To thine own self be true. If your name is Say Anything, then you had best not hold your tongue. On their Doghouse Records debut, ...Is A Real Boy, Say Anything told the tale of a young man physically incapable of censoring himself--the man being the group's frontman, Max Bemis. Their new record In Defense of the Genre is a playful stab at the detractors of the emo genre Say Anything is often lumped into, with Bemis playing the attorney, brokenhearted lover and bipolar rockstar all at once. The album is a musical statement and another voyeuristic peek into the life of Max Bemis, his failed relationship and trip to the mental institution where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
"The album goes through the ups and downs and ins and outs of Max's relationship," says Jake Turner, guitarist of the band. "It's kind of weird because I know the whole story. This girl came up to Max at a show and introduced herself to him and I was there."
In Defense of the Genre may be a story about the trials and tribulations of Max Bemis, but the rest of the band is as much part of the story as the protagonist. The band has been around Max through his troubles, which has given them a more personal relationship with the new album. Turner shows definite enthusiasm discussing the story, but it is his love of performing the songs that takes precedence over the concept.
"I love playing the songs from In Defense," says Turner. "They're very challenging songs, and not anything near the old record."
This week, Say Anything is taking their new songs to Canada on tour with Thrice. The last time Say Anything was slated to come to Calgary, Max developed an ulcer on his throat and was unable to do the performance. Turner is excited to play in western Canada, and says that while Thrice and Say Anything may not be similar bands, he feels the tour will be a success.
"[Thrice and Say Anything] are bands that have an edgy sound," explains Turner. "We could change our music and fans may be weirded out, but they would come back and see us because we still keep playing old songs."
For the Canadian fans that missed out on Say Anything the last time around, this tour with Thrice should be a welcome treat. The band is enthusiastic about the new album, excited to get out on tour and many of their problems are now in the past. Say Anything are in defence of the emo genre and Max is about to take to the stage to speak his mind.
Say Anything plays Mac Hall Fri., Feb. 8.