Whatever happened to the days when the front man of a band would make daily entertainment news headlines for actual newsworthy stories? Trashing hotel rooms, group orgies with fans in the back of the tour bus, no holds barred interviews with rock journalists on the road while snorting nose candy—what happened to that time? Sure there’s Pete Wentz taking pictures of his dick in his parents’ bathroom, and videos of Pete Doherty smoking crack and shooting up heroin, but those stories are too few and far between for music anymore.
Say Anything and its front man, Max Bemis, may not be a staple in the mainstream just yet, but they’re working on it. Bursting onto the California scene a few years ago with their quirky indie pop-rock, Say Anything have managed to catapult themselves into one of the scene’s cult favorite acts. With the release of their critically acclaimed major label two-disc album, In Defense Of The Genre, at the end of last year, the band has made it known that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Besides the band’s standout and unique sound, front man Max Bemis is coming into his own as one of those few interesting musicians to watch. You might not be hearing a whole lot about sexual or violent hijinx from Bemis, but he still embodies the aura of the idealized front man, a tortured soul that can captivate audiences with his music while managing to befuddle them with his own personal life obstacles. After two nervous breakdowns, one landing him in the hospital and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Bemis has become one of the most closeted dynamic characters in music today.
While in the band’s homestate of California, I had an e-mail correspondence with Bemis to discuss their current headlining tour with Manchester Orchestra, Biffy Clyro and fellow Californians, Weatherbox. He also addressed rumors of an upcoming collaborative album with Chris Connely of Saves The Day, and I got to pick his brain on what bands will be following in Say Anything’s footsteps this year.
How is the tour going thus far?
The tour is going great, but it has just begun. I guess you never know. I am a cynical dude. However, the first show was literally one of our best ever and we have amazing bands along for the ride, so things are pretty promising.
Did you and the rest of the band choose your tour support?
We are fans of all the bands on this tour. A couple of them submitted for the tour. Us and Manchester had been discussing doing a real run together for years and it finally made sense. Woohoo.
How are you performing songs from the new album since there are so many prominent guest vocalists throughout?
The other band members and singers from the other bands on the tour will handle the guest vocals. Sometimes I do them myself. Ego-maniacal.
How did a lot of those collaborations come about in the first place?
A lot of the guest vocalists are friends of ours we’ve met over the years of playing in this band. The rest of them were fans of ours or had heard of us and did us a favor by singing on the record. Most to all of it was done over the phone and through e-mail.
Would you rather headline a tour or support a larger band?