POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 18, 2013:
Fighting the Good Fight
Legal battles not slowing these guys down
Those who know the band A Day to Remember (ADTR) know that the band has grown immensely since it was founded ten years ago. My first experience with the group was in spring of 2007 as they played a show for roughly 100 kids at Crush Lounge. Since then, the band has found a much larger audience with its blend of pop/punk and post-hardcore metal and continued to play to increasingly larger crowds, growing into headlining Brady Theater with its last visit to Tulsa in 2011.
Even though ADTR found its biggest success and largest audiences with What Separates Me From You, the group went seemingly silent for a bit after the tour cycle, but the buzz came back alive when the group announced it was working on a new album last winter and even streamed a new track on its website in December. On May 8 of this year, the band had announced its new album would be titled Common Courtesy, which raised expectations amongst fans even more, but a release date had yet to be announced.
What most fans didn't realize, because the band kept to themselves was that the group has been in a protracted battle with Victory Records over the release of new material. In September, however, the band broke its silence and announced a release date of October 8, even as it was still battling with the label.
During this time, the band hasn't been idle. A spring tour across the U.S., followed by overseas dates over the summer has kept the band active. Now, the group prepares to arrive in Tulsa next week for a show at Cox Business Center as ADTR takes on its biggest tour to date -- even as the release of its new album is in a state of limbo.
Fortunately, I was able to catch up briefly with guitarist Kevin Skaff as the tour was kicking off to catch up and get the latest developments in ADTR land.
Of course, the big question that continues to hover like a cloud over the band is "What is the actual status of the new album?" and Skaff was candid, even if he couldn't get into the details of the battle.
"Honestly, we don't know what the status is right now," he said. "The record is done, but we've got a guy trying to keep it from coming out. We'll find out October 2 what the actual status is. The judge rules on the case on October 2, and depending on how his judgment goes, it will dictate if the record comes out on October 8. If things go our way on the 2nd, we'll release the album digitally on October 8 and a physical CD release will come shortly after.
"It's all kind of in limbo and right now everything is up in the air," he continued. "We just want to release this music and if that means us doing it ourselves, so be it."
When asking if he could divulge any more information on the battle, Skaff said "The details get kind of sloppy. Basically, it's just us and our label in a big disagreement over what can and should be done."
As for fans wondering about the actual status of the record, however, Skaff assured me that the album is complete.
"It's fully done," he said, "including mastering and all of the art work. We're just waiting to get it out now."
When asked about the preview track that was released to stream on the band's website last winter, Skaff explained that "We just wanted to get a song out at that point because everyone was hitting us up on the internet asking when there would be new music. We put out 'Violence' because that was the only song we were kind of done tracking at that point, so we could give the fans something to hear."
"The funny thing is," he added with a sly chuckle, "is what we put out was just an early rough mix. It's not even close to the final version that will be on the album."
The band took it upon itself to record the album out of pocket, shouldering the expense as it continued to wrangle with the label and even started touring in the spring.
"Since we couldn't release the record, we just decided we would keep on touring," Skaff explained. "That's just what we do and we never really stop unless it's to work on a record, so once we were finished we figured we might as well go out on the road. We did a US tour with Of Mice and Men in February and March and spent all summer in the UK, Europe and Australia touring and playing festivals."
Now, the band is heading out on a major US trek with the "House Party Tour" which pairs ADTR up with All Time Low, Pierce the Veil, and the Wonder Years as the band prepares to play one of its biggest tours to date.
"We actually booked this to be our first big tour on the new record," Skaff explained, "but since we can't put it out yet we've had to decide how to do things to make things even bigger. We've gone all out to put on the craziest show possible. We've got flames and staging and all kinds of stuff -- it's a full out theater production with heavy metal music and we'll start playing some of the new stuff."
When asking how the protracted battle with the label has affected the music and tone of the new album, Skaff answered "It's funny you ask, because even though we've been in such a frustrating time, I think the record is more upbeat.
"This record is more like Homesick in that it's more upbeat and cohesive, but it's also a little more metal than the last record and more like For Those Who Have Heart. I feel like it's a lot more upbeat and cohesive than anything we've done before, so those fans who liked those two records should be really happy with this one."
When asked what else is on the horizon for the group, Skaff shared that "We just kicked this tour off in Denver, so we're doing this tour and then we're going back to the UK and Europe in January. The touring doesn't stop for us: that's just what we do.
"The big thing, though, is we're doing everything in our power to get this new music out," he concluded. "We're just going to keep fighting the fight."
While the fight rages on in court, ADTR puts the focus on its fans as it brings its biggest production to date to town as "The House Party Tour" September 25. Tickets are still available for $37.50 in advance for a show that keeps with ADTR's penchant for mixing genre's with the pop leaning of The Wonder Years, metalcore punch of Pierce the Veil and pop-punk of All Time Low. Of course, A Day To Remember will mix it all up to wrap up the night with its biggest production yet in a show that will likely draw a younger crowd, but provide something for everyone.
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