was recorded and released on Smorgasbord Records, with Steve back on vocals. At the same time, the "Spirit" LP was finally released on CD through Lost & Found Records in Europe. As a result, M.A.D. decided the time was right for Up Front to come back to Europe. So the plans were set for Up Front's second tour of Europe, and on May 26th they once again left for Germany. Tim "the engine" Schmoyer played TWO shows a night, one with Up Front, the other with his alter ego V.Card. In addition to playing cities in Germany, Italy & Austria again, they ventured into new territory like Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Poland on the 23 date tour. The highlight of the month long extravaganza was an outdoor festival in Austria with the likes of The English Dogs, NoFX, and Raw Power. Twice during the show a storm brought pieces of the stage crashing down...once on V. Card, once on Up Front. Many amazing shows were played, and much was seen during the 23 date tour, including Czech prostitutes in the middle of nowhere, and crazy child window washers at the Polish border. They returned home on June 19th, and were forced to cancel some planned U.S. shows., but did play one show with old friend Jimbo filling in on drums at Studio 158 in CT. That show was also the first of Jon's band Dayspring's summer tour, and with everyone returning to their respective states, talk began about recording a new CD sometime in the future.
January 25th, 1997 at The Wetlands in NYC marks Up Front's first show in two-and-a-half years. Steve and Jon spend the next few months refining all of the songs they'd written in the past few years. In March, practice begins - since everyone is spread out between VA and MA, getting everyone together isn't easy. In September they all assemble in New Jersey at Big Blue Meanie studios to record 17 songs. In November "Movement" comes out on Smorgasbord records.
During all of this, a short Japanese tour had been in the works, and was finally set for January of 1998. Five U.S. dates were planned around the tour. The weekend before Christmas, they played two shows, one outside of Philadelphia w/ By the Grace of God, Hands Tied & Saves The Day; the other at The Tune Inn in CT with Follow Through & Envy. More shows followed on January 2nd, 3rd & 4th 1998: Worcester and Boston with In My Eyes, Follow Through & Envy, and a show at CBGBs in NYC with Fastbreak, Envy, and Follow Through.
On January 5th, 1998 Up Front left on a fourteen hour flight to Japan. They marveled at the country's cleanliness and abundance of vending machines, realized that Denny's in Japan has a drastically different menu, observed that almost everyone rides a bike, and watched Beverly Hills 90210 in Japanese. The next morning at 5AM they left on the 8 hour drive to Osaka. The show was in a room that held about 100 people, but everyone packed in, and it was a success. They were up at the crack of dawn the next day and off to the much larger city (and show) in Nagoya. After their show in Nagoya the band and their guides left to attempt to beat out a rare Japanese snowstorm, only to come face to face with a mind-boggling traffic jam of historic proportions at 3am. Somewhere far ahead the highway was closed, so all the cars and trucks on the highway parked and the drivers went to sleep. Throughout the next day the gridlock remained. The band was forced to hike a couple of kilometers along the highway, thick with carbon monoxide, then through a small village to reach a train station that took them back to Tokyo so they could play their final show. Upon arrival they found out that the 4 or 5 inches of snow had all but melted, and the van & merchandise were able to get to the show just in time after over 13 hours without moving as much as an inch. They played their final show with local bands Protect, Downfall, Set Point to a rockin' crowd in a much larger club than the other two. An amazing show that was an incredible end to a sleepless, whirlwind week. After some much needed sleep, it was off to the airport in the morning, and goodbye to Mitch & his wife Han, who had organized the whole tour.
Back in the states once again, it was back to their respective parts of the East coast. A benefit for friends Malcom, Kathy, Fudd & Trash American Style in CT was played on May 3rd, 1998 at The Tune Inn. Tim was busy with V. Card's summer tour, so that kept things kind of quiet the rest of the summer.
In the Fall of 1998, talks began about heading back to Europe. In early 1999 Smorgasbord Records put out the official Spirit CD - the Lost & Found version had been out of print for years. The Euro tour was still in the planning stages when Tim bowed out because of work commitments, and while dates were being finalized in early 1999 Rich and Jon realized they couldn't participate for similar reasons. Friends Graham, Chris and Matt from New Jersey's Fast Times who were opening the tour agreed to fill in. After two warm-up shows in CT and PA with the new line-up, Up Front left yet again for Germany on May 26th 1999. This time the five week tour included shows in Switzerland, Belgium, France, Holland, England and Croatia, as well as countries the band had played on the last two European tours. Click here for Jeff's tour diary on how it all went down.
In 2003 an eight song live recording of the band from CBGBs was released as a 10" picture disc on Vacation House Records in Italy.
After a long hiatus, in early 2005 Jeff was contacted about playing a reunion show that Summer with late 80s Connecticut band PayBack. That Spring Up Front convened in Boston to practice at Tim's band Capitol Radio's practice space. Another practice followed in July, as talks began for a few more shows that Fall. On July 30th 2005 they played their first show in over 6 years in Stratford, CT. On Sept 17th band members all flew into Southern California for a quick practice followed September 18th by a show at the Coming Of Age Fest in Corona, CA to celebrate old friend Mike Hartsfield's label New Age Records long history. Their third and final show of 2005 took place 2 weeks later in Cromwell, CT with Outspoken, Bold, Good Clean Fun, Have Heart, Triple Threat, Fired Up! and UpperXHand.