Pompano Beach's Further Seems Forever is probably best-known as the band Chris Carrabba fronted before he found breakout success with Dashboard Confessional. But the emo outfit's strongest, most focused work came when powerhouse second frontman Jason Gleason took up the reins from Carrabba in 2000, helming the group for the next four years. While the band has split and reconvened multiple times since, save an occasional cameo appearance, it's never been with Gleason. That will change this week as Further Seems Forever picks up where it left off for the first time in more than a decade with Gleason at the fore.
The band's headlining set at Fort Lauderdale's For the Love Festival on March 12 is the focal point of a short trek in celebration of the Gleason-helmed How to Start a Fire album, with a planned set list of album highlights, favorites from pre-Gleason album The Moon Is Down, and covers.
"I think the tour serves two purposes for us," says Gleason. "One, it's about being able to give the people who were fans of this record an opportunity to see it again or see us for the first time. And then, if I'm being honest, it's kind of selfish — we want to do it!"
If there was ever a time for Further Seems Forever to do something selfish, it's now. On January 31, the band's third frontman, Jon Bunch (also of Sense Field and, more recently, War Generation), passed away unexpectedly, a loss Gleason calls "devastating." Though Bunch replaced Gleason at the band's helm following its contentious 2004 split, Gleason has nothing but kind words for the man he calls "totally awesome and unique and special."
"I remember seeing Sense Field when I was 15," Gleason recalls. "It was at this tiny coffee shop in Minneapolis called the Foxfire. He sat at the merch booth afterward and was talking to everybody. I approached him, and I remember him asking about me. Jon had this innate ability to make everyone feel like they were the only person in the room."
The loss has had Gleason feeling reflective and more grateful than ever for what Further Seems Forever still has. "To have the opportunity to go back out and share ourselves again is special. I think we all understand the gravity of that. Rehearsals have been all smiles, you know? Everyone is very much looking forward to having the opportunity to do this... We want to play the songs again and get together and have that — I'll call it a 'last ride' — but who knows?"
While Gleason is happy to chat about his two other currently unnamed other musical projects — one focused on "really simple and natural pop melodies," the other an "Afro-pop, funk, soul, blues, kinda out-there thing" — he demurs at the possibility of more work on Further Seems Forever. No matter of being coy, he seems genuinely uncertain about what the band's future may hold. "Did anyone ever think I'd be doing a tour with them in the first place?" he wonders aloud.
So instead of worrying about the future, the members of Further Seems Forever are putting their collective heads down and getting to work, just as they always have. "We were never the band on tour that had smoke and lights and a laser show," notes Gleason. "It was that no-frills attitude. On the last day of rehearsal for this tour, we were actively discussing whether to have a small vinyl backdrop that says 'Further Seems Forever' on it, so people knew who we were. It was cool, because everybody's still in that mentality — let's just go rock and let the music speak for itself."
For the Love Music Festival
With Further Seems Forever, MeWithoutYou, and more. Noon Saturday, March 12, at C&I Studios, Next Door, and the Garden, 541 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets start at $35 plus fees via eventbrite.com. Visit forthelovefestival.com.