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On the Road With Say Anything

Practical jokes and road stories from one of punk's hardest working bands.

April 1, 2008 9:18 AM ET
Click here to see photos of the band's most prized possessions and tattoos (and one of their more famous fans, Ashley Olsen)

We caught up with indie rock band Say Anything before their sold-out headlining show at New York's Nokia Theater this past weekend, and got the SoCal sextet — lead singer Max Bemis, drummer Coby Linder, keyboardist Parker Case and guitarists Alex Kent, Jake Turner and Jeff Turner — to share their most memorable tour pranks, plans for this summer's upcoming Warped Tour and the meaning behind "Daddy."

What are some of the best tour pranks you've pulled or have had pulled on you?
Jake: The only April Fool's joke I remember anyone pulling on us on tour was when we were on our way to a venue and Indy, our old tour manager, decided he was going to tell us the show was cancelled. It was an overnight drive and I was so tired and totally stoked to get to the show. Then he says, "Oh, I don't know if I told you [but the show was cancelled]." He went on for a good hour — I was so bummed because we had driven all this way and it got cancelled.
Max: He's a sick guy.
Jake: Yeah, it was really messed up. This was was one of our first tours and it was just a really gnarly thing to do - right when we get to the city limits he was like "oh by the way, April Fool's."

Did you do anything to get back at him?
Alex: (laughing) We fired him! [Another thing was] when we were on tour with Saves the Day [last year], they got all the bands together on the whole tour and brought them on stage during one of our songs with a table, a birthday cake, hats, streamers, a piñata, balloons and chairs, sat down and had a birthday party.
Jake: It was actually for Coby's girlfriend's birthday. We were in the middle of a set -
Coby: - but we knew it was coming, so we learned a Saves the Day song and when they walked on stage we started playing it.
Jake: Everyone was confused.
Parker: You can watch it on YouTube.
Coby: It was great. We had tried earlier [to prank them] by going to the Hooters across the street and bringing three girls over and standing them next to Saves the Day on stage just dancing awkwardly with them. The girls were pretty great at it and Saves the Day loved it.

Are there any recommendations you would give to someone who's trying to pull a successful prank?
Coby: Just don't ruin another band's show. Don't unplug their instruments.
Max: We actually did that to HelloGoodbye. We unplugged their instruments and plugged in different instruments and started playing.
Alex: We didn't ruin it, we played it better!
Jake: It was in the UK. Usually we have in-ear [monitors] so the front of house doesn't really matter to us, but that whole tour we were all on monitors. We had this ongoing joke between us and Hellogoodbye where we would go to the front of house and just say "Dill?" through the monitors. The crowd couldn't hear it, but they could hear it on stage.
Alex: It was so loud.
Jake: We were sharing a sound guy, so we were allowed one a night, but at Brixton Academy, it got really intense. There were three different "Dills" throughout the set, and Max ended up screaming into the microphone from front of house.

Who started this?
Jake: It was their little thing
Coby: That's usually how it goes, someone starts it and we usually take it.
Max: We finesse it.
Jake: I think Biffy Clyro's already saying "Daddy."

What is "Daddy"?
Alex: The term "Daddy" is used at all times, whether it's "Daddy I just farted" or "Daddy, I'm on the bus."
Max: It refers to everyone in the band.
Coby: It's also things like, "Can I have some of that Daddy?"
Parker: Or when go to a restaurant and they bring you food, you say "Thanks, Daddy!"
Coby: That's the best!
Alex: Just anything, like when you say "Hi": "Daddy."
Coby: Jake's been saying it his whole life, pretty much.
Max: I think it was his first word.
Jake: I just blew it way out of proportion.

How have people reacted when you insert "Daddy" into conversation?
Max: It's a subtle thing.
Jake: No one really notices. It's like, "Did they just say 'Daddy?'"

How did you guys come up with the setlist for this tour, since you had two albums of material and then the double-album?
Alex: Just ask Daddy.
Jake: It was actually pretty easy. We started making a setlist one night on the MySpace music tour [last fall], just started talking about the songs and which songs we wanted to play from the new record. I think there's seven old songs, eight new songs, a b-side and then a cover, so it's pretty equal.

Which cover are you doing?
Max: The Smashing Pumpkins' "Stand Inside Your Love" I'd been listening to it a lot, and we'd always talked about doing a cover but never done it. The mood of the song is a nice break, but it's still up-tempo. We all like it.
Parker: It's really cool to have it in the set. It's not like you get sick of playing your own songs, but you're playing an hour and fifteen minutes or so and all of a sudden you're playing a song that you've never really played before or never get to. it's almost like you're living vicariously through Billy Corgan.
Jake: It's kind of cool because the crowd chills out, too.

Do a lot of people recognize it?
Max: It's like half and half.
Jake: The older people, yes, the younger people —
Parker: They've heard the song but they don't know the lyrics.

Have you heard of anyone covering your music?
Parker: There are videos of kids on YouTube.
Max: They're singing mainly "Alive with the Glory of Love."
Alex: I saw someone do "Belt" which was probably the funniest thing.
Coby: It's kids at talent shows. The best are these two guys who are stoned —
Alex: — They're on ecstasy, they say it.
Coby: They're both shirtless and wearing bandanas and one guy is singing, the other one is on guitar and they fuck up the beginning like five times (watch it here).

Do people send you these videos?
Coby: We search every night.
Parker: We scour.
Jake: Probably the most insane one I've ever found was this seriously, maybe six-year-old boy —
Max: Yeah! The "Wow, I Can Get Sexual, Too" one?
Jake: No, he does "Baby Girl, I'm A Blur" — just him, A Cappella. His dad's saying "C'mon, sing it" and when he gets to the chorus, he gets really intense and pretends to hold a microphone.
Max: There are also a lot of kids who are too young to know what ["Wow, I Can Get Sexual, Too"], about, and they're singing it. There's one with two fourteen year old girls, and I saw one with a seven-year-old boy singing it word-for-word. It was intense.

You obviously have a dedicated fanbase — are there faces you recognize at each show?
Jake: There's a girl who always comes to the Philadelphia-area shows and always takes pictures, so she's always right up there.
Alex: They come up to you and go "I've been to eight shows!" or "I've been to 24 shows!"

You're going out on Warped Tour this summer. What are you doing to prepare?
Parker: I'm going to turn all of my pants into shorts.
Jeff: Parker and I are going to grow out our hair as long as we can.
Parker: Yeah, we're in a hair bet right now.
Alex: Whoever cuts their hair first has to pay for a Higher t-shirt and wear it on stage every day.
Jake: It sounds pretty silly, but trust us.

What prompted the bet?
Jake: Canada and drinking.
Alex: They both said they're excited to grow it.
Parker: And I'm at the point of no return. It's gonna get heavy and sweaty. I'm shaving my head after that last date.

Click here to see photos of the band's most prized possessions and tattoos (and one of their more famous fans, Ashley Olsen)

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