Say Anything is a rock band from Los Angeles, California, founded by singer-songwriter Max Bemis. The band was formed in 2000 and is the work of Max Bemis. Max, being the main creative input, plays all the instruments (except drums) on the album, but has a live band line-up. This currently consists of Reed Murray (drums), Garron DuPree (bass), Parker Case (keyboard, guitar, backing vocals), and Kenny Bridges (guitar, backing vocals). The band is currently signed to Equal Vision Records.
Before ...Is A Real Boy was released, Say Anything were originally called Sayanything (2000–2002) for their first full-length release, Baseball. During high school, Max Bemis attended Camp Ramah in Ojai, California, where he met future drummer Coby Linder, who attended Shalhevet High School. Max attended Windward School along with future band members Michael Levin and Evan Span. Max's first songwriting efforts came after a bad break-up, which resulted in him penning the song "Sappy." In 2000, Bemis, Linder, Levin, Span and Josh Eichenstein, a friend from Beverly Hills High School, formed a band under the name Sayanything, in reference to the movie Say Anything..., which Bemis was a fan of. They formed the band and released their first EP, Junior Varsity. Soon, Evan Span left the band and the three remaining members recorded the band's debut full-length album Baseball: An Album by Sayanything in 2001. Both the EP and full-length were self-released by the band and only distributed in the hundreds. Baseball and Junior Varsity have recently been re-released under Equal Vision Records, along with Menorah Majora and other early work.
2002-2004 Signing with Doghouse Edit
By 2002, Sayanything has been renamed Say Anything, as well as having only Linder and Bemis as permanent fixtures. Bemis enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College, seemingly putting the band on hiatus. However, Bemis devoted much time at the school to recording songs by himself on a four-track recorder in his dorm room. These songs would later become known as the Dormroom Demos (or The Dog Down Daze). These have never been officially released, but are available on the internet on b-sides threads  or fan boards/sites .
In late 2002, Bemis and Linder recorded the Menorah Majora EP and released the album online. By this point, Say Anything's releases had generated "a major bidding war." Drive-Thru Records pursued the band and Brett Gurewitz of Epitaph Records recorded "A Boston Peace," one of the dorm room demos, with the band. However, in early 2003, Say Anything signed with Doghouse Records as they were impressed that Doghouse "put out such obscure, borderline D.I.Y records."
When Say Anything became signed, Max began writing songs as well as enlisting Tim O'Heir and Stephen Trask to produce the album. Bemis struggled with different ideas for the record and eventually decided the album should focus on "the artistic struggle, the fact that every creative person has this sick ambition to affect some sort of change in society with their art, to be more than just a guy in a band or a poet or a sculptor."
Around July 2003, the band began recording ...Is a Real Boy, their first album with Doghouse Records. Bemis said the two people he wanted to "outdo with ...Is a Real Boy were Andy Warhol and Jesus." Iin addition to working with O'Heir and Trask, Say Anything worked with Forrest Kline (of power pop band hellogoodbye) to record the For Sale... EP, released in 2004. The band also worked with ECA Records to record a promotional album that was never released.
...Is a Real Boy was released August 3, 2004. The album featured Coby Linder on drums and Max Bemis on vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboard. ...Is a Real Boy received excellent reviews, including a 99% from AbsolutePunk and four and a half stars (out of five) from allmusic. When the band began touring in support of ...Is a Real Boy, they picked up Dan DeLauro, Casper Adams, and Kevin Seaton to fullfill guitar, bass and keyboard duties.
Major label and more breakdowns 2005 Edit
In winter 2005, Bemis' health issues, including bipolar disorder, were becoming more apparent. While touring with Armor for Sleep and Recover (one of the band's first major tours), Say Anything's management firm 3D employed Adrian Amodeo to deliver Zyprexa daily to Max Bemis. However, this did not work out long and Bemis began substituting Zyprexa with illegal drugs. Drugs began to occupy an increasingly focal position in Bemis' life.
Say Anything signed with J Records in 2005, owned by Sony BMG Music Entertainment, one of the "big four" record labels. In an interview, Bemis cited the following reasons for signing with the major label: "We were looking to expand our fan base as well as have more money to tour comfortably. I also wanted enough money to work with an awesome producer for our second record [In Defense of the Genre]." In June 2005, Say Anything, consisting of Bemis, Linder, Casper Adams, and Andy Jackson, was forced to cancel a six-week headlining tour (with Circa Survive and Emanuel as openers) on the third day of the tour due to health problems with Bemis, including "full-on paranoid delusions" in Austin, Texas.
At this point, Bemis' bipolar disorder and drug addictions were wreaking havoc on the band and September after only a few months of touring with the band. Casper Adams, while annoyed by Bemis' antics, was actually fired by Bemis.
Bemis' mental issues did not stop there. He moved back home to California and was cared for by his mother, Shifra, until she forced him to move out. Bemis lived with Amodeo for a few weeks before moving in with a friend in New York City. On October 3, 2005, Bemis had yet another breakdown, this time involving harassing children, spitting in food at an outdoor cafe, spending a "half-hour pouring a bowl of soup onto the floor, one spoonful at a time," engaging in a street fight, and finally being admitted to a mental hospital by an off-duty policeman. This incident forced Say Anything to cancel yet another tour, this time with Bemis' personal idols Saves the Day, along with Senses Fail and The Early November). The band was replaced by Emanuel. After returning from his stay in the hospital, Bemis' mother and the remaining members of the band selected the Menninger clinic in Houston, Texas, to rehab Bemis. Eventually, Bemis approved and he has reportedly not had a relapse since.
