Published Jan 18, 2010Joey Cape, vocalist for long-running punkers Lagwagon, recently announced the release of his next solo album, Doesn't Play Well with Others. Or, wait, let's rephrase that. Cape has announced that, beginning today (January 18), he will be releasing, digitally, one song per month in 2010, which, combined, will be the album. People can buy one song at a time or subscribe to the whole thing, which will get them some extra, still-undetermined goodies.
"It's something I started talking to Lagwagon about doing a long time ago, at least five years ago," Cape recently told Exclaim! of the idea. "I started suggesting that 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."
Cape's decision to release the record in this format has caused more than a bit of grumbling from message-board knuckle-draggers and old dudes bemoaning the loss of the album. Cape understands, and says those people can just wait a year for the album to come out, which it will, either independently or through a label, says Cape.
"I come from the old-old guard, the double-old guard," he says. "I still buy vinyl records and I still get that ceremony, but I never felt that way about CDs anyway. I do feel that way about albums in general, and that's why I will release this as a record. That's what was so hard about this whole thing for me to begin with, I took the same issue with it that maybe some of the people you're talking about had, and that's my love for the record as a conceptual thing. So if somebody doesn't want to deal with all this, that's fine. They can just wait a year; there's going to be a record."
As far as what the actual tunes sound like, Cape says the material sounds like him, but does add that where he spent a lot of time on his last solo disc, 2008's excellent Bridge, this one was a lot more spontaneous.
"Bridge, I spent a long time on, recording over a few years, and I did a lot to those songs, I changed them a lot. This time, every song on the record was written and recorded, and that's that. But I'm not really a good judge of what I do, ever. I'm always wrong, if I try to project what someone's trying to think of my music. I'll come up with these tangible ways to describe my own music and then quickly find out I'm completely incorrect from anybody who likes my music [laughs]."
As for what's going on in the world of Lagwagon, it turns out, not much. Their last album was 2005's Resolve and in 2008 they put out a seven-song EP called I think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon. There's no plans for, well, anything right now, but Cape says he's up for anything and everything with them when the time comes.
"You know, I don't even talk to those guys right now," he admits. "It's not a bad thing or anything, but none of them call me... I think everything's great, but everybody's doing other stuff, or... I don't know what everybody's doing."
Cape's enthusiasm for his solo project is obvious, especially compared against when he talks about his day job. He admits that 20 years into Lagwagon, it can be hard to get motivated to do a lot, especially with the original-member count dwindling and a notoriously on-again-off-again schedule.
"It's a weird thing when I think about that band," says Cape. "It's hard to give any kind of good answer. It's always just kind of a little bit of sadness."
You can pick Joey Cape's first song contribution to Doesn't Play Well with Others, as well as sign up for the subscription service, here.