I had the chance to interview Say Anything’s Parker, Coby, Alex and Jake before their show at Pipeline Cafe in Honolulu, HI, where they discussed everything from music to marriage, along with their goals for the future. This incredibly outgoing band truly did say anything, and showed their dedication to their fans as well as their music. Make sure to catch Say Anything playing in a show near you!
A huge thanks goes to Sheri Ladner of RCA music group, Kyle Gebhart, Josh, and of course, the guys of Say Anything, for making this interview possible.
– How did Say Anything come to be the band that it is today?
Coby: Say Anything started a long time ago, like 9 years ago, when Max was in 10th grade and I was in 9th. We met at Jewish summer camp, and we have been playing together ever since. Everyone that’s in the band now, we met on tour after high school when we were touring with an old lineup that wasn’t good. We met Alex when we were touring with his band, Lance’s Hero. We met Parker at a train station, randomly, on the way to our manager’s wedding, and we were like, “Hey do you want to play in our band? We’ve got this guy from Lucky Seven who might play, but we’d rather have you.” We met Jeff and Jake, the twins, when we were on tour, and a year later we asked them to join the band after our two guitar players quit. We’ve had this lineup now for like two years and two months.
– Where did the name Say Anything come from?
Alex: From the movie
C: Yeah…It’s definitely from the movie.
– Have there been any major changes since your first album?
C: The first being Is A Real Boy? Well, that record was mostly just Max, me on the drums, and some vocals, but everyone since then has been added to the roster. Like Alex plays base on the new record and everything. It’s just a whole new lineup, basically a whole new band. We’ve signed a major label since then, so definitely a lot has changed.
Parker: This current configuration started when Is A Real Boy got re-released on J Records. It had been out on Doghouse for a while.
– What do you want your listeners to feel when they hear your music?
A: I don’t write the lyrics, and about as far as I go is writing the base for the song, but vicariously through Max, I’d like the listeners to be influenced and inspired to create art of their own through music or whatever in an honest and passionate way. There are a lot of bands out there now a days that are possibly writing music for the wrong reasons. I view Max as a really passionate and honest performer, and that’s at least what I’d like kids to feel.
– Is there a theme that runs throughout your lyrics or music?
A: I’d just say that the general theme is autobiography. Like I listen to a song, and it is a song about something that we were all there for or heard stories about. It’s all biographical, at least from how I view it.
C: The thing that is different from the first record is like, I was there for some of it, but I wasn’t at the same time. We weren’t on tour yet and Max is a year older than me so he was in college while I was still in high school and we were kind of apart while he was writing the songs for the first record. But the second record he wrote most of it on tour and a lot of it is like experiences that happened to him when we started touring and when it finished it was basically about his first ever girlfriend that lasted like two years. I never thought about it, I’m just thinking about it right now, but since it’s a double record, one record for each year I guess? Makes sense in a weird way, kind of? But like, with the songs, we have been through it. The song, We Killed It, is about being on a cruise. We were there when he tried to book the cruise, and kept canceling it because his girlfriend was crazy and didn’t want to go on it with him, and they finally came back and he wrote the song on the cruise. So when we play that song we know what he went through, and when we play it live, we can’t ever feel exactly what he felt, but it’s metaphorical enough and not to the point where we could make it our own, live with our own instruments and stuff. You know what I mean?
P: I absolutely concur.
– What’s the hardest thing about being on tour?
A: Sound check’s pretty fucking hard! The hardest thing about being on tour is the instability. Basically, the space you can call yours, is about a small rectangular box, sort of like a coffin, with a mattress and a curtain. That’s your space. You’re literally living in a really really really small tiny tiny apartment that’s like a hallway, and sharing a communal space with 11 people. So you kind of get used to it and it’s cool. You just have to find those times when you need your solitude and walk off somewhere or just find the balance. Although there are the hard times, there are also the amazing times like when you find that amazing Thai place down the street. There is a lot of great stuff too, but that’s what I would say is hard.
C: It’s one of those things where you can’t really complain because you’re on tour and you’re on a bus, and everyone would love to do that, and say, “Wow I wish I were on tour,” and they come on the bus and say, “Wow this is amazing,” but then they are like, “I could never do it.” You have to be that kind of person to put in the back of you’re mind that you’re on tour and living out what you want to do, but this is what you have to do to do it. Yeah you have your bunk, but you can go to the venues and look around and it’s a new thing everyday. It’s stable and unstable at the same time. It’s stable in the fact that everyday is the same, like every day you have set time. By four o’clock you have sound check and by nine o’clock you go on stage. Then you go to your bus and chill out and do whatever you want to do. But at the same time, everyday is not stable because it’s a different city and you don’t know what’s around you, and it’s totally unfamiliar. There are new people everyday and new surprises, like someone coming out from your history that you don’t want to be there…and it’s fucking terrible…and you’re forced to just hang with that girl…
A: Another thing I wanted to add is that when you’re sick, it’s really hard. Because you don’t have your girlfriend or wife to make you soup or get you medicine-
C: -you’re in the same coffin and you can’t sleep on the couch or anything, and you have the same sheets and the same pillow-
A: -it’s just rough when you’re sick.
