All about… Yellowcard

Seth Roy

‘Lighting’ up the stage

Credit: Steve Schirra



Playing with Mae

Where? The Odeon

When? Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

How much? $20


In the wide open spaces of a recording studio in Hollywood, members of the band Yellowcard found themselves recording their new album, Lights and Sounds, across the hall from the Dixie Chicks.

This chance meeting led to Natalie Maines, of the country trio, singing a duet with Yellowcard lead singer, Ryan Key.

Bassist Pete Mosely said the group has liked the Dixie Chicks for a while, and has even thought of trying to get Maines to sing on the song “View from Heaven” on Ocean Avenue. He said the group approached Maines about singing on the song, “How I Go.”

“The original plan was just for her to sing back-up (on the song),” Mosely said. “(But) it ended up turning into a duet.”

Maines took home a demo of the song one night and went back to the studio with some lyrics and vocals of her own.

The song also features a 25-piece orchestra conducted by Sean Mackin, Yellowcard’s resident violinist. Mosely said Lights and Sounds is a heavier CD than Ocean Avenue, and it features more lush arrangements.

“We’re very conscious of the fact that this is something we’re going to have to recreate live,” he said. “We plan on bringing out accompaniment to help round out the live sound.”

Mosely and Key wrote the album in early 2005 in between touring and recording. Mosely said they spent less time writing Lights and Sound than they spent on Ocean Avenue.

“For Ocean Avenue, the whole band went up to a mountain house (and wrote the record together),” he said. “This time around, Ryan (Key) and I moved to New York to get away. We’d always talked about living in New York at some point. It was kind of an adventure.”

After Ocean Avenue was released, the band spent most of the next year and a half touring. When it came time to write and record a new record, band members wanted to spread out and take some time off. When Mosely and Key finished the album, the band met and wrote the rest of the parts together, Mosely said.

Because of the success of Ocean Avenue, Mosely said he knew the group had to write a good second album and stray from the idea of a sophomore slump.

“This time we were writing a record with expectations,” he said. “Once we started writing, it just came.”

Yellowcard’s tour to promote Lights and Sounds, which will be released Tuesday, kicks off today in Minneapolis. The group will be in Cleveland Sunday at the Odeon.

“We love touring,” Mosely said. “It’s what we do.”

Joining Yellowcard on this tour will be the inspirational rock band, Mae.

“We always like to pick the bands that are going to play with us,” Mosely said. “We don’t like to bring out bands that all sound the same.”

Mosely said the group had listened to Mae before and likes the band’s style.

In December, Yellowcard had to cancel tour dates in England because of health problems with Key. At the time, he was at risk of needing surgery on his vocal chords, which would keep him from touring for an extended period of time. Mosely said Key had to totally change his diet, but he is doing better and should be fine for touring.

“He’s had to go see a number of doctors,” Mosely said. “He’s treating it right. (We’re) helping him so he doesn’t get so exhausted out on the road.”

Fans who see Yellowcard on this tour will see a new face in the group. Guitarist Ryan Mendez, formerly of Staring Back, replaced original Yellowcard guitarist Ben Harper last year. Mendez’s first shows with Yellowcard were at a festival in Japan in August.

“His first time up on stage with us was in front of 30,000 screaming Japanese fans,” Mosely said, adding that Mendez fits well with Yellowcard, even though the band was nervous about bringing in a new member. “You get a little weary bringing a new musician in a band.”

But, according to Mosely, Mendez is a good addition to the group and fans can expect the same type of live shows as before – the group just has a larger catalog to pull from.

Contact ALL editor Seth Roy at [email protected].