Our friends in I THE MIGHTY released their brand new LP today. This is truly a special band and record. When I started at Equal Vision in 2015, I was a fan of their records but upon seeing them live in Dallas opening for Coheed & Cambria, I was truly blown away. A ton of energy, riffs, angelic voices and an animal on the drum kit. With a lot of mutual friends previously telling tales of each other, we became insta-dudes. Watching how hard this band works is super inspiring. They're so passionate and that comes through with every song, every live show and most importantly in every conversation with them as humans. It's an honor to have become close with them and watch their journey from the inside.
The new record shows another level of the bands writing and vision. They worked with dear friends of mine Casey Bates and Kris Crummett as producers. I've posted 3 of the new tunes/videos below for you to start with but do yourself a favor and check out the full new record and venture backwards into their catalog (I highly recommend my favorite "Lady Of Death" as it's a RIPPER!).
On Wednesday, they hosted a special listening party / pop up shop / acoustic show in LA. Watching them interact with all their fans that they've built a really special bond with for years and years was awesome. Go see the guys as they start their full US headlining tour on Saturday! Get tickets HERE. When you head out to a show, tell them I said hello and Blake or Hink (Honk) will tell you about the time we won a bunch of money on the Patriots come back in the Super Bowl and I launched a can of beer at the ceiling in the hotel room in excitement. Good times. Thanks for the music and friendship I The Mighty.
We made a Spotify playlist! Click follow on it so you get our updated tunes from artists we love each week. We want it to be interactive so submit your bands (or tell your friends bands to submit) to us! http://spoti.fi/2kWDnA9
First up we have a killer mix of older bands we love and newer ones you should be listening to! Support these bands as they're all hard working great people. Check back each week for a new batch of tunes. Thanks for your eyes and ears!
A few days ago, I got to see two of my favorite bands. They've been huge influences and helped shape the direction of my career path. This is a long one so buckle up. Way back in high school, I was discovering countless bands in the pop punk, punk, emo, whatever you want to call it genre. I have a collection of stars tattooed on my arm that I took from The Movielife's 'This Time Next Year' record. I remember hearing them on an old Initial Records cd compilation and loving them. They actually opened me up to the amazing Long Island scene that was going on at that point. It was a ridiculous scene with Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Glassjaw, Bayside, As Tall As Lions, etc.
When I turned 18, I started a record label called Little League Records (which quickly became LLR Recordings after Little League Baseball threatened to sue me). I reached out to Richard and Stefanie from Drive Thru Records which was by far my favorite label with non stop incredible releases from (A) New Found Glory, Midtown, Allister, Dashboard Confessional, Rx Bandits, Finch, The Starting Line, Something Corporate and somehow even more. They were cool enough to have me and a few friends helping with the label out to California to hang in the office, learn from them and give a bunch of advice on getting the label off the ground. Incredible experiences and I can't thank them enough for the advice but beyond that, I remember the first time stepping foot in their office and it all clicked for me. I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was crazy inspiring to watch a label, not to mention my favorite label, operate and work on upcoming releases from my favorite bands. I hope everyone gets to experience a moment like that.
They played me the finished Movielife 'Has A Gambling' problem record and it was incredible (and still is.) I got to see all the photos the photographer just sent in of the band in Vegas that would be narrowed down and make up the artwork for the EP. I continued to be a huge fan of the band throughout the remaining years to follow. I lived in the Movielife switchblade shirt throughout high school. Fast forward to me working at Equal Vision Records over a decade later. We had heard that Vinnie Caruana was working on a solo record and got sent a few early demos. The songs were killer. Dan at EVR and I bonded over the history of The Movielife and both jumped at the chance to get involved. It was so rad to get to work with Vinnie on the songs and the record and was such a great full circle moment. I'm so proud of that record and you should check it out if you haven't. Anyways, it was so rad to see The Movielife come back and their new record rules. Some of their best songwriting quite honestly. Their setlist was a great mix of all eras, including opening with I Hope You Die Soon and I can't wait to see what they have in-store. They sound just as good as they ever did so get out there and see it.
