Facedown Rocks ‘Before It Begins’ Preseason Celebration at Kubel’s Too

By SANDRA WEYANT | May 22, 2019
Photo by: Lexi Schnell

Beach Haven Gardens — Kubel’s Too really knows how to throw a party. To kick off summer, the popular tavern in Brighton Beach had its first-ever preseason celebration, the Before It Begins Bash, this past Saturday.

The K2 parking lot was popping, and guests ate, drank and danced the night away. Several local bands – Sneak Attack, Facedown and Dan Brown and The Empaths – rocked the stage.

Facedown, a ’60s-inspired classic rock cover band, was the headliner for the event. The lineup includes vocalist and guitarist John Plumley, vocalist and lead guitarist Dave Gardner, bassist and vocalist Tony Sailer and drummer Steve Ferringo. The renowned quartet has been performing together for more than 30 years, and has a natural ability to captivate a crowd.

Plumley revealed that the band hardly ever practices and uses performances as their live rehearsals. That way, they can tell if guests are responding to certain songs. The group often relies on the vibe of the audience and takes song requests, but also loves to play their favorite tunes.

“We’re inspired by artists like Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Stevie Van Zandt and other guys that are in our category and our age range. We are all big Beatles fans because we were kids when they came onto the scene. We are influenced by different artists we grew up listening to all the time,” Plumley said.

“I always joke around and say that I haven’t learned a new song since I graduated high school. We are still playing the same stuff, but a lot of people love it. Every band has a different vibe, and classic is ours.”

Before Facedown came to fruition, Plumley and Gardner used to jam in a band called The Chucks, and they formed an unbreakable bond over their love for music.

“I came to Long Beach Island and started playing solo gigs, and after about three years, Dave came along and we played as a duo, and shortly after, we formed the band and called ourselves Facedown with Steve Ferringo and Tony Sailer,” Plumley said.

Back in the ’70s, Plumley toured with a NASCAR band and Gardner played in a band in Philadelphia. Gardner is a talented songwriter, and his band performed original music in the past. Facedown acquired Sailer as the bassist after an outing in Atlantic City. Sailer was an acquaintance of a former band mate from The Chucks.

Throughout the years, the guys have gotten to know one another extremely well and they have shared many exciting moments. Along with performing at numerous venues, Facedown used to play at weddings. One major career highlight was the band’s television debut. They were featured on TLC’s “Four Weddings.”

“People who didn’t want a typical wedding band would hire us. A lot of people still prefer live music to a deejay,” Plumley said. “Being on that show was pretty weird, but cool at the same time. Girls and cameras all over the place. It was definitely an unforgettable experience.”

Out of all the places the band has performed, Long Beach Island still remains their favorite. They look forward to hitting all the local joints and keeping the classic rock spirit alive on the Island.

“We play a lot in the summer on Long Beach Island. Dave and Tony live up in Belmar area and work five days a week, so we mostly play on weekends,” Plumley said. “On Sundays, we like to play on the beach, up on 68th Street. We like those afternoon gigs, and they actually set up the stage on the sand and it’s really cool.”

Facedown set the bar high by being the first band to headline several community events that have become the essence of the Island, year after year.

“We do the concert series at Harvey Cedars every year, and we’ve been doing that for a long time. We were the first band to do the Chowder Fest when that launched, and now we’re ready for our next adventures,” Plumley said.

Ready to rock this summer? Check out the band’s website to catch them in action. Visit facedown.us for a schedule of upcoming events.

— Sandra Weyant


Set List Snippet:

Born to Be Wild, Steppenwolf

Not Fade Away, The Grateful Dead

You Wreck Me, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Take It Easy, Eagles

Seven Bridges Road, Eagles

Brown-Eyed Girl, Van Morrison

Mama Don’t Dance & Daddy Don’t Rock & Roll, Loggins and Messina

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