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Interview:
Fatherhood inspired Say Anything's latest album
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Say Anything frontman Max Bemis admits that the arrival of his first child -- now 21-month-old daughter Lucy with wife and fellow musician Sherri DuPree-Bemis -- caused him to "freak out" a little.

And he responded with the most ambitious album he or his band have made to date.

Bemis and company recorded "Hebrews," which came out in June, with no guitars and extensive orchestrations. It also features an all-star "cast" of guest vocalists, including Bemis' wife and his sister-in-law Chauntelle DuPree-D'Agostino, both from the band Eisley, blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves' Tom DeLonge, Chris Conley from current Say Anything tour partner Saves The Day and singers from Manchester Orchestra, meWithoutYou, Every Time I Die and the Get Up Kids.

"This has easily been the most gratifying and fun making a record has ever been," says Bemis, 30, who's expecting a second child with DuPree-Bemis in February. "The sort of theatrical bent of the music is something that's always been a part of Say Anything since our first official record, but I think when you take that kind of music and play it on stringed instruments and various keyboards and harp and fiddle and stuff like that, it makes it sound more like a musical or classical music or something.

"It still sounds like punk or indie rock, but I think that the arrangements lend themselves to something even more dramatic."

Bemis started working on "Hebrews" -- whose title and many of its lyrics reference his Jewish upbringing -- during early 2013 and says the 12 heavily autobiographical tracks were written in the order they appear on the album, and are evenly divided between the time before the birth of his daughter during February of 2013 and after.

"It's a grandiose-sounding record about the small things that kind of eat away at you," he explains. "I don't think I would've been forced to confront the things I confront on the record if it wasn't for the impending birth of my daughter. If you listen to the lyrics, everything that comes before her birth is worrying about being a bad father or not being ready to be a father, and everything after her birth is sort of redemptive.

"That's the narrative arc of the record -- not that I've ever needed a reason to confront my demons otherwise, but that was the catalyst, and I really like the way it worked out."

Say Anything, Saves The Day and Reggie & the Full Effect

Sunday, Dec. 7. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

Tickets are $37 and $23.

Call 313-961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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