The Fearless Friends tour kicked off on October 13 in Hartford, Connecticut. Featuring five bands on the Fearless Records label, the tour finally gives fans of the label’s bands a chance to see a whole set of their favorite bands in one night. The bands featured on the tour are Mayday Parade, Breathe Carolina, Every Avenue, Artist Vs Poet, and Go Radio. Michigan-based band Every Avenue joined the Fearless Records family in 2007 and has since released an EP and two full-length albums, most recently Picture Perfect. The band, consisting of Dave Strauchman (vocals, piano), Josh Randall (guitar), Jimmie Deeghan (guitar, backing vocals), Matt Black (bass, backing vocals), and Dennis Wilson (drums), saw success with the November 2009 release of their latest album which debuted at #1 on the New Alternative Artist Chart. We caught up with Dave after the band’s first set of the tour last week.
You’ve been a band since 2003, right?
Yeah we’ve been around for a while. I’ve been in this band since I was about 16…it’s been a very long time.
I imagine to some of these younger bands that have only been together a couple years must feel like that’s a lifetime. Any tips you can offer the younger bands on how to not only last but to succeed?
Don’t give up and don’t rush into things. Take time and it’s all about your songs in the end so write the best songs you can and don’t get down when people tell you “you can’t do it.” If you want it, go get it.
Quite a few bands have parted ways recently, how does Every Avenue differ from them?
I think a lot of it is just our mentality. We may not have seen really fast success but we’ve seen slow success and that has paid off where we have a really good following. We’re always trying to take it to the next step. We’ve worked for this long there’s no reason to give up. Everything works differently; some bands get huge right off the bat. I personally wouldn’t want to, I want to take time and build that fan base. We care about our fans and not just about getting big and making the money. We write our music for the fans.
Speaking of your music, is your single “Tell Me I’m a Wreck” getting some radio play?
Yeah it’s doing great. It’s been on radio a lot lately. I had my first experience ever driving in my car and I heard it on the radio [and thought] “Wow that’s good.” It was cool. But it’s been doing great. Everyone’s been really supportive of it; a lot of stations want to play it.
Is the song about one specific person or is it from a combination of experiences?
It’s more one person and a series of events in a relationship. I think a lot of people can relate. I feel like that song is really, I don’t know, you get a lot of songs about love and all that stuff but this is pretty much someone thinking differently about you than who you actually are.
How did you come up with the concept for the “Tell Me I’m A Wreck” Video?
We really wanted to do a video that wasn’t just like “boy meets girl, they break up, blah blah blah whatever.” We wanted to do something that was really personal that really shows that side of the song; how love is not everything it’s made up to be because of books and fictional characters and pretty much the whole fictional story as far as the fairy tale…The cool thing about that video is that’s it’s family members, our friends, it’s a bunch of people and it’s the real stuff. It’s not made up stuff. Every single person in that video we sat down and interviewed about past relationships to love in general and what it actually means to them.
What did you think the first time you saw the completed video?
I was blown away. I know it’s our song but that video just kind of hits you like “wow, that’s real stuff.”
Did you expect it to have the impact it did?
I guess everyone gets their hopes up. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m just saying that I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did so it far exceeded my expectations.
Have you started planning the follow up to Picture Perfect yet?
Yes we have. We’ve already started writing for it. We’ve got some very good songs, we might possibly play one on this tour but we’re not sure yet. We’re really excited. A lot of things are up in the air as far as who we’re recording with and everything like that but we are working on it. We hope to possibly have it out by early next year.
Do you think you’ll do another collaboration like the one with Tom from Plain White T’s?
Possibly, it all depends who we can get. Well not who we can get but like friends of ours who are in the area at the time.
I’ve noticed in your song writing you tend to use a lot of words to tell your story which is not a very common writing style in pop music but is definitely effective for Every Avenue; have you always written like that?
