Reach The Sky - Ian
Interview Date: June 11, 2009
Associated band: Reach The Sky
An interview with Ian from Reach The Sky on June 11th, 2009. Photos by Todd Pollock.
How did your first shows back (Montreal, Chicago) as a band go? Why did you guys choose to play those shows instead of doing your first show back in the Boston area?
IAN: To clarify, we played Boston in March with the Dropkick Murphys before we played those shows. The Dropkicks show was surreal, but I thought we played well and got the kids fired up for the headliners, just like an opening act is supposed to do. The Montreal show was a solid, great core show with great bands and lots of familiar friends and new ones in a city that was always one of our favorites to play. Burning Fight in Chicago was an incredible event all around. Our set was sloppier than I would have liked, but kids were into the set, and I got a chance to say some things that I thought were important.
Really, all of the shows we have played to date have primarily been because of who was putting them on and their relationship, professionally and personally, with each of us. For Chicago, Bob and Stu were on tour with Bane last fall when Jim told them about his plans for Burning Fight and whether we would consider playing. Jim has been our friend for 10+ years and always supported us in Chicago, mostly by booking and hanging out but also by coming to see us play with bands he hated in venues he hated. The only reason Reach the Sky even considered, and ultimately resumed, playing shows at all in 2009 was because Jim Grimes invited us to play the Burning Fight book release show in Chicago. After Chicago was confirmed and publicized, we considered a doing a couple other shows, like Montreal.
We did the Montreal show because our main guy, Dave Boucher, wanted to celebrate his 10 years of booking shows. RTS was one of the first bands that he worked with, and it was a great opportunity for us to pay back a friend who had done much for us along the way.
As far as the Dropkick Murphys show goes, that came about in a much more interesting manner. At 11am on a Saturday morning, Stu and I were on the MassPike going to Worcester to practice with Zach and Bob at Bane’s studio. Stu got a call saying that the main support for that nights DKM show was canceled, and they were wondering if we would fill in. With the same sort of reckless spirit that plagued our days as an active band, we agreed to play that night in Boston, in front of 3,000 people, after only having practiced twice in 6 years.
You have a show coming up at the end of June at the Palladium in Worcester. The supporting bands on the show are all local bands that have been creating quite a buzz in the hardcore scene. How did these bands come to your attention?
I might not be in a band anymore, but I am still a hardcore kid. Right from the beginning of our career, we always played shows and did tours that were of varied styles. I wanted that again with this show. I listen to all of these bands and each brings their own flavor to the show that I am psyched we are able to include. Cruel Hand is a band that Bob turned me onto. I am pretty sure I remember these guys when they were just young kids going to shows in Maine so I get just as much of a charge from their intensity as I do feeling ancient. With Reign Supreme, of course I am fully into their stuff, but Jay has been a long time friend who always came to see us in Jersey or Philadelphia. One of my favorite things about being in a band was watching dudes and friends come up from out of the crowd to begin leading their own band on stage. There’s also a hot pink short quota for the evening we need to me, and clearly, Jay is the right man for that job. Another special guest is A Loss for Words, who are- as everybody knows- blowing up right now. Kris Mission definitely turned me on to these guys a while back. They probably won’t tell you this, but these guys essentially re-arranged a part of their summer tour schedule just to play this one show with us. I think the night before they drive in from Indiana or somewhere the night before only to race back down to Tennessee the next night. A band after my own heart!
It’s important to point out that we are flattered that each of these bands made themselves available to play with us. In actuality, they have extended an invitation to us, rather than the other way around. This is their scene, and it only thrives today because of their hard work. We aren’t doing anything to keep things alive today, they are. And without their efforts, and bands like them, there’s no way an old band like us even has anything to come back to. With all the reunions this year, I think it’s important that we all realize this. It’s an honor they have let us share their stage with them.
Is this a full-band reunion? If not, what members have opted out of playing again, and who will fill their shoes?
Zach Jordan from Bane has joined us for these 2009 shows. It’s a great fit on all fronts. First, everyone knows he’s an incredible musician with great stage antics. Second, since he’s in Bane with Bob, and Stu seems to be some sort of part time Bane guy too, the logistics of organizing practice or getting shows are easier. Our old guitar player lives on the west coast and is active with his band. So it’s quite understandable that he would be unable to commit to the occasional RTS show here and there.
At Bane's 10th anniversary show, you jumped on stage to sing 'Maybe Next Year.' Did that experience kick off the idea of you guys coming back and doing shows again? If not, when did you start thinking that it could happen?
