Saves the Day
Saves the Day
What began as a high school hobby turned into a long-lasting musical career for singer Chris Conley and his band Saves the Day. Begun when Conley and his bandmates were young teenagers, Saves the Day established themselves at the forefront of the pop-punk/emo crowd, with numerous other bands citing their 2001 album Stay What You Are as an significant turning point in the genre. Numerous band members, deals with major labels, and thousands of fans have all come and gone for Saves the Day, but nothing has ever stopped them from releasing album after album, each one different than the last. "I've never once deliberately tried to change the style of music. It all just happens as we evolve as people, and as our musical tastes have evolved, and as our musical abilities have evolved," Conley told SoundtheSirens.com. "It all has just flowed in a natural evolution."
Joining his first band at 13, around 1994, Conley and guitarist David Soloway began Saves the Day in Princeton, New Jersey. With guitarist Ted Alexander, drummer Bryan Newman, and bassist Sean McGrath, Conley and Soloway recorded their debut album during breaks of their high-school senior year. Saves the Day signed with independent label Equal Vision Records who released their 1997 debut Can't Slow Down.
Just two years later, right before the band went into the studio to make their sophomore album, bassist McGrath left the band. New bass player Eben D'Amico soon joined Saves the Day to record Through Being Cool, an album that put Saves the Day's punky, pop-slanted songs in smack the face of the pop-punk alternative crowd and sold over 40,000 copies.
After signing with indie stalwarts Vagrant Records, Saves the Day changed things up for their 2001 album Stay What You Are. The band dropped a bit of their poppy bounce and got a bit heavier into punk rock. The pop-punk masses cheered for the single "At Your Funeral," which got major play on MTV and led the album to sell more than 200,000 copies. To support their breakthrough album, the group headlined a Vagrant Records tour in 2001 along with label mates Dashboard Confessional. Towards the end of 2001, drummer Bryan Newman left the band to attend college just before Saves the Day was to embark on a tour opening up for Weezer in early 2002, and then supporting dates for Green Day and blink-182 (Hey Mercedes drummer Damon Atkinson filled in on the arena tours). Longtime heralders of the DIY scene, many fans of Save the Day were put off by the band's choice to tour with major label artists; many thought they "sold out." "There are always going to be people who react negatively to anything you do as a band," D'Amico told MTV.com's Joe D'Angelo. "There's always going to be a contingent of people who shoot you down for doing something—whether it's recording music that sounds a little differently from the last music you recorded or moving up to bigger venues and playing with different bands. Whatever you do—if you wear a different pair of pants, there is going to be one person who says it sucks for one reason or another."
When it came time for a new album, in typical Saves the Day fashion, the band was ready to sonically change things up. They turned down the punk angst and highlighted the pop melodies for In Reverie. With new drummer Pete Parada (Face to Face) on board, the band finished the entire new album to turn into Vagrant when DreamWorks record came in and signed the band. In 2003, DreamWorks released In Reverie, an album that was made on an indie budget but released by a billion-dollar label.
Critics and fans were mixed on In Reverie's style. "Drawing on everything from the easygoing vocals of The Beach Boys or the Hollies to a slew of pop underground acts such as Sloan, The Posies or Teenage Fanclub, Saves The Day boldly steps out of the shelter of the punk underground to take on the world," wrote Aversion.com's Matt Schild. But many longtime fans didn't see it that way. Fans left angry notes on message boards, but the band tried not to let it bother them-they had matured and so had their sound. "With every album we are fighting against the grain, just trying our best to survive as a band," Conley told Schild. "Immediately, every time we make a record, people hate it. It's so different. It's just our fate."
In Reverie should have been the band's big break, but within weeks of its release, DreamWorks folded and was enveloped by Interscope. In the major-label shuffle, Save the Day got little help from the label. With In Reverie's sales under 200,000, a failure to major labels, Interscope dropped the band. Another setback for Saves the Day happened in June of 2004 when former bassist Sean McGrath died from intestinal cancer.
For the Record …
Members include Ted Alexander (left group, 2003), guitar; Manny Carrero, bass; Chris Conley, vocals; Eben D'Amico (left group, 2006), bass; Sean McGrath (born 1976, died June 11, 2004; left group, 1999); Bryan Newman (left group, 2001), drums; Pete Parada, drums; David Soloway, guitar.
Group formed in Princeton, New Jersey, c. 1994; recorded debut Can't Slow Down while in high school, released album on Equal Vision Records, 1997; released Through Being Cool, 1999; signed with Vagrant Records, released Stay What You Are, 2001; signed to DreamWorks, released In Reverie, 2003; re-signed to Vagrant, released Sound the Alarm, 2006.
Addresses: Record company—Vagrant Records, 2118 Wilshire Blvd., #361, Santa Monica, CA 90403. Website—Saves the Day Official Website: http://www.savestheday.com.
Although the band was no long with Vagrant, they still held a close relationship. In the fall of 2004, Vagrant released a collection of old Saves the Day songs on the CD Ups & Downs: Early Recordings and B-Sides. Not being signed to a record label for almost two years didn't stop Saves the Day from building their own recording studio in California where they spent their own money to record a new album in 2005. The band, with new bassist Manny Carrero (Glassjaw) dubbed their new studios Electric Ladybug Studios and in four months, the group recorded 13 tracks for their new album Sound the Alarm. Their old friends at Vagrant Records stepped up to the plate to release Sound the Alarm in April 2006. A stripped own album that focused on the simple guitar, bass and drums sound, Sound the Alarm was a heavier and darker album than anything Saves The Day had released in years. Conley's melancholic lyrics reflected the bands low points in the last few years; something he wasn't afraid to show in his music. "To me, that's just being human-having moments of desperation when you think you can't go on," Conley told the Winnipeg Sun. "I think the things I'm talking about on the record are things that everybody feels but might be too afraid to say. But they're things I've learned just trying to survive."
Can't Slow Down, Equal Vision Records, 1997.
Through Being Cool, Equal Vision Records, 1999.
Stay What You Are, Vagrant Records, 2001.
In Reverie, DreamWorks, 2003.
Ups & Downs: Early Records and B-Sides, Vagrant Records, 2004.
Sound the Alarm, Vagrant Records, 2006.
Seattle Weekly, October 8, 2003.
Winnipeg Sun, April 27, 2006.
"Saves the Day," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (July 3, 2006).
"Change What You Are [Saves The Day]," Aversion.com, http://www.aversion.com/bands/interviews.cfm?f_id=217 (July 3, 2006).
"Saves The Day Prep for Weezer Tour, Dismiss Detractors," MTV.com, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1451982/01282002/saves_the_day.jhtml (July 3, 2006).
"Saves The Day Rock Their Paranoia," Rollingstone.com, http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/9753223/saves_the_day_rock_their_paranoia (July 3, 2006).
"Saves the Day, The Vast Spoils of America," Sound the Sirens, http://www.soundthesirens.com (July 3, 2006).
Vagrant Records Official Website, http://www.vagrant.com/vagrant/bands/bands.jsp?rec_num=18 (July 3, 2006).
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