A final goodbye5/18/2016
They say that all good things must come to an end. Try as we might, no matter how hard we hold on to the things we like in this world, they will eventually ride off into the sunset. For fans of Minnesota-based alt-indie act Motion City Soundtrack, that time has finally come, after nearly two decades of music.
The announcement came simply enough, with a statement posted to its own webpage, which read in part: “We have no idea what the future holds, but for now we are done.”
“This was not an easy decision to come to,” admitted lead singer Justin Pierre. “Some of us tormented over it for weeks, some for months.”
The timing is bittersweet. Just last year, Motion City Soundtrack was taking a victory lap of sorts. The band traveled the country, celebrating the 10th anniversary of “Commit This to Memory” by playing the album in its entirety. That album remains the band’s most popular and successful release and is widely regarded as the one that put Motion City Soundtrack on the musical map. It also came during a pivotal time within the band itself.
“That album, you know, it was a strange time because there was a lot of turmoil within our band at the moment we recorded it,” said guitarist Josh Cain. “Justin, well, we kind of figured out that he was a complete fuck-up at the time and was way out of his mind, drinking a lot. So there was that going on. But it was also the first time we made a record together in a destination. We were out in California, basically living there for a few months with a pool and sunshine and working with Mark Hoppus from Blink 182. So there was a crazy amount of emotions, but at the same time we were really into making the record and focused on making that happen, focused on getting our singer healthier.”
“I was drunk for half of the writing of it,” Pierre admitted. “Then I got sober for half of it and there’s this weird duality on the record of very angry, drunk songs and very sad and guilt-ridden apology songs.
“I feel like ‘Commit This To Memory,’ ‘My Dinosaur Life’ (2010) and ‘Panic Stations’ (2015) are all connected. On ‘Commit This To Memory,’ I was newly sober and trying to figure things out. ‘My Dinosaur Life’ was a few years later, still trying to figure things out, and with ‘Panic Stations’ I’m incredibly sober, and now I’m just working on life things.”
The cathartic time period in the band’s life that is reflected in “Commit This to Memory” never came about again, and its music would subsequently never strike the same emotional chords as before. Motion City Soundtrack continued to be one of the most noteworthy bands in its genre, however, and the outpouring of fan reaction since the band’s announcement has been overwhelming. Pierre mentions watching some of the seemingly endless fan reaction on YouTube videos with eye liner-wearing teens and 20-somethings begging the band not to go or relating their favorite Motion City Soundtrack moments. It is something that all of the band’s members identify with, and none of them came to the final decision to end things easily.
But while the future might be dark and uncertain, Pierre looks ahead with excitement for what projects might be around the next corner.
“Our identities are mashed with this band,” he said. “Deciding to stop, none of us really know what we’re going to do after this. But it’s a chance at a rebirth of some kind.” CV