Über Say Anything
Say Anything revolves around lead singer, guitarist and sole songwriter Max Bemis. He formed the band with drummer Coby Linder (the only other constant member) while they were still attending high school in Los Angeles. In 2000, they self-released two EPs (Junior Varsity and Menorah, Majorah) as well as their debut LP (Baseball), all filled with songs awash punk pop that recalled the best parts of Weezer and Blink-182. They were immediately set upon by major labels, but they chose to sign with the Toledo, Ohio-based Doghouse Records, if only for the artistic freedom that being with an independent label would give them. Bemis dropped out of college to write and record this first record for Doghouse, which was a concept album about a "neurotic punk rocker" based on wholly on his life. However, at this stage of their career, the musician became increasingly subject to mood swings, far beyond the usual range of emo. Somewhere in the process of steering his ambitious punk-pop musical along with playing all the instruments (minus the drums), Bemis suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized. A setback for the band indeed, but a step in the right direction for the auteur, who was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and received the help and support he needed in the midst of his personal (and public) soap opera. The erratic creation of this concept album finally stabilized with the help of producers Tim O'Heir (All-American Rejects, Dinosaur Jr.) and Stephen Trask (who wrote the songs for and produced Hedwig and the Angry Inch) who stepped in to help Bemis complete his vision. ...Is A Real Boy was finally released on Doghouse in 2004. Despite a few more setbacks involving ignored medication resulting in cancelled tours, Say Anything accepted an offer from J Records to reissue a remastered version of the disc in 2006 as Say Anything...Is A Real Boy (along with a bonus disc of spiffed-up demos originally recorded for an AIDS benefit EP that was leaked online). Say Anything now appears stable in terms of consistent lineup and tour schedule, but Max Bemis admits that he continues to walk a tightrope of passionate emotions -- a manic state of mental health that seems to contribute to the highly charged confessional songwriting -- but expresses cautious optimism on the band's website, telling fans: "so far, so good."