Something Corporate Biography
Last updated: 09/09/2011 11:00:00 AM
Answer quick"All Ages Show." What the first thing that comes to mind? It most likely spiky-haired 13 year olds running in packs, colors dripping down the back of their necks from day-of-show dye jobs. Probably not melody loving high school kids and college students freely intermingling with a subdued contingent of work-a-day thirty-somethings. It not what you would have guessed, but that exactly what you find when Southern California quintet Something Corporate takes the stage.
And, while on the topic of assumptions, you probably assume that your average teenager in a band might cite Limp Bizkit or Sum 41 as their major influences. Not so with Something Corporate 18 year old frontman and chief songwriter Andrew McMahon. He explains, "I love the great 0s Elton John, where he was at the best part of his youth, writing angst-filled songs."
As his love for the legendary Elton John would suggest, Andrew weapon of choice has 88 keys. While that might suggest that piano is featured more in any given song, Andrew insists that egos have always taken a back seat to the good of the music. "Whatever feels right, we do," he states. "Sometimes you just suck it up and say, ey, I don belong on this one. And with two guitarists in the mix, Something Corporate is hardly what you would call a piano-centered band. Andrew explains, "Ie always been a fan of a more driving sound, blending guitar with piano chords." After careful listens one notices other influences like Jimmy Eat World and Jets To Brazil in the mix.
In addition to this musical blend, what endears people most is Andrew off-beat notes on love, relationships and being a member of Generation Y observations that frequently belie his chronological age and appearance. In "Punk Rock Princess," Andrew dissects the desire to love a cool girl and to be her "garage band king." He asks her, "You could tell me why you just don fit in and how youe 'gonna be something" In "iF yoU C Jordan," he describes an on-going, relentless assault by a misguided high school bully, who can seem to accept that he no longer in High School. The song taunts, "its jealousy that led us to this song. Won play it often, just at least until youe gone." And, they meant it, that is they meant it until the song ended up on the EP.
If finding the perfect sound and words for each song is a painstaking process, one thing that has been surprisingly easy from the start for Something Corporate has been finding gigs.
"About a year before we were Something Corporate, Andrew, Brian, and I started a band to play the high school battle of the bands in Dana Hills," explains bassist Clutch of his band beginning. "We ended up winning on a fluke. We were horrible, but everybody was pretty horrible, too." The victorious group disbanded, but after Andrew stumbled upon Josh jamming on his guitar at a party, the pianist desire to play in a band was renewed. "You don find a lot of really great high school players," says Andrew. "I saw Josh, and I was like, ow, he really knows how to play. With a new name, a new lineup, and a new sense of purpose, Something Corporate met with little resistance.
"That summer we decided to kick it into gear. We set up a show at a local theater, and ended up selling 150 or 200 tickets, packing a bunch of kids in there," recalls Clutch. "We called the local club a couple weeks later, told them what we did, and they said if we could sell that many tickets we could definitely play at their club. That started it."
From there, the unlikely assemblage of teenagers quickly became local favorites, and landed one-off opening slots with acts like Sugar Ray and Better Than Ezra. It should be no surprise, then, that record labels soon came knocking. Perhaps more surprising, though, is that the most persistent of these was Drive-Thru, a label best known for youth-oriented punk.
"As you can probably assume from listening to the music, our punk sensibility is not necessarily intact," Andrew laughs. Nonetheless, Drive-Thru track record of artist development made signing with the label a no-brainer. Besides, Andrew points out, "They sign cool bands and connect with kids in a way that not many record labels do."
"People who listen to radio songs tend to like our band because we write choruses with hooks, so wel always have a pop crowd," he continues. "But, because of our association with Drive-Thru, maybe a kid who wouldn normally listen to a band like us might give it a shot and hear something they like." Andrew also notes that immersion in the culture of Drive-Thru bands and fans may have led to a gutsier sound for the newer material, but, Something Corporate isn about to trade in the upright piano.
"Musically, my goal in life has always been to touch people the way that first Counting Crows record did to me," says Andrew. "People tend to underestimate what kids will comprehend and what theyl connect to. I think the more honest I am with myself, the more people get it."
"And regardless of whether or not people always get it," he concludes, "theyl definitely get that wee not just spitting out bullshit."