Yellowcard Interview - Ryan Key | ThePunkSite.com
I had the chance to talk to Ryan Key
of Yellowcard while his band mates Sean and Ben had a nice little game of billiards
behind us. The interview was fun, I know I learnt some new things about Yellowcard
that I didn't know before. I'd like to thank Seth for some help with the questions
and Colleen, Nathan and Jennifer for setting it all up.
|Label: Capitol Records||Location:
January 19th, 2004||Interviewer: Bobby
Bobby: So Ryan, you're the singer and guitarist of Yellowcard; how
long have you been playing the guitar?
Ryan: Since I was about 13 years
old, so it's been about 11 years.
Bobby: Okay, "Ocean Avenue",
your newest CD name. Where did you come up with that name?
a street in our home town of Jacksonville, Florida, out at the beach. It was just
a place where a couple of our friends lived and we spent a lot of time there growing
up. Our last few years before moving away, our last few summers, it was just a
memorable place for us.
Bobby: What would you say is your favorite song
off the album is and why?
Ryan: Umm, that's a hard one. I think "Only
One" probably. Because we sort of wrote that song in the studio, it was sort
of the least expected song. We didn't plan it out, we just made it out as went
along. So it was kind of fun because we don't ever write like that. On the fly,
you know? We usually have everything really prepared. So I really enjoyed putting
that together in the studio.
Bobby: Why did you pick "Way Away"
as your first single?
Ryan: I think we wanted to go with something that
was a little more tough, a little more edgy, to put out there first. We didn't
want to fall into some sort of poppy thing; we didn't want people to get the first
impression that all we write were poppy songs we wanted them to know that we can
write harder stuff as well.
Bobby: Okay, you recently filmed a video
for your next single "Ocean Avenue", why did you pick that as your second
Ryan: I don't know. The label did. They just really felt that
the song had a hook to it that was gonna do well on the radio. I mean, we don't
really care what the singles are as a band. We're just out here rocking. Whatever
the record label wants to do with all that stuff, that's kind of their deal. If
it goes well, that's awesome; but we're more concerned about playing live and
having the best shows that we can have.
Bobby: What is the video about?
It's really cool actually. It's kind of like an action-adventure. Like we have
cars blasting through stuff and peeling out. Two guys, Sean and LP played like
these two villain guys and I played sort of the good guy. There just like lead
girl in it and she takes something from me and I'm sort of chasing her down to
get it but these two guys are chasing me. So it's really fast and action packed;
it's gonna be pretty rad I think.
Bobby: How do you guys normally write
all your songs?
Ryan: I usually write a melody and a chord structure,
core production and come to the band and just sort of sing the melody for them
and then we just work from there. We just build it from the ground up. So it's
like the skeleton is sort of written by me and the band really puts the skin on
it and makes it a song.
Bobby: All right, so you guys went from Lobster
Records to Fueled By Ramen Records to Capitol Records; how did all those transitions
Ryan: Well we left Lobster when Capitol came and asked if we
wanted to sign with them and there were a few other major labels that wanted to
do it; but Capitol ended up just being the best place. We actually went straight
to Capitol from Lobster and Capitol put out our EP on Fueled By Ramen. They sort
of licensed it out to them to keep more of a indie thing going before we launched
the big major release. We wanted to keep it underground and keep it real accessible
to our fans and the underground kids. Everything was real smooth though, good
transitions. Nothing's been bad.
Bobby: That's really good. Okay, so
I've heard a couple rumors about Sean. First I heard he fell out of a third floor
balcony last year in January. Is that true?
Ryan: It's true.
How did that all happen?
Ryan: He was just a little intoxicated and
goofing around. And the wood on the balcony broke out from under his feet and
he tumbled to the pavement. That was pretty narly.
Bobby: Okay, I've
also heard that he punched you in the face and broke your jaw.
That's also true.
Bobby: How did that end up happening?
Another night of alcoholic beverages, a few too many of them. We were just fooling
around and it got out of hand. It was probably the most stupid thing we've ever
done. But whatever, you make mistakes, you know?
Bobby: Ya, everyone
does. You guys play a lot of high school shows and give the options for high schoolers
to ask them to play for you on the day of the show. Why do you do all of that?
I don't know. We had done it a couple times in California once we moved out. Sean
and I were waiting tables at Chili's and some of the kids would come in and would
be like "Hey, you guys should come play at our high scool, we're having this
event or this function." And we'd go do it. Last year when we started the
tour, we decided we should try and book those kind of shows, like high schools
across the country because; I don't know. Because there's a lot of kids at high
schools, especially freshman I think, at high school that their parent's don't
really let them go out to shows. I think a lot of parents think that it's a really
bad place to be, they don't really understand that it's really actually a positive
environment for kids to go. So it's kind of a way for us to bring our music to
them, instead of them having to come to us.
Bobby: You guys are about
to embark on your first tour of the year, with Jersey and Eve 6, are you excited
Ryan: For the Eve 6 tour?
