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Say Anything Biography


Say Anything
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Say Anything Biography

Years active:   2000 - present
Genre(s):   Rock, Punk
Label(s):   J Records, Doghouse Records, A.D.D. Records
Members:   Max Bemis, Coby Linder, Alex Kent, Jake Turner, Jeff Turner, Parker Case

HISTORY

Say Anything is an American post-emocore band consisting of 22 year-old Maxim Max Bemis (guitar/bass/vocals) and 21-year-old Jacob Coby Linder (drums and percussion). The name is also a catchall for whoever else may play with them while making various records or touring (usually referred to as a nom-de-band). The band formed in 2001 in Los Angeles, California under the name Sayanything, a name which stuck until their first commercial release, the critically acclaimed Say Anything ...is a Real Boy. The band has been known to frequently revisit older works once given a new studio, and have taken to giving their albums the repetitive scheme "Say Anything... [album title]."

Max Bemis was born in New York in 1984. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was a child so he grew up in Hollywood, CA. His father was a small-time film producer and as a result the young Bemis became involved in minor Hollywood projects; he plays an altar boy in the film Face/Off, although the role is unlisted in the credits. He was also the baby in the promotional poster for the Coen Brothers' film Raising Arizona. Bemis took piano lessons as a child which is where much of his musical background comes from.

Bemis attended Camp Ramah in Ojai, California, where he met drummer Coby Linder. He also attended Windward School, a private high school in Los Angeles. It was here that he met Evan Span and Michael Levin. After a bad breakup, Bemis picked up a guitar for the first time and wrote the song Sappy with the help of Christian singer/songwriter Stephen Speaks and distributed it along with a few other acoustic songs online and in CD-R form. It became very popular amongst the L.A. scene, and Bemis convinced his friends to knock a few songs around for fun. Sayanything was subsequently formed.

EARLY DAYS

The band eventually narrowed its lineup to Max on rhythm guitar and vocals, Evan Span on lead guitar, Coby on drums, and Mike Levin on bass. Together they released the Junior Varsity EP, a four-song album of which very few copies were pressed, dealing with the pressures of everyday life as a high school student. Soon thereafter, Evan left the band, and Max took over all guitar duties.

In 2001, the band released Baseball: An Album By Sayanything, a monstrous debut at 72 minutes in length, to great fan acclaim. Baseballs included superior re-recordings of two of JV's song's, (Dreaming Of) Manhattan and The Last Great Punk Rock Song. At this point Max went to attend college at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville New York and the band disbanded for the time being. In college, Max began to religiously pour out his thoughts into a four-track recorder in his dormroom; this yielded the aptly titled collection of songs, the Dormroom Demos. Some of the band's best-loved songs never progressed beyond this rough stage.

SAY ANYTHING, WITH A SPACE

After college, the band began to tour again, this time consisting of Max and Coby (the core members), and picking up touring bassist Dan Delauro. Mr. Delauro sometimes still chats on the band's messageboard. In 2003, the band pieced together the Menorah/Majora EP from the new tracks A Walk Through Hell, "By Tonight," You Help Them,and I Want To Know Your Plans, as well as some of the Dormroom Demos, and released it in mp3 format on their second official website. At this point in time they also managed to garner the attention of several major and large indie labels, including Epitaph Records, whose Brett Gurewitz produced a re-recording of A Boston Peace. Eventually, Doghouse Records won the bidding war and signed Say Anything in early 2004.

DOGHOUSE

At this point, SA consisted of Max and Coby, and the two began work on their proper debut, Say Anything ...is a Real Boy, released 13 August 2004. Writing duties fell almost entirely to Max in the absence of any other musicians playing stringed instruments; Max plays all guitar and bass parts on ...iaRb. The album was co-produced by Tim O'Heir, well known for his work on Sebadoh's seminal mope-rock album III, and his latter day work with All-American Rejects and The Rocket Summer, and Stephen Trask, the writer of the music in the cult rock opera Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the scores for the films In Good Company and American Dreamz, though Trask was the lesser involved of the two, there only for "pre-production and basics," according to O'Heir, and was "brought on to help with the theatrical aspect... that never came to fruition." Although it attained little commercial success, critical acclaim was unmatched. ...iaRB stands as Max Bemis's greatest statement on culture and the scene, and bares a narrative uncommon in the plastic world of Top 40 rock. It was at first supposed to be a rock opera with spoken word segments and an Off-Broadway show, but these plans fell through. It should also be noted that the album contains a rerecording of 2003's "I Want To Know Your Plans," with an additional end chorus, and "Alive With The Glory Of Love," a song telling the story of Max Bemis's grandparents' experiences in the Polish War Camps of WWII.

