As the Promise Ring's frontman, singer/guitarist Davey vonBohlen
helped draft the emo-pop blueprint so many of today's bands have committed
to memory. It should come as a no surprise, then, that Joe Marro, guitarist
for the Early November, has a Promise Ring tattoo. This fall, as TEN were
on the road with Saves The Day and Senses Fail, vonBohlen was between tours
with his new outfit, Maritime, while temporarily reuniting the Promise Ring
for the Flower15 event in Chicago. When AP got the two musicians together
in, um, Early November, vonBohlen gave Marro some useful advice, while Marro
made his idol an offer he couldn't refuse…
JOE MARRO: I actually met you a couple times in Philadelphia when
Maritime were playing. I showed you my Promise Ring tattoo.
DAVEY VONBOHLEN: Oh, no!
That's exactly what you said the first time. [Both laugh.]
How is Promise Ring practice going?
It's really weird, but totally normal in the same way. You do something
for 10 years, and then you stop cold turkey and start right back fresh. It's
kind of nice because you don't have to hate the people [in the band]
anymore… [Marro laughs.] Actually, that's not the right
word: All the personal things that drove you nuts don't have to drive
you nuts anymore, because it's going to be over in three days. Actually,
we've been having fun with it.
That's awesome. I have a lot of friends going out [to the Flower15
show], and I'm bummed I can't make it.
We haven't played the shows yet-you may be lucky for not being
When I discovered the Promise Ring, I was 15, and I heard "A Picture
Postcard" on the 411 skateboarding video. It was the
Mark Johnson profile-he was one of my favorites at the time, and he
was skating to that song. I was like, "What is this music?" It
was unlike anything I had heard. It was the perfect blend of pop music and
really smart lyrics-everything about it was just really intelligent.
I was wondering if that is what you were always trying to achieve in your
I never really got on that idea of thinking more about it than it was. You've
got two guitars, bass and drums, and there's only one rudimentary goal:
Make the best songs that you can. I know other people have more focused goals.
Had we had the "What's cool?" blinders on, "A Picture
Postcard" would've been buried long before it could see the light
of day. At that time, we were still a post-hardcore band. "Emo," or
the lighter side of that, didn't really exist in our world. It was like, "This
is what happens when kids leave straight-edge hardcore." [Laughs.]
That song [made us feel like], "People are gonna beat us up at our shows." Really,
[the goal has] always been to make good songs, and stop getting in the way
of them with stupid ideas of who you are or who you should be.
For the rest of the story, pick up AP 211 below…