Yes, it's awesome. This is our, like you said, first tour of the year and we're
in Canada; we've never done a Canadian tour before. We've only done Toronto, Montreal
and Quebec City and we've done each of those cities twice, but we've never been
to central or western Canada. I wish it wasn't negative one billion degrees outside,
but it's nice to get up here. And finally, the kids up here who know who we are,
it's nice to finally get to play for them.
Bobby: Sadly, it's a lot nicer
now then it has been. Today's really hot compared to what it has been the past
Ryan: Well we here that in Toronto it's gonna be so cold,
we're not going to know what to do with ourselves.
Bobby: Ya, from Florida
Ryan: Ya, from Florida to Southern California to Canada,
it's a bit different.
Bobby: Well, it is the beginning of the new year,
2003 just ended. What would you say were your favorite moments of 2003?
My favorite moment of 2003 was on the Warped Tour last year, in Toronto actually.
I got to play guitar on-stage with Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, which is made
up of every legend. I mean those guys were everything to me when I was in high
school growing up. So I was playing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" standing
next to Fat Mike and running around with Joey Cape. And ever since them I've made
such good friends with those guys and it just blows your mind, you know? You never
would've thought that now you could just call them. You can just call Joey Cape,
"What's up man? How's it going?"; it's the coolest feeling ever. But
that moment was definitely the highlight of my year. I'll never forget it.
If you could pick one person or band, dead or alive, to tour with, would you pick
Ryan: Bens Fold Five, because they are my favorite band on
the whole planet.
Bobby: What is the one thing you like most about touring?
The shows, man. Getting on stage every night and seeing everyone singing back
at you, it's the best feeling in the world?
Bobby: What's the thing you
hate most about touring?
Ryan: Having to put all your clothes in a plastic
bin underneath a bus and have to get out and dig through everything to get to
one thing. Living out of a duffle bag. I hate it. I hate it. That's the worst
Bobby: You guys use a violin in most of your songs, that's not
something a lot of bands do. Why do you decide to do it?
the band started in high school, Sean just started jamming with the guys. We were
all friends and Sean and Ben did some stuff together, like Coffee house type classical
pieces, and when Ben started the band, he's said "Hey Sean, come jam on this
one song." And it turned into more then one song and he just kind of never
went away. And he's been in the band ever since.
Bobby: How has being
in a band changed your life?
Ryan: I mean, it's completely changed my
life. I don't know, it's like a big dream of mine and I'm actually making it come
true. It's changed it in everyone I know. I'm not at home working at my dad's
car dealership anymore. I'm not going to college anymore. All the things I necessarily
wasn't really into. I'm getting to do what I want to do with my life and I hope
more people can experience it. Whether it be in a band or whatever but can kind
of get off their ass and stop doing stuff they don't want to do and go for whatever
they want, you know?
Bobby: Ya. Now-a-days you can find MP3s all over
the Internet, Kazaa, Morpheus, things like that. How do you feel about it? Good?
Bad? What's your opinion?
Ryan: I'm on the fence. Because if they weren't
available, I don't think the band would be half way where it is. You know? A lot
of kids found our first record by downloading it, and that's most of our fans,
I believe. But at the same time, now, as you start to make a career, it's true:
you want to sell records and you want to be able to sort of make a living, you
know? I think it definitely does hurt it, but I haven't noticed it to a level
where I'm against it. I think it's still better that kids are getting a hold of
our music, whether it's by buying it or not. As long as they are listening to
Bobby: I recently read an article in Alternative Press, and one of
the main themes was "Through Music You Can Live Forever". What do you
think about that quote?
Ryan: I back it up. Like, I don't know how to
explain it, but I just turned 24 in December and I still fell like I'm 19. You
know what I mean? Because we are having so much fun out there and I don't feel
like I'm getting older because all we're doing is music.
Bobby: If you
were stranded on a desert island, with no fun or anything to eat. Which one of
the band members would you eat first to survive?
Ryan: Oh God. Probably
Alex because he falls asleep like anywhere. So he would probably be the easiest
to sneak up on and kill him and eat him. 'Cause he can fall asleep sitting straight
up in a chair, so he'd probably be the easiest kill.
Bobby: If you could
have one thing at this moment, anything at all, what would it be and why?
One thing right now?
Ryan: Ahh, man... Like a material
Ryan: Ahh jeeze, man. Honestly,
this will sound like I'm coming up with the "right" answer, but I'd
like to, I don't know what I want to do, but something I could do for my dad.
If I could do something big for him, like buy him a boat or retire him or something.
If I could do that right now, I would love to be able to do that.
I guess that's about it. Do you have any shout outs before we end?
No, but if you could put something on your site to check out a band that I'm managing
called "Reeve Oliver". It's spelt R-E-E-V-E and then the name "Oliver";
they have a website, reeveoliver.com. And they're just writing some incredibly
music that's really different and fresh.
Bobby: I will do. Thanks a lot
for doing the interview.
Ryan: Ya man, thank's a lot.