Yellowcard Still Feels so Right

Photo by Katie Hovland

Yellowcard (L to R- Josh Portman, Ryan Mendez, Ryan Key, Sean Mackin. Photo by Katie Hovland.

Story by Sarah Spohn

Florida’s own rock band Yellowcard is returning to the alternative pop punk world. If you’re one of the millions of black t-shirt and Etnies sneaker-wearing teenagers who sung along to every word of “Ocean Avenue,” then get ready to rock. Again.
While we’re not 16 anymore, Yellowcard continues to take us on that seaside drive. And yes, it still “feels so right sleeping all day, staying up all night.” Just like your fashion sense has grown, so too, has Yellowcard grown up. Their first major label album debut of Ocean Avenue came in 2002.

Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, the band recognized the music milestone and gave fans an extra special anniversary gift. Ocean Avenue was re-recorded and released as an acoustic version. Then, the cherry on top, the band went on an acoustic tour playing the album in its entirety. Yellowcard guitarist Ryan Mendez, while not in the band during their hugely successful album, spoke about what it was like to re-visit their iconic record.

Mendez saw the success closely, as a friend of the band since 1998 and around the time Ocean Avenue was being made and getting big. This time around, for the acoustic tour, Mendez was on board.

“It was quite a long set for us,” Mendez said. “It was a marathon. We were playing the entire record, front to back, and then taking a break and coming out and playing a full electric set. It was a lot, but it was really fun.”

Re-visiting the reminiscent record from start to finish is definitely a throwback in itself. Given today’s day and age of streaming music, and the infamous shuffle button, albums are rarely listened to in their entirety, in order. But for Yellowcard fans at their live shows, they were able to see each song, in order, performed live. Mendez spoke about his longing for the good old days of music.

“It’s kind of sad that that’s not really a concept that happens much these days. There’s nothing quite like putting a record in and listening to the whole thing,” Mendez said. “Unfortunately, these days, with the way the landscape has shifted, it’s very single song oriented and internet-streaming, etcetera. So I long for those days again.”

History tends to repeat itself. And when Yellowcard was brainstorming ideas to celebrate their hugely successful record, it was no different. Having already recorded an acoustic version of When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes, mixed and produced by Mendez, followed by the 2008 acoustic tour’s success, the band repeated the idea.

“The acoustic vibe and environment has always been a part of this band’s music,” Mendez said. And the band is setting sail again, into the sea of new music with their latest album, Lift a Sail, released October of this year. The album was released digitally, on CD, and even vinyl. While there’s certainly been a recent resurgence of vinyl, according to Mendez, he wouldn’t consider it an “in” just yet.

“I don’t know if I would use the word trendy,” Mendez said. “For me, anytime an older medium of playback, like vinyl or anything like that – I mean, even cassettes and CDs at this point are just totally outdated with the way the masses consume their music. They download stuff or they just stream it, they don’t even have a copy of it. Anytime there’s a way to maintain a sense of the old days, I think it’s great.”

Even on their current tour with Emarosa and Memphis May Fire, Yellowcard fans can definitely expect to take a walk down Memory Lane via “Ocean Avenue.” Guitar player Mendez said the band never tires of playing older songs. In fact, it’s some of his favorite stuff to play live.

“Ocean Avenue, it sounds cliché because people always say, ‘Oh, don’t you get tired of playing that?’ The answer is we don’t, because everytime we play that song, the crowd goes nuts and they’re screaming the words. How could that get old?”

Michigan fans can catch a wave of Yellowcard’s new material at their show Friday, Nov. 7 at the Crofoot in Pontiac.

The concert will also double as special homecoming for Mendez, a Michigan native. “I’m actually from Detroit originally,” Mendez said.

“I was born in Dearborn. My family is from Detroit… I spent a really, really large portion of my childhood in Detroit.” Despite moving to Southern California at a young age, Mendez continues to root for The Detroit Lions, Tigers and Red Wings. “I was all Detroit sports from a very young age and that’s always how I’ve been.”

To catch the fellow Michigander live on stage alongside his pals in Yellowcard, visit crofoot.com for tickets and more information.

Photo by Kate Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

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