Saosin's Return A Triumph On Many Levels
Steve Baltin | CONTRIBUTOR
When California hardcore rockers Saosin returned this year with their third album, Along The Shadow, it marked a triumph on many levels. There was the commercial success as it debuted in the top 10 of several Billboard charts, including Rock Albums, Alternative Albums, peaking at number three, and Independent Albums, where it peaked at No. 4.
Those numbers are impressive, especially for a band who’d been absent from the recording scene for seven years. In the case of Saosin though, the real victory comes from just making the record. Frontman Anthony Green left the band in 2004, then returned to the fold in 2013. During portions of those nine years, when Green was fronting Circa Survive and following his muse into several other endeavors, Green very publicly battled drug addiction, including heroin.
Now he is sober, married and the father of three. Monica Molinaro and I sat down with him backstage at the final date of the Taste Of Chaos tour in San Bernardino, California. We talked with Green and guitarist Beau Burchell about an array of subjects, from biting to the new indulgences in their lives, like dining at the same restaurant as Justin Bieber. What we talked about most though was the tremendous appreciation Green now has for his band and making music.
Monica Molinaro: Is there something you guys haven’t done yet you’d like to try, in music or out?
Anthony Green: I’ve done a lot of awful, awful s**t, but I’ve also loved mountain biking, jet skiing, motorcycling, jumping out of a plane was really fun. But taking peyote was fun, even though I had bad drug problems some of that s**t was fun. In that search of a thrill you go through a lot, it doesn’t leave that much s**t there, the s**t that is there is probably better left alone.
Beau Burchell: Speaking of freedom we’re all cleaned up now. Now we’re dads and our idea of partying is once a week we’ll go to these nice dinners. There was this place in Nashville I think called Kayne, prime steakhouse type place, like Justin Bieber ate there the night before.
Anthony Green: We did not belong there, we rolled in looking like this and they were like, “Oh god.” But we probably spent like a thousand bucks too, we ordered every appetizer they had for the table. We went crazy cause we’re trying to enjoy things. And there’s a balance, you can enjoy your life and not go out and be super destructive, whether it’s creatively or financially. You don’t have to go out and blow a whole bunch of money. You can go out and have a good meal with your friends and spend money on something that maybe more worth it than heroin and angel dust.
MM: How do you maintain that balance, especially when you’re on tour?
AG: You sort of just go for it. It’s like any type of balancing act. Like you think about it too much and you start falling. And sometimes the pendulum is gonna tip in either direction and you just gotta keep an open heart to everything. Having people around you that will call you out and help you stay up is very important, I think for everyone.
Steve Baltin: Does all of that stupid stuff make you appreciate more now everything you have today?
AG: Here’s the thing, it’s just inevitable, you’re gonna go chasing thrills, you’re gonna lose something, you’re gonna get hurt, it’s the way it goes, whether you’re talking about REI adventuring [or] doing heroin and angel dust together and seeing what it’s all about. It’s weird, you can get things taken from you, but also bring a lot out of it if you’re careful. And I got really lucky that I didn’t lose too much.
MM: You guys are realizing these things relatively young.
AG: Thing is it’s not about young or old, I think it’s about being smart and if you’re wise enough to know you really don’t know everything, there isn’t anything that worrying is gonna do for you. Then it doesn’t matter whether you’re 22 or 34, that’s wisdom, which is impossible to have when you’re 22 because that’s just the way it is. If I could go back and tell my 22…you can’t. If you tell a 22-year-old kid that they’re physically incapable of understanding cause they’re 22.
SB: Talk about how all of this has infused your music though. And it is funny because the 22-year-old can still write things relevant to the 35-year-old.
AG: Most of the time was writing things better than the 35-year-old, who’s all jaded and burnt out and been to rehab six times. It’s different for us, I think. I don’t know how it is for a lot of creative partnerships, but what I bring to the table in Saosin and anything I’m in is there isn’t a fiction behind it. Everything is about the band reflecting what’s happening in our personal lives and what’s happening around us. And it’s not some brand-new thing, that’s the way art is, it’s reflective. It’s not like we’re going out and trying to write a song that people are gonna love on the radio. We’re going out and we’re trying to get over something, we’re trying to deal with something. I’m trying to write a message to myself to not kill myself.
SB: Who are those artists for you that have the authenticity you are talking about?
AG: Growing up it was Bjork, Tool, artists like Elliott Smith, bands like At The Drive In, Blue Tip, Minor Threat, people there was an intention behind what they were doing that seemed greater than what my parents and brother were doing. The intention of giving back to the muse, being part of music in a pure way and not necessarily doing it just to make a living or be popular or get cool, but doing it in a way where it was like, “We’re naked, we’re not cool and we’re not great musicians. But we’re coming together to really have fun and celebrate this primal thing in all of us.”
MM: Has that creative process changed for you guys at all?
AG: So much, when you’re kid you don’t communicate. You have a relationship when you’re 18, 19, then you have a relationship when you’re 30, it’s drastically different cause of your communication. Your communication creatively is a big thing. You don’t know that when you’re 20, you think you’re f**king Jim Morrison, changing all the world by yourself and you just want to be a golden god.
MM: I think what we’ve heard in past interviews too is you never totally figure it out. You’re always learning something.
AG: You’re in a perpetual state of arriving, you never get anywhere. Eventually you’re gonna get somewhere and it’s gonna be in a box in the ground, that’s where we’re all going.
BB: Yeah, I feel like I haven’t evolved at all, because, for me, to feel like you’re evolving it feels like you’re progressing. But I feel like I’m constantly a hundred yards away from the finish line always. I don’t feel like I’ve ever progressed.
MM: Have you envisioned what the finish line looks like?
AG: I do, it’s just a big giant vagina, I crawl back inside and just get into a disco ball of joy.
Anthony Green & Beau Burchell (Saosin) . 07.16.2016 . Forbes Interview
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