Since forming in 2014, rising Orange County hardcore crew Fury have been gaining serious grassroots support, and critical acclaim, thanks to their invigorated, seething sound and singer Jeremy Stith's unflinching screeds on the human condition. On their new and second full-length, Failed Entertainment, Fury dive deeper into their rousing, 90s alt-rock-infused hardcore punk while Stith explores even heavier, headier subjects.
"I wanted a record about failure and acceptance of unknowingness, how necessary they are for growth," says the singer. "I wanted to reflect duality and greyness, the spectrums of life. Never black or white, always more to the story, never too much context."
On the eve of Failed Entertainment's release, we caught up with Stith to find out more about Fury's story: where they came from, where they're headed and why they're "here for a good time, not a long time."
WHO ARE FURY? GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY ON HOW, WHERE AND WHEN YOU FORMED.
JEREMY STITH That's a question I ask myself enough. A hardcore band based out of Orange County seems about right. We all cut our teeth in Southern California going to gigs and over time we all became friends. After [lead guitarist-songwriter] Madison Woodward and I moved back to Orange County after collegiate stints in the Bay Area in 2012, we decided to start bands together. One of them was Fury. Madison sent me voice memos of song ideas for a hardcore band and I encouraged him to pursue it. When he asked me to sing, I told him, "Fat chance." He convinced me we'd only play a few local shows and maybe record a demo tape. But here we are …
HOW DID COMING UP IN ORANGE COUNTY INFLUENCE YOUR SOUND OR MUSICAL APPROACH?
I'm not sure how to answer this because growing up out here is all I really know. I'd like to think I've gone down the same roads that Richard Nixon took but in the opposite direction, literally and figuratively. I was born in Whittier and moved to Yorba Linda, you know?
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER BANDS IN THE SCENE — EITHER SONICALLY OR IN TERMS OF YOUR VISION OF WHAT HARDCORE CAN LOOK OR SOUND LIKE IN 2019?
The only thing that truly sets us apart is that we are us and they are them. Our vision is no different than bands like Mil Spec or Result of Choice or Tony Molina or Abuse of Power or Milk Music — we just want to make music we'd listen to. Getting to see new places through touring or having opportunities to speak to the public like this is nothing more than a fortunate opportunity, an afterthought, a cherry on top. We try to be honest and realistic in everything we do, in life and with the band. I think everyone in our group has a good head on their shoulders. We all stay within our means and do the best with what we've got. It's like that Neil [Young] line [from "Walk On"]: "They do their thing, I'll do mine."
WHAT WERE THE BANDS THAT YOU ALL AGREED UPON AS THE CORNERSTONES FOR CREATING FURY? WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THEIR APPROACH?
Musically, we started with trying to capture the spirits — for want of a better phrase — of older bands like Turning Point or Battery or Floorpunch or Negative Approach or Insight and contemporary bands like New Brigade or Lion of Judah or Omegas or No Tolerance. However, the one band in our world that made the biggest dent, for me at least, was Give from [Washington] D.C. — not only sonically but how they operated as a band. They seemed like a gang like in a S.E. Hinton story or something. They did a good job at making you feel connected to their band and not just a surface level fan or listener. They even had a fan club and would send you shirts or tapes or whatever just for the hell of it. I miss them a lot.
WHAT WAS THE "HOLY SHIT" MOMENT FOR YOU, WHEN YOU DECIDED THAT THIS COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WAS MORE THAN JUST FOR FUN?
The first time we played Boston at the BBB fest in 2014. Everything opened up from there. I remember the last person I talked to before our set was Ian Marshall from Give. He told me that "everything is going to change after this." He was right.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST SHOW LIKE?
Unforgettable. It was the day before my 21st birthday. We played in Bakersfield at my Graceland — Munoz Gym — opening for Hounds of Hate. The venue was an actual boxing gym during the day and a venue at night run by the owner Paul's grandson Ron (who operates Going Underground Records). We played behind the ropes in the ring like Jake LaMotta or Honey Roy Palmer. I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to play there a handful of times before it closed a few years ago. I don't think there's a single person that played there who feels otherwise.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FURY FACES IN TERMS OF MAKING A LIVING FROM HEAVY MUSIC IN 2019? HOW DO YOU OVERCOME OR OFFSET THOSE DIFFICULTIES? DO YOU STILL WORK DAY JOBS?
There is no challenge because we do not make a living from it — nor are we trying to. We all have day jobs because heavy music doesn't come with a health and dental plan … Shouts out to Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders. Hats off to anyone who can make a living off this world but it's not our reality. We're here for a good time, not a long time.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO ESCAPE WHEN YOU NEED TO DISCONNECT FROM MUSIC, OR THE GENERAL STATIC OF THE WORLD AT LARGE?
Punch Drunk Love or Caddyshack or Raising Arizona. Getting yellow curry tofu from Thai Basil. Mainly Howard 100 and 101 though …
WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ THAT IMPACTED YOU?
A Lover's Discourse by Roland Barthes
WHAT DOES THE TERM "FAILED ENTERTAINMENT" SIGNIFY FOR YOU?
It's a sign that I have a lot more work ahead of me. I couldn't be happier.