Today’s Feature, October 26th & 27th: Yellowcard

November 2, 2007 at 2:25 pm (Today's Feature)


“There is a place off Ocean Avenue, where I used to sit and talk with you…” oh, you know the rest! The smash summer anthem “Ocean Avenue” is a regular in the minds of most music listeners, a rare hit that sticks to the wall of American music and continues to be meaningful in the lives of new listeners today. Only bands with an extraordinary point of view, a perspective that isn’t recognized by the average mentality, are capable of producing such a melody – songs that will likely stand the test of time.

Yellowcard, the successful act out of Jacksonville, Florida have the gifts that allow them to produce hits that seem to live on forever. And with over 3 million albums sold, who can question them? Their third record, “Paper Walls” is out now, and continues to present the story behind Yellowcard – “If Ocean Avenue was about finding your place in the world and Lights and Sounds is about realizing that you’ve gotten lost, Paper Walls is about what happens when you find yourself again,” says singer Ryan Key. And these guys literally found themselves, spending months together as a group constructing the melodies on the new collection. This collaboration is what gives these songs their “explosive sense of drive and determination… a look at the ups and downs that have brought (the band) here today.”

Paper Walls truly reflects the character and passion of Yellowcard – an album about struggling with change and finding the strength to push through; a must-buy for anyone who respects good music. You can find Yellowcard out right now supporting Paper Walls, enjoying the reactions of packed crowds around the world. It’s the fan that really does act as the catalyst for Yellowcard’s rush to a whole new level. Ryan Key puts it best, “The best part for me is hearing the crowd singing back at us every night. No matter what is happening in my life that puts me in a good place.” Learn more about this remarkable group and their new album and get into their XXQ’s.

XXQs: Yellowcard

Pen’s Eye View: How and when did Yellowcard form as a band?

Yellowcard: Yellowcard started in Jacksonville, FL in 1997. The founding members were students at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. There were originally six members in the band with the current line up solidifying in 2005.

PEV: Emerging from Jacksonville, Florida, what kind of music were you listening to? Where there any artists in particular that helped shape your sound?

YC: The scene in Jacksonville that Yellowcard found itself involved in was very much influenced by the movement of punk rock in the mid 90’s. We all loved bands lke NOFX, No Use For a Name, Strung Out, and Lagwagon. Much of the music in town at that time was attempting to emulate the sounds of those bands. Personally I was also very influenced by mainstream rock like Weezer and Green Day. I have always loved a good pop rock song and thats the music I love to write the most.

PEV: Tell us about the earlier days for Yellowcard. Before 3 million+ albums sold and world wide fame.

YC: We always thought we would just be a live touring band. I joined the band in early 2000 and we soon made the move to southern California from Jacksonville. Sean and I traded our cars in for our first van and worked at Chili’s all summer to pay for a trailer to carry the gear. After that we made our first full length together (One For the Kids) and headed out on the road. We played anywhere and everywhere from high school lunch rooms to back yard birthday parties. It was just the five of us in our cargo van for the first couple of years.

PEV: What was the first live Yellowcard performance like Where and when was your first live performance? Was it an immediate decision to continue music after that?

YC: I was not in the band for the first ever show but I do remember my first show with the band. I was brought in to fill in on guitar and we played the Cow House in Tallahassee, FL. I knew that I wanted to play with them after that but I had no idea I would become the singer or it would go this far.

PEV: Describe the feeling of stepping into a studio for the first time to record your own music.

YC: The first studio I ever recorded in was with my first band in middle school. It was called Cypress Recording Studios in Jacksonville Beach, FL. We were 15 years old. We recorded everything live but we still thought our lives had changed forever. The recording is horrible but it meant the world to us back then.

PEV: Your debut album, Ocean Avenue received rave reviews and large recognition (huge hit singles, sold-out tours in the U.S. and abroad, an MTV Video Music Award and has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide). At the time of recording Ocean Avenue, did you think then, that you would be where you are now?

YC: Absolutely not. We had no idea what we were in for when we put Ocean Avenue out. We were still in shock that we were signed to Capitol Records. Everything started to happen so fast after that it was a lot to take in.

PEV: You said that Paper Walls [is about what happens when you find yourself again…] What can fans expect from Paper Walls, that they may not find on any other album out today?

YC: I’m not sure how to say what it is that other records don’t have, but I can tell you what Paper Walls does have. It is full of energy and it brings punch after punch to the last. We wrote the record all together. What I mean by that is we spent months as a group of 5 constructing the songs every day. That gives the record what I think is an explosive sense of drive and determination. It also gives you a look into my life after all the ups and downs that have brought us here today.

PEV: How is the sound on Paper Walls different from Ocean Avenue and (gold-certified) Lights and Sounds?

YC: Paper Walls is a combination of the sounds on both records. We really focused on the melody driven songs from Ocean Avenue and the edge and maturity that we seemed to develop on Lights and Sounds.

PEV: Who is on your iPod or in your CD player right now?

YC: I have been frequently playing the Paramore record called Riot! I am afraid however that everything on my iPod will be taking a back seat to the new Foo Fighters record on September 25th.

PEV: Is there someone in music you haven’t worked/collaborated with that you would like to? Why?

YC: I would love to work with Chris Martin from Coldplay. There is a side of song writing for me that I would love to explore that is more relaxed and I guess I’d say softer than what I do in Yellowcard. Chris Martin writes the type of songs that I would like to dive into one day.

PEV: Is there another musician on the scene right now that you think we should look out for?

YC: I always have to give the love on this question to my friends from San Diego, CA. They are called Reeve Oliver and you can check them out at

PEV: What can people expect from a live Yellowcard show?

YC: We try and make every show just like our first show. We want to bring the same passion and energy to the stage every time we step out on it.

PEV: What is the best part about playing live? As well, what time of venue do you prefer to play?

YC: The best part for me is hearing the crowd singing back at us every night. No matter what is happening in my life that puts me in a good place. So I think its fair to say the more people singing along the better. I hope we are playing the most massive venues possible one day!

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you feel offers the best environment for music? And which is your favorite to play?

YC: We have always had the best response and the biggest crowds in Salt Lake City, UT. I have no idea why that is but we absolutely love playing there.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the guys in Yellowcard?

YC: We play flag football on the weekends!

PEV: When you get to relax or have some down time, what can we find you doing?

YC: My favorite thing to do when I have the time is go to a movie theater and see a good film. I spent most of my life until I joined Yellowcard pursuing an acting career so I love the movies.

PEV: How have your friends and family reacted to all your success?

YC: My family is my ultimate support system. They have stood behind us all the way even before there was all the success. As far as friends go, when you have success in entertainment you find out who your real friends are very quickly. I still have many of my closest friends from high school and it is one of the things that really keeps me grounded.

PEV: When you write music, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?

YC: Nothing special. I write in my room the most I think.

PEV: What one word best describes Yellowcard?

YC: Hope.

PEV: So, what is next for Yellowcard?

YC: We will stay on tour supporting Paper Walls as long as we possibly can.

For more information on Yellowcard, check out


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