The West Chester band are back with a new song, a new album, a new outlook.
Spraynard was never supposed to end.
But in September 2012, after a long tour in support of their excellent second record Funtitled, that’s exactly what happened. The sons of West Chester, Pennsylvania decided to put the pop punk band, one that wore the intense friendship between its members and a 90s brand of localized, improve-your-community-first brand of feminism like badges of honor, to rest. Drummer Patrick “Dos” Ware picked up with Philadelphia punk band NONA, while guitarist and vocalist Patrick Graham started a pair of bands, the solo project Adult Braces and Martin, a band that would have fit in perfectly on bills with 90s Pennsylvania bands like Plow United, Weston, and Super Hi-Five.
But it never felt like a real end. There was never a last show, and there was always the lingering feeling that one day, whether it be 2014 or 2030, Spraynard was going to pick back up again like nothing had happened. Last year, the band reunited for an unannounced set around the closing of the legendary Secret Art Space in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and in February, the band announced a couple of May shows in Philadelphia and West Chester to support the Asian Man Records release of a compilation LP, The Mark, Tom, and Patrick Show. And on March 31, the band announced they were officially together again.
Noisey spoke with Graham about the reunion and Spraynard’s future plans, and is excited to give the exclusive premiere of “Internet May Mays” off of the new record.
Noisey: So let's take this back to the summer of 2012, right after you guys got off of a three-month tour. What led up to the decision to break up?
Pat Graham: Spicy start! Well, I think the three-month tour was an attempt to see if we could do a band as our "job" more or less. We were all really excited with the places Spraynard had brought us, and so we wanted to see if we could make that our full-time gig. About halfway through the tour, I kind of started losing my mind and decided to reveal that I didn't think I could do the band as much as we all wanted. The news wasn't ill-received necessarily, but a severe lack of open communication about everything ultimately led to us deciding to stop being a band. We were on weird terms for a good while after that, but eventually we had the conversations we should have had months prior and it all got resolved.
When those issues were resolved did you ever think it'd lead to you guys being a band again?Honestly, I don't think I did. It was hard for me to think of things in terms of "Spraynard" and not in terms of "where did my best friends go?" I know a lot of people clown us for being so vocal about our friendships, but the three of us are definitely on another level as far as loving each other goes. Remember when that kid at school would get notes in their lunch from their mom? And you would be like "whoa... that's kind of weird." We're kind of like that. So without them around, I felt really lost. Being friends again was the most important thing to me. I would be lying if I said we didn't think about being a band again soon after we were friends again, but that's just because it's what we love doing together.
Let's talk a little bit about the new record. Who came up with the idea to put this together?
The idea man is all Mike Park. I emailed him two years ago to let him know we had decided to stop being a band for a while. His response was heartfelt, but also included, "Yo, we should put out a collections record" or something along those lines. As our relationships with each other got a little weirder, Mike would pop up with an e-mail every once in a while pushing the idea of the record. To be honest, I think he just wanted to see us be friends again. Mike is genuinely good in that way. After enough pushing, we decided it'd be cool to do the record and do a new song for it. Then was the idea for the show... the rest has kind of just come together naturally. Really hippy shit.
What are the plans for NONA and Martin now that Spraynard's a band again?
Not totally sure what's up with NONA. Not in a sketchy way, but I just haven't talked to Dos very much about it. I assume they'll keep doing their thing because it's not like Spraynard will be on tour nine months of the year or anything. Some of us work full-time, so we'll tour when we can. Martin is definitely going to slow down since I'm balancing school and a job as well, but I think both bands will just do what they can with the time they have.
That’s good, because The Worst Part was so sick. So I'm guessing you guys don't have any extensive like touring plans or anything right?
Thanks! Nothing planned for touring as of right now. We were thinking about doing some shows in the summer, but we haven't solidified anything. We're not completely sure if people are going to care that we're a band again, so we want to kind of gauge everyone's interest before investing in a 6-plus week tour. We love going on tour and seeing people we care about, but we're a little older now and past the point where we can lose a bunch of money without giving a shit. Does that sound terrible? Probably. We are corporate pigs now.
Well, yeah, unless you're shit-broke and close to homeless, you aren't punk. What's the story with the new song, "Internet May Mays"? Was this written before the breakup or after you guys became a band again?
It was written somewhere in between, ha. After we decided we definitely wanted to do the collections record (The Mark, Tom, and Patrick Show), we thought it'd be cool to write and record a new song for it. We weren't sure what writing the song or playing the show meant for us as a band until a few more conversations. The story of writing and recording it is kind of funny. We met up at Mike Bardzik's studio Noisy Little Critter at midnight, wrote the song in about four or five hours, stayed up until 7 AM laughing at farts and talking about who we had crushes on, and then woke up to record it at 10 AM. We finished recording it at midnight and were all completely out of our minds. At one point, I went to a Burger King by myself to work out lyrics. It was weird.
Did you guys have any idea that this reunion show would sell out so quickly?
No way! We were all pretty nervous to do it at the First Unitarian Church. We thought we should do it somewhere smaller. It sold out in ten hours and we were all just kind of shocked. I think the response of how excited people were sparked more conversations between us about being an active band again.
Alright, this is probably going to be divisive as shit: what's your favorite Simpsons episode?
Easy. “King-Size Homer.” Homer gains 61 pounds in order to go on disability at the power plant. It's stuck with me as my favorite episode for a long time. I think that says a lot about me. Best line: "What happened to my bird?"
Paul Blest's favorite Simpsons episode is "All Singing, All Dancing." Follow him on Twitter - @pblest
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