Say Anything's Max Bemis Is All Grown Up, But He's Still a Real Boy

Max Bemis
Max Bemis
Neil Visel

Life's busy nowadays for Max Bemis.

The 33-year-old married father of two young daughters fronts emo/pop-punk veterans Say Anything, writes customized songs for fans on his popular Song Shop and pens comic books for Marvel.

This week, Bemis also added a nationwide tour with Bayside to his schedule. The tour started Monday in Houston and comes to The Observatory in Santa Ana on April 23.

Through all the workload, Bemis considers himself lucky.

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"I'm more impressed by people who have day jobs and have kids and a hobby," he said by phone Monday. "In reality, today's the first day of tour, which should be the most stressful thing, but I'm still sitting around listening to music and about to go on stage to play music for a bunch of kids who like our band. And writing comic books? Come on. It's a 12-year-old's dream. I think I've been dealt a really easy card."

Bemis' "card" has included seven studio releases, one of which, 2004's ...Is a Real Boy, is still celebrated as a definitive emo album.

Bemis said he doesn't mind the nostalgia, and even encourages it. Say Anything performed a co-headlining tour with Saves The Day in 2014 in support of the 10-year anniversary of ...Is a Real Boy.

"If anything would get me to a show, it would be one of my favorite bands playing one of my favorite records," he said. "I don't even see why there's any sort of stigma against it because it's kind of what everyone wants to see. I've never minded that people love ...Is a Real Boy. I loved doing that tour, and we're going to do more stuff like that in the future, to be honest."

Earlier albums like ...Is a Real Boy and 2007's In Defense of the Genre will also be influences in Say Anything's forthcoming album, which is expected in 2018, Bemis said.

While he didn't offer much information, he said it will be a concept album that follows a storyline, as ...Is a Real Boy did.

Regarding the jaunt with Bayside, which also includes Reggie and the Full Effect and Hot Rod Circuit as supporting acts, Bemis said the pairing of the two bands was an obvious fit.

"We have a lot of the same fans, and we've known the Bayside guys for a long time," he said. "It was like, 'Why haven't we done this yet?'"

The bands will also sell a split 7" vinyl in which they cover each other's songs while on tour.

Bemis said fans can expect a "nice mix" of bigger songs from each of Say Anything's albums.

"If someone could stereotype a Say Anything show, this would be it," he said. "It's a show you'd enjoy as a hardcore fan but then, more than anything, it's a show that, if you don't get to see Say Anything all the time, I think that it's the kind of show that you'd want to see."

While he didn't offer much else about the set list, he did say the band will play an old song — from the 2001 Baseball era — that has never been performed before.

Co-headlining tours, like this one with Bayside and their previous one with Saves The Day, have an advantage in that they are bargains for fans in an economy when shows are getting more and more expensive, Bemis said.

"When you have a band as compatible as Bayside or Saves The Day, it pretty much guarantees that a lot of people are going to come out," he said. "I get it. The economy has changed, and not everyone can go to shows all the time. When you have three of your favorite bands playing a show, there's a lot more likelihood that you're going to come out to catch the whole experience. I've always enjoyed that as a music fan."

But he also likes sharing the stage with up-and-comers in the scene.

He said one of the biggest compliments is when he can hear Say Anything's influence in a new band. He pointed to Modern Baseball and the Front Bottoms as examples, both of which supported Say Anything on past tours.

Both bands have a similar self-loathing theme in their songs as heard in ...Is a Real Boy, Bemis said.

"I meet these kids, and they're so much like me," he said. "I think that's what makes it special. Our music touched people who are like younger versions of myself. It's really fun to meet them and feel like I have so much in common with them."


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