“Opt Out” – 2012

In 2012 we released “Opt Out”, a seven song album that was unlike anything we’d done before. You can listen here:

(Handmade cover by our longtime friend and talented artist Jeff Stogis.)

Between 2010 and 2012 we were going strong as a four-piece band:

Drew deWaard (Bass/Vocals)
Dina Simone (Guitar/Vocals/Bass/Etc, Etc)
Jeff Goluszka (Drums/Percussion)
Justin Birchard (Vocals/Guitar/Misc)

We were playing multiple shows a month in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. We frequented Michigan, Wisconsin, and got the chance to play at legendary Chicago venues like Schubas, Double Door, Bottom Lounge, Quenchers, and Martyrs.

As usual– we were also playing a lot of house shows and DIY gigs, typically in basements, backyards, apartments, and garages. If we thought there would be people there, we rarely said “No” to an opportunity to play live.

Things were going splendidly:

In December of 2010 we started writing the songs for “Opt Out“. Then in the spring of 2011, we rented a cabin for a week so that we could focus on the songs in complete isolation. We’d taken a similar approach while writing Seas Drain Into Space and thought it’d be fun to try again.

We packed up our gear and drove our “trusty” van to a spot that Jeff scouted out near the border of Iowa.

Getting the van “ready” to go…
Getting the gear ready to go…

Our destination was an isolated property on the shoreline of Rock River in Rock Island, IL. Perfectly quiet. Ample nature. Homey vibes.

We lounged around and checked out the river for an our or two. Then we got to work and rearranged the whole cabin.

The first night we didn’t get much writing done. We mostly just enjoyed the atmosphere. There were stuffed fish, birds, and other impressive taxidermy projects mounted throughout the house. Occasionally they attacked, but mostly they were friendly.

Many tears of laughter were shed on this trip. We were having a blast. But also… we were on a mission. We were determined to finish writing as many songs as we could during this rare, creative, get-away.

Throughout the week we had multiple rehearsals a day, and wrote late into the night. When we came out on the other side, we had a collection of shiny new songs. We couldn’t wait to start recording.

At the end of the trip, we headed back to our house/studio West Chicago. Progress happened quickly in the following weeks, the album was taking shape and starting to feel real.

After tracking the first single “October“, we decided to take a break and focus on recording a music video. Our good friend Chad Headley directed and produced the film with help from Chris Shern.


Andrew Birchard, Sarah Hein, Anne Winters, Alex Zago, and MANY others helped us make it happen.

The video shoot was intense. Chad’s vision was ambitious. But he pulled it off! It required a lot of planning, the shots and the scenes were precise.


An additional challenge was that all of the shooting needed to happen in the darkness of night. So for three straight evenings we stayed up all night and filmed.

We gathered as many friends and fans as we could to play extras. We all dressed up like zombies and had so much fun.

This video is one of the proudest moments in our history as a band. A perfect moment moment in time. You can check it out here:

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Opt Out” was mostly finished by May of 2012. But we still needed to finish a few key sections. We had a tour planned to promote the album in the fall… MEANING: we were on the clock.

Pressure was building.

With only a few days before the tour, we accomplished our goal and finished all of the recording, mixing, and mastering. However, the rest of the plan did not go how we envisioned…

Drew was beginning to focus more on his career. Understandably, he didn’t have as much time to dedicate to shows and the “usual band stuff”. Before the tour, and before the album was officially released– we made the decision to part ways.

Similarly, Dina was having a lot of success with her other bands. She was trying to juggle a lot of different projects and circumstances. Our rehearsal schedule and touring plans were becoming more difficult to coordinate. In the Fall, a few days before our tour, we decided to part ways with her as well.

Our time with Drew and Dina was glorious. And I can’t emphasize enough the incredible musicianship, creativity, friendship, and love they brought to my life and to Facing Winter.

It was difficult to say goodbye to Drew and Dina. For me, saying “goodbye” to bandmates is just as emotional and gut-wrenching as saying “goodbye” to a long-time romantic partner.

But life and music go on. Jeff and I kept at it. We weren’t going to give up on the album and we weren’t going to give up on the tour.

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Cancelling the tour wasn’t an option in our minds. So a few days before our departure date– We put in crazy hours at the studio. We stayed up all night binging on coffee, tacos, weed, and pizza. And at the end of it we had ANOTHER new album. This one was called “Origins”. It had one brand new original song, and the rest were acoustic versions of previously released songs.

This will be a story for another time.

More music coming soon! Please stay tuned and thank you for your support.

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