For their third full-length release, Straightfaced was determined to record an album that would raise the bar for hardcore. The plan was to further blur the lines between hardcore, punk and metal while at the same time pushing the sonic envelope to its limit. After a year spent touring in support of their 1998 release Conditioned the band returned home to Huntington Beach to begin work on their most ambitious album to date, Pulling Teeth. In the middle of the writing process, the band was forced to deal with personnel changes that would dramatically affect the sound of the pending album. Bass player Kevin Norton was replaced by Jeff Hibbons and the exit of rhythm guitarist Damon Beard left the band as a four piece, drastically affecting the dynamics of the band. It had quickly become apparent that in order for Straightfaced to achieve their goals, something was going to have to give.
As Straightfaced's lead guitarist, Dave Tonic's inventive playing style has always been a major part of the bands sound. A rare player who is able to walk the razors edge of technical sophistication without sacrificing raw intensity, Tonic was not only going to have to reinvent the bands sound, but fill in the holes left by Beards departure. With the help of the producing team of Blag Dahlia (of The Dwarves) and Brad Cook, Tonic turned to an arsenal of exotic effects, studio magic and beer to create a new sound built around his unique style. The result is a wall of guitars and tones that work in conjunction with the rhythm section to drive the bands hectic breakneck beats. Over the course of the three-week recording process, it became apparent that this was going to be a truly special album.
As always, Johnny Miller's brutally honest social and political views are brought to light while also exorcising some of the darkest and most personal lyrics he has written. His urgent vocals are as rough and raw as a jackhammer complimented by the soul shattering grooves of Moller and Hibben who work together to create an incredibly tight rhythm section. The depth of the arrangement is remarkable, almost bordering upon psychedelic. Every listen brings out more dimensions within the songs. When Pulling Teeth was finally mastered it was apparent that the band had not only survived their line-up changes, but they had undoubtedly made their best album to date.
From their first show in 1995, Straightfaced has brought new life into the hardcore sound. By blending the New York style of hardcore with a more metal influenced sound, the band had immediately turned a lot of heads in both the hardcore and punk rock scenes. Their first two studio albums, Guilty and Conditioned; and gigs with such bands as Strung Out, Pennywise, Ignite, H20 and Strife have helped to define Straightfaced's role as a credible hardcore bands. With the release of 'Pulling Teeth', Straightfaced drives the point home in Technicolor.
Johnny Miller -- Vocals
David Tonic -- Guitars
Ron Moller -- Drums
Jeff Hibben - Bass