Eugene band Phamous Phaces proud to be pop

If you’re one of the few, one of the proud, who’ll admit to liking power-pop music, then Eugene-based band Phamous Phaces is worthy of your ear.

Granted their moniker is strange … but the band has been together for more than eight years and has carved out a recognizable niche that others would have a difficult time trying to emulate.

With a driving bass drum pumping melodic rhythms interwoven with unpolished vocals, the Phaces reek with emotionally intricate lyrics and penetrating bass lines.

This band consisting of the typical power-pop trio configuration has three self-released CDs to its credit. While each member of the band possesses vocal ability, bassist/songwriter Mike Trathen and guitarist Jesse Ruggles, along with drummer Ron Petty, are all on the same page with their vision.

“We create the music we love” says Trathen. “We all grew up on the classics. We love this music.”

Starting off in ’95, the band released the CD World’s Apart, touring extensively regionally. The album was released in April 1995 and was moderately successful on a regional level. Two of the songs off this CD were enough for a slot in the 1995 Ticketmaster Showcase as one of 185 bands nationwide out of over 10,000 who entered. In ’97, Suite 420 was released. With this release also came an international tour landing the band in Denmark. Performing 17 shows in three weeks gave the band an opportunity to hone its chops and create the synergy that is overwhelmingly obvious in its live shows. In ’98, The Phaces, flexing their power pop muscle, caught the eye of International Pop Overthrow organizer David Bash.

“These guys are great! You don’t hear this kind of music being played very much in the age of post-grunge, unplugged milieu,” he said.

The Phaces have since become an installation at Pop Overthrow. Akin to Austin’s SXSW, the International Pop Overthrow (IPO) is held annually in Los Angeles in more than 100 venues. Bash says “the purpose of this festival is two-fold. One is to give every worthy band that would like to play its music in a festival atmosphere the chance to do so. The other purpose is to bring pop music the attention it so richly deserves, with the hope that more mainstream listeners of music will attend the festival and hear some artists who otherwise have not had the opportunity to be heard.”

In 2000, after returning from L.A., the band began to work on recording its third studio effort. Invited back to the third International Pop Overthrow at the El Rey Theater in Hollywood, the band promoted its upcoming release, New Pop City, which was later released in August, 2001. This CD is a noticeable move away from a “slick” production, with the focus being “the song.”

With a bulging fan club in Denmark, the band returned for another tour. While out of the country, the members signed a distribution deal for their new CD with the MIS Label. Through their own efforts, New Pop City is being distributed to stores across Scandinavia.

The band is also gaining radio airplay internationally through rotation on and Eugene’s own FM rock station, KZEL. The University of Oregon radio station KWVA also has The Phaces in rotation, as does KSCU at the University of California at Santa Clara.

“We are writing new material for another Phamous Phaces CD. Pre-production has begun, and the band is excited about releasing a fourth independent CD! Hopefully we’ll have a release sometime in mid-2003,” guitarist Ruggles said.

Catch an MP3 version of their latest efforts at