That whole thing was Bob and Bane’s doing. Originally RTS was supposed to do a full set that night, but in the months leading up to the show I got a new job that totally dominated my life and left me unable to dedicate any time to practice. The night before the show Bob told me that Zach and one of the guitar players from FC Five from Japan learned “Maybe Next Year” on a lark and were willing to play it. Stu and I were at the show, Bedard told me when he was going to introduce us, and we went for it. It was fun, but it was Bane’s night- what a great show. We only started thinking about doing any shows after we confirmed the Burning Fight event this year and started practicing. Bob, Stu and I have remained friends and spend time together regularly, so once we added Zach, we knew it was back on... for the time being.
To what extent is this a return of Reach The Sky? Specifically, is this the approach that Bold is taking of just doing a few shows here or there, or is it more like Earth Crisis, who is putting out a new album and touring extensively because they have revitalized their band?
It will be a short lived endeavor. Like I mentioned earlier, after we were approached to do the Burning Fight show, a couple other opportunities were presented to us, and we agreed to the ones we were interested and comfortable doing. This is a limited time thing. I cannot see us doing a new record or resurrecting the band, nor can I see us doing shows occasionally, or at all, beyond the immediate future.
What have you done during the time RTS was done? Did you do any other music projects at all?
I’ve spent the last six plus years growing as a person and as an adult. I deeply struggled with the transition from being a “band dude” to a “regular dude”. I have had mountains of debt to tackle and professional experiences to acquire. I’ve tried to prepare myself for the future and played catch-up with my peers in the job market. I met the love of my life and got married, and last year, I became a father.
I did Stand Accused with some very good friends for a short period in the year or so after RTS finished. I’m very proud of that demo and the other songs we wrote together. Although it’s kind of a shame we did not do much with it, it came together spontaneously and ended just as abruptly. Maybe that’s why I am so fond of it to this day.
Do the lyrics you wrote and the things you conveyed at shows six years ago still hold the same significance to you today as they did when RTS was active?
Absolutely. Every song was a specific story or moment in my life that was important enough to memorialize as a song. We put our lives on hold for 6 plus years to do RTS, so the stuff we sang about was important. So if anything, the greatest reward from these shows is the ability to sing and feel these emotions again. Reliving these lyrics has been difficult at times, both from the songs themselves or from other memories associated with the song or a show or some ugly night in some godforsaken city, but has also been the ultimate reward.
Does it still surprise you at all to hear of how much your lyrics have impacted others through the years (especially when it comes to people who have tattoos with your lyrics on them)?
It blew me away then, so it’s still unfathomable today. I always took it more of a statement about the immediacy or the intensity of hardcore and the feelings it conjures up, rather than a tribute to the particular song or message we wrote. This is for two reasons. One, hardcore can become so important and engrossing for people because it is often a release or comfort during a period of intense changes and shifting expectations in their life. Most kids are here for a brief period of their lives and by its nature hardcore encourages you to- literally- throw yourself headfirst into the entire world. Second, I always tried to craft our lyrics in a generalized manner, not so much that it would sound contrived, but vague enough that the actual story or incident is retained by me. By doing that the songs are open for you to interpret and hold on to, or reject, by yourself. When someone gets the lyrics tattooed on them, I am moved because I too was scarred by those words.
Lastly, you've had a lot of encouragement and support from people who are excited to see you guys do some shows again. Who would you like to thank for giving you guys support for doing some shows again in 2009?
First, we’re pretty flattered and excited that people are interested in reliving these songs with us this summer. Of course, nothing ever gets done correctly in a vacuum, so thankfully we have had a lot of great people take the time to help us make these shows happen this year. Jim Grimes started the whole thing by considering us for Burning Fight. Dave Boucher raged in Montreal, and Ken, Al and Diane from the Dropkicks set us up with the live practice at the House of Blues. Josh Smith and MassConcerts for what should be a great Worcester show. Todd Pollock and Matt Miller for the visual mementos. My man Joe Hardcore for affording us the incredible opportunity to play This is Hardcore this summer. Matt Pike for graciously taking the time out of his busy schedule to handle whatever business needs to be done. Guav for his even-keeled advice and counsel; and inspired designs. Some dude named Justin Gonyea’s professional demeanor and powerful art. The guys from Cruel Hand, Pepitotal Mosh and Reign Supreme, Matty and A Loss for Words. None of this stuff happens without Zach Jordan being the best. Last, but not least, the ultimate BHC supporter and friend to many, Kris Mission for being a steady source of encouragement and a total pain in the ass. We’re all in trouble with our wives for being bad parents and husbands so there’s no sense trying to make amends for that here. Big thanks to you, Dan and future-breed.com, for this interview.