Part I: A Brief History of Midtown.
Ah, the dreaded bio. Where to begin? What could I possibly say that you haven't heard before? How can I talk about the bad things without sounding bitter? How can I speak of the good without bragging? And how do I make it all sound interesting?
Well maybe I'll just tell it to the best of my recollection, at worst you'll be bored.
I remember being in college, already disillusioned, and wanting to start a band with friends for fun. I remember putting out our own EP on a local label with a friend, and then signing to another friends' label in Los Angeles. I remember going to Los Angeles and recording with a big name producer. "Hey, this guy wants to take a chance on you." Awesome. Wow, we have a real record. Is this for real? I remember talking to my Dean about leaving in my sophomore year. She said, "rock n' roll." I was out of there.
I remember playing basement shows and sleeping in our van. I remember these basements suddenly turning into amphitheaters. "Hey, our friends' label is doing a deal with a major label--they want to put out your next record." Fall of 2001. We spend five months in a studio. Living Well is the Best Revenge comes out in April, we go on tour and never look back. Reading festival, Fuji Rock. "Hello Mr. Moore, it's an honor to share a stage with you." Headline US, UK, tour with Jimmy Eat World throughout Europe. Headline Japan. Come home in January of 2003. Everything is amazing. We pull the plug.
Why? Difficult question. Too many hands in my pocket? No control? Clichι band story: Band is happy to be playing music, doesn't realize what is really going on.
Instructions on extricating yourself from a contract:
1) make everyone hate you.
2) rollover and die.
Great. Now I'm dead and people are happy.
Part II: Resurrection
Labels are sniffing my corpse, but not really biting. I sprinkle on the A-1.
November 2003: We hook up with producer, Butch Walker and record 18 songs in three weeks in Atlanta with no label support. Throw the album to the wolves after the New Year and let them fight for it. Drama, drama, drama. We end up at Columbia. The album is in your hands. What does it all mean?
I read somewhere that the secret of life is to "die before you die." To destroy everything you have so you can break all identification with it, understand the meaning of loss and failure, and finally create space to start anew. When we died, I understood what it meant to live. (After all, you can't grow as a band if you don't evolve as people.) I reevaluated everything I had previously thought and embraced the emptiness of life. I let go of everything I once believed. Hence the album title: Forget What You Know.
The songs, they all deal with the same things: The dissolution of the lines of reality, our abstraction from meaning, searching for it in the wrong places, filling empty spaces with things, garbage. I'll run through it for you quickly:
1. To Our Savior you can pretend but I'm not buying it
2. Give it Up the silence kills the calm of the night. Counting every beat and waiting for my turn to die
3. Is it Me? Is it True? if nothing is true, we can build our own worlds
4. Whole New World god is dead. Save yourself.
5. Empty Like the Ocean I don't want to fuck you, I don't want to touch. I just wanna fill you with regret
6. Nothing is Ever What it Seems we reach for what we're missing in ourselves. We don't know how to let love in. don't you cry for me because I'm already dead.
7. Waiting for the News Even though we sleep together we're alone.
8. Until it Kills We were never pure again
9. Hey Baby, Don't You Know that We're All Whores Jesus forgive my congregation
10. Help Me Sleep The more I learn, the less I know
11. Manhattan I can't believe how I'm living
12. So Long As We Keep Our Bodies Numb We're Safe You shower but you're not clean
The record is done. The train is leaving the station. What's our stop again? I can't remember, but somehow I know it's better to forget. Forget the future, forget the past and forget what I know; there is nothing beyond the here and now. The passenger next to me is sweating because he knows not where the train is headed. We're off to the slaughterhouse, I tell him, yes - off to slaughter. He looks worried like he's about to cry. Cry not friend, for there is nothing to fear.
--- from the official Midtown website