Mondays can feel like a sad day for a whole host of reasons, but this one came with an additional blow. More than a band announcing their final tour dates after fifteen years, the UK rock scene, and many, many of its fans, are losing an old pal.
The news that Funeral For A Friend are calling it a day is bittersweet. It’s not farewell just yet, but a six month heads up to get ready for their leaving do, with ‘Hours’ and ‘Casually Dressed In Deep Conversation’ being played in full with other titbits from their discography at pairs of dates across the country.
But why does this pending goodbye sting so much?
“We’re all so sad about the news. Funeral were a huge part of all of our musical upbringing and a massive influence on us wanting to learn and play music. ‘Hours’ is still one of my all time favourite albums. For me it’s flawless, start to finish. I remember the day I bought it, my first listen, and falling in love with ‘Roses for the Dead’.
“As a band we have a huge amount to thank them for, from their influence upon us, to taking us out on our first ever tour! May they be remembered forever.”
It’s not an overstatement to say that Funeral For A Friend have been one of the staples of this country’s scene, turning many a young rock fan onto the wider genre. When that video for ‘Juneau’ dropped, it felt like something huge. The intro to ‘Roses For The Dead’ cuts straight through to the core. When you’re in your early years, those moments stick with you – one note at a time imprinted in your history. Ten, fifteen years on, they still take you back to the moment where music became more than just something to listen to casually.
And that’s what’s saddest of all. Those moments really do stick with you. Funeral For A Friend offered one of the few steady chances to relive that initial passion for music with such ferocity. People still care, and so did the band.
They gave the opportunity to so many new bands to hit the road, from Moose Blood to Creeper, bringing them to new fans. They had a vested interest in taking great music out with them, and on top of being a gateway band for many, they were also pointing at lots of new ones, recommending them through support slots.
“Growing up, Funeral For A Friend were one of the most important bands to me. They changed the landscape of UK music and were the soundtrack to my first relationships. They were the band that all of your friends agreed on. I vividly remember listening to Four Ways To Scream Your Name on the walk to my first day of college.
“Years later, when we became friends with Matt Davies a couple of us were playing in a band called Our Time Down Here. It was super surreal, he just showed up to a show we played in Swansea. Here was a man who’s records and shows effectively changed my life as a kid, showing up to our show.
He ended up being the coolest guy and bought all our merch. The following day he added me on Facebook and asked me if our latest album (which he had bought on CD at the show) was available on 12″.
“I replied that it wasn’t due to us not finding a label, to which he suggested he put it out himself.
“So Matt Davies of Funeral For A Friend funded the pressing of our record through Palm Reader Records out of his own pocket. It blew my mind. In the year that followed that band broke up and we began working on Creeper. When our EP dropped, Matt immediately got in touch with an offer for or first tour to be in support of Funeral in January.
“Our 13th show was at a sold out Camden Electric Ballroom with our heroes Funeral For A Friend. Matt and Funeral literally picked us up and put us on their stages before anyone took chance on us.
“Funeral For A Friend are an important band for more reasons than I can list here. Musically they never compromised, their political message never waned, they spearheaded a new style, one that’s influence is still felt in so many bands in see today and they shattered a glass ceiling by taking the sound onto Top of the Pops and kicking it’s ass.
“Ultimately what I think makes them so special and still such role models is that they actually care. Rather than simply repeat the sound of previous releases, their last record for me stands among the most exciting and interesting of their career.
“It’s important to note too, that our Funeral For A Friend story is not an isolated case either. All over the country you’ll hear stories of how they’ve taken younger bands under their wing, genuinely cared about the scene and where they’ve come from with their finger always on the pulse.
“This is so much more than just losing a band. We’re losing Funeral For A Fucking Friend and it sucks.”
A band that leaves a deep musical impact on just one person is something good, but one that has guided a whole generation of music fans through the genre is truly magnificent. Really, they have become old friends. Always there, always fun, always on hand. With every new album, they tried to bring something new with them. When Matt shouts to raise your fingers for one last salute during ‘History’, the realisation that the last one is really on the cards makes your stomach sink a little.
But all good things must come to an end. This is a fitting way for a band who’ve tirelessly given to us for the last decade and a half. They’re saying goodbye with their two seminal albums as the ultimate celebration, going back to where it all began. They’ve given us the time, they’ve given us the place, and now we’re going to give them the send off they deserve. Heather McDaid