Francisco Fernandez grew up in El Teatro Campesino, absorbing experiences tracing a lineage that began with farmers performing on flatbed trucks in the fields to rally workers together to unionize and improve working conditions. He came of age attending Berkeley protests, eventually channeling his energy into music at age 20. “I would see people with megaphones yelling about what’s wrong, which annoyed me, and I’d see drum circles which weren’t going anywhere, and I felt like the best way to be for the people was to be a ferocious band,” Francisco told SF Appeal. “Giving [a protest] a guitar made it a beautiful rant.”
Fernandez formed Ferocious Few and began busking all over the city, popping up often on the streets of San Francisco and deploying what Amber Gregory referred to in the SF Examiner as, “Fernandez’s punk-rock-meets-wild-west stunner of a voice.” Ferocious Few performed throughout San Francisco’s neighborhoods, becoming so well-known that they were featured in The Bold Italic as a case study on successful SF street performing, and eventually developed an iPhone app, featured on VICE’s Creator’s Project, premised on the band’s ability to perform anywhere.
Motivating the band’s performances was life in the Mission District and around the Bay. As Fernandez told David Johnson-Igra of SF Station, “It’s an intense experience to live in a city…Places that were long-time San Francisco are turning into white-washed neighborhoods. I’m reacting to what I see and turning it into an art form rather than something negative.”
The Ferocious Few have taken their street sets all over – they performed on an Austin street during SXSWwhich caught the attention of WIRED: “San Francisco band The Ferocious Few drew power from their car battery to amp up a sidewalk performance,” and prompted a review on the as a “SXSW Standout” – “Ferocious Few manufactured a surprising depth of sound…the group’s best asset was Fernandez’s voice, a shellshocked croon.” Fernandez’ tenacity and passion have turned street sets into stage performances, most recently ending a trip to Indio with an on-stage set at Coachella.
Their passionate performance style earned the band an official SXSW slot in 2010 at Headhunters, plus an unofficial slot on the Bay Area Takeover showcase, presented by Bay Bridged, who praised the band for, “demonstrating…why these guys are consistently one of the most impressive bands on the local circuit…Ferocious Few have built a mighty legend around town, as much for their fearless guerrilla street jams…as for their super-charged take on Howlin Wolf/Elmore James/Creedence style blues.”
San Francisco label Birdman Records released the band’s full-length album Juices that year as well, which received glowing reviews from Consequence of Sound and Pop Matters. They impressed Ian S. Port of SF Weekly, who observed that “The Ferocious Few, one of San Francisco’s most notorious up-and-coming bands…are pretty darn ferocious…The band’s folk-punk songs all ride absolutely breakneck tempos, and its two members seemed to thrive on them: Fernandez whipped, pogo’d and slammed around last night’s nearly empty stage like a Latin Elvis on speed.”
Francisco Fernandez and The Ferocious Few have taken their street show to many impressive stages and countless festivals, and the band has provided tour support for Cyndi Lauper on her Memphis Blues Tour, as well as for Shooter Jennings. They’ve opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ty Segall, Holly Golightly, Houndmouth, and many others, and have sold out the Great American Music Hall. The Ferocious Few is comprised of a perpetually rotating cast of talented players and friends met throughout Fernandez’ travels, creating a vibrant live show with dynamic and ever-changing performances. The band is now hard at work on a new album, and will be touring the west coast this spring in anticipation of a larger tour later this year. As notes, “Ferocious Few is being recognized for some of the hottest new sounds in the Mission District. With heavy rhythms and a nouveau rock-a-billy energy, they’re proving that to affect culture, sometimes all it takes is the passion of a ferocious few.”