Not always. I wanted to tell stories, the band wanted to tell stories and try to make it real. We always pull from real life experiences. I think as far as a songwriter it was kind of a growing process compared to when I first started. If I write a song now and can’t relate to it in some way I don’t really get into it.
What do you think it is about Every Avenue music that draws people in?
I like to think it’s the sound and the lyrics and the fans being able to relate to it. We have a lot of people come up to us [and say] “This song helped me through a hard time” or “This song meant a lot to me.” I think that is one of our strong points. I think we’re a really fun show; we’re a fun time. We’re a bunch of idiots. [Laughs]
Well that definitely helps being able to have fun and relax. I think shows for a lot of people are a form of escape just from whatever they deal with in their everyday life.
Exactly. I think that’s what music is in general. It’s just always there.
I see that Mitch Allan co-produced your album. I remember watching him in local bands here in Baltimore a dozen years ago, how did you get connected with him?
He hit up our manager actually and was like “I want to do the record with these guys.” We really clicked with Mitch [since] he is a songwriter. The thing with our band that is also really cool is there are three really strong songwriters in the band; me, Josh, and Jimmy we all write songs. We’re always writing songs and a lot of times we write songs we don’t even use for the band just for ourselves. We really connected with him on that level that he was a songwriter and we could just write with him really easy. But we hooked up with him through our manager then did a co-write with him and it was awesome.
I know you just got back from Japan; how does touring in the US differ from touring in other countries?
In Japan I can’t even explain. It’s completely different. The first time [we] went there it was kind of crazy. Playing and realizing these kids know all the words to your songs but you can’t even have a conversation with them. I can’t really learn Japanese for the life of me-it’s impossible. But it’s really cool; everyone’s really into it the whole time. We’ve done some medium size venues over there and the kids pack in and they just go nuts.
What are you most looking forward to on the Fearless Friends tour?
Tonight I was really looking forward to singing a song with Breathe Carolina called “Have You Ever Danced?” but they had to cut their set. But for the most part just hanging out with all the bands and it’s a bunch of people we’ve toured with so it’s going to be a good time.
How many songs will be in your set and when do you play?
We’re playing eight songs. We are third on the bill, right in the middle.
For those of us who don’t know, what does it mean to be label mates with another band? Is it like having coworkers or is there not a lot of interaction between bands if you’re not touring together?
I feel like even bands not on our label we get along with great but I think being on the label you get a little more personal with the bands because you’re both dealing with the same stuff. You can become a little bit better friends. I’m not saying it has to happen; we have a lot of really good friends that aren’t on the label. But Fearless Records is really known for how its like being part of a family. You know everybody that works there. If a person from the label comes out to the show he hangs out with you. It’s really cool meeting up with bands that are on the label.
I like the idea of the Fearless Friends tour. They typically seem to have a good collection of bands so it’s nice to see a whole set.
It’s an awesome tour if you like a lot of the Fearless bands. You can come out and catch all the sets. It’s pretty cool.
I know Fearless Records does the “Punk Goes” series and Every Avenue did the Eddie Money Cover of “Take Me Home Tonight.” Did you know when it came up that this was the song you would cover?
We had two songs that we wanted to do and we decided on that one. We all loved the song, I loved the song growing up, it was one of my favorites. It was really cool. We try to do a cover and try to create a vibe…personally for a singer you’re trying to replicate what they did and that’s a challenge
If you could have any band or artist follow you around and perform the soundtrack of your everyday life who would it be and why?
Probably Jimmy Eat World...I feel like [Futures is] one of the albums I listened to growing up and it was a real changing point in my life. That was one of the records that was always playing so it’s really cool to listen to that record. I love everything about it.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, I wish you luck on the rest of the tour.
The Fearless Friends tour will stop at the Recher Theatre in Towson, Maryland this Thursday, October 21. Doors are at 5:30pm and the show starts at 6:00pm. Tickets are still available through MissionTix for $15.00. The show is an all ages show however if you’re over 21 you can take advantage of re-entry and visit the Rec Room bar and outdoor patio for food and drinks between sets.