On that same visit to Drive Thru Records, I got to hear a new band they had just signed from NJ called The Early November. It was songs that would make up the For All Of This EP and it started out with so much energy and combined everything I loved in the scene at the time. It was another great signing and I feel like I told every person I saw how good it was once it came out. I worked at a record store so it was amazing to recommend a young band no one had heard of and people would listen and buy it consistently. I remember when they got to play the main stage at Skate and Surf to thousands of people at such a young part of their career and completely killing it. They toured a ton so I was fortunate to see them all the time as they passed through Chicago. A few years later, a few friends and I drove out to California again and we got the Acoustic EP. I think we listened to it the entire 40 hours home to Chicago. That's probably the most emo thing I've ever written but we listened to it a lot. I was a huge fan of the Room's Too Cold and then the wild triple disc (who does that?). Over the years I would always hear insane tour stories about them like how they got 2 vans stolen (lost?).
Fast forward to about a decade later when I started Self Titled Management and began managing producers and song writers. I got a call from my buddy Mike Marquis who booked The Early November and he asked me if I was a fan and if I'd be interested in working with Ace on his production/writing. I played it cool and didn't fan boy and of course was stoked. Got on the phone with Ace the next day and I was going to say yes regardless but I was really stoked on how good of a producer he was on top of the song writing which I had already been a huge fan of obviously. He started a killer studio in NJ called The Lumberyard w/ Nik from Man Overboard. Go work with them: The Lumberyard. It was incredible to get to know Ace and watch him pour himself into his projects. He's truly one of the nicest people I've ever met. I've been trying to convince him to move to California so we could hang out more and so our kids could be best friends.
It's always a great time seeing an Early November show and equally a great time catching up on life, songs, tour and Hallmark Christmas movies. While joking around before the show, he was wearing a red flannel as was another member of the band and I said "You should put both flannels on and take one off after a song and say 'the room's not so cold after all'." The room had a good laugh and he quickly put on the 2nd flannel and said he was doing it. (Side note: The jury is still out on the initial double up the flannel part of who suggested it between Jono Diener (from the Swellers who's playing drums for Early November on this tour) or me. Let's just say we're a great comedy writing duo that you'll be hearing more from). After the 3rd song, sure enough, he nailed it. Here's the video:
As I said, always an incredible time. This was the Room Is Too Cold album tour which was rad to see all those songs front to back that I've heard in that order so many times. The coolest part is watching Ace continue to become an even better performer every time I'm able to see a show. They played some bonus songs after the record play and the best part was after the encore, we walked to the dressing room and there was still a sizable chant for one more song going. The band had unplugged, Ace pulled his in ear monitors out already, the house lights and music already playing which everyone knows the shows over at that point but the band all looked at each other, ran down the hall to stage to do another. There was an awkward moment where the sound guy had already walked away but he came back and the fans got to hear the band rip Decoration. Again, Ace is the nicest dude ever. I for one hope he never stops writing and releasing music cause he continues to deliver and surprise. Thanks for all the inspiration.
Awkward friend photo but I needed to get the double flannel documented.
