This just in! The guitar is NOT dead. It's not even ailing...just ask The Wonder Years. Well, actually, just watch this session and they'll tell you. The melodic, punk outfit from Pennsylvania stopped by Baeble recently for a little change of pace, performing three acoustic tracks with - GASP! - three guitars.
A band that once started out as a now credits 6 full-length albums, two EPs, and 13 strong years of jamming out to thousands and thousands of people to their name. Oh, and don't forget about this beautiful Baeble NEXT session. Led by Dan 'Soupy' Campbell, the band brought poppy, punk goodness of course, but they also brought the stories behind the three songs offered here. And we love a good story. Campbell told us of the bands heartening experience in Chile that lead to the name of their album and title track, Sister Cities.
The Wonder Years probably can't be summed up any better than what Hanif Abdurraquib wrote in their bio for the new album: "They play rock and roll and they play it like they mean it". If you're not quite sure how to conceptualize that statement, Campbell put it like this...nerve damage. When they perform, they go hard...like, they put their whole bodies into it. Kind of like football players. And when they play that hard night in and night out, sometimes it results in a little nerve damage...but you'll have to watch the session for more details. The band started with "Pyramids of Salt", followed by "Cardinals", and concluded the session with "Sister Cities", the title track from their latest album.
Click the image below for amazing session photos:
To my right is Nick. Nick can say his own name, I guess. - I'm Nick. - We're in a band called the Wonder Years. ...broken promises Caught between the lies you've been fed And a war with your bloodstream I should have been there when you needed a friend When we started, we didn't think that we would play to anyone or write more than one song. It was just like a joke one morning. We were like, "What if we hung out today and wrote a song? That'd be funny. " And that was it. That was supposed to be the end of it. It's been all consuming since then. I saw you hiding in the ivy I know you're too afraid to call They're getting ready for the winter here They've gathered pyramids of salt You saw them having trouble breathing I know you think that it's your fault I saw you hiding in the ivy Keeping quiet through the fall There's a bird inside your rib cage He screams so I never forget I wanna break open your sternum I wanna rip him from his nest And sow you back up like a garden Growing flowers from your chest There's a bird inside your rib cage I keep trying to forget I drew a line in the sand with these worthless fucking hands I drew a line in the sand, you washed it away again I saw you hiding in the ivy Watched the night start to decay And you wonder in the morning who's gonna drag The sun out of the lake You move gently off the sore spots I can see that you're in pain Everything left in the light here long enough Is someday gonna fade I drew a line in the sand with these worthless fucking hands I drew a line in the sand, you washed it away again I drew a line in the sand with these goddamn worthless hands I drew a line in the sand, you washed it away again We're so vacant These bodies Collapsing So gracefully And I love you And I'm sorry And I understand if you blame me And I'm helpless And you're drowning And I'm beating at the water here so desperately So desperately I drew a line in the sand with these worthless fucking hands I drew a line in the sand, you washed it away again I drew a line in the sand with these goddamn worthless hands I drew a line in the sand, you washed it away again You washed it away again Raining in Kyoto It's flooding the streets I'm nursing a coffee from a vending machine I saw the god of rice, and a fox with a key - I feel like there's this narrative in music journalism right now that, you know, the guitar is an endangered species. - Well, it depends on how you look at it. On a radio, certainly. You know, obviously, there's always still those three stations that play the same classic rock songs endlessly but it does seem like top 40 is kind of anti that but I don't think it's necessarily hurting any of the music. Anyway, I don't know how much radio really determines any of that anyway. - Yeah. And we certainly don't get a lot of radio play. I think every time there's a spin for any of these songs on any radio station, we get like an alert email from the label, like, "We got one!" So it's obviously not a thing that comes in like, you know, I mean, I'm happy to get anything we can get, you know, to get the songs out to more people and any way we can do it is awesome, but it's obviously not a thing that we rely on super heavily and I don't know. I don't know if guitar is dead or if it's dying but we're certainly here with three of them and we think we're doing okay. And I bought you a radio to drown out the machines Oh, and the last song we did, or maybe we did it second, maybe you'll play it last, I don't know how you want to do it, is actually from our last record and it's called "Cardinals. " So if you call me back or let me in I swear I'll never let you down again The version we did of it is from this EP we put out called "Burst & Decay" which was us taking seven songs from our back catalog and just trying to reimagine them in interesting ways and try to find something new we could do to them to give them a different kind of light and a different space to perform them in. We're no saviors if we can't save our brothers - Do you guys enjoy playing this way, stripped down? - I do. I really like it. It's a nice change of pace. The new songs are, we're just trying to find a way to do them, right? You know, they're pretty much brand new. We've only played them live in England and for like seven or eight shows. And so they haven't been performed a whole lot as they were intended, so it's weird to play them in a way that they were not written for and try to find something interesting about that but I like doing the "Burst & Decay" stuff a lot because we like specifically tailored it for this kind of environment. Cardinal crashed into my window, I think he might die I'll plan him a funeral, I'll read his last rites 'Cause I know what he saw in that reflection of light On the glass it's a better life Staring at a hole in your chest That's been dug there for decades American broken promises Caught between the lies you've been fed And a war with your bloodstream I should have been there when you needed a friend I was off on my own again Selfish and stupid So if you