I just finished up a story for MusicMatters on My American Heart, the Kevin Lyman-backed National City band that was one of the first signees to Lyman’s Warcon Records. Warcon is a strange label, home not just to MAH by also Helmet, a great band past their prime, and Opiate for the Masses, a band that, to quote Major League, “never had a prime.” My only experience with Opiate for the Masses was watching their singer (who I swear to God is a body double for Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray) prance around on stage at SXSW in 2006. “This shit sucks,” I drunkenly muttered to the bartender at Emo’s. Judging by the strength and comped nature of the drink he poured me, I assumed he was in agreement.
Back to My American Heart. I can’t honestly say that I like the band–let’s just say that the article is a feature, and decidedly NOT a review–though my limited interactions with them led me to like them as people. It’s truly amazing to me. Three of them dropped out of high school to tour full-time. Their oldest member is 22, and he’s the newest. The core of the band are all 19 or just turned 20, meaning that they’ve been touring and recording since about the time that most people start thinking about prom. It also means that they’re a full decade younger than I. The guys seem to mean well and have made some pretty solid career choices. They are now managed by Mike Bachta, who also handles biz for Spitalfield, Wax on Radio, Hidden in Plain View, and others. That’s good. I think for them to grow as artists, they’ll need a foil to Lyman’s “Forever 13” musical tastes, and Bachta can provide that.
Sure, My American Heart sound like a lot of other emo bands (Fall Out Boy, The Academy Is…, and Rufio, to be exact), and their black coifs have gotten them dubbed My American Haircuts, but before you bash a band like My American Heart, think back to the way you dressed and acted when you were 19. As John Cusack said in High Fidelity: “Now who’s the asshole?”
Save that kind of vitriol for people my age who are content to play the same kind of stuff. Kids making kids’ music is one thing. Guys like Pete Wentz (who’s 29) and Davey Havok (who’s 31) are one small step from being the Wiggles (see below) in eyeliner.