Boy Sets Fire Biography
What happens when a grassroots band like BOYSETSFIRE starts to get national attention? They do what they've always done: they play fiery live shows, strive to write the best songs possible and most important of all, they keep speaking their minds.
The Live For Today EP contains the Delaware quintet's first new music in more than two years and is the follow-up to their breakthrough 2000 album After the Eulogy. That album sold more than 50,000 copies, got BOYSETSFIRE pegged in Rolling Stone as a band to watch and led to their touring as part of both the Warped Tour and Europe's Deconstruction Tour last summer. Included on the six-song Live For Today EP are three new studio tracks: "Release The Dogs," "Bathory's Sainthood" and "Curtain Call" (the first two are a taste of the band's forthcoming album Tomorrow Come Today - "Curtain Call" is available only on Live For Today). Another new song, "Handful of Redemption," is included in an exclusive live version. Live For Today is rounded out with live versions of two standout After the Eulogy tracks; the title song and "Rookie."
Recorded before a packed house on July 19, 2002, at Club Krome in South Amboy, NJ, the live tracks clearly show the bond between BOYSETSFIRE and their audience. "At our shows we try to clearly communicate our beliefs to the audience," comments drummer Matt Krupanski. "Playing live is cathartic for us; a spiritual experience," notes guitarist Josh Latshaw. "Live shows are where we can really connect with厀ell, I hate to use the term 'our fans' because that sounds really condescending and that's totally not how we feel. Without those people we'd be absolutely nowhere. And we'd look pretty stupid playing if there was nobody there." "We just want to get our music and our message out to as many people as possible," adds bass player Rob Avery.
In fact the band has barely stopped playing over the past year, between their own headline gigs and sets at Warped and Deconstruction. "Sometimes I'm amazed at how people can see those tours and listen to so much punk/pop at once," laughs Latshaw. "But Warped was awesome and the European crowds at Deconstruction were great. We got along with all the other bands, got to play for a half-hour and then spent the day hanging out. So anybody who complains about those tours should be shot."
"I think we shine a little better onstage than we do in the recorded material," adds lead singer Nathan Gray, "so we thought it was a good time to give people a little taste of the live show and maybe keep them satisfied until the album comes out. 'Rookie' and 'Eulogy' are two songs that always work really well live; they're songs that everyone can get into and sing along with. And 'Handful of Redemption' is actually one of the poppiest songs on the new album, so we thought it would be fun to let people hear that one."
Yet a quick listen to Live For Today shows BOYSETSFIRE can have it both ways. They began life as a punk band and they've built on their hardcore roots without ever leaving them behind. But they've never been afraid of a real melody or a well thought out arrangement and Gray can take his place as one of the post-hardcore scene's most expressive, instantly recognizable singers. New producer Dave Fortman came in with an appreciation for what the band had done in the past. "He really kicked our butts, but only because he wanted the best songs to come out," says Latshaw.
Live For Today's lead-off track, "Release The Dogs," won't be anybody's idea of a sellout. With furious guitar-slinging by Latshaw and Chad Istvan, "Release The Dogs" is the band's response to the wave of militarism that followed the 9/11 attacks. Never afraid of making a statement, BOYSETSFIRE have produced some of the first real dissent heard in rock since then.
"I feel that the true form of patriotism is protest," says Gray. "And I personally feel that most people are scared out of their minds to say anything about it for fear of getting labeled as un-American. What inspired that song is that after September 11 it seemed there were a lot of conservatives-and even people who considered themselves liberals-who were waiting for something like that to happen so they could pass certain laws that would erode the basic freedoms in this country. We've played that song at some of our shows and it seemed that a lot of people had just been waiting to hear an outcry about that."
"Bathory's Sainthood" is equally hard-hitting. "We've caught some flak because the words 'bastard' and 'messiah' are in there right next to each other," admits Gray. "But it's not meant to be lashing out at God, only at people who think they're God. It's funny, we never think about how controversial a song is going to be until somebody comes up to us and says, 'Holy shit! Did you really say that?'"