call me back or let me in (Call me back) I swear I'll never let you down again I know the devil you've been fighting with (Devil you've been fighting with) I swear I'll never let you down again I had that nightmare again You're seven and helpless, angry as hell And you balled up your fists but I laughed at your swings And I beat you half-conscious I know that I failed you, woke up in a sweat I want those years back So if you call me back or let me in (Call me back) I swear I'll never let you down again I know the devil you've been fighting with (Devil you've been fighting with) I swear I'll never let you down again We're no saviors if we can't save our brothers We're no saviors if we can't save our brothers So if you call me back or let me in (We're no saviors) I swear I'll never let you down again (if we can't save our brothers) I know the devil you've been fighting with (We're no saviors) I swear I'll never let you down again (if we can't save our brothers) So if you call me back or let me in (We're no saviors) I swear I'll never let you down again (if we can't save our brothers) I know the devil you've been fighting with (We're no saviors) I'll never let you down again (if we can't save our brothers) I'll never let you down again The record is called "Sister Cities" which would make the title track "Sister Cities. " And that's a song about a day in Chile. We landed and found out that our show had gotten canceled. If you're in that area of Chile, the thing that you're going to notice first is there's an abundance of stray dogs everywhere and I started commiserating with these dogs in this way and I was like, "Hey, man, me too. I also don't have anywhere to go or anywhere to be and I'm just kind of wandering around looking for someone to maybe take care of me right now. " Somebody messaged us and said, "Hey, you got to play a show. Like we don't think you're ever going to come back to Chile. We really want to see you. " And then, "We got it! We'll come, we'll pick you up, we have some pick-up trucks, we'll put all your gear in it, we'll take you to this rehearsal space, it's got a stage and a PA and we'll throw the show. " We're like, "Okay. " So these people just kind of took us in and we bonded with them really quickly and when we got that message, we were like right next to the Sister Cities' monument in Chile and I day and night and the song came out of that. The moon is hanging low, over the central station I watch the buses leave in silence, bound for foreign distant places The Andes hold me close A mother's only son I feel weightless in the valley, like I'm everywhere at once I'm laying low A stray dog in the street You took me home We're sister cities I'm laying low A stray dog in the street You took me home We're sister cities We came here abandoned An old brick faced apartment Rusted swing set in the courtyard, like the one that I was born in I'm guarded like I'm wounded, my first instinct's always "run" I wanna turn to steam I wanna call it off I wanna lighten the dark I wanna swallow the sun I'm laying low A stray dog in the street You took me home We're sister cities I'm laying low A stray dog in the street You took me home I was just mange and skin and bone You took me into your home Kept warm on a blanket from your worn out winter coat I'm laying low A stray dog in the street You took me home We're sister cities I'm laying low A stray dog in the street You took me home We're sister cities I'm laying low A stray dog in the street You took me home We're sister cities We're sister cities - And the bio that was sent to me. It's a pretty cool bio. - Sure. Yeah. Hanif Abdurraqib wrote it. - Yeah, that's cool. - He's the man. It says, "The Wonder Years are a band that play rock and roll music and they play it like they mean it. " So what does playing it like you mean it mean to you guys? - This is where...So I've had this joke recently that I was going to start doing interviews like I'm a football coach and just provide all platitudes and then it started to like seep into my subconscious and now I feel like I can only provide platitude. So I just want to be like, "Yeah, you know, we're just going out there, working hard every day, trying to get better and, you know, God willing, we get blessed with the dub. " So, you know, that's kind of what it is but, you know, we want to go out there and put on a show that matters every night. We don't want to phone it in. We want to put our whole bodies into it every night and you want to come off stage feeling exhausted and feeling like you really just worked for 90 minutes to 2 hours to whatever the set ends up being and that's what we do night after night. So much so that our drummer can't feel several fingers in his left hand right now? - He's fine. - We'll see. We'll see. - It's just nerves that don't work anymore. - Because he's been playing so hard for so long that there is nerve damage. - Oh man. - They'll be fine. - So that's what playing it like we mean it means, I guess. Nerve damage. And I'm helpless And you're drowning And I'm beating at the water here so desperately So desperately
The Wonder Years are a band and they are a band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and they came to life in 2005 and they write songs and those songs are sometimes about people they love and those songs are sometltncs about people you might have loved and those songs are sometimes about a city that could be rhe city you live in or a neighborhood rhat feels like could be your neighborhood and they put those songs on albums and they put those songs on The Upsides in 2010 and they put those songs on Suburbia I rve Given You All and Now I'm Nothing in 2011 and on The Greatest Generation in 2013 and on No Closer to Heaven in 2015 and those albums were loved by critics and even more loved by fans and their shows are awash with a genume emotional energy that only they can pull out of a room and The Wonder Years are a band made up of old friends and they play rock and roll music and they play it like they mean Lt and they have played it in a lot of places and In front of a lot of people and they have played it in dive bars and arenas and outside With [he whole Sky bowing and they have played it on five continents and [hey have played ir in thirty countries and they are still counting and Sister Cities is chetr new album and it is an album about how all of our distance might not be so wide after all and it was written With the world Ota and all Of the songs sound like they are trying build you a bridge from somewhere bad co somewhere better and The Wonder Years are a band and they are also bridge builders...