P: Another thing that’s crazy is you just get on this schedule that only exists with people in bands. You go to bed at the most insane hours and you just sleep twice as long as you normally do and then wake up in the afternoon.
– Who have been your biggest influences?
P: Mine are all over the board. I guess I will always be influenced by the stuff that got me into music, which was early 90’s rock, like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and all that kind of stuff. Then it kind of branched from there, going backwards, and I liked stuff like 80’s new wave music, stuff that is kind of silly and party music because I am always playing such aggressive music. Everything though. I like the Beatles, and all good song writers. All the classics.
C: When I started out listening, it was like Green Day-the first rock band I ever got into-which pretty much got me into music, because I used to listen to Broadway stuff when I was little.
P: I didn’t know that.
C: Oh yeah; Oliver, Les Miserables, that’s my favorite. I have videos of me singing from when I was two with a stick like Oliver and dancing. But drumming-wise it was Dave Grohl, Travis Barker was a really big influence on me for a couple of years, Taylor Hawkins, Keith Moon, Spencer Peterson, and Justin Green’s a really good drummer too.
A: I am currently very influenced and inspired by David Bazan of Pedro the Lion who has been an influence in my life ever since I listened to Control front to back. Some people who influenced my early on in my life were Bush, Nirvana, Dave Grohl in general is just an amazing musician whether he’s singing or on the drums.
– What’s the craziest thing you guys have done on tour?
C: I got into a personal long-term battle with the guitarist of Dashboard. He still hates me. I won’t go into it, but if he reads this, he hates me.
P: Ok. The craziest thing was: one time, our bus driver showed up 15 minutes late to bus call.
Jake: Hi, this is Jake… just live the dream.
P: That’s lame. Jake, what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen on tour?
J: Probably the craziest thing I have seen on tour is, I walked into the bus, it was just casual, and I had had a couple drinks. Next thing I know, my brother and parker are fucking. No I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding. I’ve seen some crazy shit on tour though. Am I allowed to cuss on this? Ok, well there was this really funny thing that happened last tour. Our-I’ll keep his name quiet at this point-he had hooked up with a girl and they are just hanging out on the front lounge, just chilling, and I overheard him say “Hey, who’s on your phone?” And she goes, “Oh that’s my boyfriend,” and I was like, wow, that’s really gnarly, and he was drunk so he didn’t care, but I was like, wow, that’s kind of crazy, that girl has been on our bus all night and has a boyfriend. But then she leaves and I’m like, wow, she left her phone here. And she had in her phone, as her boyfriend’s name, asshole. So I had to call asshole and get him to come back and get her phone. He had just picked her up from our bus. It was pretty gnarly. But either way, that’s a really crazy story. It’s kind of weird right? That’s all.
– Do you guys have groupies or anyone that follow you around?
J: We have a weird crowd. We actually have this cult following, they are part of this clan, not the KKK, it’s the SAK, and it’s really weird. But for all you guys that don’t know about the SAK it’s the Say Anything Klan, and they weird this face makeup, like armor makeup, like our record, you know what I’m talking about? In Our Defense, and they are like an army. So the SAK are crazy, dude. Last time, I met a dude from SAK and he came up to me, gave me this bracelet, and told me never to take it off. So I took it off. He told me if I took it off I was going to have bad luck for the rest of my life. Of course, I have. No, I’m just kidding, he never gave me a bracelet. It’s just like, a club. It’s not a clan at all. Clan just makes it sound really bad and racist, and our fans aren’t bad and racist…
C: Jake. The battery is going to like die. Groupies? Okay. Honestly, there are no like groupies that are like, oh hey you’ve come to fuck us. But we have girls that we know and they come hang out and whatever happens happens, and they are nice; they bring us cookies and milk sometimes. Or we go to Detroit and they take us out to sushi. It’s all nice and a good time no matter what.
J: Ok this is serious. Groupie-wise. There’s this girl, and she’s not a groupie, she’s just friends with us, and she was on our bus, and there was another band that was playing in town that night, and that guy decides to come on our bus and hang out for the night. We were chilling and I was drinking, and I got two drinks down, which by then I’m pretty tipsy, but I felt like I was going to throw up. So I was talking to one of the dudes from another band, and I was like, man I’m going to throw up. Then I noticed the guy had walked away from me, and the next thing I know, Ben from Biffy Clyro was like, “There’s a blue thing in your drink.” So obviously that guy was trying to get with the girl that was on our bus by putting the thing in my drink. He’s from another band, but I’ll keep that name unannounced.
