Interview With The Wonder Years - 29th November 2011
Photo Of The Wonder Years © Copyright The Wonder YearsJames caught up with The Wonder years to talk about how the band come together as well as their hectic stage show and much more.

Now The Wonder Years have been around for a five years or so, you’ve released 3 albums and have toured all over the place, now for people that might not know a lot about you of you can you give a brief history of the band and how you came up with the name?
Soupy: A brief history of the band is as follows. We thought it’d be funny to write some songs about senseless bullshit, we wrote said songs, said songs came out on a record. We then decided to be a real band and to write real songs, those songs came out on several other records and since then we’ve just been touring as hard as we can. The band’s name holds no significance whatsoever. At the time we were just writing these empty songs about nothing just for fun and there was no point in putting any thought into a name at that point. We then thought it was unwise to change the name midway through the upswing for us so we left it.

What can someone who has never seen you before expect from your live show?
Soupy: If we’re headlining we’ll play 15 to 17 songs but if we’re supporting we’ll play about 8. We generally play a mix between “The Upsides” and “Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing”. If we’re doing a headlining set then we’ll do some tracks off some of our 7” records. Six guys on stage getting sweaty is what you can expect and we tend to do stupid things. I don’t want to say expect it, cus you know, I don’t jump off the PA stack every time we play, but it happens*. It depends on the show and the vibe as well as how dangerous of a dive it is. We just tend to put everything we can into our live set.

*Just half hour after the interview, Soupy decided whilst playing the gig that the stage was too small, so he jumped off stage and performed half of their set in the crowd, so he didn’t jump of a PA but he did make their set memorable!

Your latest album “Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing” was released in June this year, how has it been going down with the fans and critics?
Soupy: It has been critically the most warmly received album we’ve ever done. The reviews were all really highly rated which was exciting for us. I guess the best judge is when you play a set and you look out and see kids going off just as hard for the new songs as the old ones. That’s not a common thing so it’s exciting for us. A lot of times people want to hear the old stuff and when you play the new stuff they’re more laid back. We get the same reaction for any song if not a bigger reaction for the newer stuff. That’s a good sign because it means we’re growing.

You've just released the video for your new single "come out swinging", which has a girl dressed as a ghost playing pranks; do you guys like playing pranks?
Soupy: No (laughter). We’re not really social guys, we’re kind of awkward and I feel like all the pranksters are cool people. I don’t think I have pulled a good prank in my entire life. The video wasn’t so much about pranks for me. I wrote the treatment for the video and the song has the line “I spent this year as a ghost” so I started thinking about just ghosts in general. That led to me thinking about the idea of being lost, psychically lost like being away and not always having a place and then in more of a metaphorical way of being lost and being angsty. I had this young girl dress up as a ghost and use her suburban terrorism as a kind of outlet for the angst. That feeling of being upset but you’re not sure what has upset you. It’s kind of this thing of I’m upset and fuck the world, I’m gonna take it down with me but put into the ideology of a child and what they could do to tear down the world.

Did you direct the video?
Soupy: I came up with the idea and then it’s all d.i.y. We had our friends Mitch and Larry help and we got my little cousin Megan to dress up as a ghost so that was her big acting debut, although she did play Eeyore in a school play (laughter). So yeah we just got our friends together and shot it over two days and Mitch and Larry made the ideas in my head come to life for me. We like to be hands on in any way we can. For instance when a lot of people write a record they’ll write pieces of it and then go into a studio and work with a producer and cut out some songs. We wrote thirteen songs for this record and all thirteen of them are on it because we spent months on each one crafting it before anyone else even heard it.

Your website has a nice idea which shows a map and which tells the fans what locations inspired the songs on the latest album, who came up with this unique idea, does it mean allot to you to share your inspiration and what’s the deal with the pigeon?
Soupy: I stole the idea from a band called “The Hold Steady”. A lot of their songs have a lot of references bedded into them and somebody took the time to find those references and put them onto a map of the twin cities. I thought it was really cool and wanted to do something similar. We wanted to make it more localised so we made it about our home town and told our stories through that medium.