My dudes in Sleep On It released their 2nd single called "Window" off their debut LP today. It's been a hell of a journey with them! A few years back, well before we worked together, they reached out asking for advice. This happens fairly often with local bands and I always try to respond based on what I know of the band, etc. Most bands do nothing with that advice. Sleep On It was very different. They took it to heart and literally worked super hard and continued to grow. I constantly heard the name around the Chicago scene. Fast forward a few years, my buddy Zech, who was singing for a band I liked called Bonfires, called me and said he had left Bonfires. A day or two prior, Sleep On It had told me they parted ways with their singer. I'm not sure if there's a more serendipitous situation that's ever been so obvious in such a short time frame. I immediately brought it up since they were all friendly. They started sending me songs of their first hangs/practices/etc and within 2 songs you could tell it was on. I moved as quickly as I could to bring them into Equal Vision. We got to work on the EP and the band hit the road regularly. Then when it became LP demoing time, they locked themselves down to really dig in. I watched a young band really put everything they had into songs. Pouring over such minor details but it showed how much they cared about every part of everything they were doing. With this song in particular, they wanted to cut it from the record and not record it. I said something along the lines of "You would literally be so stupid if you cut this song." They didn't love me for that because they had other songs they thought were better. Thankfully, they trusted my reaction to that song. Days after they recorded it, they told me how stoked they were on it. It was a great moment of realizing to step outside of the bubble most bands create because you're way too close to some of the songs. I've watched a lot of small bands in Chicago become very big bands. Their similar qualities of work ethic, passion, generosity, and a huge appreciation of fans is something I watched in Fall Out Boy and The Academy Is in their early days in Chicago. Proud to be a footnote in the bands story and can't wait to watch the world to continue to fall in love with Sleep On It. Good on you boys.
Every year, in the middle of September, I get to experience my favorite music festival in my hometown of Chicago. Riot Fest somehow outdoes itself every year with incredible line ups and after shows. This year was no exception. This year was a bit more special because my boys in Sleep On It got to open the main stage on the first day.
It was an incredible sight to see as this is their hometown and they've worked their way up the ranks in the city and specifically the Riot Fest line ups over the years. Opening a stage that would be followed by Four Year Strong, State Champs, The Story So Far, Mayday Parade and A Day To Remember must've been a dream for the dudes. It was a proud dad moment for me! Here's a video of their set closer "Unspoken". Around the 2:00 mark in the video, El Mercho Loco aka Alex Fucking Smith accompanied by the boys in Grayscale start throwing a bunch of Good Future Club shirts into the crowd. That was dope. Also, their new record 'Overexposed' comes out on November 3rd on Equal Vision Records. It's such a ripper for any fan of pop punk. We grew up on the same bands/records and they made a record that fits right in with all those classics.
After Sleep On It, I caught State Champs. They always bring it and the crowd was super loud. Their newest record, Around The World And Back Again, is a pop punk gem. It reminds me of glory days New Found Glory and I haven't heard a band nail it like that in a long time.
Throughout the day, I got to see a ton of friends finished the day at the fest with The Story So Far, Mayday Parade, Vic Mensa, A Day To Remember and Nine Inch Nails. Pretty ridiculous line up. After that, I jumped in an Uber to hit the New Found Glory/Bayside after show at Concord Music Hall. Both bands of such insanely stacked catalogs that it must be the hardest conversations to pick set lists. You forget how many great songs both bands have put out over the last 15-20 years.
That was a super long day of music but I woke up early to grab an early lunch with friends from Workshop Management, Equal Vision Records, Hopeless Records, Spotlight Touring and Fueled By Ramen. We had these incredible things called Horse Shoes. It's a sandwich covered in fries covered in cheese sauce. Yeah, like I said, it's incredible. I contemplated a nap after that but got back over to the fest to catch friends in Knuckle Puck (I somehow didn't get a photo but they ruled as always.) Then I caught Bayside, Fidlar (first time seeing live and whoa, just as good as the records) and The Lawrence Arms (pictured below).
I sadly had to miss New Found Glory, Taking Back Sunday, Wu Tang Clan and At The Drive In because Fall Out Boy was playing at the House Of Blues. There's a few rules in life and seeing Fall Out Boy in Chicago is always one of them. Got to bump into a lot of old friends at the show and it's always great to see the dudes. Also, they came out to the Chicago Bulls entrance music which was perfect.
