"We just want to make a really cohesive record. For kids to connect with it, I think it's all we want from it." The Starting Line recently released an album called "Direction." A year or so after "Based On a True Story," a label change and a busy tour schedule. I sat with Matt Watts & Mike Golla to ask about that process up until now.
Jimmy Eat World, is such a popular band. (Check out my Mae interview.) The Starting Line has been out on tour with some of the biggest names you could imagine, but JEW is the one band they would love to hit the road with. As soon as the question left my mouth the response left theirs.
The Starting Line started out in 99, and as Matt said, "I think we've kind of grown up with our fans. We were fortunate to be able to put out records that they're kind of growing up to."
One thing about growing up with fans is that they feel like they know you a little more than they do... "What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever done?" In the most matter of fact way ever, I get this answer. "Driven to Kenny's house from a different state, just showed up. To show a scar from a a biopsy... Yea, bizarre. Then went on Fuse to ask Kenny who the weirdest fan was."
"I dunno. Uh... Whatever. I mean it was cool, I guess. I guess the kids I went to high school with think I'm in a real band now, because I went to the bar last night and they were like, ohhh TRL huh? and I'm like dude I was on their once. We were on TRL for one minute, one time." "I mean it's cool that they're like recognizing us I guess." "...It was magical."
...Based on a True Story was their first major label album and is full of camera references. If you check the track list alone you have titles like, "Photography," "Cut! Print It" and "Making Love To The Camera." So I thought it was a good idea to ask Mike & Matt why. They went back and forth with it for a while "...I didn't realize there were so many camera references, I thought it was just in 'Making Love'" "Yea there definitely are." "I think it's just about being in the Spotlight, not necessarily the camera." "That's a good answer." "Yea, I'll stick with that answer. I'll retract my first statement."
"Wow, well I didn't think we've always had awesome merch, we do now. This kid Kyle White designs most of our merch and unfortunately he wasn't able to do any of our Warped Tour designs which is when we had crappy merch but the kids liked it." He also hates the scissors shirt, and we talked about said scissor shirt for about 2 minutes or so... "The thongs came out way better. We ran out of those."
"It's getting better. I think as a community it's not what I remember NJ like when we first started like. I wish it would become that kind of community. It's like, kids aren't hungry for it. It's have been overexposed to so many bands that they're just so over it." Besides their thriving scene in Philly & NJ, lately their favorite place to play is Cleveland or Columbus, Ohio, "I don't know what they're putting in the water there," they say.
"It means 'The Strong Ones' in Dutch." Me, being the gullible person I am believe it until he says, "No, I just made that up, but you were ready to roll with it... [The Starting Line] was like one of a hundred or one hundred fifty names and we were like, uh that's not that bad, and it's not already taken..."
Eight years in a band, no matter how successful, can make you a bit jaded and you could hear it subtly in the interview. A bit of dry humor, and sometimes it was insightful, nothing too special though. Like the kids from their hometown, they just seemed a bit over it. [CO]