The mix of energy and melody, memorable songs and serious messages, is what BOYSETSFIRE is all about and fans can expect many more new ideas when Tomorrow Come Today is released in April, 2003. "We get bored very easily, so we like to have it all," says Latshaw. "That's how we get our songs, from having very little attention span."
The wonder years...
Summer 1994 - Josh and Chad discuss starting a band that has purpose, aggressive melody, punk-political might and the goal to "shake things up"
October 1994 - First BSF practice in Chad's parents' basement
October 31, 1994 - BSF's first show to the public in the basement of Nathan's then-current residence in Newark, DE
Winter 1994/95 - BSF release first four song DIY demo
Spring 1995 - BSF release second demo entitled Premonition, Change, Revolt. Also purchased their first road machine named Roger
June 1995 - BSF's first self-booked tour - two weeks on East Coast. Played apartment living rooms, basements, trailer parks, small clubs. Drove home from Florida with only change in their pockets.
1996 - Toured winter and summer and also released six song EP entitled This Crying This Screaming, My Voice is Being Born on Magic Bullet Records. Also self-released a three song 7" entitled Consider. Continued playing numerous grassroots hardcore festivals and spreading their hardcore, emo message. Roger dies.
January 1997 - BSF signs with Initial Records and in March record their first full length album in one week and for under $1500. Bought a short bus named Arnold Willis (or as nicknamed, "A.W."). Toured Northeast and broke down in blizzard in northern Tennessee. A.W. dies. BSF take the 20 hour ride back home via bus and automobile.
August 1997 - BSF release The Day The Sun Went Out and receive critical acclaim in punk/ hardcore underground zine reviews of the album. Buy a shuttle bus named Stella. Dump it off at a junk yard at the end of the tour due to cracked block.
Winter 1997/98 - Continued touring in US
Summer 1998 - Five week US tour (last self-booked tour). Broke down in Tucson, AZ, for two weeks. Blew three engines in Stella, BSF's second shuttle bus. Catches fire in Albuquerque, NM, twice. BSF spend five days there and eventually drive shuttle bus home in three days from NM. Cancels rest of tour.
September 1998 - BSF record five song EP at Carriage House Studios entitled In Chrysalis and include a cover of the Dead Kennedy's "Holiday in Cambodia."
November 1998 - BSF tour Europe for first time. In Chrysalis released. Great shows, small van, cold weather, cool yet weird looking money.
Spring 1999 - BSF buys a real van. Unnamed for good luck purposes although sometimes called Chauncy. BSF tour US with hardcore faves Avail.
Summer 1999 - Continued touring in US. No breakdowns.
October 1999 - Rob Avery becomes new bass player for BSF. BSF signs with Victory Records.
December 1999 - January 2000 - BSF records After the Eulogy at Carriage House Studios with Nick Rotundo and Andy Katz.
April 15, 2000 - Victory releases After The Eulogy
Summer - Fall 2000 - BSF tour US and Europe for a total of five months. Tour US with faves Snapcase.
December 2000 - BSF sign with Wind-up Records.
Winter - Spring 2001 - BSF work on new material for Wind-up album.
Spring - Summer 2002 - BSF tours US with Sick Of It All. BSF tours Europe as part of the Deconstruction Tour. BSF comes home and tours US with openers The Movie Life and Thursday.
August 7, 2001 - Wind-up re-releases After The Eulogy with bonus track "Timothy"
Fall 2002 - Move into BSF's "The Big House" where writing and demo-ing continue in their home studio.
Winter - Spring 2002 - BSF record new LP entitled Tomorrow Comes Today for three months in Cello, Ocean and NRG studios in Los Angeles, CA, with producer Dave Fortman and Executive Producer and Mixer Jay Baumgardner.
Summer 2002 - BSF do a portion of the Warped Tour and also record live show in NJ for live/studio Wind-up EP release entitled Live For Today.
September 10, 2002 - Wind-up Records releases Live For Today
September - October 2002 - Co-headline US tour with Snapcase
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