Frontman DAVE STRAUCHMAN and guitarist JIMMIE DEEGHAN walk us through each song on EVERY AVENUE’s Picture Perfect.

Picture Perfect

For Always, Forever
JIMMIE DEEGHAN: “Rewind to about one year ago when we were on tour with All Time Low, Mayday Parade and the Maine. We loved spending every day with our best friends and playing to amazing crowds each night. I remember Josh [Randall, guitar] had this idea he'd been working on for a bit. I was walking by him one night in Arizona, and he was sitting on the steps working it out with Dave [Strauchman] and sculpting it into what would later become the first track on the album. Months later, I remember walking into the bedroom late one night at the apartment we were staying in while we recorded the record. Dave said he had an idea to show me, and it later become the chorus to this song. With a few changes here and there, we pieced everything together while we were in the studio with Mike Green. If I had to explain this song to somebody who knew our last record but hadn't heard Picture Perfect yet, I would say it's our brand new ‘Chasing The Night.’ It's about being young and embracing every day you have, and it’s also about all the amazing things we've gone through while touring nonstop by each other’s side. We've faced a lot of really terrible situations involving sicknesses, family deaths, doubts and criticism, and with all of it, we stuck together and we never gave up on what we wanted. This is about looking back at the past and not yearning nor mourning for it, but being thankful for what it's made us today. 'Looks like we made it out alive.’”

DAVE STRAUCHMAN: “This is one of my favorite songs on the record, and it was almost never recorded. We flew back to Los Angeles for six days to record three more songs for the record, and at some point between being jetlagged and exhausted, we forgot about this song. I called Dennis [Wilson, drums] one day to see if I was going to be coming to the studio to start singing and he said, ‘Yeah, I tracked all three drum parts.’ I said, ‘What do you mean all three? We only did two songs and we haven’t recorded the other one. So apparently, I was so out of it that at one point, I decided on another song and then thought we were going to come back to record ‘Mindset’ the next day. I still don't know exactly what happened. I called our producer, freaking out, and told him, ‘This song has to go on the record!’ We had very limited time, so we had to bust our asses to get all four songs done, but somehow we did it. Besides that, ‘Mindset’ was just a feel-good idea to begin with and we wanted to roll with that. We wanted to make a song that made you happy no matter what. It’s about the simple situation of being caught totally off guard by someone and falling head over heels for them. Always be prepared!”

Tell Me I’m A Wreck
DEEGHAN: “’Tell Me I'm A Wreck' is what I like to think of as a sort of anthem for not only us, but for everyone out there who has ever been through a bad breakup. This song takes a stance of, 'I am who I am and you knew exactly who I was before you got involved.’ It feels amazing to finally say it. This was one of the most fun songs we've ever written. It was where we started to write exactly what we wanted to say to every bad ex-girlfriend who pointed the finger at us. This is us looking back at those situations with a big 'fuck you' of a song and an even bigger smile. 'Tell Me I'm A Wreck' started as just a verse, and it stayed that way for a long time. But once we sat down in the studio and started doing work on it, we paid a ridiculous amount of attention to detail on the lyrics, which doesn’t really seem like it at all from a glance considering how simplistic it all is. The funny thing is that it's actually tough to write a simple song at times. You've got to tiptoe around lyrical ideas just to make sure you paint the exact picture you want to paint, and you want to make sure everyone can make out what it is. The lyrics to the chorus are exactly what it needed. I feel like we said exactly what we wanted to say and that everyone that hears this song will find something relatable in this tune.”

Picture Perfect
STRAUCHMAN: “I feel like a lot of people can relate to the situation in this song. At one point, we’ve all had someone talk to us about the whole ‘What are you doing with your life?’ situation. Growing up wanting to be in a band, we always had people saying we needed to go to school and get a real job. But we declined. We said, ‘We are going to do whatever it takes to make this happen.’ The lyric, ‘Picture perfect doesn't mean much to me,’ pretty much says that were not concerned about ‘security’ or just taking a place in line throughout life like everyone thinks you need to. What's important in life is that you’re happy. You can go to school, get a job, make money and pay bills, but if you’re not happy or wish you were doing something else, then what good is that? Find what makes you happy and do what you know is best and everything will work out.”