At this point in time, guitarist Casper Adams and bassist Kevin Seaton were picked up to carry some of the live guitar burden. Say Anything had planned to release an AIDS charity record entitled Say Anything vs. Aids on Doghouse, but they decided to wait until they were more famous and could bring in a bit more money for the cause. The demos leaked onto the internet, however, and they became fan favorites. The only SA recordings featuring the guitar and vocal work of Casper Adams, recorded in Kevin Seaton's garage, they were later remastered and released on J Records as Say Anything ...was a Real Boy.

BIPOLAR DISORDER

During the recording of ...iaRb, it was suggested by Tim O'Heir that the sessions be filmed for a bonus DVD to accompany the release of the album. Max Bemis objected, but became convinced that Coby and Tim were going to go through with it anyway, fearing hidden cameras in instruments and equipments and routinely screaming paranoid accusations and locking himself in the studio's bathroom. Rumors of Max's condition at this point are just that, and range from Fatal Attraction-style clicking on-and-off of a lightswitch to running naked through the streets of New York. Indeed, Max actually did run dazed and confused through the streets of NY, getting in several altercations and nearly getting hit by a car, earning himself a stay in a mental institution that cost the group being able to play on its first two major tours. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression) and paranoid schizophrenia, but by giving up the use of marijuana, was able to reduce the symptoms of the latter to a standstill. With medication and the help of his family, he was able to get the former disorder under control. Those that live with bipolar are subject to violent and self-destructive moodswings, and for many very "normal" people it is just a part of life. This is not true but is believed by many.

J RECORDS

In 2005, Say Anything signed to a major label, J Records, a subsidiary of Sony-BMG. The band's first move on the label was to re-record Alive With The Glory Of Love, supposedly for radio play, though it was soon replaced commercially by the album version of the song.

Next, ...iaRb was slated for re-release (as is frequently done recently in the music industry), accompanied with a new booklet of all the album's lyrics as typed by Max Bemis and a history of the album, as well as a new bonus disc consisting of a re-recording of Phone Sex from the Vs. AIDS Demos (under the title Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too!?) and remastered, also-retitled versions of six of those demos. The album was supposed to hit stores 18 October 2005, but was pushed back until 28 February 2006 When Max was again hospitalized for his Bi-Polar disorder. A few copies, however, were leaked by various retailers, most notably Tower Records's website and Canadian mega-chain HMV (His Master's Voice). Soon leaked hard copies of the new reissue were selling on eBay for more than $50.00. On J, SA began their first attended major tour with Dashboard Confessional in the summer of 2006 (see Tours and Touring).

TOURING

Say Anything has toured with a virtual who's-who of the emo scene, including Dashboard Confessional, Recover, Chase Pagan, Pistolita, Northstar, The Bled, Reggie and the Full Effect, Slow Runner, ELA, Circa Survive, Emanuel, Audio Karate, Thrice, The Get Up Kids, Hayden, Ben Lee, and MC Lars. The band has been known to invite fellow musicians onstage with them to play with them (one popular online video features all members of Say Anything, Brand New, Straylight Run, and Hot Rod Circuit singing a live rendition of Belt, from Say Anything ...is a Real Boy.

This being said, it should be noted that, much to the dismay of fans, Say Anything went through a period after the release of Say Anything ...is a Real Boy where public appearances were rare. This is due to Bemis's mental illness and the treatment thereof, which was reasonably deemed more important than touring. Most dates of Say Anything's first headlining tour in summer 2005, with Circa Survive and Emanuel as opening bands, were canceled. That same fall, Say Anything dropped off the roster of a nation-wide tour opening for Senses Fail and Bemis's favorite band Saves The Day, alongside The Early November. On that tour they were replaced by old tourmates Emanuel.

Say Anything were originally slated to play the 2006 Vans Warped Tour, but instead opted to tour with Dashboard Confessional a second time alongside Ben Lee (in the US) and John Ralston (in Canada). Say Anything has a very close musical relationship with Dashboard and their singer Chris Carrabba has been known to throw bits of the Say Anything song Woe (The Optimist) into live jams on his song Remember To Breathe.

In the fall of 2006, the band will finally embark upon a headlining tour of the US, with Piebald, mewithoutyou as openers, and Days Away, Brazil and Forgive Durden as openers on select dates. Due to fan requests, the band will play more rarities and pre-Doghouse material. Previously, Say Anything sets consisted of little more than an abridged version of the tracklist for ...iaRB. Recently, however, the band began playing songs from the Vs. AIDS Demos and For Sale Tour EP, as well as A Walk Through Hell and Baseball But Better from the Menorah/Majora EP.



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