This weekend marked the 15th anniversary of one of my favorite album release dates in my lifetime. On July 22nd, 2003 both Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue and Thrice’s The Artist in the Ambulance were released. I was home between my sophomore and junior year of college and both albums imprinted on me like few ever have. Driving around my hometown, seeing old friends, reigniting old flames, these two albums became a part of my summer. AbsolutePunk.net was just becoming something I thought I wanted to do with my life and much of what that website would become was created with these two albums as the soundtrack. I was still very much trying to figure out who I was as a person, and these albums felt like a foothold of hope on the future. Watching Yellowcard’s meteoric rise, a bunch of kids that felt almost like peers, gave me a boost of confidence during a time I needed to think things could get better. The world was changing, my world was changing.
15 years later that summer remains one of the best of my life. The friendships made, the hearts broken, the speakers blown out, it all feels like a moment frozen in time. An idealized summer that probably wasn’t nearly what I’ve made up in my mind all these years later. But I hold it dear nonetheless. And when I put on Ocean Avenue, and hear “Back Home,” I’m transported back 15 years ago when that song meant everything to me. A rallying call for what my life was and a romanticized version for what I wanted it to be. And that feeling of home intersplices with the intensity of Thrice’s The Artist in the Ambulance, an album I used as an outlet for my anger at the world, at the war, at myself and all the chaos that felt just beyond the borders of my hometown. Two sides of me dueling it out through two albums released on the same day, during the same summer.
So, here’s to you July 22nd, 2003. I’ll always remember you fondly.
Ryan Key, formerly of Yellowcard, has posted up a new store where you can order handwritten lyrics of any song Ryan’s written. Personally, I love these kinds of things. They make great, one of a kind, gifts and are a really smart way for artists to market and sell a part of their music to die-hard fans.
Sidebar: I’ll never understand someone sliding into someone’s mentions, repeatedly, just to be a dick.
I was beyond excited when I found out I was going to get to work with Venom for my first ever attempt at writing a comic. I don’t know if you can count the comics I wrote and drew during class as a kid. Spider-Man was a huge part of my childhood and Venom has always been, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite villains in the Marvel Universe. I feel like Logan has always had a “dark side” himself and this version of him in his older age where he slips into this apathy we saw in the first [“Old Man Logan”], provided an opportunity to fuse him with the symbiote and awaken that rage we’ve always seen from him. Just the thought of Wolverine in a Venom suit was more than enough to get me on board for this!
It’S 2001. A young band called Yellowcard, fresh transplants to California by way of Jacksonville, Florida, is playing its first ever sold-out show. The city is Anaheim, California and the venue is Chain Reaction, a cramped but legendary punk rock club that has become a rite of passage for all up-and-comers.
The five members onstage aren’t the most polished live performers, but they have bounds of energy and display a promising potential. The drummer is a stickmaster with some of the quickest hands you’ve ever seen and the lead singer displays a surefire ear for melodies. But what stands out most is the presence of a violinist, which you think is an odd novelty for a rock band at first yet surprisingly fits in well.
I’ve loved reading all the Yellowcard retrospectives over the past few days and all of the memories shared by fans in our forums. This band was a staple for so many people and a true testament to the impact music can have on a listener.
With goodbye comes reflection. This reflection is often bittersweet as it drifts between that which has filled us with joy and that which has caused us pain. There’s a cauterization of once open wounds that necessitates a search for meaning in the steps that led us here. And it’s within this reflection that we try and attach understanding to our history. Why does saying goodbye make us feel this way? What is it about this specific action that leads to an emotional cluster-fuck? A perceptible and undeniable bond between love and sadness? I keep asking myself these questions as I prepare to say goodbye to one of the best bands that ever came from our music scene. A band that has soundtracked my highs, soundtracked my lows, and has been a constant musical mirror to the love, and sadness, that life has brought. As I walk into this realization, I can’t help but reflect on just how many of my goodbyes have been punctuated by a Yellowcard song. Goodbye to friends, goodbye to family, goodbye to relationships, goodbye to states, goodbye to innocence, goodbye to youth. And with that I realize that I don’t want to become numb to goodbyes. I want them to sting. I want them to hurt. I want the goodbye to be a remembrance of everything that led to that moment. Yellowcard’s final self-titled album is that pinprick. It’s that puncture against the consciousness that reminds me why I listen to music, it’s the melodic pull that has dominated my life for all these years. It’s between this intense feeling of familiar and new that I find the closing Yellowcard album lays itself to rest.
Hey everyone. I have some unfortunate news. Despite my best efforts to avoid a situation like this, today the Dr. gave me the most feared diagnosis a vocalist can get, laryngitis. Due to the amount of songs we are playing in this set, and the length of the tour itself, we have decided that we will be postponing the Albuquerque, NM and Tempe, AZ shows to make sure I can get healthy as quickly as possible. We will 100% be making up these shows and the dates will be announced very soon. If you would prefer to get a refund, they will be available at your point of sale. We would ask however, that you please be patient though and wait for us to figure out rescheduling the shows. We still want to play for you all very badly. Thank you for understanding. I can’t tell you how terrible it feels to have to make this decision. I never want to let any of you down. See you soon.
The first time I heard Yellowcard was sometime in the summer of 2004. I think my sister and I were packing for our annual trip to visit my grandparents in New Hampshire and I had the radio on. (This event is notable because I can legitimately not remember the last time I had the radio on of my own accord.) I had my radio tuned to the local “modern rock” station, which played about 50% Staind and 50% everything else. They also had this feature called “the Buzzcut,” where they’d play an up-and-coming song from an up-and-coming band and ask listeners to call in with feedback. If listeners liked the song, it got added to the playlist. If they didn’t, it never got played again.
The Buzzcut song on this particular morning was “Ocean Avenue,” Yellowcard’s breakout hit single. At this point in time, the song was almost a year old, because it inexplicably wasn’t the lead single from the album of the same name. (More inexplicably, Capitol Records officially released “Ocean Avenue” as a single in February, the least appropriate month of entire year to be listening to “Ocean Avenue.”)
On this week’s episode of Encore I bring in special guest Craig Manning to discuss the final Yellowcard album and say goodbye to the band. Yellowcard have been a part of the formative years of our lives, and on September 30th they will release their last album. We discuss what the band’s meant to us, our favorites in their catalog, and then go track-by-track through the new album to talk about we like, don’t like, and how it stacks up with the rest of their discography. I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to miss this band quite a bit.
The track took weeks of tinkering and almost didn’t make it onto the album. “I still hadn’t found a chorus we liked,” he said. But when he finally came up with the melody and lyrics for the hook – “If I could find you now, things would get better” – they knew it would work. “We didn’t know it was going to get radio play or MTV success. But we had a sense that it was a special song, one of the most accessible, massive-sounding pop songs that we’d ever written. But we didn’t know that song was going to change our lives forever.”
We’ve got reviews, think-pieces, and podcasts coming later this week as we say goodbye to the band. Their final self-titled album is due out on Friday.