– Are there any hobbies you enjoy other than dealing with music?
A: I like to read and play chess.
C: After this whole tour, I’m going to start riding a bike a lot. I don’t know how to ride a bike, I never learned. I was really fat growing up, and I was like, fuck the outside world. Sit at home, watch basketball games, and eat spaghetti. But when I get home I’m going to learn how to ride a two-wheeler, ride down to the beach with my girlfriend. We’re going to go all out, it’s going to be nuts.
P: I like playing video games a lot. I love them, I buy all the new ones. I also surf.
– Are there any other long term goals that you are working to accomplish?
C: I basically want my life to end up like I want to own a condo or a house out here, rent it out-
A: Is this new?
C: -This is what I want. This is from today. From me coming out here and loving it. I want to get married eventually, be successful in music, maybe real estate on the side, maybe own a couple things. I want to do some shit. I want to own a house out here and lease it out during winter, and all the shitty months. I would come out here during the summer, because I would live in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, maybe West Hollywood. I don’t know, Daddy’s got big plans. Then I want to have an apartment in NY. Upper West side probably, and I could lease that out when I’m not there also. And I would love to own an airplane. Maybe not fly it, but have a Coby Linder airlines, it would be great. But one of my dreams came true on this tour; I got my own signature drumstick, and that was one of my goals in life. I would also like to be Parker’s friend for a while. Like, after the band. After our 5threcord, when we have our big blowout and we all go away. Like after Van Halen and they all hate each other, I’m down to hate other people in the band, but I’d like for Parker and I to be cool.
P: Thanks Coby. For me, I don’t want to get married. For a long time, a long time. At least into the second half of my life, maybe even the third trimester of my life is when I will get married and enjoy that. At least until I am 40, which is early for me.
A: So you’re not going to have kids?
P: I don’t know. But check this out, I’m also getting more into this goal of not living in the same place for more than a year. Just keep going on the move. If I live in New York, I’m going to Kansas. If I’m living in Kansas, I’ll move to Canada. If I go to Canada, I’ll come to Hawaii.
C: I want to reiterate one thing. One thing about my long-term goals is how Parker said he doesn’t want to get married for a while, and I don’t either. I’m 22, maybe I want to get married when I’m 25. I told myself that if I’m with a girlfriend when I’m 28, ill start thinking about it. So probably when I’m 29 or 30.
P: I’m an Aquarius, I just turned 27, and I’m the oldest member of the band, and it’s very hard for me to hear some of my younger members of the band talk like that and set such big goals, because I just feel that when he reaches that echelon of 25 years old, the quarter century club, I feel like he will be in a much different place, and I wish he would just reevaluate those statements and play it by ear.
C: We are in America, you have to think big to be big. Daddy’s 22 years right now, and if he thinks he can get married at 28, he’ll think it. If God says, “Oh hey, you’re 25 and your girlfriend you’ve been with since 21 has broken up with you,” then I will reevaluate things. But for right now, this is my longest relationship I’ve been in, it’s been over a year, and I love her. She’s with me in Hawaii right now and we are having a great time. If I am with her when I’m 28, I might spring for a ring. I don’t know. I hope to be married by 30.
A: Here’s the thing. Parker, you’re telling Coby to reevaluate his statements of hoping to be married at a certain age, but the thing is, he set a goal, and he hopes to accomplish it. It’s just about meeting the right person. You will know if you are to be married or not.
C: I think Parker’s thing is he thought he met the right person and it didn’t pan out. Like Daisy says on Rock of Love 2, sometimes life throws you a curveball.
A: Parker would you say you feel a little bit jaded from your last relationship?
P: Yes and no. You just can’t be sure about that stuff. Anything can happen, and you just don’t know.
A: Coming from a married 22 year old, I couldn’t be happier knowing that I’m going to have a 2 year anniversary this summer because I met someone who I wanted to be married to and am going to grow with them in life. That’s how I view it.
C: There’s give and take for everything, it just depends on the person. I can’t say that I’ll be married by 28. I’d like to be, but I can’t say that I will be. I recently lost a lot of weight, and who knows if I’ll go out on the town and find a really cute girl when I’m 24, who’s all into me because I’m really skinny and I shave my chest. I mean, who knows.
P: She might not just be a cute girl though. You’re going to meet someone that will mentally challenge you and change your whole thing.
– Do you guys have anything going on business-wise besides Say Anything?
P: I have a side project, www.myspace.com/iandtheuniverse
C: Me and Max have a project with Chris and Dave of Saves the Day, you will hear about it soon.
A: I own a record label, Gnome Records, and I have a side project that is just my name, Alexander T. Kent, and I’m going on tour of the west coast, May 8-May 17, if you’re interested.