Sunday at Riot Fest is always an interesting day. People walk a little slower, they're all sunburnt and tired but you have to rally up because the line up doesn't let up at all. Beach Slang into Hot Water Music into Real Friends into Say Anything into The Menzingers into the almighty Paramore. I somehow took no photos and only small 15 second videos on Sunday (again, tired and forgetful) but take my word for it that it was a hell of a finish to the fest. After that, I shot over to the Bottom Lounge to see my dudes in Sleep On It fulfill another dream of theirs by opening for Taking Back Sunday.
We'll call this shot of me and my boy TJ Horansky "Good dudes that think alike". In all seriousness, we can't thank the Sleep On It boys for always supporting Good Future Club. Below is a shot of me and my dude Erick Charles. I've worked with Erick for almost a decade and recently re-joined him at Fueled By Ramen and Roadrunner Records. He's one of my favorite people in the world.
After Sleep On It had another killer set, TBS came on and ripped through a super long set list. Finally at 1:30am, it was time to call it a weekend. Until next year Riot Fest, thnks fr th mmrs. - Johnny
First off, this band is incredible. We've got a lot of ties to LIMBS at GFC but first and foremost, we're just huge fans. They super rad and down to run around Laguna Beach with us even though they had been on tour with Hail The Sun and Capsize for weeks and hadn't slept much the days leading up to it. Nonetheless, they were true champs and showed up to help us out. They're basically the faces of the company at this point which is rad! How'd that photoshoot line up? Well, about a year back, our friend Andrew Cramb at Royal Division Management was texting me about this new band he got introduced to. He said they were super heavy and he was checking the out at So What!? Fest in Dallas. He proceeded to send me videos of their set that night. I recall being super impressed by their live show which included incredible homemade lights and the band sounded great (even through an iPhone video recording). He was saying he thought they were really cool live and that they were super nice guys that grew up not too far from his hometown in Florida. He then sent over some songs that they had recently released and I think a few others that they were gearing up to roll out in the coming months. The songs reminded me of some of my favorites in heavy music from the past like The Bled's 'Pass The Flask' album and catalogs from Poison The Well and Underoath. I immediately punished Andrew to continually tell him how rad I thought the band was and kept asking him why he wasn't already working with them. He kept saying he'd like to get involved but was super busy and he was just getting to know the dudes. I reached out him about every 5 days for a few weeks and kept repeating myself. I think he got sick of it so he picked the band up. He proceeded to keep me in the loop with songs, tours, etc. At this point, I worked at Equal Vision Records and randomly, Francesca at EVR brought them up to me. She raved about how great the songs were completely unbeknownst that I also loved the songs. We immediately started talking to the band to get to know them a bit more, hear their plans and also learned that Tim from Underoath was a part of their growth from a producer and management stand point. I got to have lunch with Tim and Andrew at a killer brewery where we spoke about our love for the band and how we thought they were doing something really special in heavy music. Today, they announced that signing to Equal Vision and released a newly recorded version of their song "Poison" w/ a music video. I can't wait to see what this band continues to do and will always be a fan. -Johnny
Here's a quick look at the beginning stages of Good Future Club straight from the print shop! We linked up with a great company called Absolute Merch right in our backyard in beautiful Orange County, California. They were very instrumental in helping us bring our designs and prints to life. We appreciate your eyes and ears. Spread some positivity today!
The main thing we’ve always wanted to do is to spread positivity. Major or minor, you're never too busy to help someone. Whether it's promoting something someone is doing, or giving someone a compliment and empowering them, or taking a minute to listen to their story. Even if it’s just listening to remind someone that they’re not alone. We’re all looking for the same thing in life and are always in the pursuit of happiness. Everything you do can affect someone in a positive way. We think it would have a huge impact if more people took a focused approach to making someone else's life even a tad bit better or easier. Remind someone that they're great at what they’re doing. Instill confidence. Teach integrity and empathy. Find the things that inspire you and keep adding fuel to those fires. Do away with cynicism and promote optimism in every scenario. As cheesy as it is, we want to change the world and make it a better place for everyone. Period. Start today and make someone's day better.
Welcome to the Good Future Club. Everyone's welcome.