Say Anything defends the ‘genre’ on tour

By on March 26, 2008

Say Anything has faced many setbacks, including a hospitalization of their lead singer Max Bemis in 2005 for a nervous breakdown. Bemis was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has used what would normally be a hindrance to many people, as a tool in writing honest and intriguing songs about his disorder, falling in love and what it means to be Jewish. The Chronicle recently spoke with Jake Turner, 23, who is one of the guitarists for Say Anything, about their current headlining tour, their new album and what it’s like to share the stage with his brother, Jeff.

Say Anything is currently headlining a tour with Manchester Orchestra, Biffy Clyro and Weatherbox. The tour, which comes after the release of their latest CD “In Defense of The Genre” in October of 2007, has sold out dates in Philadelphia and New York City.

“I’m not gonna lie, this is by far my favorite tour we’ve ever done,” Turner said. “Just like musically and as people everywhere, the other bands, the other crews, even our crew, it’s my favorite crew we’ve ever had.”

Although the new album features 27 songs, many of which have guest vocalists from bands like Paramore, My Chemical Romance and The Starting Line, Turner said that the band usually pulls it off live and different members of the band will fill in where the guest vocalists usually sing. Turner said, “We were really nervous the first night of the tour.” He then added, “The crowd has been amazing, it’s just like the older songs.”

Back in April of 2006 Say Anything played WQAQ’s Spring Concert and was the first band to sell out a WQAQ show since The Ramones played in 1984. Turner said how college shows usually aren’t like normal shows in a venue because kids aren’t allowed to have as much fun and go crazy, but that their show at Quinnipiac was “definitely an exception.” Turner said, “That show was like a show. It didn’t seem like we were at college that day.” Turner added how his favorite songs to play from the new album are “Plea” and “Skinny Mean Man,” but that his all time favorite is “Admit It,” from their older album “.Is a Real Boy.”

Even though the new record “In Defense of the Genre,” is in many ways different from “.Is a Real Boy,” Turner said he doesn’t think the album differs that much. “I think it’s matured, it’s not as dramatic. But overall lyrically, the lyrics are still in the same range,” he said. “I think the guitar parts are actually a lot harder on the new record than they were on the old record. It’s more elaborate.”

Lyrics are one of the things Say Anything is known best for, often having songs that are blunt and blatantly honest.

Turner said that Bemis usually starts off writing the songs himself on an acoustic guitar and then everyone else begins to elaborate on the songs. When it comes to lyrics, Bemis is the only one in the band who writes them. “He is the lyrics in the band,” Turner said.

Turner also shares the stage with his brother Jeff, who is also a guitarist for the band. The brothers have a side project called XO. When asked what it’s like to be in a band with his brother, Turner said, “It’s like dealing with any sibling. We’ve been playing music together for so long, we know what we like and how we’re going to react to things.” He added, “I’ve always played music with him, ever since I was in 4th grade. I don’t know if I could play music without him. I’m really fortunate that he’s in the band with me.”

Say Anything will be playing Toads Place on March 27. Check out for more information.


About Meghan Driscoll