Bayside gets personal on Vacancy
Back in Atlanta on May 26

By John B. Moore

It's been almost two decades since Anthony Raneri first started the pop punk band Bayside. Over that time, the group has had a few line-up changes, toured the globe several times over and watched the music business jump from genre to genre chasing the next big thing. All the while, Raneri and his band focused on writing, taught, smart punk rock songs chronicling the world going on around them.

Late last year the band released Vacancy, their seventh studio album and the most personal to date. The album chronicles Raneri's dissolving marriage and the loneliness he felt relocating from his native New York to Nashville. The record is easily one of the band's best.

Bayside are currently on a co-headlining tour with Say Anything. They'll bring their show to Atlanta's Masquerade on May 26. Just as the band was set to hit the road, Raneri was kind enough to talk about the new record, touring with friends and what's next.

Bayside is closing in on 20 years and you and Jack O'Shea have been playing together for about 15. Did you ever anticipate that Bayside will still be going strong for this long?

When we started the band, it was always important to us to have a legacy. We always wanted to be like Bad Religion, NOFX, Social Distortion... We didn't want to be a flash in the pan, even if it meant that we were hindering how successful we could eventually get. I don't know if we expected to be going this strong for so long but we certainly hoped to.

I know there's been some line-up changes over the years, but what have been the hardest lessons to learn since first starting the band?

The hardest lesson that I had to figure out on my own was to stop paying attention to what was happening around me. I spent a lot of time and energy being concerned with what other artists were doing and judging their success but I learned that what I was doing was all that should matter to me

There seem to be some difficult songs on Vacancy. Can you talk a bit about some of the themes here and what inspired this set of songs?

I wrote the record as I was going through a divorce and trying to settle into a new place where I didn't really want to be living. The record kind of goes through my emotions through the aftermath of all that from denial to anger to bargaining to acceptance.

Did you ever have any fear that you were sharing too much in these songs?

Vacancy was the first record that I wrote that I was genuinely concerned that I was sharing too much. It wasn't because I didn't want to share that part of my story with the world but I was sharing other people's stories and I recognized that. I made this decision to live a public life and to share my feelings with the world but everyone else involved didn't.

I know you guys are about to start a new tour. Have you started thinking about the next record yet?

We're in the very earliest stages of thinking about a new record. Somewhere in the "when should we start thinking about a new record?" realm.

You're touring with Say Anything, a band you guys have been close to for years. Does it make it more manageable to tour with folks you know?

At this point, we really only tour with bands that we're friends with or at least fans of. We feel like we've earned our stripes over the years to really do whatever we want now. We never feel like we have to play some game.

Any thoughts on following up your solo album?

I have definitely been thinking about it. I really do the solo stuff only when Bayside has time off in the schedule. I never tell the band that I want time off to work on that instead so the solo releases and tours are always at the mercy of Bayside's schedule.

What's next for you?

The biggest thing is the upcoming co-headline tour with Say Anything. We have a few exciting ideas for things to for the rest of the year that we'll start talking about soon.

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