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Max Bemis, Say Anything


It’s been a long, tough journey for Californian Max Bemis as the vocalist of pop/punk band Say Anything. Speaking with AARON BRYANS, he retells the band’s troubles and the move to a new line-up.

For Max Bemis, the life of a pop/punk star has its positives and negatives.

Being the lead singer of a successful group whose previous seven albums were widely hailed, battling bipolar and drug addictions have been issues that instead of holding him down, have been inspirations which have led to the birth of albums such as Say Anything hit LP, …Is A Real Boy.

“I think it would be nothing if it wasn’t for my state at the time,” Bemis reveals. “I don’t mean to say that my tumultuous state inspired the record but I’d like to think it was my talent and my dedication and the people collaborating with me on the record that made it what it is. But there is an element of it that is so sourced from my soul and my soul was going through all this stuff beyond smoking pot or being bipolar but really this expression of general reality. I think whatever was going on with me at the time helped father that record; it wouldn’t be what it was without it.”

After Bemis’ personal issues left the band sidelined in 2005, they returned with a new line-up that would continue to rotate. That constant changes failed to become an issue for Say Anything’s sound, as Bemis reveals, was because the band was largely structured around his own musical inspirations.

“The line-up has been shifting literally since we started the band,” Bemis explains. “I think the only real major line-up change that doesn’t downplay the influence of Alex (Kent) and anyone else on a record for us was when Coby (Linder) parted ways with the ban. I have to say to Coby that he is one of the most talented drummers I’ve ever worked with. Thankfully, I think we came out on the other end. There’ll always be something amazing about the stuff he created and influenced and no one can take that away from him or us. In terms of the future and the present of the band, I wouldn’t say the line-up changes on the record have been a big thing for us, because it’s really always been me calling the shots and anyone who’s in the band will admit that.

What used to happen was I’d write the songs and imagine all the parts. When Alex was in the band basically he learnt around my parts. I’d give them a basic outline of what I’d want and they’d expand it with their talents. When we got into the studio they’d lay down the basic drums and then I’d be in the studio for months doing everything else.

The only job that there was that I wasn’t already doing was bass and drums and they were being played by other people. I mapped them out on Logic, these super basic versions, and then we’d have someone come in and it would sound a lot better in the end because these were actual talented drummers.”

The band are currently on tour in support of their new album Hebrews and are down under kicking off with their show at Amplifier.

I think there is a sense of enthusiasm, the touring line-up has always been amazing I’ve been really blessed to have good guys in the band at all times,” Bemis laughs.

It’s so chill, it’s very different than the last touring line-up in the sense that we’ve formed an identity together, we’ve been touring for almost 10 years, it’s like living with someone.”

Say Anything hit Amplifier this Wednesday, October 15, with guests Dan Cribb & The Isolated.


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