Back in 2011, the Academy Is… announced lineup changes and later parted ways, leaving the scene in somewhat of a shock. They reunited in 2015 for an intimate club show preceding their Riot Fest Chicago set celebrating 10 years of Almost Here.
Soon after, the band confirmed a string of dates for an Almost Here 10-year anniversary tour in December 2015. TAI have been relatively quiet since then outside of bassist Adam Siska and drummer Andy “The Butcher” Mrotek pondering what TAI in 2018 would sound like. Now, Siska is back with another shocking development.
Prior to their 2011 disbandment, TAI released final full-length, Fast Time At Barrington High, via Fueled By Ramen in 2008. The band’s final official release, Lost In Pacific Time: The AP/EP, was released in 2009 and sold on the AP Fall Ball tour.
Fast-forward to 2019 where Siska chatted with the Emo Social Club podcast about his time with the band and the music industry as a whole. He talks TAI tunes including that he “didn’t really like” Fast Times and reveals which overall track is his favorite. The bassist also reveals the Academy Is… do indeed have some unreleased music.
Prior to disbanding all together, the band parted ways with Mrotek and guitarist Michael Guy Chislett. Remaining members Siska, frontman William Beckett and guitarist Mike Carden continued work on a record.
During the podcast, one viewer asked, “Are we ever going to hear a TAI four?”
“To be honest with you, there is a record that never came out,” Siska says. “I don’t know if I would call it a whole record, but there’s songs there. In a weird way, I think when we were doing that record in 2010, it was ahead of its time. I remember management being like, ‘There’s not really a lot of guitar here. You guys are a guitar band.’”
Siska remembers their manager calling them the day after the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts faced off in Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. The previous night, Siska explains the Saints started the second half with an onside kick, in turn dominating the Colts. The band’s manager used this as an example for how they should approach album No. 4.
“It was a big sports moment,” he says. “Our manager called us, and he’s like, ‘That’s what you guys need. You need an unexpected onside kick. You gotta do something really different this time,’ so we did. We added a keyboard player and went for this different sound, and the label didn’t like it. The management didn’t like it, and then we broke up.”
Siska goes on to explain how the sound they were experimenting with is now becoming more popular, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they would be successful with it now.
“That sound became the thing that everyone’s doing now,” he explains. “I don’t think what we did was as ESPN as so much of the stuff that everyone does now like Imagine Dragons and stuff like that. I think they’re good. I hate them, but I think they’re good. If I were a record label guy, I would probably sign them. I think that guy is really nice, smart and kind.
“So, I just look at it from that perspective,” he continues. “That kind of thing, we were a little bit ahead of. I think we missed it a little bit, and if we put out that music now, I don’t think it would be big for us. I think it would be worth people hearing. They might hate it.”
Where Siska personally ranks the unreleased record in TAI’s discography just makes us want to hear it more.
“I think the fourth record that we were doing would have been the second best record that we did. I think that we found the energy—it felt like we were making our first record, which was a nice place to be in. It sucks that it went the way that it did. The label didn’t really like it, so they sent [Beckett] in to do a lot of co-writing with people. Some of the co-writing that he did, I think became his solo record. I didn’t really like it at all. That’s kind of why the band ended. It was like, ‘Oh, forget this.’”
Following the band’s breakup, Beckett went on to release three EPs—Walk The Talk, Winds Will Change and What Will Be—and a full-length, Genuine & Counterfeit, in 2013. Some of the music was actually penned while Beckett was still with the band, Siska reveals.
“We were doing something we were passionate about, and then we were doing this—Bill had this song called ‘Girl, You Shoulda Been A Drummer,’ and I hated it,” Siska says. “He put it out, and if he’s listening to this, sorry, man, I didn’t like that one. I don’t think you did either, so it’s all good.”
While we’re keeping our fingers crossed for album No. 4 to see the light of day, some photos captured while the record was being made still exist on the band’s Facebook to hold us over should that never happen.
Photo by Courtney Becketthttp://www.cbeckettphoto.com
More on post-the Academy Is… life
Siska also discusses how people coming up and telling him they like TAI would often lead to a conversation.
“I remember going to see bands that I liked growing up. If Rivers [Cuomo], Billy Corgan or somebody had stopped to talked to me, it would’ve helped me a lot in my years of pain and personal anguish.”
“I think looking back on it now, especially looking at being in a band, the thing I miss the most is being able to have an impact on people and to like, I don’t know, be nice to somebody outside of my bus,” he continues. “That was really the best part of that entire decade of my life was being able to meet a kid and surprise him by being friendly. Now, 10 years removed from the band, it’s weird if I’m talking to somebody outside of a bus.”
Siska has been touring with Carley Rae Jepsen for six years, but he still occasionally gets recognized for his involvement in the Academy Is… The bassist also explained that he can also sometimes recognize TAI fans in the Jepsen crowds.
“At the Carly shows, I’m really pleased with the amount of people who do come out to say hi to me that are either new fans of Academy, [which] is always cool,” he says. “There’s people that come up at the Carly shows that say, ‘I checked out your band. It’s a shame you broke up, I would have loved to have seen it.’”
What do you think of unreleased the Academy Is… music existing? Sound off in the comments below!