Left to right: Guitarist Jesse Ruggles, drummer Ron Petty: drums and bassist Mike Trathen are the pop trio Phamous Phaces.

Princes of pop

Guitarist Jesse Ruggles, bassist Mike Trathen and drummer Ron Petty of Phamous Phaces were drawn together by British pop music from the start. Though each of them played for various bands around the Willamette Valley that wound up with songs on "Oregon's Best Rock," an album produced by Eugene's KZEL radio, it was awhile before they would actually meet.

When they did, they formed their power pop group and began writing their own songs. They released three albums between 1995 and 2001, completed several national and international tours and earned a strong following while performing at regional shows and festivals.

Phamous Phaces will bring their classic British rock to Medford for shows at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1-2, at 4 Daughters Irish Pub, 126 W. Main St., Medford.

"Our music is full of pop hooks," says Ruggles. "I can't writ a song without a pop hook in it. I've got too much Beatles in me. But we also listen to bands like The Who, Cheap Trick and Foo Fighters."

Phamous Phaces released it's fourth CD, "Spider Ball," in 2006, but then the group felt that the project was too rushed, too much like a work in progress and released too soon, Ruggles explains. So the threesome pulled the project back in.

"We've added some new songs to it, remixed a lot of them and we're glad that we did," Ruggles says. With a new title, "The Big Three," the work is a little more aggressive, a little darker than the group's previous recordings, he says.

"Not angry," Ruggles says, "just more personal. We were able to work on it without hurrying. We think it's our best material so far."

Phaces was recognized as one of the top bands to perform in 2005 and 2006 during the International Pop Overthrow festivals held in Liverpool, England. The events included shows at The Cavern Club, the Cavern Pub, Lennon's Bar and Flannagan's Apple, all located on Mathew Street, an area known as the Cavern Quarter.

"The first time we were there, we won best band," says Ruggles. "We're heading down to San Francisco in a couple of weeks to play for the 2008 Pop Overthrow."

The IPO festivals have been held in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Toronto, as well as in Liverpool. New cities have been added this year's slate, including Portland.

Cover for the show at 4 Daughters Irish Pub is free. Call 779-4455.

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