Welcome to the second article in "The Music Scene" series. Today I want to talk about a band that's not that well known, and not much appreciated, but has been farther than you could have ever imagined in a van with five guys, and an open highway. This group had been touring on "The Fuled By Ramen Tour", (Haha, I love that, "Fuled By Ramen") with bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, Cute is What We Aim For, and many more. I had you guess who it was in the BBS last time? Did anyone get it?
This amazing band is . . . The Academy Is!
TAI (The Academy Is) sprang up on the Chicago local scene, when soon to be vocalist William Beckett, and guitarist Mike Carden came together to create the not quite so famous, but totally brilliant indie-rockers, The Academy Is.
TAI was originally called The Academy, but soon conflicts rose up with other bands that were named that. So, William Beckett and and Mike Carden said "We'll change it to The Academy Is, and that's it. Don't phone us about it" (Well, that's probably not what they said, but hey, I compensate.)
Anyways, they wanted to be a band with more than a vocalist and guitarist, so William and Mike added one of Mike's best firends, Adam Siska on bass. They added a temporary second guitarist and drummer to make The Academy Is EP for their hometown label LLR recordings in 2004.
What happened next you wont belive. Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) , a fellow Chicagoan, discovered TAI's first record just as Fall Out Boy was getting really, really famous. What luck! Pete, the kind man he is, he showed The Academy Is's record to his band's label, Fueled By Ramen. When the top's at Fuled By Ramen, heard the release, TAI was, a few months later, being welcomed to the roster at Gainsville Fueled By Ramen. About three months later, William Beckett, Mike Carden, and Adam Siska were on their way down to Florida to record.
TAI's first problem came with finding a guitarist and drummer for the band. They were getting a little publicity, but no matter what, they wanted to have a steady lineup. Beckett knew someone in high school who played the guitars fantastically. His name was Tom Conrad, and since he and William Beckett were still in contact, they convinced Conrad to come down to Florida to see what he could do.
Now all The Academy Is needed was a drummer. In Florida, they put an ad in the newspaper, and what do you know, four drummers came to try out, three more drummers than TAI needed. In the end, they picked Andy "The Butcher" Mrotek. He was humerous, laid out the beats well, and got along with the rest of the band. He and Conrad were instantly added to the line up.
Now that TAI had a steady band, and a friendship between all of them, they recorded their second record, From the Carpet, which was a six song acoustic. You could buy the record in stores, but it was mostly an exclusive on iTunes.
The steady line up for TAI is:
William Beckett - Vocals
Mike Carden - Guitar
Tom Conrad - Guitar
Adam Siska - Bass
Andy "The Butcher" Mrotek - Drums
With two 7 inches out, and the fan base growing wider, TAI took of on a one year touring session. Boy, did they get more and more popular each show. Well, relentless touring with the likes of Fall Out Boy, Armor for Sleep, Panic! at The Disco, Something Corporate, Cute is What We Aim For, and Midtown, can make you quite the talk.
Soon, The Academy Is's names were being whisperd around in the music magazines, and on the 'net. After the year long tour was done, TAI went on to record their most famous albulm yet. The record which made The Academy Is, The Academy Is today. This album was full of talent, and sparked with talent. It was their first full length album TAI had ever recorded, and it hit as number seven in the Top 100 Best Albums of the Year charts. This record was called "Almost Here" and changed my idea of indie music forever.
TAI also released acoustic tracks of the songs on Almost Here, which is much like From The Carpet. They are good, too.
In conclusion on The Academy Is's bio, I think they are talented, amazing, and totally not as well known as they should be.
The Academy Is's top five songs are:
1. Slow Down
3. The Phrase That Pays
4. Black Mamba
All of thzose songs are from the chart topping albulm, Almost Here.
Some other good songs on that album are Checkmarks, Almost here, and Down and Out.
I especially love Checkmarks, because it has a dark beat to it, the lyrics are meaningful, and you can totally sing along with it.
Just one more things that might have been puzzling you throughout the article. Why is Andy Mrotek's, the drummer, nicknamed "The Butcher". I heard he used to be a butcher, and totally hated it, so he quit that job the day he saw the advertisemnet that TAI put in the paper for a new drummer. One mystery solved.
Hint for the next The Music Scene, you say? I'll give you a lyric to help "We lay, we lay, together. Just not to close, too close. How close is close enough?" Can you guess? Post in the BBS.
*Raises orange soda can* To the Music!