A Day To Remember
Common Courtesy (3Wise Records)
Soundwave Festival, Bonython Park
Sat Mar 1
Sipping on coffee and watching his “crazy ass” cat run around the front yard from his porch, Jeremy McKinnon of post-hardcore band A Day To Remember talks with Rip It Up about the controversy surrounding the long-awaited new album Common Courtesy.
The Florida-based band, who already have five albums under their belt, are set to return to Australia for their third Soundwave Festival; a festival that McKinnon claims is “the best place to play on earth”.
“I’m not even kidding. Australia is the best place to play and that’s the truth. For one, people in Australia love us like no other place and on top of that, your country is beautiful; the people are beautiful. No kidding! You guys are very attractive and you like American accents, so what’s not to like? You guys make us interesting.”
Beautiful people aside, McKinnon and his band recently ran into the ugly side of making music, which saw them in court battling against their record label in order to release Common Courtesy.
The case dates back to 2011 when the band filed a lawsuit against their Chicago-based label Victory Records, claiming they had withheld royalties and were under no further legal obligation to release any new material with the label as they had already met their five album requirement before Common Courtesy went into post production.
“Let me just say, his [Tony Brummel of Victory Records] whole thing is to try and win court cases. [Out of] every band that’s ever sued him — and there has been a lot — most just settle out of court.
“I’ll tell you why they all settle out of court,” he continues,
“it’s because his whole game plan is to stretch out the lawsuit to where either two things happen. 1) You run out of money, or 2) You’re backed into a corner and you have to settle with him and make a shitty agreement that’s way sided for him, because you ran out of time and you got to put out your album.”
The band were told they were not going to win this lawsuit and they had basically come to terms with it. However, this did not stop them from “riding this whole thing out” to the very end.
“[Brummel] stretched it out and took all this time on purpose to try and force us into a shitty agreement and we said we don’t give a shit, we’re going to go all the way. We want to settle — but you don’t want to — you just want to try and screw us, so let’s just go to the judge.”
Fortunately, for McKinnon and his band, they came out on top and a judge ruled in favour of A Day To Remember self-releasing Common Courtesy, which will be released on Fri Nov 29, and denied the injunction filed by the record label to prevent the release.
“[Brummel] tried to stop us from putting it out and the only thing we’ve ever cared about since starting this lawsuit is to be able to put out the album. That’s the only thing Tony ever held above our head. And the judge, in our opinion, made the right call and allowed us to [release the album] and now this man [Brummel] holds absolutely nothing over our head and we can continue our career.
“If we didn’t have the right to put out this album, Tony would have crushed us and it would have been the end,” McKinnon says.
“So it was a huge gamble on our part but we stood up for ourselves. You can do that when you’re doing it for the right reasons.”
McKinnon says Common Courtesy is the first album where the band have walked away feeling satisfied with what they have produced. They used master engineer Ken Andrews, who has done a lot of mixing for M83 and just completed the last (self-titled) Paramore album.
“[Andrews] is amazing, it took us a while to get the album finished with him just because he had so much stuff. We’d go past our time limit because we would be doing festivals and miss the deadline [as] I couldn’t get to a computer to write the notes to change the mixes. We went over this thing with a fine tooth comb and when we put it out, this thing couldn’t have been any damn better.”
McKinnon also reveals he is not just a lead vocalist in A Day To Remember; he is essentially the manager too.
“It’s honestly like we are running a corporation or something. I mean literally every decision comes through me and the others. Neil [Westfall; guitar, backing vocals] and I are responsible for merchandise, so every bit is approved or [are] direct ideas from us with artists. Every piece of art you see, it comes from our ideas. On top of that, [we are] writing and recording music at all times. We do any kind of stage production too; we build all the sets.”
And is it all worth it?
“I love this shit. I love it. The more the merrier. Yeah, its hard work but I love it. I love everything I get to do with my life. I genuinely fucking love making stuff in this band.”
“You Can’t Gamble With Scared Money”
It was a long and expensive process to fight for their music, but what would have happened if they lost?
“We were the underdogs and to be honest with you, we had all come to terms with the fact that we were not going to win. It was an uphill battle and everyone was telling us that we were going to fail and that if we lose, it would be the end of our career, and you know what? It would have been. It really would have been.”