Published in The Music (WA) | 05.03.14 | Issue # 28
What happens when you’re in a punk band but no longer have anything to be angry about? Bayside vocalist Anthony Raneri provides the answer to Daniel Cribb while pondering legacy.
“My wife, my daughter and I, we moved into a new house about a week ago,” Bayside frontman Anthony Raneri begins from Nashville, Tennessee. “I’ve been juggling a big move, unpacking and we’ve got the record coming out in a couple of weeks.”
The album of which he speaks is the band’s sixth, Cult, and unlike previous releases, it took Bayside two years of writing – scrutinising every lyric, melody and beat – before they were ready to enter the studio. “When the record was done, I didn’t listen to it for a month. I was still hearing things and saying, ‘Argh, should that song have been different, should this have been different’. It was a very, very different process for us, but now I’ve been able to clear my head and just listen and enjoy.”
Such a way of writing stems from working with Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World) on their fifth record, 2011’s Killing Time, and Shep Goodman on 2005’s Bayside. The band returned to Goodman for Cult. “Shep always preached excitement, and then Gil added drama.”
“It’s all about getting a point across. Are you keeping the listeners interested? I always go back and listen to the old stuff when we’re writing new stuff and I try to pinpoint all my favourite parts about my band.”
Cult manages to define Bayside, and its cover art features symbols that reference the band’s five previous records. Although their punk-rock sound remains relatively the same, with a new house, loving family and successful band, Raneri had to turn his aggression elsewhere when it came to finding lyrical inspiration.
“[Cult] is more about legacy, and it’s about wanting to be like the men that came before me. Like you see these men in wars, and they’re war heroes, and they’re fathers and grandfathers and advice-givers, and they’re great men that are leaving the world now, and I want to be like that.
“Think about the World Wars that men fought in. Think about men jumping out of planes with parachutes on. There’s a war going on, and they jump out of a plane into the middle of it… can you imagine our generation – the internet generation, the YouTube generation, the Instagram generation – could you imagine any of them doing that? No way, I can’t even imagine myself doing that. It makes me think about my generation and what our legacy is going to be,” Raneri explains.
“I don’t know, and I don’t think that’s for me to decide,” he responds when asked how he wants to be remembered. “I think it’s my job to do my best and always try and be the best man I can, best musician I can, best father I can, best husband I can, and what they say, it’s not for me to decide. What matters is just that I tried and that I was never afraid.”