First headlining tours 2005–2007 Edit
Under J Records, Say Anything re-released ...Is a Real Boy with a bonus CD entitled ...Was a Real Boy on February 28, 2006 (although the album was originally slated for release on October 18, 2005 and later January 17, 2006. However, copies were leaked before the release by Tower Records and His Master's Voice, with some copies selling on eBay at inflated prices. According the album's liner notes, ...Was a Real Boy was originally intended as a charity album, but the band dropped the project. This charity project was to be called Vs. AIDS and was recorded in Kevin Seaton's garage. Bemis has said that it was J Records that decided to re-release the album: "It was J Records' idea to reissue ...Is a Real Boy. They believe it has a mainstream appeal that wasn't really reached when Doghouse released the record." Around this time, the band also released "Alive with the Glory of Love" as a single.
Alex Kent joined the band to play bass in late 2005 after the band met him while touring with Lance's Hero. Jake and Jeff Turner joined shortly before the end of 2005 to play guitar and help with backup vocals. Parker Case completed the sextet when he joined to play guitar and keyboard after his previous band JamisonParker broke up. At the time, JamisonParker and Say Anything shared the same manager, Randy Nichols; the band met Case while at a train station on the way to Nichols' wedding.
In summer 2006, Say Anything toured with Dashboard Confessional; Ben Lee was with the tour in the US, while John Ralston joined the tour in Canada. The band was asked to be a part of the 2006 Warped Tour, but instead opted for the Dashboard tour. Bemis later made statements implying he did not feel he was emotionally ready for Warped Tour.
Say Anything completed one of their first headlining tours in fall 2006, when they toured with Piebald and mewithoutYou. Days Away, Brazil and Forgive Durden opened for the band on select dates. In February 2007, Say Anything performed on Last Call with Carson Daly. The band also released their second single, "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too," which was from the ...Was a Real Boy bonus disc. Also in that month, the band announced a co-headlining tour with Saves the Day and The Almost, John Ralston, The Dear Hunter, and Manchester Orchestra as openers on select dates. The band completed the tour successfully during April and May of that year. In August, Say Anything announced a co-headlining tour with Hellogoodbye sponsored by MySpace. The tour took place during fall of the same year with shows in the US and Europe.
In Defense of the Genre (2007–2008) Edit
In the weeks before the release of their third album, Say Anything released several songs from the album on MySpace. They also announced pre-ordered copies could be ordered with a signed CD booklet. The band released their first single from the new album, "Baby Girl, I'm a Blur," on October 2, 2007. In Defense of the Genre was released on October 23, 2007. It was released in a dual-disc format complete with 27 songs and is notable for containing many guest vocals. When asked about the name of the record, Bemis said, "Whatever 'genre' (or music) one loves needs a defense, because half the world is too ignorant to really understand something before they dismiss it." However, Linder has cited the referenced genre as emo. Before recording the record, Bemis stated, "I hope that our next record [Defense] will be more inspiring and uplifting. I want [the record] to be The Joshua Tree with balls on laughing gas."
Andy Jackson, a former member of the band and close friend of Bemis, was responsible for recording many of the cameo appearances. He recorded some cameos while at the 2007 Warped Tour with Hot Rod Circuit (and recorded others in his home studio). Jackson recorded vocals from such musicians as Gerard Way, Adam Lazzara, Anthony Raneri, Anthony Green, Hayley Williams, Aaron Gillespie, Jordan Pundik, and Chad Gilbert. Chris Conley and several others also provided guest vocals. Spin Magazine gave the record four stars while Corey Schmidt of PastePunk said, "There are a few really great songs here."
In January 2008, Say Anything announced a US headlining tour with Manchester Orchestra, Biffy Clyro and Weatherbox. The tour took place in March and April of that year. After finishing this tour, Say Anything announced a headlining tour in the UK that took place during June. This tour was in support of In Defense of the Genre, which was released in the UK on June 23, 2008.
Say Anything released the video for "Shiksa (Girlfriend)" on April 9, 2008. On April 25, Say Anything performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. During summer 2008, Say Anything joined Warped Tour for the first time, appearing on all dates (to date).
On August 1, 2008, Say Anything announced the Max Bemis Song Shop, through which users could pay for Max Bemis to write a record a song based on a short writing by the customer. However, by the end of the night, the item was no longer available with the following text displayed on the item listing: "We're sorry but Max can't write songs as fast as you are requesting them. As soon as he catches up we will start again. Thank you so much for believing in our crazy idea."
Say Anything band members Jake and Jeff Turner self-released their six-track EP Some Day in May 2008 under the name XO. They recorded it with Matt Malpass in Atlanta in January 2008 at Monsters and Marigolds Studio. The album features both brothers on vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboard, with Jeff also playing drums. Parker Case has a side project named I and the Universe, while Alex Kent has a self-named project, Alexander T. Kent.
In an online chat with fans on March 14, 2008, Max Bemis stated that the band has plans to record a new record. He also stated that the record will be called This is Forever and that it will be "about God and how we relate to him." AbsolutePunk.net reported on August 1, 2008, that J Records "picked up the option for Say Anything's next release."
The album was released in 2009 and was titled "Say Anything"