The pigeon began with our old keyboard player who hated pigeons; it was just this horrible bird that nobody wanted around. We just started thinking about it more when we were all going to college. Because we weren’t really a full time band it means that nobody can really “care too much” as far as the industry was concerned. I’ve put air quotes around that so please include that and this in your transcription (laughter). As far as the industry in concerned that want people who are working on this all the time and we were only working on it part of the time but twice as hard to catch up. If we couldn’t be on tour because we were at school then we were writing and releasing a 7” or touring all weekend. We were running ourselves ragged doing this because we had jobs. Classes and then I was doing these teaching programs at different schools. Nobody cared and nobody listened because we weren’t a full time band. We felt like we were unwanted but instead of letting that destroy us we let that be the catalyst to a lot of things and we would push harder. I fell that’s like a pigeon and what a pigeon does. They’re everywhere in every city in the world in their droves despite how bad people hate them. That’s how we felt about ourselves as a band, no matter how much people didn’t want us there we were gonna crash the party.

You’ve played allot of gigs and festivals this year including the Kerrang tour with Good Charlotte and Four Year Strong, The Warped Tour, your own headline tour, you’ve just finish New Found Glorys “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” tour and your now on this Saves The Day/ Yellowcard tour. You’ve pretty much been none stop touring since the start of the year. Do you find it hard being on the road of have you grown used to it and what has been your main Highs and Lows of the this year?
Soupy: It’s definitely hard especially when you’re doing a US tour. We’ll be here and our driver will be like “ahh man we’ve gotta drive six hours tonight” and I’m like “yeah”. He thinks that’s far where at home an average drive is six hours where a bad drive is like twelve or thirteen and sometimes you have to do those and then play a show. We don’t get to leave after a show until one in the morning, load in is at 2pm so there’s only thirteen hours in between which means you have to drive nonstop. You get gas, cram food in yourself and try to sleep in the van but it’s not really comfortable. It’s hard, you get sick and your back hurts. You definitely want to go home sometimes but at the same time I got to spend this entire year playing music to people that want to hear us play, I got to spend most of this year on tour with people that I’ve spent my entire life looking up to as musicians and as people and I’ve got to go to a lot of countries in the past couple of years. We’ve played almost every state and seen those sites that you go on vacation to see. We stopped in the Redwood Forest and we got to see the biggest tree in the world, although I think it’s like the third biggest tree in the world because they don’t want to tell you where the biggest one is in case you carve your name in to it (laughter). There are pros and cons to it like there is which any job although this one definitely has a lot of ups

What does the future hold for the Wonder Years?
Soupy: This is our eleventh week without going home so in two more we go home but we play three shows. Then I’m going to Monday Night Raw and then we’re off for like two months. After that I think we’ll do some headline stuff, come back here and hopefully go to Australia again. That’s really where our plans end at the moment and then it becomes this ambiguous do we go on tour again or do we start writing some more songs and that question hasn’t been answered yet.

One last question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a zebra and a giraffe which would you be and why?
Soupy: A giraffe because they’re big as shit. That’s a good of reason as any right? (laughter)

Thanks for your time; do you have a message for your fans reading this?
Soupy: That’s a weird question because it’s normally the same answer that everyone gives, you know, that were grateful etc. Er I dunno, whatever the last band you interviewed said copy and paste that for me but put that I said that (laughter)

Er, what band was it? I think it was Capdown or New Found Glory

Soupy: Definitely put New Found Glory’s answer down!

“Thank you so much for supporting our band, we appreciate it and hopefully we’ll see you next time we come through!” – Ian, New Found Glory

Interview by James Daly
 Band Members

Dan "Soupy" Campbell
Matt Brasch
Josh Martin
Casey Cavaliere
Nick Steinborn
Mike Kennedy
 Latest Releases
The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing
Release Date - 14th June 2011

1. Came Out Swinging
2. Woke Up Older
3. Local Man Ruins Everything
4. Suburbia
5. My Life as a Pigeon
6. Summers in PA (feat. Dan O'Connor and Alan Day of Four Year Strong)
7. I Won't Say the Lord's Prayer
8. Coffee Eyes
9. I've Given You All
10. Don't Let Me Cave In
11. You Made Me Want to Be a Saint
12. Hoodie Weather
13. And Now I'm Nothing
 Band Related Links
The Wonder Years Myspace