For The Academy Is ... frontman William Bennett, the third time’s the charm — kind of. Bennett acknowledges that on the Chicago modern rockers’ sophomore effort, 2007’s “Santi,” he “was essentially having an identity crisis,” partly brought on by the pressure of having to follow up a well-received debut. Consequently, he found the process of making that album “really taxing mentally and physically — most of it self-inflicted.”
But on the new “Fast Times at Barrington High,” which debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 chart in August, Bennett says he “definitely had a sort of ... rebirth.”
“I felt back in touch with my roots and just sort of solidified who I am and who we are as a band and what made me really comfortable,” says Bennett, 23. “I’m proud of where we come from and how we began and how we’ve done it from the beginning ... I’m in an all-around just better place than I was on (‘Santi’) — although there’s a lot of good music on that album, too, that I’m proud of.”
And although he named it after the high school he and guitarist Adam Siska attended and focused the songs on “the honesty of youth and the trials and tribulations of the everyday,” Bennett doesn’t think “Barrington High” will resonate just with teens.
“It’s just about the feelings of everything being new and exciting, and falling in love with music and all those moments where I became essentially a large part of who I am now,” he explains. “I think a lot of people lose that fire, whether they’re 30 or 45 or 18. I think a lot of people forget those little things that matter so much.
“I just think that youth isn’t something that has an age barrier on it. I think it’s just a spirit that’s one of the key ingredients to living a full life. That’s what this album’s about.”
The Academy Is ... and We The Kings perform Sunday (Nov. 9) at Clutch Cargo’s, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (248) 333-2362 or visit www.clutchcargos.com.