Civil Disturbance
Think you know Civil Disturbance? Well I thought I did, and it turns out I was all but completely wrong. I say “all but” because I was right about a couple of things. They’re down-to-earth and animated, talented and they are all … well, I’ll just say it … very attractive. Sorry, ladies, they’re taken.
Well not all of them actually, Billy Farnum is enjoying bachelorhood, and a little birdie chirped out (repeatedly) during the interview that Matt Elie is newly single. No pushing in the line, girls, or you’ll have to go to the end.
The band, which started in 2003, has seen a number of lineup changes; the most recent includes Elie (vocals), Matt Tifft (guitar), Kris Beaudoin (guitar), Farnum (bass) and Nick Tifft (drums), and it promises to be the best yet.
Currently at work on new material for an upcoming CD, the guys were just finishing a run-through of a new song when I walked in. My previous thoughts on their music — that they were good, but didn’t appeal to me — disappeared. They officially had my complete attention. This band seems best heard live, and I, for one, will be checking out their Club Texas show on Saturday, June 27.
A little background
Though Civil D began as a cover band, they made the change to all original music in 2006. Winners of the 2007 WTOS Battle of the Bands and the Best Heavy Music/Metal Act of 2008 award, Civil D has played with Tantric and Joey Belladonna and was most recently on Disturbed’s Music as a Weapon tour.
They released their first CD “The Battle Within” in 2007 and “Civil Disturbance: LIVE!”, a DVD with CD, in 2008, and while their music fits nicely into the heavy alternative/rock genre, they can’t really be compared to any other band.
“I like the style of the music I think we play,” said Tifft. “We kind of have our own sound.”
Their unique sound might just come from their wide-ranging musical influences. Beaudoin is a fan of all things ’80s, Matt Tifft listens to mainstream artists like Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet for My Valentine as well as more obscure bands like Children of Bodem. Elie likes most rock (Guns ‘n Roses and Alice in Chains), though his appreciation for Queen and Elton John has led to periodic ribbing from the other guys. Farnum is a big Mike Patton fan, listening to Faith No More, Fantômas and Mr. Bungle.
“I’m a big Mike Patton fan,” said Farnum. “I like a lot of the odd stuff; dark carnival music, that stuff makes me happy.”
Highs, lows
and being a fan
The highlight of their musical career to date, they all agreed, was playing on the “Music as a Weapon” tour with Disturbed. After they played in Pennsylvania, Nick Tifft said concert goers commented on how they liked that the band didn’t scream and that they could actually be understood.
“It was cool,” said Matt Tifft.
Along with being in awe of the bands they like, they have also lost respect for bands they once looked up to, like the time when members of one band on the tour insulted the city of Portland and then asked the guys where certain illegal substances could be bought.
“I was like ‘Oh yeah, so not buying your albums anymore,’” said Elie.
Elie said they want people to enjoy their music both live and recorded, but giving a good performance is key. Before and after shows, Beaudoin said, the guys try to socialize and get to know their fans. Elie added that is something they’re taking up a notch in the future.
“I want them to walk away saying ‘this song is awesome,’ something they can’t get out of their head,” said Elie.
Music — whatit’s all about
The dynamic of the band includes a lot of joking around, and everyone gets their fair share of being tooled on. For instance, Beaudoin’s pronunciation of Aretha (Franklin) was called into question when a couple of the guys thought they heard him say urethra. At least they’re all good sports, no diva tantrums in this jam room.
“We’ve got the right people in the band,” said Matt Tifft.
Elie said that Farnum and Nick Tifft added a quality to the band and its music that had been missing. The new material will be “night and day from our last CD,” said Elie.
“We’re not going to write a song that we’re not satisfied with,” said Nick Tifft. “Finding it is the hardest part.”
The guys seem content to continue rocking Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but wouldn’t object to taking their music as far as they can.
“I think collectively we can all say that we are all very realistic with this thing; we all have day jobs and our careers are what pay the bills,” said Elie. “This is a passion; it’s fun and we are going to do what we can with it and take it as far as we can go.”

Catch them live!
Club Texas, Auburn: Saturday, June 27, 8 p.m., with Red Theory and Salvo
Rumors, Skowhegan: Saturday, July 11, 8 p.m. with September Mourning and Afterblack
Milly’s Tavern, Manchester, N.H.: Friday, July 17, 8 p.m.
The 103 Ultra Lounge, Orono: Friday, Aug. 28,  8 p.m.

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