Happy The Hard Way
DEEGHAN: “I was going to open this up with a quote from the song, and as I listened to it for the second time while sitting here in the van, I realized this whole song is full of some of my favorite lyrics we've ever written. 'Happy The Hard Way' is about the concept of being in love when love's just not enough. It's the constant struggle between the good times and the bad times. 'Say what you can't say, say it's the end, say anything. There’s something to find in all the places that you fear.’ All the silence and wondering what the other [person] is thinking is literally a purgatory of two people in love fighting with all they have to make it work. This song came out of nowhere. It just happened. It came to us quickly. Dave and I were in a studio in Korea Town [in Los Angeles] with Stacey Jones working on an idea, and we were really just drawing blanks. The song we were originally working on was super-happy and poppy, and we just abandoned it and went completely left field of it and started in with this concept. It's more of a piano-driven tune that you’d expect to hear on your local radio station. But this is the direction we wanted to take the new album in. We wanted it to be our album and to make the music we wanted. That's exactly what we did.”

Girl Like That
STRAUCHMAN: “So we recorded our album in Los Angeles, therefore there was always the distraction of a beautiful girl every now and then. I'd say once every 10 seconds. They were the kinds of girls who were just way out of our league and made you think, ‘Wow.’ One day at the studio after daydreaming in front of the coffee place that Jimmie and I would frequently visit, we were sitting outside on a beautiful California day and Jimmie said, ‘Hey, I got this riff.’ He started playing it and then the song just came together. What better way to get things off your mind then to write a song about it?”

Saying Goodbye
DEEGHAN: “This was one of the oldest songs to make the record. We wrote it last year while we were recording demos in an airplane hangar in Michigan during the middle of winter. We had only a week or so off to record some ideas for a new record, and this was one of them. Dave and I spent hours there working on this song and trying to get it just right. It made music brand new to us again. We were both little kids again–so excited about the ideas we were coming up with for this song. The chorus melody originally wasn’t a chorus at all; we played Operation with it a little bit and wrote it into something we're really proud of. Our band love the Gin Blossoms, and that's the vibe we were feeling with this song. Although it was one of the first demos we wrote for this album, it was one of the last songs to be recorded. We did a little detail work on it in the studio, but nothing major. We kept most of the original ideas, including the bridge, which is sort of out of character with the rest of the song. But that’s part of the charm. It makes us feel tough since we write pop songs.”

Finish What You Started
STRAUCHMAN: “When we sat down to write this song, we wanted to write a straight-up rock song. I love ‘Finish’ because it’s so simple, but it really hits. I think the song describes the whole love/hate relationship where you want out but don’t know how to get there even though you know this person will hurt you again and again. You still let them back in your life. I think it’s funny how love does this to people. Somehow it has the ability to make you completely disregard every reason you know you shouldn’t be with someone. And when you ask yourself why you’re still with that person, you have no idea.”

I Forgive You
DEEGHAN: “Imagine the verses of this song slowed down and sung a little more soulful with a little more swing. That’s what this song used to be. It was this idea that Dave had been singing around the studio and van for a while, and we finally put it to use. It's about realizing someone you thought you knew isn't that person at all. When that realization comes, you learn that you liked the fake version much better. Everyone has dated or is dating someone ‘crazy.’ Here's what we had to say about it: It's about the head games, the crazy spells, the lying, the cheating and everything in between that you deal with in these situations. 'I'm gonna miss watching you while you sleep because that was the only time I ever found some peace' is a pretty good example of the tug and pull feel of the lyrics throughout the entire song.”

The Story Left Untold
STRAUCHMAN: My favorite line from this song would have to be, ‘You were my best friend.’ Sometimes that means more than saying, ‘I love you,’ to someone. That's basically what this song is about: Besides the fact that you’re losing someone you love or dated, you’re losing your best friend. In the end, that’s the hardest part of it all.”

Clumsy Little Heart
DEEGHAN: “It's hard to know where you're going when you don't know where to start, but that's just life. That's the hardest part and exactly what this song is about. It's about trying to find meaning through anything you can–chances taken and chances missed and finding meaning in a hollow lover. It’s a song about learning who you are and making your life your own.” alt