is a band hailing from Queens, New York, who have had relatively good success in their 9 years of being active. Although successful, it did not come easy as they have had numerous lineup changes over the years, including the tragic death of drummer John
in 2005. But even with these struggles, Bayside
constantly release albums which they can be proud of - great, albeit not very original, pop punk/rock.
Last year, Bayside
spat out two efforts on the same day a studio release entitled Shudder
, which generally had positive reviews, and Live At The Social Club
, a live album recorded in New York consisting of songs from their first three albums.
Ultimate-Guitar correspondent Evan Greenblo
chatted with Bayside
guitarist Jack O'Shea
in November last year, who has been with the band since 2003.
UG: You'll be in the UK soon. What can you tell me about the tour? How do things differ in the UK opposed to North America? Are fans more appreciative since you're over there less?
The tour starts December 2nd in Birmingham and I'm really excited. We'll be playing with Hit the Lights (who we have had the chance to tour with in the US) and Oh No Not Stereo, who we're excited to meet and play with. We are lucky to have a lot of die hard fans in the UK and I do think that people get excited to see us because we don't get a chance to make it over as much as everyone would like. I'm really looking forward to see how fans react to the new music from Shudder that we'll be playing.
Touring is definitely different in the UK. Everything is almost twice as expensive for one, and it's always a little strange to have communications with home/family/friends cut back significantly. All that aside, I do love being in a different continent and seeing that the work that we as a band have been doing back home has reached so many people so far from us. It's really rewarding.
You've got a bit of a break before you leave too. What kind of preparations do you make before heading on tour?
"We've always been a band that has had a close relationship with our fans."
My personal preparations were just relaxing and spending time with my family and girlfriend, who I really only get to see in between tours. A lot of my off-time is pretty boring. I stay in a lot and enjoy quiet and privacy. The day or so before we leave we will be getting all the equipment that we are bringing together and packing.
I don't think that a member leaving is a sign of weakness in the bandI think you're the third band in the last week I've interviewed who will be heading to Australia next year. It's quite a big trip with no other countries close by. It seems bands both big and small are starting to put Australia on their to-do list...
We had the opportunity to tour there last year with Funeral for a Friend, and it was an amazing experience. We were thrilled to see that we had a good number of fans waiting for us to get there. This time we'll be doing a festival tour, so it will be nice to get to play to bigger crowds and have the opportunity to win over a lot of new fans. It's a beautiful country and we are all looking forward to going to a warm place in the middle of January.
The band has had a handful of member changes since its start. Do you feel like band member changes are the norm these days? People often relate member changes to weakening of the band
I joined the band in 2003, and was aware of a lot of members before me, and have seen several members since. Touring in a band full time is a hard job. I know a lot of people think it's all fun and games, but the truth is that it is a full time commitment and requires a lot of sacrifices. We have to give up a lot of what people take for granted when you get to be in one place all the time. It puts a strain on your personal relationships and it is unbelievably tough when money is tight or non-existent. It is something that is not for everyone, and it wears on people.
I don't think that a member leaving is a sign of weakness in the band, more I see it as people realizing that the lifestyle presented by this opportunity is something that can't make them happy and that they would be better suited for something else.
Bayside released the live album on the same day as the new album. Could you tell me more about that?
The idea behind this was to kind of increase the band's presence in the marketplace, and try something that hadn't been done before. When we were working with Victory Records we thought it would offer 2 different sides of Bayside: the live show and the new studio album.
You might get this a lot, I don't know. But I'd also like to know what it has been like working with Victory Records and Tony Brummel over the last 4/5 years. Would you say the negative light Tony is put in is untrue? Why do you think people feel this way?
All I can speak on is our relationship with Victory Records and Tony Brummel. We've always been a hardworking band that takes on a lot on our own and Victory Records was always a facilitator for us and for our ideas. We came into the label looking for someone to help us get to where we wanted to go and not necessarily as someone who was going to just hand us everything. Our relationship has been positive.
I believe your contract is up with Victory Records. Will you be looking to make another deal with Victory Records or try another label?
We are out of contract now, but we are currently focusing on promoting our new records more than anything else now. It would be too easy to get caught up in thinking about the wrong things now and forgetting that touring and promoting Shudder, and Live at the Bayside Social Club. When it comes time to think about the next record we will get our heads in that game.
You've released an album every year pretty much. Do you find yourselves to be fast writers? When do you take the time to write an album?
Anthony is constantly recording new parts and we are usually playing new bits and pieces during sound checks or practices. When it comes down to actually putting a record together it has typically been a pretty quick process. It's great to be in a band with 3 other people that work really well together and are all talented musicians. I think the actual assembly of Shudder before the studio was about three and a half weeks.
If any, is there anything you'd consider to be a big setback for the band?
"I don't think that a member leaving is a sign of weakness in the band."
I really don't think that there are any worth mentioning at the moment. We've always been pretty lucky in that respect. There's not too many things that would stop us from doing what we do.
You worked with Shep Goodman and Kenny Gioia on your two records prior to Shudder. Do you think working with David Schiffman this time altered the sound of the record at all? If you could criticize your album, is there anything you are unhappy with?
We all had a great time and incredibly positive experience in the studio with Dave. He's a talented engineer and we had a great working relationship with him. After 2 records with Shep and Kenny, it was nice to get fresh ears on a new project. He definitely had a different take on some of the ways we have traditionally sounded, but it was all welcomed. This was a record that we are all pretty thoroughly satisfied with.
What kind of gear do you have?
At the moment, I am playing a Gibson Les Paul Classic outfitted with Seymore Duncan pickups (JB and Jazz), I'm also playing a custom shop Standard Les Paul with Burstbuckers (and the slim taper 60's neck). I have 2 Epiphone Les Paul model guitars as well. I have an Ebony Elitest, which I've outfitted with a Seymore Duncan Screamin' Demon, and a 490R in the neck. I also have an Epiphone Silverburst Les Paul custom with the same pickup configuration as the Ebony Epiphone.
For amps I'm using a Mesa Boogie Stiletto Deuce and I have a Mesa Boogie Mark IV that is used for backup mostly these days. These go to my Standard Recto 4x12 cabinets. For pedals I have a BOSS tuner, DD3 delay, a noise suppressor, and EQ. I use a Dunlop phase 90, and a Morley Bad Horsie 2 switchless wah. That's pretty much it.
I've noticed Bayside interacts with fans on the internet a lot. Do you think recording and playing live is only half the job of being in a band?
We've always been a band that has had a close relationship with our fans. At our shows we spend a lot of time in the show in the crowd, at the bar, or at the merch table. We have also spent a lot of time running our own MySpace page. It's those type of things that I think give us a closer bond withour fans.
As a musician, is there any separation from your personal life?
I can't speak on behalf of Anthony, who is the lyricist, but our music is very personal to us, and I love the fact that our individual influences can be heard in our music. I love being in a band that celebrates diversity in our listening and welcomes new influences. That to me seems personal, and makes our band more about what we want to play and sound like more that what we feel we should sound like.
Interview by Evan Greenblo