By Greg PrattPioneering pop-punkers Lagwagon aren't exactly at their most consistent and productive these days, what with their last full-length album being 2005's Resolve. But that's no surprise: the band has an on-again off-again nature that fans have grown to expect. In the downtime nowadays, vocalist Joey Cape is releasing solo albums; his debut, Bridge, came out in 2008. Now he's set to release his second, Doesn't Play Well with Others. But here's the catch ― Cape will be releasing his new music through his website, one song per month throughout the year. The end result will be the album, which, if you pay upfront and subscribe, you'll get a physical copy of when it's pressed on vinyl and CD at year's end, with some bonuses (Cape hasn't decided exactly what those will be yet). As for Lagwagon, they are definitely in an off-again period right now, and we can only hope that the name of Cape's new album isn't too telling (although he says the album title was mainly a joke, as his original plan for the material involved a large number of guest players).
What are you up to? Just hanging out with my daughter, putting on a show for her, because I knew you were going to call. So I just got set up. Just kinda relaxing. Nothing special going on. Which is nice; that's rare.
Give me the scoop on the solo album and this one-song-a-month deal. It's not a new concept, by any means; lots of people do it. The only reason I think people don't just give their music away is because for some of us, like myself, it's still a job, I'm still trying to do it and do it a lot, otherwise I'm just going to have to basically give it up and go back to work. With the acoustic music, it just seemed really appropriate. I write a lot of songs and doing the acoustic thing I can record songs quickly and this way I can get them to people easier. I was talking to a friend and came up with that plan of putting out one song a month.
When did you first start toying with the idea? It's something I started talking to Lagwagon about doing a long time ago, at least five years ago. I started suggesting that it was seemingly the way things were going and maybe it was easier just to basically sell your music directly to your fans. It was something Lagwagon never wanted to do. And that's understandable; there's some security in having a record label and having people do the press and all that kinda stuff, but nowadays it seems less and less of an advantage to have anybody in between, because you spend so much time dealing directly with people through networking that it seems pretty easy just to take out the middleman and all the bureaucracy.
Is it a one-time thing or do you see yourself releasing more music this way? If it seems like it's working, I'll continue to do it. It's easy to record one song a month and get a song up, so I can do other things on the side. I can make records with record labels, I can do splits, do side projects. I can stay as busy as I've been but I can sell my music directly that way. And I'll just be putting something out all the time, and have something to talk about.
People could see this as stemming from dissatisfaction with dealing with record labels. It's a weird thing when you're dealing with the network world and dealing with a lot of people that like your music. They're always asking, "When's the next thing going to come out?" and you really don't even know because you're dealing with a label and you have to wait. You're working on something but sometimes you don't know who's going to put it out or when. It's a tough thing to talk about ― I don't have any ill will towards any of the people I work with, all the labels I've worked with have been great. I think it will be really easy for me to just deal with it directly.
So at the end of this you're going to release the songs as an actual record? Yeah, we're going to press the record on vinyl and CD at the end of the year and release it like a normal release; whether I release it or release it with a label remains to be seen. I'd like to do it myself but then it starts turning into a real job (laughs). I don't want to run a record label. That's not for me, I tried that already, it's a ton of work and it's just not... it's a painful thing that I don't know if I want to go through again because it's so disappointing all the time. I feel nothing but sympathy for people who run record labels. But dealing with my own music, I don't have to feel bad, like I'm disappointing anyone. I might do it.