Story of the Year have always had an enormous following worldwide, and to their fanbase, debut album ‘Page Avenue’ has been viewed as nothing short of iconic. With the album having recently turned 10 years old, the band is touring the world (including Australia in June) to celebrate. Killyourstereo.com chatted with drummer Josh Wills ahead of their visit.
What’s happening for you guys in Story of the Year at the moment?
We’re just hanging out around at home at the moment. We’ve got some more touring coming up later this year. Ryan and Adam are both working on their documentary, ‘Who Killed or Saved The Music Industry’, so we’re kind of waiting on them so that we can start writing our next record. In the meantime, we’re just trying to book as many shows as we can in places we haven’t been to on the tenth anniversary tour.
Last year your debut album – Page Avenue – had its 10th anniversary. What does that album mean to you 10 years on from its initial release?
It’s an amazing accomplishment for us. That record means the world to me and to us. We were able to tour the world many times over, and we’re here now because of that record. If it wasn’t for that record, I wouldn’t be speaking to you right now. It means a lot to us. I mean, we were just a bunch of dudes in a band, and to be able to record an album like that, that had that much of an impact on that many people is a very humbling feeling. The shows that we’ve played doing that record in its entirety, have been the most fun shows that I have ever played.
In the ten years since its release, has the meaning of those songs changed for you guys at all?
No, not really. I didn’t write the lyrics, but I know what the songs are about, and then I have my own view of them, so they mean something a little bit different to all of us. Those songs were written while we lived in California, away from our friends at home, and a lot of that record is about missing home, and just being in a band in general. When we play those songs live, we’re away from home and our friends, and so it’s kind of fitting to play them live. For me it hasn’t changed all that much and I still get great feelings listening to those songs.
You guys released a re-imagined version of Page Avenue last year to commemorate the milestone. What led you guys to do that?
Well, we took something of a break for a few years. We did some small touring here and there, but we didn’t release anything, we didn’t write music, and we just wanted to step back for a little while, then the ten year anniversary was coming up and we wanted to do something special for our fans. We wanted to pay tribute to the record and to our extremely loyal and awesome fanbase who have stayed with us all ten years, so we did a re-imagined record. We didn’t want to do something that’s just strictly acoustic or live or anything, so we made it into something unique. We love the way it turned out.
How do you think those reimaginings have shaped the way that you’ve viewed the songs on Page Avenue?
You know, I think it’s just made us realise that they’re good songs, no matter how you do them. One of the big things Feldmann taught us when we were recording that record with him was that a good song doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. If you can play a song on an acoustic guitar and it sounds good, it’s a good song. Looking back on all of those songs, it’s brought that up for us again and made us even more proud of that record.
You guys are bringing down the tenth anniversary tour for Page Avenue to Australia in a bit over two months – How does it feel to be headed back our way?
I have been waiting to come back to Australia for a long time. I love Australia, so much! It’s one of my favourite places on the planet. To be coming back down there, it’s awesome. There’s lots of fans that have hit us on twitter and Facebok saying ‘When are you coming! When are you coming! When are you coming!’ and we’ve just been like ‘we’re waiting on AJ’. We made it really clear to our booking agent and all of those guys when we started this that we have to bring this tour to Australia. It’s one of our best places to go, and our best fans are there.
What are some of your favourite experiences from previous Australian tours with me?
The first time we went was amazing. I couldn’t have been happier with it. Before we even got there, the fanbase was huge We did the first international Taste of Chaos, with The Used and Killswitch Engage. We were playing arenas and all of this stuff, and it was just a very awesome first experience for us. The country is beautiful and looks amazing, and everyone is so happy. It’s great!
The next time we came back, we were headlining, and we played our biggest headlining show we’ve ever played at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. It was a huge show, and we were playing with Flogging Molly and Emery. It was just so awesome!
You guys have been doing the Page Avenue anniversary tour for some time now – how have you found those shows so far?
They’ve been really good. We kind of fiddled with the set a few times. We did the whole record straight through and then played five or six songs from other records, and we’ve done shows where we play everything from Page Avenue, just not in a row, and we think that show goes a lot better than just playing the record front to back.
The shows have been great. Some of those songs hadn’t been played in eight or nine years, and it’s been fun to really go back and ‘re-learn’ those songs.
From which version of the album will you be playing while you’re down here – the original, or the re-imagined?
The original, for sure. We want the shows to be as bad ass as possible. We don’t tend to just stand on stage and look at each other. We might do a couple of re-imagined versions. 95% of it will be the originals though, with some stuff from the other albums thrown in.
Is this something that you guys think you would ever do for any of your other albums, or does Page Avenue stand out to you among the rest?
I don’t imagine we would do a full on world tour for the other records. There might come a time where we do a hometown show, or just randomly do a show where we play everything from one record, but I can only imagine us doing something this huge for Page Avenue.
The last time we heard a completely ‘new’ record from you guys was in 2010 with The Constant – when do you think we can expect another album from you guys?
If it was up to me, this year, but I’m the only one that hasn’t really done any side projects, so I’m chomping at the bit to start. We’re gonna start writing soon, so depending on how quickly we can get things set up, late this year, early next year. Since it’ll be our first ‘new material’ release since 2010, we want to make sure we do it right.
Story of the Year tour as part of their 10th anniversary Page Avenue shows this June.