:: Motion City Soundtrack :: Gothic Theatre :: February 21 ::
By Matt Marty
“Never judge a book by its cover” is a well-known euphemism that is often over-looked in our day-to-day routine and even more easily overlooked in today’s music world. Motion City Soundtrack is a band that can easily be labeled on a first listen — a power pop band with just enough angst for teens everywhere to gravitate to, but not so much angst as to alienate themselves from mainstream radio play. They have catchy melodies and great harmonies, which for a lot of people is reason enough to look the other way, but Motion City Soundtrack has something different about them which makes that old adage ring true.
Motion City Soundtrack is a band with a lot to offer, and a band that has paid its dues to get to where it is today. Formed in 1999 when vocalist/guitarist Josh Cain convinced his friend Justin Pierre (who handles guitar, vocals and Einstein-styled highlighted hair) to start the band, Motion City Soundtrack, which later included bassist/pianist/vocalist Matthew Taylor and drummer Tony Thaxton, gained recognition not through their hometown, but rather through their relentless attack on other cities throughout the midwest and east coast. “We played cities like Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee and they treated us much better than Minneapolis because we didn’t play here that often,” said keyboardist and moog player Jesse Johnson in a recent interview with The Marquee.
The first big break for Motion City Soundtrack came in the summer of 2003 with the release of “The Future Freaks Me Out,” a song off their first album I Am The Movie. Because of the success of their single, Motion City Soundtrack was asked to join Blink-182 on a tour of Europe and Japan in 2004. This was more than Motion City Soundtrack had ever expected. “We have exceeded anything we’ve ever thought we could do, so just as long as we can stay where we are now we will be happy,” said Johnson.
Somewhere backstage on that tour, Blink bassist Mark Hoppus modestly mentioned to the group that he was interested in pursuing production work once his band took a necessary pause later in the year. Though he didn’t know it at the time, Hoppus had just found his first client. “We thought of it almost as a joke,” said Cain. “But on our last day of tour I asked him, point blank, ‘Do you want to produce our record?’ When he said, ‘Fuck yeah’ I was like, ‘Okay … can I get your phone number then?’”
One of the reasons for the unique sound of Motion City Soundtrack that has gained them a faithful legion of fans, comes from their diverse musical influences. “Some of us grew up listening to metal, some of us grew up listening to punk, and some of us grew up listening to indie rock,” said Johnson. Each member’s personal musical taste contributes to a sound that is very difficult to pin down. It is a familiar sound, and yet it is something new and very fresh.
This new and fresh sound has gained them recognition by music lovers, enough so that Motion City Soundtrack is now embarking on their first headlining tour of the United Kingdom and North America. Playing just over 40 shows in the next three months, the band has sold out venues on both sides of the Atlantic promoting their newest album, Commit This To Memory.
The Mark Hoppus-produced Commit This To Memory is a large step for such a young band to take, and a step that most bands never actually get to take. Listening to a CD from start to finish is rare nowadays and Motion City Soundtrack’s newest release is that rare CD that can be put in without the need to go back and forth between tracks. “We all really wanted it to flow, and kind of tell a story and still have everything leading to the next,” said Johnson.
A key track on this CD is a song that might not see radio play, but does the exact opposite of what is currently being done in the music industry. Rather than putting filler songs in between potential singles, Motion City Soundtrack put a song called “Feel Like Rain” in the middle of Commit This To Memory to lead into the second half of the album. It is refreshing for music lovers to buy a CD and find more great tracks instead of a single that is surrounded by very mediocre songs.
In a very competitive industry, that is what separates Motion City Soundtrack from the rest of the pack. They are a band that is willing to take a risk for quality, and not compromise to an industry that revolves around the one song that could hit number one. And that theme is something that could help propel them even further than their wildest dreams already have.
:: Motion City Soundtrack ::
:: Gothic Theatre :: February 21 ::
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