An Interview with Action Item: Taking Flight

Bergen County’s very own Action Item have been everywhere but their native soil over the past few months. The New Jersey-based rock group formed somewhat out of happenstance. The various members grew up in Bergen County, but they weren’t always as familiar with one another as they all are now. However, in keeping with the “action” part of their name, they hit the ground running and kept themselves incredibly busy by playing shows, recording for their soon-to-be released 2013 album, Resolution, and touring in support of their documentary, Until It’s Over. In fact, the pop rock band has even managed to do shows with the likes of Justin Bieber, Hot Chelle Rae, Selena Gomez and We The Kings. Their time management skills are quite impressive, especially when one considers that they’ve only been around for a few years.

Now that their documentary tour is over, they have their sights set on—you guessed it—even more touring, this time with fellow rockers Before You Exit, Paradise Fears and Hello Highway, to promote Resolution. I recently asked vocalist/guitarist Brian Cag about the good, the bad and the ugly of touring, but he only had good things to say, as his approach to touring was shockingly laid back. While on the road in support of a documentary and recording an album is quite a load to bear, Brian nonchalantly described it as “different.”

With a packed schedule full of events across the country, many bands might falter or try to take some time off, but Cag didn’t sound the least bit haggard. Rather, he sounded absolutely sanguine. Action Item are looking to begin 2013 aggressively, and in this case, aggression entails the recently released Resolution on Jan. 1, along with national tour dates beginning this week.

Despite the big things going on in the Action Item camp, Brian was very humble about the experiences he’s had in the band. He expressed gratitude for their upcoming tour and the bus that would see them through it; he even leaked that it will come hooked up with—wait for it—satellite tv!

When it came to working with producer Nick Jonas on their 2011 single, “Learn To Fly,” Cag said that it went a bit faster than they were expecting; Jonas heard their stuff and wanted to produce it. This auspicious trend is something that makes Action Item stand out from its contemporaries. When asked about his specific role in the band’s on stage dynamic, Brian said, “I used to play more guitar, but I’ve stepped back from those duties and I focus more on singing and getting the crowd involved.”

Brian admitted that they managed to finish recording Resolution right on the deadline. It was an admission that few would make so readily, but Brian’s ever-present laugh made it all right and even funny. Granted, one look at Action Item’s bustling Facebook page buttresses the idea that these guys have a good time doing what they do, but Brian’s easygoing nature really pulls it all together. His “Letters To Santa” video—located on Action Item’s Facebook page—is full of comedic gems like, “Dear Santa, it’s been minute since we spoke, homeboy, but all I want for Christmas is a big booty hoe,” as well as other tongue-in-cheek bits. However, one would be foolish to write these guys off as a kitschy pop group.

The Coldplay-influenced rockers put in two years of touring time for their The Stronger The Love disc back in 2010. They’ve also managed to generate quite a buzz in 2012 with the track “Last Day Of Summer,” though Brian expressed some mixed feelings about it. “Last Day Of Summer served us well, but we’re pulling back from that sound and pushing in a different direction [on Resolution],” he stated. “A band should always try to be more musical.”

Those are interesting words to hear from a band about a single that did so well. But, as surprising as that sentiment might seem, when one takes into account the sound that Action Item has cultivated for itself, it makes sense. Action Item’s music has a strong marching band influence, especially in the percussion section. Their lineup also boasts a cello and piano, in addition the bass, guitar, drums and vocals. Even with all these pieces, it all blends perfectly, as their music is melodic, catchy and painstakingly synchronized. With these traits in mind, one can see that the emphasis has always been on musicality and cohesion.

Action Item’s new album, Resolution, is available now. See them at NYC’s Gramercy Theatre on Jan. 5 and Philly’s Theatre Of Living Arts on Jan. 6. For more information, go to